Why We Like Mathnasium

We have been fans of Mathnasium for four years now. The results are outstanding. We’ve seen kids who were struggling at their grade level of math improved to perform very well at two grade levels ahead. We wrote about the West Boca Mathnasium’s opening last year.

Amy & Harel; Mathnasium in Westwinds of Boca (between Home Depot and Publix)
Amy & Harel; Mathnasium in Westwinds of Boca (between Home Depot and Publix)

A lot of parents go to math tutoring for homework help or test prep. Mathnasium does that, and does it just as well as anyone else. But Mathnasium is special because of “Number Sense.” This short video explains that a little:

We do not take our kids to Mathnasium for homework help or test prep at all. We focus on the Number Sense curriculum. This is not about the short term goal of the next homework or the next test. We are interested in the long term goals of readiness for math at the high school and college levels, as well as tests like the SAT and ACT.
Like many parents, we are unhappy with the math curriculum in our schools. People love to blame one group of politicians or another. The truth is that politicians of all stripes and education bureaucrats have been destroying math education for decades. It dates back to New Math in the 1960s and has only gotten worse.
Mathnasium’s own curriculum brings kids back to math that makes sense. We have found it particularly helpful with kids in elementary and middle school. In a way it’s like a vaccine. Spending a couple extra hours a week doing math the right way inoculates kids against the sickness of Common Core and No Child Left Behind. It helps them develop a solid foundation of real understanding, making it easier to learn higher level math when they get there.
To think about it another way, spending a couple extra hours a week doing math can only help a child for those high stakes college admissions tests down the road. If it gets your kid an extra 50 or 100 points on the Math SAT, that makes a significant difference in what schools they can get into and what scholarships might be available. Thinking even longer term, a kid who might otherwise be scared of the math in engineering or some other subject could be more ready to take on those challenges.
Mathematical literacy is tremendously important for college-bound kids. For those who are looking to give their kids an extra boost, we highly recommend Mathnasium. It’s not an overnight fix, but a process that leads to substantial improvement after a year or two.
Here’s another video about Number Sense, with the Mathnasium founder:

Loggers' Run Student Wins National Journalism Recognition

Benjamin Schiller; photo provided by family.
Benjamin Schiller; photo provided by family.

Benjamin Schiller, an 8th grade student at Loggers’ Run Middle School, has been named to the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, “the country’s oldest and largest student reporting program.”

For more than 15 years, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps has delivered news to classrooms nationwide. Stories by the kid reporters appear in select issues of Scholastic classroom magazines, which are read by more than 25 million students nationwide and are available online at www.scholastic.com/news

Schiller is one of only three kids chosen from Florida, and the only one south of Orlando. He is currently working on his first article for Scholastic, about habitat protection issues in the Everglades. He tells us he is hopeful that this experience “will jump start my career in journalism.”
Schiller has written for West Boca News in the past, including these articles:
6 FAU Owls Drafted by MLB
Boca Raton Bowl Coming to FAU
Boca Raton Bowl Report

Shriek Week is Coming!

Shriek Week at Sugar Sand Park starts on October 16th. There are many exciting activities including a Haunted House, Haunted Walkthrough, indoor blacklight games, a Giant LED Robots and DJ Show, and train rides. Another special event this week is the 4th Annual Kids’ Scary Film Festival. The festival features films from young filmmakers ages 6-17.
If you want to go to The Haunted House, you must reserve tickets ahead of time. The Haunted House is Oct 16, 17, 23 and 24 from 6 to 11 p.m and is for ages 7-12. There is a lite nite for ages 5-12 on Oct 22nd from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 per person. Call 561-347-3948.
Back by popular demand, the Giant LED Robots & DJ Show is only on October 16th and 17th from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission is free. The interactive show features GIANT stiltwalking LED lighted robots who dance and shoot CO2 air cannons.
The Amazing Mr. A Magic Show is Oct 22 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Oct 23 and 24 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Mr. A is a comedian, magician and ventriloquist. The trick or treat trail is free and takes place every night. The Park provides a bag and the candy.
For more information, go to http://www.sugarsandpark.org/shriek-week or call 561-347-3948. Sugar Sand Park is located at 300 S. Military Trail in Boca Raton.

Fall Season at Willow Theatre

The Willow Theatre is located in Sugar Sand Park at 300 S. Military Trail. The Theatre’s fall season features a few shows that are great for families and children.
Web Banner Nizer with WT logoMark Nizer 4D will be appearing on September 19th at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. His show combines comedy, juggling, music and movement. Everyone gets a pair of 3D glasses for the show. Tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.
justhefunnyOn November 29th join Just The Funny for an improv show. Wear you favorite team jersey. Showtimes are 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for children 12 & under. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 561-347-3948.
seasPuppets to Go presents The Spectacular Seas on December 30th. This original black light show reveals that oceans, along with the exotic creatures that inhabit them, must indeed be protected. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. Show times are 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Cookies and juice will be served in the lobby after every performance.The box office is open Tuesday-Saturday 12 -5 p.m. and 2 hours prior to all performances.

New Fitness Options Available in West Boca

jiu0jitsuTwo new places to get fit are opening in West Boca.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offers a variety of classes for kids and adults. The programs focus on discipline, dedication and determination. Located at 8177 Glades Road at the corner of Boca Rio Road, there are programs for beginners and advanced students as well as private lessons. For more information, call 561-826-8185.

The Yoga Joint will open on September 1st at 19575 State Road 7 in Boca Raton. The Yoga Joint, a premier hot yoga studio, has two locations in Fort Lauderdale. One of the creators recently appeared on the cover of Yoga Journal Magazine. Their studios offer yoga classes, babysitting and kids yoga as well as workshops and more.

Ballers Actress in West Boca: Christine Allocca

One of our regular readers connected us with a budding star who happens to live in West Boca. Christine Allocca appears in tonight’s episode of HBO’s Ballers (10:30 pm) and next week’s episode (10 pm) as well.
She moved here from Los Angeles two years ago to be closer to her family, including a sister who lives in West Boca and her mom in Coconut Creek. Allocca is happy to be living here. Life in LA was hectic and not family friendly for her 3-year-old twin girls.
In and near West Boca she enjoys a variety of things that are close and good for her kids. The first place she mentioned was the We Rock The Spectrum gym for kids. She loves the area parks including Daggerwing, the playgrounds in South County Regional Park and in Sandalfoot Park as well, and Sugar Sands Park on Military Trail.
We were surprised to hear her say she likes our beaches better. The water on our beaches is much warmer and more pleasant. We were in LA in June and it was in the 60s on the beach, so that makes sense. Allocca specifically mentioned Bathtub Reef Beach in Stuart.
That conversation triggered us to mention the dog beach in Juno Beach Jupiter. She hadn’t heard of it and thinks one of her three rescue dogs might enjoy it.
We asked her a bit about her career, which she knew was her goal at age 5: “Grandma I want to be an actress.” At age 21 she was in New York State, working at a bank while in college and she decided it was time to take her shot, so she moved to Los Angeles. Before Ballers one of her biggest career highlights was an appearance on the TV show Modern Family.
She has found work here in South Florida, including television, commercial and print. Ballers shoots in Miami.
Cindy Schirmer of Stellar Talent in Miami is her agent and Lori Wyman Casting (also in Miami) helped her get on Ballers.
A few years ago she went a little outside her typical work as an actress and started making YouTube videos with a friend, Erika Schaefer. They’re pretty funny. The most popular one is below.

You can see all of those on the Christine Allocca Youtube channel.

Weekend Roundup: July 23-26

Weekend Roundup_3(1)Get an Introduction to Canoeing on July 23rd at Daggerwing Nature Center. For ages 8+, $10 per participant. An ACA certified instructor will teach the parts and terms associated with canoeing as well as the basic skills needed to successfully navigate a canoe. Call 561-629-8760 for reservations.
Go hear the Turnstiles, a Billy Joel Tribute Band on July 24th at Mizner Park Amphitheater. The free concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Blankets are chairs are welcome but no pets, umbrellas, or outside food and beverages.

Build with Lots o’LEGO Bricks on July 24th at 3 p.m. at the Glades Road Library. Ages 5 and up. Call 561-482-4554 to preregister.
Try something different on July 24th at The Center Stage Performing Arts. The Sick Puppies Improv Show starts at 9:30 p.m. Center Stage is located at 7200 West Camino Real, Suite 330 in Boca Raton. Tickets are $15.
SlightlyStoopidSkull_TicketingGet tickets for Slightly Stoopid with the Dirty Heads and Stick Figure on July 25th at Sunset Cove Amphitheater. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Show starts at 6:30 p.m. No chairs, strollers, cameras, pets or outside food or beverages. Advance tickets are $34.50. Call ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.
RoyalFamily-250Laugh out Loud at “The Royal Family” on July 25th at Studio One Theatre on the FAU Campus. This comedy was nominated for a TONY Award in 2010. Shows are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Call 800-564-9539 for tickets. Tickets are $20
Enjoy a night of music with Idina Menzel on July 26th at Mizner Park Amphitheater. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Purchase tickets at Ticketmaster. Tickets start at $70 with fees.

Kids Eat Free! This Summer

Original Pancake House: Kids eat free with the purchase of one adult meal. Located at 8903 Glades Road near Lyons Road.
Sweet Dewey’s BBQ: Summer special kids eat free with purchase of one adult sandwich and beverage. Located at 9181 Glades Road in Boca Raton.
Lindburgers in Westwinds Plaza (Home Depot): kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree and beverage. Located at 9834 Glades Road.
Hurricane Grill & Wings in Mission Bay: Kids ages 10 and under eat free per adult entree purchase.
Duffy’s at 21212 St. Andrews Blvd: kids eat free with adult purchase.
Do you have a favorite restaurant that offers specials for kids? Please let us know!

Weekend Roundup: July 16-19

Weekend Roundup_3(1)Buy a ticket for The Last 5 Years on July 16th through August 2nd. Tickets are $25 and $10 for students. A moving musical portrait of love lost and found at the Sol Childrens Theatre. Presented by Evening Star Productions. Call 561-447-8829 for tickets.
Show off your building skills at LEGO Time on July 17th at 3:30 p.m. Kids ages 5-10 can use the library’s blocks and share your creations with the group at the West Boca Library. Call 470-1600 to preregister.
Enjoy a free performance by ZOSO, a Led Zeppelin tribute band,  on July 17th at 7:30 p.m. Located at the Mizner Amphitheater. Blankets and chairs are welcome and food and beverages are available for purchase.
jackandthebeanstalkTake your kids to see Jack and the Beanstalk on July 17th and 18th at The Wick Theatre. Showtimes are Friday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. Tickets are $15.
Sing a long to Frozen (PG) on July 18th starting at 8 p.m. This summer movie under the stars is presented by The City of Boca Raton at Mizner Park Amphitheater. Free. No pets, outside food or beverages.
Scooter-Jam-July-2015Drop In for Scooter Jam on July 18th from 5 to 8 p.m. Sign-ups start at 4 p.m. Located at the Drop In Action Sports Complex at Loggers’ Run Park, 11185 W. Palmetto Park Road.

Weekend Roundup: July 9-12

Weekend Roundup_3(1)Take the kids to see Despicable Me 2 (PG) on July 9th at 10 a.m. Frank Theatres in Delray Marketplace is offering free movies all summer on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
everyherohasastoryExplore Superheroes of the Animal World on July 9th at the Glades Road Library. Ages 5-9 can see a presentation by the Palm Beach County 4-H club. Preregister by calling 482-4554.

Enjoy a perfomance by The Dave Matthews Tribute Band on July 10th at 7:30 p.m. The free concert is at the Mizner Park Amphitheater. Blankets and chairs are welcome. No pets, food or beverages.
jackandthebeanstalkGo see Jack and the Beanstalk on July 10th and 11th at The Wick. This is part of a new series for the summer, Theatre for Children. Additional showtimes are July 17 and 18. Shows start at 10 a.m. Tickets are $15.
Catch the Barenaked Ladies 2015 Last Summer on Earth Tour on July 10th at 7 p.m. at Sunset Cove Amphitheater. Special Guests Violent Femmes and Colin Hay. Advance Tickets are $40, Day of show tickets are $50. $10 parking fee.
Game-Of-SkateJulyGrab your board on July 10th at the Drop In Action Sport Complex. Game of S.K.A.T.E. is from 5 to 8 p.m. for intermediate and advanced skaters. For more information, call 954-295-9894.
Learn about a master artist on July 11th at the Boca Museum of Art. Children in grades 3 to 5 can learn about an artist on exhibit and create a masterpiece. $5 per child. For reservations, call 561-392-2500 x106.
Discover watercolors on July 11th at the West Boca Library. Teens in grades 6-12 are invited to experiment with watercolor paints using different papers, salt and paint. Call 470-1600 to preregister.
101 DalmatiansBring your children to see the classic 101 Dalmations (G) on July 12th at Sugar Sand Park Community Center. Doors open at 10:45 a.m. $1 per person includes popcorn and a drink.