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TCB Savings ImageGet in the know now about college savings

Congratulations, you are a parent! You now experience a love larger than any other you have ever experienced. Life is wonderful and happy and you cherish every smile and giggle. Now, quickly get over it because the reality of parenting is coming at you fast.

Here are the cold hard facts:

  1. Kids grow way too fast
  2. Time now goes by for you at light speed
  3. College is expensive, so you’re better off to start saving now

Like retirement, college savings is one of those “yeah but it’s still pretty far away, and we have time to save,” sort of topics. The truth is that saving early and often can save you and/or your child from extensive debt in the future.

According to collegedata.com, 2014-2015 annual tuition and fees for a private college were $31,231,        $22,958 for out-of-state residents at public universities and $9,139 for residents at public colleges. This does NOT include room and board, books and school supplies, or personal expenses.

And guess what? The costs aren’t going down. They are expected to increase at 5% each year, so that according to businessinsider.com, by 2030, the annual cost will be a whopping $90,576 for private schools and $40,935 for public schools.

Sounds scary right? It doesn’t have to be. There are tools and professionals that can help you get out of the weeds and breathe easier.

One of the most common savings plans is the 529 Qualified Tuition Program. Here is a breakdown of the product and some pro’s and con’s:

529 College Tuition Savings Plans

Good Points Not-So-Good Points
–        Earnings and withdrawals (for federally approved college costs) are tax-free.-        Account earns interest-        Account set-up functions similar to mutual fund and is invested in stocks and bonds (each plan is different be sure to review your plan to make sure you are comfortable with the where the funds are invested)-        Many plans allow automatic monthly investment from checking or savings

–        There is no limit to the amount you contribute

–        Can be used for any college your child chooses

–        Can be transferred from one child to another

 

–        Non- approved costs incur 10% penalty, and will be taxed by state and federal government based on your current tax bracket-        Amount of savings in this plan may decrease amount of eligible financial aid-        If you decide to move funds to a different investment option, you will most likely be subject to the 10% penalty fee-        Excess funds after children finish college can be subject to penalization and federal and state taxes.

town and countryRemember – you are NOT alone. If you are ready to explore savings plans for college or even to achieve other savings goals, seek the guidance of trusted financial advisors. Town and Country Bank’s Investment Team is here to help – every step of the way. We can help assess your financial situation and advise the best savings plan for you, to help secure your child’s educational future.

IL State Fair sky rideGoing to the fair? Need a place to park? We have the perfect spot for you! Park at the Sunrise Rotary Parking lot and mention you saw this post or print the coupon SpMoms and receive $1.00 off parking.
All proceeds go to benefit projects that serve youth in the Springfield area! It’s a win-win! The lot is located close to fair gate #2, South side of Illini Bank and East side of Peoria Road. Just look for the happy Rotarians!
More info can be found on our Facebook page including a link to the $1.00 off coupon! While you are visiting our Facebook page, give us a like. We are always posting information about local organizations that support Springfield. Help us help local youth!
PARK WITH SUNRISE ROTARY!

MOMS FROZEN10 of our readers will win TWO tickets each to enjoy one of four Summertime Snow Parties at The Legacy.  To enter: Visit our A-Z index and choose our Outdoor Activities Guide.   List two activities you read about that inspire you to try something new!  Email your answer to springfieldmoms.org@gmail.com  by August 16th at midnight.  If you follow us on facebook you can submit your entry under there by posting on our page Under the Win Tickets entry!  You won’t want to miss this party at the Legacy…10 of our readers will win TWO tickets each!

A flurry of fun before summer ends! Make snow cones and enjoy Frozen-inspired activities, plus a screening of the Disney film. Singalongs, meet friends from Arendelle, and more.

The pre-film party is structured like an open-house. Guests may arrive anytime between the party start time and 30 minutes prior to the film start to enjoy the party activities.

Autism-friendly screening will be held at 9 am on August 22: For guests with Autism or sensory challenges, at this screening the theatre lights are left low, and the sound is reduced. A quiet space is available in the lower-level lounge for guests who may need a break.

2015_fall_1_registration_banner YMCAThere’s lots going on at both locations of the Springfield YMCA.

FALL 1 CLASSES ROCK Registration is going on now for Fall 1 classes, including swim lessons, gymnastics, jump rope and more. Click here for all Fall 1 schedules!
GOLF FOR KIDS Click here and be a part of our September 11 outing at Lincoln Greens. All proceeds from the charity outing benefit our Strong Kids Scholarship Fund!

KIDS TRIATHLON AT THE Y! Join us for our first-ever Kids Triathlon on Sunday, October 4, start/finish/swim at the Downtown branch. Click here for details.
REFER A FRIEND! The Y is Better Together. Refer a friend to the Y and earn free membership. Click here for information and details on our new Refer A Friend Program!

WSECNetwork Knowledge has a variety of opportunities for our members, viewers, and the general public to have fun, meet people, and get involved! You can also see current opportunities that are available by signing up through our VolunteerSpot link:http://www.volunteerspot.com/login/entry/1256141082050

Volunteers support Network Knowledge by providing gifts of time and talent so that safe, entertaining, and educational programming can reach central and western Illinois. Viewer-supported programming relies on volunteers to provide many skills that are required to ensure continued programming.

Volunteer opportunities might include:

Pledge phone volunteers (many evening and weekend shifts available!)
Office volunteers
Reception
Production Assistants
Special events, such as our annual golf scramble

If you have a special talent that is not listed, call to discuss how sharing your time and talent with Network Knowledge could be helpful.

New ideas are appreciated!

Contact us at 800-232-3605 or 217-483-7887 or contact us via this site.

You might be dancing in the streets that school will soon be starting, but your kids might not be as joyful. What can you do when your children struggle with feeling depressed over the inevitable loss of freedom and onslaught of homework and structure that comes with school’s arrival this month?

One of the things we love to do at Springfield Moms is comb the web for interesting and helpful new resources, events and activities for our readers. These articles caught my attention, and I wanted to share them with you.

And if you have some coping strategies that work well with your kids, email us, and we’ll share them with our readers.

Thank you to Ethan Whelpley for testing and reviewing cursive apps for children!

In school districts all around, the teaching of cursive is fading away faster than ever. Luckily there are apps that want to change that and teach kids how to learn cursive–for free!cursive screenshot

The first app I tried out was called “Handwriting Worksheets for Children.”  First, if you have your child use this app, I recommend that an adult download it onto the child’s device. The first time I opened the app there was a pop-up add that said “app of the day”. After I hit cancel the same add popped right back up, and after I hit the cancel button for the second time it left for good, but then a new app appeared, this time advertising for a medieval game. The ad showed a lot of cleavage, and I know I wouldn’t want my young child to see (if I had one). After that I started to play the game. The way it “teaches” cursive is that it has you trace over the cursive letters with your finger, which I found very difficult. I would give this app 2 1/2 stars because it doesn’t teach cursive. However, it is a really cool drawing app that I would use to draw, but that would be the only reason I would use it and probably the only reason your child would use it. Some ways that it could’ve improved was if it had no ads on it and if it was more interactive and fun to play instead of something that I would feel forced to use. itunes.apple.com/us/app/handwriting-worksheets-for

Another app that I tried out is called “Cursive Writing.” It’s simple. All you do is you trace right over cursive letters just like the other app, and it was also a better layout and it felt more welcoming to the user. It also was easier to use because it didn’t feel so tight on my fingers because the letters were only on one screen at a time. I also think it could have been more interactive to make the app more entertaining for the user. But overall I think it’s the better app to download so your kid/kids can learn cursiveitunes.apple.com/us/app/cursive-writing

cursive writing screenshot
The next app I tried is called “ABC Cursive.” Turn down the sound because it’s loud and distracting with music and voices. If your child does not mind the sound, this app is more interactive than the first two apps, but the free edition only offers uppercase letters, so you don’t get a full learning experience. itunes.apple.com/us/app/abc-cursive-writing-free-lite
Finally, I tried the app “Cursive Words.” I like this one because it feels good on my fingers. There is a lot of space on the screen so you are not as cramped up as other apps. It’s pretty fun, You get the feeling of how the cursive letters join together to make simple words. The more you use it, the longer the words get. The app is free so there are ads, but they were not offensive and seem to be well-positioned (not distracting) age-appropriate for children. itunes.apple.com/us/app/cursive-words
Overall, here are keys to the cursive tutorial apps that I tried:
  • Use a tablet, not a phone. I started trying apps on my iPhone and the screen is smaller. I think most kids would prefer using the apps on an iPad or other tablet.abc cursive screenshot
  • I didn’t find any apps that checked my work. I could have just been scribbling and not trying, and on every app, I could still move on to the next step whether I’d learned or not.
  • I’m not sure that learning cursive is necessary anymore, but I don’t think you should rely on these apps to teach a child cursive.
Submitted by Ethan Whelpley. Ethan is an 8th grader at Glenwood Middle School in Chatham. He’s still working on learning cursive. You can find him online on his Ethan Whelpley YouTube channel.

The Illinois Office of Tourism has an online feature dedicated to helping travelers plan the ultimate outdoor adventure in Illinois. The new Off-Road Illinois provides information,bike resources and events to inspire travelers to get off the road and explore Illinois by foot, by wheel or by paddle. From the amateur runner, biker or hiker to the seasoned outdoor enthusiast – you can use these resources to plan an outdoor adventure you won’t soon forget.hiking

The website feature is located within enjoyillinois.com, and it will help you explore by location to find trails, waterways, state parks and outdoor activities across Illinois. In addition, travelers can search upcoming athletic events throughout the state to find the perfect marathon, kayaking excursion, bike race or rock climbing expedition. From running along the lakefront trail in Chicago, to kayaking the Illinois River at Buffalo Rock, Off-Road Illinois provides a range of options and ways to explore Illinois.

In addition, Off Road-Illinois can help connect travelers to outfitters in each region of the state, providing everything they need to get even further from the road. To learn more about Off-Road Illinois and to plan your own hiking, biking or paddling excursion, visit OffRoadIllinois.com.

 

Eat A Sweet Treat and Help A Sweet Child!treat day

  • Buy a Blizzard treat on July 30 at participating DQ’s and for each Blizzard sold, at least $1 will be donated to Children’s Miracle Network at St. John’s Children’s Hospital.

Springfield locations include: DQ GRILL & CHILL RESTAURANTS at:

  • 3121 Atlanta St.
  • 1663 N Grand Ave E
  • 1742 Wabash Ave

Kids Health CheckPre-K, Kindergarten, sixth, ninth graders need checkups! Springfield Public School District 186 students who have difficulty accessing medical care have more opportunities to get needed physicals and immunizations this summer, thanks to a coalition of area health care providers. Physicals are required for students entering pre-K, kindergarten, sixth or ninth grade, and students who are new to District 186. New this year, high school seniors also need the meningococcal vaccine. “Last year we had nearly 100 percent of all District 186 students in compliance with the medical needs for their grade. We hope this year will be just as successful. This coalition has been a fantastic team effort to help families get their students the required physicals in time for the first day of school,” said Mike Zimmers, president of the District 186 school board. In 2013, more than 700 students in District 186 were excluded from school because of missing physicals and/or immunizations. Several events are set to help reduce the number of District 186 students who do not have school physicals and immunizations complete by the start of school. The events are sponsored by the “Keep Kids in School Coalition,” a collaboration among Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield Public School District 186, Central Counties Health Center, Hospital Sisters Health Systems and the Sangamon County Department of Public Health. The goal is to help students get access to physicians who can provide physical exams and immunizations. No appointments are necessary for these events. A nominal charge for immunizations will be billed to the parent’s or guardian’s insurance. Only students currently attending, or entering District 186 are eligible for the physicals. Free physicals will be offered August 10, 11 or 15th. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Monday, August 10 at the three middle schools: Washington Middle School, 2300 E. Jackson St., Jefferson Middle School, 3001 Allis St., and Grant Middle School, 1800 W. Monroe St. School registration will also be held at this time. 8 a.m.-2 p.m., on Tuesday, August 11, at Jefferson Middle School, Washington Middle School and Grant Middle School. School registration will also be held at this time. 8:30 a.m.-noon on Saturday, August 15, at Springfield High School, 101 S. Lewis St. 1-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 3, at the Sangamon County Department of Public Health 2833 S. Grand Ave East. Office of Public Affairs | P.O. Box 19621 | Springfield, Ill. 62794-9621 | 217-545-2155 NEWS RELEASE For Springfield School District 186, the first day of school is August 24. If students don’t have the required medical care by September 4, they won’t be allowed to attend school on September 8. Students will not be allowed to return to school until all required health information is received in the school’s office. David Steward, M.D. associate dean for community health and service at SIU School of Medicine, noted, “Working as partners, the coalition has been able to help students have a healthy start to the school year. We hope parents will make that appointment with their primary care provider to ensure their children get a checkup before school starts.” For more information, call the school support office at 525-7911. Parents who have questions about vaccines should talk with their primary care physician, pediatrician or local public health department.