Playtime: Where to find homework help, relieve study stress

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Jen Marx
Jen Marx

This week marks the end of the first semester of the 2015-16 school year in the Edmonds School District. Older kids had finals, some kids had a final push to get stuff done, and others will have some ‘splaining to do when their report cards make it home.

Finishing off the semester and getting a fresh start for the second semester seems to bring homework, or at least that is the case in my house and when I was a kid. I wasn’t all that great at homework then and that’s not totally untrue now. Google and a spouse with a propensity for math have saved me so far, but the actual math problems aren’t always the challenge. Sometimes how to “just do” or “deal with” the homework is just as big, if not bigger, of a problem. I have been known to share joy- or relief-filled texts that certain homework would no longer be done at home, but instead saved for the classroom.

Locally, there is help to be had! Let’s start with the library, which is where I like to start for most things these days. Every Wednesday from 4-5 p.m. at the Edmonds Library, 650 Main St., there is “Homework Help.” Students from kindergarten to 8th grade who visit the teen section of the library during this time will find a local teenager named Alexander Prakash, volunteering to help your child figure out just what exactly x equals. Lisa Castrogiovanni, teen services librarian, told me they are looking into expand the program to serve high school aged students as well. This weekly “Homework Help” is free and Castrogiovanni gave a glowing review of 15-year-old Prakash. For more information, you can visit the Edmonds Library site or all them at 425-771-1933.

Another local option for homework help is Bloom Early Education, 1233 Olympic View Dr., which happens to be owned by an old friend of mine, Karen Nickle, with an old friend of hers, Miriam Dressler. Bloom Early Education is the building across from the Edmonds Elementary field, also known as the place I used to park so I could spy on my oldest when he went there (look… first kid in Kindergarten is hard on some people). Bloom offers homework help with their “Homework Club” available Monday through Thursday between 2:30 and 6:30 p.m.. With 60- or 90-minute sessions, for $10 and $15 dollars respectively, kids can be dropped off and get help from Bloom’s teachers. This location offers a lot of different options for many different ages. If your needs go beyond “help” with homework they also offer tutoring. The location has a year-round preschool with spots currently open, teacher training, parenting classes, children’s foreign language classes, and a one-hour “lunch bunch” with an emphasis on etiquette and table manners. For more information you can contact them at 425-361-7992.

I’ve learned in my years as the main homework helper, it’s not always about the content of the homework. Sometimes the trouble is just having to do it, and possibly too much of it. I enlisted my long-time friend and children’s favorite yoga teacher, Tracy Kim, to get some ideas of how to help a homework frazzled kid. Tracy, a certified yoga instructor, sent me her three “favorite” ways to de-stress!

Balloon BreathBALLOON BREATH

How:
Either lay on your back or sit criss-cross or in a chair,
Interlace fingers and place them over your belly imagining you are holding a balloon,
Breath in to blow the balloon up,
Breath out to deflate the balloon,
Repeat 5 to 10 breaths.

Good For:
Resetting the nervous system, calming the body, and slowing the chatter in the mind.

Downward facing dog imageDOWNWARD FACING DOG

How:
Spread your front paws wide and tuck the toes of you back paws,
Lift you doggy tail high into the air so you look like an upside down V.
Hold for 3 – 5 breaths. Repeat 2 – 5 times.

Good For:
-Changing your thoughts by turning your perspective upside down.
-Refreshing the mind by bring blood back to the head.

It’s fun!

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Cooper practicing the spinal twist.

RECLINED SPINAL TWIST:

How:
Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor,
Cross your right knee over the left,
Drop your legs to the left side until your leg touches or nearly touches the floor,
Open your arms long and take your gaze over the right shoulder,
Hold for 5 to 10 breaths,
Repeat on the other side.

Good for:
-Wringing out the tension in the spine.
-Re-balancing the nervous system.
-Calming your body and mind.

There are a few different ways to contact Tracy Kim for more information. She teaches both Parent-Tot and Kids Yoga at the Spartan Rec Center in Shoreline, Yoga for Athletes at Experience Momentum in Lynnwood, and is available for private sessions, which I recommend, by emailing [email protected].

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds Mom of two young boys, is a traffic reporter by dawn and writer and PBJ maker by day. She is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her trying to make sense of begging kids to ” just eat the mac n cheese” at jen_marx . If you have a kid-friendly event you’d like to share, email her at [email protected].

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