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How to Become a More Effective Learner

Are you interested in finding ways to learn new things faster? Do you want to become a more effective and efficient learner? If you are like many students, your time is limited so it is important to get the most educational value out of the time you have available.

Speed of learning is not the only important factor, however. Retention, recall, and transfer are also critical. Students need to be able to accurately remember the information they learn, recall it at a later time, and utilize it effectively in a wide variety of situations.

So what can you do to become a better learner? Becoming an effective and efficient student is not something that happens overnight, but putting a few of these tips into daily practice can help you get more out of your study time.

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1.  Memory Improvement Basics

We’ve talked before about some of the best ways to improve memory. Basic tips such as improving your focus, avoiding cram sessions, and structuring your study time are a good place to start, but there are even more lessons from psychology that can dramatically improve your learning efficiency. Check out some of these memory improvement tips to maximize your memorization and retention of new information.

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2.  Keep Learning (and Practicing) New Things

One sure-fire way to become a more effective learner is to simply keep learning. A 2004 Nature article reported that people who learned how to juggle increased the amount of gray matter in their occipital lobes, the area of the brain is associated with visual memory. When these individuals stopped practicing their new skill, this gray matter vanished.

So if you’re learning a new language, it is important to keep practicing the language in order to maintain the gains you have achieved. This “use-it-or-lose-it” phenomenon involves a brain process known as “pruning.” Certain pathways in the brain are maintained, while other are eliminated. If you want the new information you just learned to stay put, keep practicing and rehearsing it.

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3.  Learn in Multiple Ways

Focus on learning in more than one way. Instead of just listening to a podcast, which involves auditory learning, find a way to rehearse the information both verbally and visually. This might involve describing what you learned to a friend, taking notes, or drawing a mind map. By learning in more than one way, you’re further cementing the knowledge in your mind.

According to Judy Willis, “The more regions of the brain that store data about a subject, the more interconnection there is. This redundancy means students will have more opportunities to pull up all of those related bits of data from their multiple storage areas in response to a single cue. This cross-referencing of data means we have learned, rather than just memorized.”

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4.  Teach What You’ve Learned to Another Person

Educators have long noted that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to someone else. Remember your seventh-grade presentation on Costa Rica? By teaching to the rest of the class, your teacher hoped you would gain even more from the assignment. You can apply the same principle today by sharing your newly learned skills and knowledge with others.

Start by translating the information into your own words. This process alone helps solidify new knowledge in your brain. Next, find some way to share what you’ve learned. Some ideas include writing a blog post, creating a podcast, or participating in a group discussion.

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5.  Utilize Previous Learning to Promote New Learning

Another great way to become a more effective learner is to use relational learning, which involves relating new information to things that you already know. For example, if you are learning about Romeo and Juliet, you might associate what you learn about the play with prior knowledge you have about Shakespeare, the historical period in which the author lived, and other relevant information.

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6.  Gain Practical Experience

For many students, learning typically involves reading textbooks, attending lectures, or doing research in the library or on the Web. While seeing information and then writing it down is important, actually putting new knowledge and skills into practice can be one of the best ways to improve learning.

If you are trying to acquire a new skill or ability, focus on gaining practical experience. If it is a sport or athletic skill, perform the activity on a regular basis. If you are learning a new language, practice speaking with another person and surround yourself with language-immersion experiences. Watch foreign-language films and strike up conversations with native speakers to practice your budding skills.

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7.  Look Up Answers Rather Than Struggle to Remember

Of course, learning isn’t a perfect process. Sometimes, we forget the details of things that we have already learned. If you find yourself struggling to recall some tidbit of information, research suggests that you are better offer simply looking up the correct answer.

One study found that the longer you spend trying to remember the answer, the more likely you will be to forget the answer again in the future. Why? Because these attempts to recall previously learned information actually results in learning the “error state” instead of the correct response.

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8.  Understand How You Learn Best

Another great strategy for improving your learning efficiency is to recognize your learning habits and styles. There are a number of different theories about learning styles, which can all help you gain a better understanding of how you learn best. The concept of learning styles has been the subject of considerable debate and criticism, but many students may find that understanding their learning preferences can still be helpful.

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences describes eight different types of intelligence that can help reveal your individual strengths. Looking at Carl Jung’s learning style dimensions can also help you better see which learning strategies might work best for you. Other models such as the VARK learning styles and Kolb’s learning styles can offer more information about how you prefer to learn new things.

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9.  Use Testing to Boost Learning

While it may seem that spending more time studying is one of the best ways to maximize learning, research has demonstrated that taking tests actually helps you better remember what you’ve learned, even if it wasn’t covered on the test. The study revealed that students who studied and were then tested had better long-term recall of the materials, even on information that was not covered by the tests. Students who had extra time to study but were not tested had significantly lower recall of the materials.

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10.  Stop Multitasking

For many years, it was thought that people who multitask, or perform more than one activity at once, had an edge over those who did not. However, research now suggests that multitasking can actually make learning less effective.

In the study, participants lost significant amounts of time as they switched between multiple tasks and lost even more time as the tasks became increasingly complex. By switching from one activity to another, you will learn more slowly, become less efficient and make more errors.

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Bullying – What Children Should Do if They Are Bullied

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It’s normal for children to be frightened or angry when other children bully them. But they can discourage attacks by showing confidence and not overreacting.

Children should not fight with a bullying child or make verbal or written insults. This could lead to more aggression and possibly serious injury. Have your child call out for help or find an adult or peer right away if he or she feels unsafe.

Face-to-face and cyberbullying

Children who are bullied online or in text messages should not reply. It is best for them to show the message to an adult and block any more messages from the sender. Remind them to only accept messages from people they know.

Give your child these tips to handle face-to-face bullying:

  • Talk to the bullying child if it feels safe. Look him or her in the eye and say strongly but calmly, “Leave me alone” or “You don’t scare me.”
  • Walk away from the bullying child or children. Children who are being bullied should not run (even though they may want to). It may strengthen a feeling of power in the bullying child.
  • Tell an adult about the episode. It might help for children to identify an adult at school to tell if incidents occur. Children who see another child being harmed also should seek help from an adult right away.

Children may worry about making other kids angry by telling on them. But exposing the abuse is the only way to stop the problem. A child can ask to remain anonymous when reporting an incident.

If your child gets left out

Bullying happens when children shut out or exclude others. These actions can be subtle. But they can be very hurtful to the child who is abused. This type of bullying is called emotional or social bullying, and it is very isolating. It’s also hard to manage because the pain it causes is not physical and can be hard to explain to an adult.

Girls who bully tend to do so in social or emotional ways. And boys who bully tend to do so in both physical and emotional ways. Both boys and girls can be targets of emotional bullying. Gossiping and “backstabbing” are common techniques used by girls who bully in this way.

Although there is no easy or foolproof solution, it may help to try some of the following strategies.

  • Recognize the behavior. Trying to ignore it won’t make it go away. Help your child accept that there is a problem and know that you will help him or her through this difficult time. Help your child understand that he or she is not to blame.
  • Role-play. Practice, practice, practice ways to respond to hurtful comments or actions until they come naturally. Help your child think up different scenarios and different ways to respond in them. Have fun with this—make up absurd or outrageous situations. Also, practice using humor as a way to be assertive. Sometimes saying things like, “Oh, please! You’ve been watching too much TV!” or simply, “I don’t need that!” and walking away can stop bullying. This creative thinking can help your child relieve tension and gain some feeling of control.
  • Encourage your child to pursue interests in a different environment. Assure your child that he or she will meet friends who value him or her. Help your child look for areas of life where he or she feels accepted, likable, and normal. And help your child find opportunities to develop well-balanced friendships.
  • Talk to school leaders. If the bullying occurs in certain social situations or school activities, sometimes it is just best to remove your child from the situation. It is not always in a child’s best interest to “stick it out.” Often, in fear of causing disappointment, children do not want to tell their parents that this is the solution they prefer. Ask your child if he or she really wants to continue to be in the activity. If the bullying occurs in a general school setting, work with teachers and counselors to help your child not be around those who bully.
  • Stay out of groups who bully others. Sometimes a child who was shunned before will suddenly be “invited” into or back into a group. Talk about the fickle nature of such friendships. Ask your child how he or she would feel if pressured to exclude another person. Help your child discover the qualities of long-lasting and true friendships.
  • Let your child know you are always there for him or her. You may not be able to come up with the perfect answer for the problem. But you can help by telling your child that you will always be there to listen and to help him or her think about new ways to handle being bullied.
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Technology And Learning Is Perfect ?

Instructors face the same challenges with online learning and the use of technology in the classroom as they face with conventional instruction: getting students to read and think critically about the information with which they are presented. Moreover, instructors will be required to use distance learning technology more and more in the future. Some in politics and higher education are advocating expanding online course offerings, especially at public institutions of higher education, because it can “expand the supply of seats” and the number of students an institution can accept, thereby increasing a university’s tuition revenue. Clearly, if the politicians have their way, online learning will only increase in the future (Ruiz, 2011a).

Online instruction and learning is one of the most important pedagogies of the twenty-first century. Instructors should integrate the use of technology and online sources into all of their instruction so that students see that, whether in a conventional class or an online course, the amount of work is similar and just as important. Demonstrating to students that research and learning is hard work, work that technology can make “easier” if approached properly, will better prepare our students for advanced learning and their professional careers. Instructors must demonstrate to students that work in regular courses is not more arduous than in online courses and that technology and online sources are important components of all learning. Instructors can help students realize that the technology they use must be used for more than mere communication or entertainment—it can be used for learning about the world around them. Above all, instructors must also impress upon students that independent learning will be vital to their professional careers later on. Students should embrace these independent learning skills now, in the classroom, in whatever subject they are studying to be better prepared for the job market upon graduation. Online learning exposes students to the skills they will need long after they have left the campus.

Therefore, all students should be required to take at least one serious online course in their college career in order to learn how to master the process of information gathering and presentation, and to use the technology effectively. There is no easy way out of critical thinking, research, and learning, not even with today’s advanced technology. Instructors can prepare students effectively only when we clearly demonstrate to them the connection between technology and learning, and how vital this connection to their future careers. It is the most important pedagogy of the twenty-first century.

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20 Important Benefits of Music In Our Schools

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Nearly everyone enjoys music, whether by listening to it, singing, or playing an instrument. But despite this almost universal interest, many schools are having to do away with their music education programs. This is a mistake, with schools losing not only an enjoyable subject, but a subject that can enrich students’ lives and education. Read on to learn why music education is so important, and how it offers benefits even beyond itself.

1. Musical training helps develop language and reasoning: Students who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music, and songs can help imprint information on young minds.

2. A mastery of memorization: Even when performing with sheet music, student musicians are constantly using their memory to perform. The skill of memorization can serve students well in education and beyond.

3. Students learn to improve their work: Learning music promotes craftsmanship, and students learn to want to create good work instead of mediocre work. This desire can be applied to all subjects of study.

4. Increased coordination: Students who practice with musical instruments can improve their hand-eye coordination. Just like playing sports, children can develop motor skills when playing music.

5. A sense of achievement: Learning to play pieces of music on a new instrument can be a challenging, but achievable goal. Students who master even the smallest goal in music will be able to feel proud of their achievement.

6. Kids stay engaged in school: An enjoyable subject like music can keep kids interested and engaged in school. Student musicians are likely to stay in school to achieve in other subjects.

7. Success in society: Music is the fabric of our society, and music can shape abilities and character. Students in band or orchestra are less likely to abuse substances over their lifetime. Musical education can greatly contribute to children’s intellectual development as well.

8. Emotional development: Students of music can be more emotionally developed, with empathy towards other cultures They also tend to have higher self esteem and are better at coping with anxiety.

9. Students learn pattern recognition: Children can develop their math and pattern-recognition skills with the help of musical education. Playing music offers repetition in a fun format.

10. Better SAT scores: Students who have experience with music performance or appreciation score higher on the SAT. One report indicates 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math for students in music appreciation courses.

11. Fine-tuned auditory skills: Musicians can better detect meaningful, information-bearing elements in sounds, like the emotional meaning in a baby’s cry. Students who practice music can have better auditory attention, and pick out predictable patterns from surrounding noise.

12. Music builds imagination and intellectual curiosity: Introducing music in the early childhood years can help foster a positive attitude toward learning and curiosity. Artistic education develops the whole brain and develops a child’s imagination.

13. Music can be relaxing: Students can fight stress by learning to play music. Soothing music is especially helpful in helping kids relax.

14. Musical instruments can teach discipline: Kids who learn to play an instrument can learn a valuable lesson in discipline. They will have to set time aside to practice and rise to the challenge of learning with discipline to master playing their instrument.

15. Preparation for the creative economy: Investing in creative education can prepare students for the 21st century workforce. The new economy has created more artistic careers, and these jobs may grow faster than others in the future.

16. Development in creative thinking: Kids who study the arts can learn to think creatively. This kind of education can help them solve problems by thinking outside the box and realizing that there may be more than one right answer.

17. Music can develop spatial intelligence: Students who study music can improve the development of spatial intelligence, which allows them to perceive the world accurately and form mental pictures. Spatial intelligence is helpful for advanced mathematics and more.

18. Kids can learn teamwork: Many musical education programs require teamwork as part of a band or orchestra. In these groups, students will learn how to work together and build camaraderie.

19. Responsible risk-taking: Performing a musical piece can bring fear and anxiety. Doing so teaches kids how to take risks and deal with fear, which will help them become successful and reach their potential.

20. Better self-confidence: With encouragement from teachers and parents, students playing a musical instrument can build pride and confidence. Musical education is also likely to develop better communication for students.

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Twelve Benefits of Music Education

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1. Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning. It is thought that brain development continues for many years after birth. Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information can also help imprint information on young minds.

2. There is also a causal link between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things). This kind of intelligence, by which one can visualize various elements that should go together, is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for everything from solving advanced mathematics problems to being able to pack a book-bag with everything that will be needed for the day.

3. Students of the arts learn to think creatively and to solve problems by imagining various solutions, rejecting outdated rules and assumptions. Questions about the arts do not have only one right answer.

4. Recent studies show that students who study the arts are more successful on standardized tests such as the SAT. They also achieve higher grades in high school.

5. A study of the arts provides children with an internal glimpse of other cultures and teaches them to be empathetic towards the people of these cultures. This development of compassion and empathy, as opposed to development of greed and a “me first” attitude, provides a bridge across cultural chasms that leads to respect of other races at an early age.

6. Students of music learn craftsmanship as they study how details are put together painstakingly and what constitutes good, as opposed to mediocre, work. These standards, when applied to a student’s own work, demand a new level of excellence and require students to stretch their inner resources.

7. In music, a mistake is a mistake; the instrument is in tune or not, the notes are well played or not, the entrance is made or not. It is only by much hard work that a successful performance is possible. Through music study, students learn the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence and the concrete rewards of hard work.

8. Music study enhances teamwork skills and discipline. In order for an orchestra to sound good, all players must work together harmoniously towards a single goal, the performance, and must commit to learning music, attending rehearsals, and practicing.

9. Music provides children with a means of self-expression. Now that there is relative security in the basics of existence, the challenge is to make life meaningful and to reach for a higher stage of development. Everyone needs to be in touch at some time in his life with his core, with what he is and what he feels. Self-esteem is a by-product of this self-expression.

10. Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace. It focuses on “doing,” as opposed to observing, and teaches students how to perform, literally, anywhere in the world. Employers are looking for multi-dimensional workers with the sort of flexible and supple intellects that music education helps to create as described above. In the music classroom, students can also learn to better communicate and cooperate with one another.

11. Music performance teaches young people to conquer fear and to take risks. A little anxiety is a good thing, and something that will occur often in life. Dealing with it early and often makes it less of a problem later. Risk-taking is essential if a child is to fully develop his or her potential. Music contributes to mental health and can help prevent risky behavior such as teenage drug abuse, which often leads to institutionalization in a teen rehab.

12. An arts education exposes children to the incomparable.

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How important is the role of the parent in the career guidance process?

The role of parents is very important in a student’s life because it’s only the parents who can instill in their children the confidence to chase their dreams armed with the right perspective and perseverance. A student who had had the support of his/her parent’s is much more likely to meet up with success later in life! A career propelled by the parent’s encouragement and student’s hard work is sure to catapult to the highest pedestal of success! You have seen successful entrepreneurs, confident managers, and athletic sportspersons, razor sharp scientists; whichever field a student has chosen they have always reiterated that without their parents the unconditional support they would never have reached the pinnacle of success!

The Right Start

It is very important that the student gets the right start in their career! If they don’t then they are sure to bungle and mismanage! As we have firmly established the fact that a parent’s proper support helps a student to march towards their respective goals, the opposite also holds true, the slight erring of judgment can throw their wards career into complete jeopardy! Parents are known to be influenced by the shackles put by society; they are much likely to capitulate to societal norms! So if a daughter aims to be a fighter pilot there are only a few who would stand staunchly beside the daughter’s unshaken belief! They could hardly have the courage to nix the naysayers! Also, the sky-high expectations some parents burden their child with often puts too much pressure on the poor ward! Worried that their parents might be disappointed if they do not follow the path shown by them, they concede to their wishes squashing their own dreams in the process. If they are not happy with their careers from the very onset! Would they ever be happy in life? Even success would prove to be elusive!

How Will the Parents Help in Career Development?

The parents are also clueless sometimes as to how to help their children maneuver their careers! So how should they help their wards? The parents can follow the following guidelines to help their children-

  • Encourage your child to complete their education.
  • Encourage your child to unravel their skills and interests.
  • Empower them with knowledge about their career and work.
  • Help them to make their own decisions.
  • Instill in them the power and faith to embrace diversity with equanimity.
  • Introduce to career guidance to help them sort out their career.
  • Make them aware of the importance of work experience.

Unconditional Support

The parents need to give their children their whole-hearted support otherwise, they might flounder struggling with their nascent career. They must give them their support but not push them so hard that they feel pressurized. They must give them  advise but not make decisions on their behalf! Otherwise, they won’t be able to develop their decision- making power. If Parents could remember not so long ago when they also embarked upon their career how they to hated the fact that their parents dominated upon them and did not let them decide on their own! If their experience about their career was bitter how do you think that their children too might like it? Teach them to fly but that’s where they should stop instead of mollycoddling them allow them to maneuver their own career course.

Rectify your child’s Approach

While you should not interfere too much in your child’s career concerns, enabling them to chalk out their own path! You must also ensure where to help them when they need it the most!

  • Do not encourage indecisiveness as career decision must be taken early and not wait until the last minute as then it might prove to be too late to rectify things.
  • Too many expectations might prove to be the child’s undoing. If you keep comparing your child with others, how he/she could have done better and how their parents are pushing the envelope in every which way possible! Such expectations do more harm than good to children. So get a check on your expectations and let your child prosper!
  • Forcing them to take on subjects that they are least interested in! A student can only flourish if they are allowed to take up their preferred stream suiting their interests and aptitude.
  • Pushing their children towards a career which is well- paying. A well-paid job is a dream for most of us but what if we don’t get any satisfaction out of it! We only earn but our creative instincts are never contented! We will soon get pretty tired of the job! From then onwards it is only going to be drudgery!

Parental influence is important, as we teach out children to spread their wings we should be supportive but also must take care that these children, with their lack of experience, must not falter and take a false step.” Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment, and especially on their children than the unlived lives of their parents.”Carl Gustav Jung. These potent lines signify how we should let our children just be and not let our failed aspirations create an unwelcome burden on their young shoulders!

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What to Do If You Can’t Find a Job After College

Many college students graduate from college with the hope that they can get a job right away. However, for many recent grads, this wish just doesn’t come true. Of course, there are those that do, but these days, it is becoming really hard to make the transition from college to a career and the gap between the two is getting wider. In the old days, it was much easier for people to get a job –the workplace operated in a completely different way. Since the Great Recession, however, there are just too many people in the world and there are too few jobs. If you don’t get a job right after you graduate, you don’t need to fear, because there are a number of things you can do.

Take a Step Back and Reevaluate

If at first you can’t get a job, you want to take a a breather and think about your options. This may be a sign that you need to reevaluate your career goals and see what is on the horizon. Having that time to really think and apply to the right jobs is actually a blessing and not a curse. Sure, it may take a little longer, but if you can see the forest for the trees, you will notice that there are creative jobs to get your foot in the door of your industry.

Don’t get Discouraged

Of course, you also don’t want to get discouraged if you don’t find a job right away. The truth of the matter is that it can be easy to feel down and out if no one if hiring. However, the more discouraged you get, the more stressed out you will be, which will create a lot of unnecessary problems and barriers. The best thing you can do is to sit back and enjoy the fact that you have just completed four years of college.

Take Some Extra Courses

Having this time off will also give you the chance to take extra courses to bolster your resume and skills. Even if you have already finished school, you could sign up for a few Wake Forest University courses and amp up your knowledge base. If you don’t have a job, you can always do things to make yourself more attractive to the marketplace. There is no harm in a taking an extra class and at least you’ll have something productive to do with your time.

Consider a Different Field

If you are really having trouble finding a job in your preferred area of study, perhaps the field you are entering is not for you. If this is the case, you may want to think about trying something different. Right now, there are a plethora of industries you can enter with various degrees and levels of expertise. Of course, you won’t have that much experience yet, but you will build up the experience you need.

Start Looking for Internships

If all else fails, you may want to start looking for an unpaid internship. One of the best ways to get your foot in the door and work your way up is to work for free. In the end, this may not be fun at first, but once you get promoted, you’ll be glad you took the internship.

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Should You Go Greek in College?

College is predominantly a time to receive education.  However, for most students it’s also an opportunity to socialize, network, and build a list of professional contacts that could come in handy in one’s career.  The Greek system of fraternity and sorority houses falls into the latter camp, offering a variety of benefits to students that elect to pledge and become members of Greek houses during their time in college.  There are also a number of obligations associated with going Greek, however, so before you decide if it’s right for you, there are a few things you should consider.

Cost

If you’re a cash-strapped student, it’s important to understand that membership within a Greek organization is not free.  You’ll have to pay for membership, which in and of itself could run you several hundred or thousand dollars.  This doesn’t include the cost you’ll pay to live in your chapter’s house (on or off campus) or the expenses you’ll incur for house-branded clothing, formal attire for events, and your membership pin (or badge).  In addition, chapters can levy fines on member for infractions such as missing mandatory meetings or events.  Students on a tight budget should carefully tally potential costs before joining a fraternity or sorority.

Time Commitment

Joining a Greek house might sound like a lot of fun and opportunity to party all the time, but you should know that most houses expect a significant time commitment from members.  Your presence may be required for regular meetings, chores, parties, conferences, philanthropy, and a variety of other activities.  In addition, you will eventually have to mentor other students pledging the house (when you are no longer a new pledge).  In short, you need to make sure you’ll have enough time to devote to your studies, a job, sports or clubs, and other activities that are a priority during your time on campus.  Don’t forget, there are also criteria for grades (that vary from house to house).  If you don’t meet GPA standards you could be expelled from the Greek system.

Networking

While going Greek can be somewhat cost prohibitive and significantly eat into your free time, it’s important to note that you also stand to gain several advantages by opting to pledge a fraternity or sorority.  Not only will you have a built-in safety net thanks to the mentorship of older students at the University of San Francisco campus, but you’ll also have a schedule of social activities to enjoy immediately.

You’ll also gain the opportunity to participate in philanthropic efforts that look great on your resume, and you’ll gain access to an extensive network of past, present, and future members of your organization.  Your time in college is designed to prepare you for a career.  When you go Greek, you can significantly increase your professional network just by becoming a member, and this could help you when seeking jobs and pursuing professional goals after graduation.  In other words, you could consider it a fun and rewarding investment in your future.

Housing

Joining a fraternity or sorority could also provide a more appealing living situation than living in the dorms, and with room and board included, you won’t have to worry about eating at the cafeteria or scrounging food from vending machines.  You may also have access to private bedrooms (in some cases), private bathrooms, laundry facilities, study rooms/libraries, workout rooms, private parking, and other amenities (these vary by house).

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Fraternity and Sorority Terminology You Should Know

Many students are aware of the advantages and commitments associated with joining the Greek system in college.  What you might not be entirely aware of is all the lingo associated with Greek life.  If you want to be prepared to join a fraternity or sorority, learning some of the terminology can help.  Here are some important terms that any student interested in joining a Greek organization on campus should be aware of.

House

This sometimes refers to the actual house in which fraternity or sorority members live.  However, it is more often used in reference to a national organization, identified by two or three Greek letters, such as Sigma Alpha Epsilon or Phi Delta Gamma, for example.

Chapter

A chapter includes a group of students within a Greek organization that is located on a particular college campus.  Sigma Alpha Epsilon, for one, has chapters at dozens of different institutions, including MIT, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, UCLA, Duke, and many, many more.  Before you select a house to join, you’ll want to make sure they have a chapter at the college or university you plan to attend.

Brother/Sister

Members of fraternities are referred to as brothers, while members of sororities are referred to as sisters.

Rush

Many campuses hold what is known as “rush week”, although some have a loose interpretation of the amount of time allowed for rushing.  This is the time period during which fraternities and sororities attempt to recruit new members.  They often host open parties and other events to entice new students to join.  Students interested in pledging have the opportunity to visit houses, meet members, and ask questions.  During this time, houses may also conduct interviews to get a better sense of which pledges will be the best fit for their organization.

Bid

At the conclusion of the rush period, chapters will decide which recruits they want to invite to pledge their fraternity or sorority.  Once the decision has been made, invitations, also known as bids, are delivered to recruits.

Pledge

This word can be used as both a verb and a noun.  As a verb, “to pledge”, it entails accepting a bid and thereby becoming a member of a fraternity or sorority.  If you accept a bid you will also become known as “a pledge”.

Big/Little

When pledging, each pledge is teamed up with a member who will act as their mentor.  The mentor is referred to as the big, as in a big sister or brother, while the pledge is referred to as the little.

Legacy

This is a term given to students who have familial connections to current or past members of a particular Greek organization.  This typically includes immediate family members such as parents and siblings, but it could also extend to grandparents or aunts/uncles.  In some cases, legacies are granted special consideration for membership, although being a legacy does not automatically ensure a bid.

Whether you’re attending school on campus full-time or part of your class load is virtual (through USC Online), you might be interested in participating in Greek life.  Just remember that there is a cost involved, as well as a time commitment.  However, you will gain untold advantages thanks to friendship, philanthropy, and networking opportunities that will follow you through your time in college and into your professional life.

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College Greek Life 101 for Newbies

Many students have their sights set on joining a fraternity or sorority before they’ve even selected a college campus or gained admission to their school of choice.  It’s not so surprising.  Most students will find themselves on their own for the first time in their lives, far away from the security of the home and family they know.  It’s only natural to want to join a new family and make fast friends.  Greek life can definitely provide this opportunity, along with a variety of benefits both now and in the future.  Of course, many students have only a vague notion of what Greek life is all about.  So here’s a crash course to get you started.

Greek System Basics

There are many, many national organizations within the Greek system, and each has chapters at different colleges and universities.  Houses are identified by either two or three Greek letters, such as Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Delta Delta Delta, or Phi Beta Kappa, just to name a few.  Many houses also have nicknames.  Delta Delta Delta is more commonly known as Tri-Delt, for example. When you join a Greek organization, you become one of a membership of thousands that spans the entire country.  You will be expected to pay dues and participate in activities.

Choosing a House

This can be difficult with so many Greek organizations to consider.  However, it’s best to consider several houses, taking the time to find out what their organizations stand for, whether they have particular criteria for membership, and what sorts of philanthropy they’re involved in.  You should also find out how past members network after graduation since one of the main benefits of joining is to gain professional connections.

Rushing and Pledging

Once you’ve chosen a number of Greek houses that interest you, it’s time to participate in rushing, where you’ll visit several houses, meet with members, and express your interest in joining.  In some cases, rushing can involve an interview process, or even more than one interview.  At the end of “rush week” (or whatever period is granted for rushing), Greek houses will hand out bids, inviting prospective members to join.  You may get more than one bid, in which case you’ll have to choose.  Once you have been given a bid and you’ve picked a house, you will pledge and become a member.  Sometimes pledges go through a hazing process, although it is now illegal.  Many Greek houses still view it as tradition.

Networking

You will have the opportunity to meet all kinds of people and participate in a variety of activities as a member of the Greek system.  Even more importantly, you’ll become part of a vast network of past, current, and future members that could help you later on in your professional life.

Philanthropy

Many Greek houses participate in philanthropic pursuits.  As a member, you will be expected to participate as well.  If you anticipate that your studies at the University of Cincinnati will take priority over such time commitments, you might want to rethink joining a fraternity or sorority.

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Joining Greek Life in College

There is one main reason why students elect to go to college: they want to further their education so that they can improve their chances of starting a career and earning a decent living.  However, there’s a lot more to the college experience than taking classes and earning a degree.  Many students are also interested in the social aspects of college life.  Some join clubs and activities while others are content to make friends in their dorms and in classes.  Still others are interested in the prospect of participating in the Greek system, joining fraternities or sororities in order to make friends, network, engage in charity work, and gain valuable opportunities for the future.  Before you consider joining up, however, there are a few important questions you should ask yourself.

  1. What are My Priorities?

This is important.  Although there is a lot to love about Greek life, your main priorities may be to keep up your grades, earn an income through part-time or full-time employment, tackle internships, participate in sports or other groups, and so on.  The industrious student can do a lot, but you can’t do everything.  You need to figure out where Greek life fits into your college priorities so that you don’t end up biting off more than you can chew or missing out on other opportunities that might be more important.

  1. Do I Have Time for a Fraternity or Sorority?

This is another important question because Greek life can demand a lot of your time.  Most houses have mandatory attendance for activities like meetings, parties, conventions, philanthropy, and other social engagements, and some expect students living in Greek houses to perform household chores.  This can be a major time suck that some students simply can’t fit in with their other commitments.  It’s important to discuss expectation before signing up so that you know what you’re getting into.

  1. Can I Afford to Participate in Greek Life?

You might not know this, but joining the Greek system is not without expense.  First, you have to pay dues, which could amount to several hundred or even thousands of dollars each semester.  If you live in the chapter house, you’ll also have to pay for room and board, although this might be similar to what you’d pay for dorms, rent, etc.  You’ll also be expected to wear house clothing, purchase accessories like membership pins, attend formals (and wear formal attire), and even give gifts at times.  In addition, Greek houses can fine their members for infractions like missing meetings and other mandatory activities.  In short, joining the Greek system can significantly increase your tab for college.

  1. What do I Stand to Gain or Lose?

Like any big decision, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons.  The advantages of joining a fraternity or sorority can be immense.  You’ll not only become part of a close-knit family on campus, earning immediate friends, but you’ll also have untold networking opportunities that you can tap into when you graduate and you’re seeking work.  You can also participate in philanthropic efforts, adding to your resume and helping you to grow as a person.  As for cons, we already mentioned the cost and time commitment.  However, you might be more concerned about potential hazing.  All of these factors bear consideration.

  1. Which House is Right for Me?

If you attend UAB Online, then you won’t have to worry about choosing a Greek chapter to join.  However, if you plan to go the traditional in-person college route, it’s a good idea to do some research beforehand to narrow down your options.  Once you’ve selected organizations that match your wants, needs, and ideals, all that remains is to check out the houses, ask questions of current members, and go through the rushing and pledging process.

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Top 5 Budgeting Tips for College Students

If parents do their job, students head off to college with a strong work ethic, a sense of social responsibility, and the confidence to follow their dreams.  What they may not have is a solid understanding of how to budget and manage their finances.  Here are a few tips that can help every college student when it comes to budgeting strategies.

  1. Learn How to Create a Budget

There are all kinds of resources to help you here.  You could start simply enough by taking tutorials and using templates online.  However, you might also want to sign up for a personal finance or beginning finance course.  You’ll learn the basics of economics and managing your personal finances, including creating a workable budget.

  1. Make Educated Guesses

When you create your first budget, you may not know what your annual income and expenses will be, but you can probably formulate at least a rough estimate.  Generally speaking, you have some idea how much money you’ll have coming in from student loans, scholarships you’ve been awarded, and your job, just for example, or at least you can make a fair guess.  As for expenses, the easiest way to calculate them is to write down known expenses (monthly bills) and then save receipts for the rest (even when spending cash).  At the end of a month, you’ll have a baseline for your expenses.

  1. Maintain Your Budget

A budget isn’t something that manages itself, and it won’t be exactly the same from month to month.  You need to balance it and keep it up-to-date lest you end up overspending because you weren’t paying attention.  It can be time consuming at first to go through your income and expenses and compare them to your prepared budget, but over time it will get quicker, and there are programs and apps that can help to automate the process somewhat.

  1. Budget for Unknown Expenses

It’s not always possible to stick to your budget 100%.  For one thing, some of your monthly expenses will fluctuate (consider utility bills, for example, which often vary based on usage).  In addition, you’re bound to face unknown extras from time to time, or come up against emergency expenses you didn’t anticipate.  If you plan for these unknown costs by setting money aside when you have it, you won’t find yourself going into debt when surprise costs arise.

  1. Always Seek Alternatives

As a student at Maryville University, you almost never have to pay full price for goods and services.  You just need to take the time to look for low-cost alternatives.  Start by using your student I.D. and asking about student discounts wherever you shop (even online).  If you need clothing, home goods, electronics, and other retail items, think about shopping at thrift stores, hitting up yard sales and flea markets, or checking ads on Craigslist.  As for food, students living off campus can host potlucks instead of dining out for fun and socialization.  The point is that there are lower-cost options for everything and you can find solutions to help you save if you give it the old college try.

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Smart Financial Advice for College Students

Although college students have proven they’re academically prepared for the demands of higher education, many enter the adult world lacking some measure of practical knowledge that would allow them to make wise financial decisions and manage their money responsibly.  It’s not your fault if you haven’t learned about personal finance – you can’t be expected to know something you’ve never been taught.  However, you need to be proactive about your education in this area.  If you want to adopt smart financial practices for life, now is the time to learn.  Here is some advice that can get you on the right track.

Be Aware of What You’re Spending

Whether you’re using cash or credit, it’s easy to blow through your funds when you’re not paying attention.  This can leave you unable to pay for necessities, as well as facing overdraft and late fees that are about as useful as setting your money on fire.  If you have trouble tracking what you spend, the easy solution is to save your receipts, even for cash purchases.  Put them in an envelope and at the end of the month, add them all up.  You might be surprised by how much you’ve been spending.

Live Within Your Means

Once you know what you’re spending you can use the information to create a budget.  This is a key piece of keeping your finances in order.  When you’re able to compare income and expenses, you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be set aside for known costs and what can be used as fun money.  This system will help you to live within your means instead of overspending, carrying debt, and messing up your credit in the process.

Separate Wants and Needs

When you’re working with limited funds, as most college students are, it’s important to prioritize spending.  Sure you might get enjoyment out of your daily trip to Starbucks, but it’s not worth it if you can’t pay for your books for the semester or your utility bills (if you live off campus).  Think about your common expenses and separate the ones that are necessities from those that you can live without.  Managing your finances requires you to be responsible, and this sometimes means making hard decisions about how you spend your money.

Build Credit Wisely

Once you get out on your own, it’s time to start building credit (if you haven’t already).  This can be difficult when credit cards provide you with easy access to funds.  You could rack up quite a bill before you realize the damage you’ve done.  If you want to use your time in college to improve your credit score, you’ll have to behave responsibly.  Try using your credit card sparingly, only making purchases with credit that you would otherwise pay for in cash.  If you don’t have the wiggle room in your cash budget to cover the expense when your credit card bill shows up, don’t buy it.  Make sure you can pay off your card every month.

Take Advantage of Discounts and Deals

As a student at Rutgers Online or any other college, you may have access to all kinds of student discounts.  You’ll never know if you don’t ask, so check with vendors you frequent (both in-store and online) to find out if they offer reduced prices or other deals for students.

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A Guide to Finances for College Students

Finance is by no means a simple field of study.  For most students, however, managing personal finances doesn’t have to equate to brain surgery.  Certainly the majority of students enter college know very little about balancing accounts, creating a budget, or appropriately utilizing credit.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t resources available to help students learn what they need to know so that they can make wise financial decisions in their future.  Here are a few guidelines that should help every college student get on track with sustainable personal finance practices.

The place to begin, naturally, is by taking a course in personal finance (such as Finance 101 or the equivalent).  This will serve as an introduction to all the areas of finance that affect the average adult, from budgeting and balancing accounts to managing credit and investing, as well as some background in basic economics.  From there you can start applying the lessons you learn to managing your own finances.

So what do the finances of the average college student look like?  Many students are juggling a variety of incomes and expenses.  In terms of money coming in, you might have student loans, scholarship funds, grant money, funding provided by your parents, and perhaps income from a part-time or full-time job.  As for expenses, most students are responsible not only for college-related costs like tuition, books, and related fees, but also for living expenses like dorms and a meal plan.  Then there are extras like transportation, not to mention clothing, entertainment, and so on.

Managing finances begins with planning a budget that takes into account all the money coming in and going out.  It must include every bit of income and expense, and it should not only account for regular monthly expenses, but also irregular costs like tuition or insurance payments, just for example, as well as frivolous spending (clothing, entertainment, that morning latte at Starbucks, etc.).  When you’re first creating a budget, think about saving receipts for a month so you can get some idea of where your money is going.  This could be a major help when creating your budget and trying to plan for unknown expenses.

The next step is to try to keep your budget balanced.  Living within your means (i.e. spending less than you earn) is essential.  However, you also need to pay attention to wasteful spending.  Wasteful financial practices could include late fees and overdrafts, just for example, as well as any interest you pay for credit purchases.  When you have limited funds, it’s nice to have the emergency backup a credit card provides, but it can be extremely tempting to use a credit card like cash.  If you want to know how much you’re wasting by using a credit card, simply add up your interest payments to see how much you’re throwing away annually for the privilege of purchasing on credit.

As a student at Northeastern University, you’ve already proven you’re smart.  Now it’s time to learn how to manage your finances wisely.  With a little instruction, some planning and maintenance, and common sense, there’s no reason you can’t learn how to keep your finances in order, not only during your time in college, but beyond.

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5 Important Money Management Tips for College Freshmen

Even experienced adults have problems managing their money, so it’s no surprise that untrained college freshman don’t know how to properly manage their funds.  Unfortunately, most freshmen don’t have the luxury of disposable income to play with, making for a very slim margin of error.  That said, with some common sense and a few simple steps you can get your finances under control.

Take a Personal Finance Class

Most students enter college with little knowledge related to managing their personal finances.  Luckily, you’re in the right place to learn.  By taking a course like Finance 101, you’ll learn basics like creating budgets and balancing accounts, usually paired with some economics.  Whether you’re planning to enter a financial field or not, this course is one of the most useful any student can take in college.

Use Credit Wisely

Credit card companies are notorious for targeting college students because they’re looking for easy marks.  More experienced adults would see the folly in accepting cards with higher than average interest rates and agreeing to outrageously unfavorable terms.  However, many college students are so happy to get an offer of credit that they don’t bother to read the fine print.  The important thing to remember, and this cannot be stressed enough, is that CREDIT IS A LOAN.  It’s not money in the bank.  If you wouldn’t go to the bank for a loan and take on the interest involved, don’t make a purchase with your credit card.

Get Thrifty with Clothing

There are many ways to have a trendy wardrobe in college without paying full price for brand new garments.  In terms of thrift store shopping, use Goodwill and Salvation Army for basics like jeans and tees, but look for nicer thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange for more unique items that are gently used or that are overstock from other retail stores.  You can also upcycle, turning old tees or sweaters into skirts with just a few snips and stitches.  Or you might host a clothing exchange with friends so everyone can clear old items out of their closets and go home with some new-to-you garments.

Look for Less Expensive Alternatives

Why buy music when you can use free services like Pandora, GrooveShark, or Spotify?  Why pay full price for textbooks when you can purchase them used, rent them, use library copies, or split costs with classmates?  Don’t buy water bottles – pay a little more up front for a reusable bottle with a built-in filter and enjoy filtered tap water.  Nearly every purchase you make during your time at Pepperdine University can be made more affordable if you take the time to consider less costly alternatives.  Make it a way of life and you’ll have a much easier time managing your meager funds.

Take Advantage ofStudent Discounts and Freebies

As a student you have access to untold discounts and freebies.  You probably know that your student I.D. can get you into movies and museums for less, but you can also secure student discounts on everything from travel expenses to computer programs.  In addition, your college may offer all kinds of freebies on campus (movie nights, for example) or team up with local businesses to provide free or discounted activities or services for students.  Do some digging to find out what you can get on the cheap just for being a student.

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5 Habits That Will Help You Manage Your Money in College

Students that head off to college may not feel like adults yet, but unfortunately they’re going to have the weight of adult responsibilities thrust upon them whether they’re ready or not.  This means learning to manage not only time, but also money.  If you’ve never had to attend to your own finances before, you could easily hit roadblocks or get derailed, damaging your credit along the way.  Here are a few habits that every college student should adopt when it comes to money management.

  1. Create a Budget

If you want to properly manage your money at any time in your life, college included, it’s important to start with a working budget that allows you to see money coming in and money going out so you can balance the numbers accordingly.  Unfortunately, most college students have no experience with this task.  If you’re unsure how to get started, simply look for tutorials and templates online, or better yet, take a personal finance class.

  1. Limit Credit Transactions

Credit cards can land you in serious financial hot water if you’re not careful, especially since many college students new to the credit world tend to equate credit cards to money in the bank rather than viewing them as a system of short-term, high-interest loans.  One of the best ways to responsibly manage your money is to forego credit cards altogether and utilize only the funds available in your bank account.  Of course, it’s nice to have a backup in case of emergencies, so think about applying for a secured credit card through your bank.

The limit on a secured card is usually low ($500, for example) so you can’t get into too much trouble.  All you have to do is offer collateral in the amount of the limit, which you’ll get back after the term expires (generally a year) with interest.  In the meantime, you can use the card to build credit with purchases you would make anyway (to buy books or pay for your meal plan).  Or simply save it for emergencies.

  1. Pay Bills on Time

Accruing late fees is like flushing money down the toilet.  If you find that you have a hard time keeping up with your studies and bill payments, set yourself reminders on your digital calendar (complete with alerts) or simply automate payments with online bill pay options through your bank.

  1. Act Like You’re Five: Learn to Share

Sharing expenses is a great way to save money in college.  Renting with roommates, hosting potlucks (if you live off campus), and even sharing textbooks can significantly cut your expenses and leave you with more of every pay check.

  1. Use Student Discounts

As a student at Norwich University, or any institution of higher learning, for that matter, you have one distinct advantage: you can use your student I.D. to secure all kinds of discounts.  It could save you money on public transit, travel (flights, hotels, etc.), movie tickets, admission to museums and theme parks, electronics, clothing, and even Amazon Prime (students get 6 months free and 50% off thereafter).  Ask everywhere you go if student discounts are offered and do some research into which vendors offer deals so that you can shop with them.  You could end up saving money on nearly every purchase.

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Do Assignment Makes Your Task Easy

Preparing an outstanding assignment is surely not an easy task. Not only do you need to do thorough research, but you also need to analyze it and conclude it. The strenuous work also requires you to be careful with what you write and what you don’t. A poorly written piece can have a negative impact on your grades. If you are a working student and are unable to manage your time for writing, are extremely bored with the assignment, or cannot find the appropriate resources, visit Do Assignment and place your order. You can pay someone to write a paper and be free of all worries.

Plagiarism-Free Papers

Plagiarism is a significant issue that can spoil your reputation. The consequences of plagiarism can be legal, professional, personal and ethical. When an individual is accused of plagiarism, it is quite likely that he will be regarded with suspicion in the future. Do Assignment assures you by providing a plagiarism-free guarantee. If you ever get a written paper that contains any fragment of plagiarized text, it can be fixed at any time, even after the deadline has passed. If the essay cannot be fixed, your money will be refunded. The company has developed a plagiarism checking software, and each work is checked using it. Thus, you can use this service with ease for all your writing tasks.The citation issue is closely linked with the issue of plagiarism. Do Assignment makes sure that you get the best-cited assignment. Users can learn how to cite the particular sources used. The website always provides a clear and quick response to the clients’ issue, so you can always feel free to ask for its assistance.

Ideal Pricing Options

Do Assignment benefits more than two thousand students from all around the world every day with cheap yet worthy papers. Those who have become clients can even avail a discount for their purchase. The company offers affordable pricing options that depend on the academic level, the number of slides or pages required, and urgency of the order.

Communicate with the Writer

Do Assignment grants you the liberty to talk to the writers and instruct them on how you want your task to be done. It provides you with all the help you need for your assignment and wants you to enjoy your academic time by leaving all your worries to the company and its writers. You have the option to send direct messages to your writer and Do Assignment will ensure that you receive a response quickly. The company guarantees that there will be no misunderstandings and you will not have to ask for explanations from your writer.

Do Assignment is an academic assistance provider that makes your life easier by delivering quality assignments. It also guarantees that the client’s instructions and deadlines will be met. The company has been working for a long time and has received good feedback so far. The clients’ satisfaction rate is very high, and the number of fresh and returning customers is steadily increasing.

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5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Go Green on Your College Campus

Although most students tend to be preoccupied with their studies, many also develop a social awareness during their time on campus, becoming involved in any number of clubs and movements that pertain to social issues. Like many students you may become concerned about the state of our planet, or more to the point, the ways in which we are steadily destroying the environment through pollution, mining, habitat loss, and so on. You might feel impotent to make a change on a grand scale, but you can take personal responsibility by changing your lifestyle and finding ways to go green. Here are a few cheap and easy options every college student can get behind.

  1. Listen to Your Parents

When it comes to easy ways to go green while you’re on campus, you’ve probably heard this one from your parents a million times: Turn off the lights when you leave a room. In fact, turn off everything that’s using electricity. Even better, unplug anything that isn’t charging to stop phantom drain. If every student on campus performed this simple task, imagine how much energy could be saved.

  1. Get Thrifty

Cash-strapped college students are often aware of their budgetary restraints and act accordingly. However, you might be interested in getting more from every dollar, especially if it does something good for the environment. You might be surprised by what you can find in thrift stores. Not only can you get wardrobe items like clothing, shoes, and accessories, but at some stores you’ll also find furniture and housewares on the cheap. Don’t forget yard sales and even Craigslist if you’re looking for something specific. There’s no need to pay full price and promote the manufacturing of new goods when old can be as good as new and save you some dough in the process.

  1. Cut Water Waste

Getting students to cut back on chores isn’t a hard sell, and by taking a conservative stance when it comes to washing your wardrobe, you’ll save time, money, and water. Wait until you have a full load or split loads with your roommates/friends, and think about wearing items like jeans, skirts, or jackets more than once before washing. As for bathroom time, get on board with a 5-minute shower. You’ll be glad you did when you’re running late for class.

  1. BYO

It’s hard to make your own food in college – you might have only a microwave, a toaster oven, and a mini fridge to work with. However, making your own meals is going to save you in a variety of ways. For one thing, it’s better for your health than scarfing burgers in the cafeteria or hitting up the vending machine. It’s also cheaper since you can buy in bulk (to an extent – a whole box of cereal and carton of milk versus single servings in the cafeteria). In addition, you have the option to purchase locally-grown, organic, and free-range foods that do less harm to you and to the environment.

  1. Embrace the Three R’s

“Reduce, reuse, and recycle” has become the mantra of eco-friendly activists across the globe. Whether you’re earning a degree in law or going for GW’s masters in public relations, you can use your smarts to find ways to embrace the three R’s in your life. Reducing waste could mean going paperless as much as possible or finding ways to stop using disposable items. Reusing might be as simple as getting a refillable water bottle instead of purchasing bottled water. These days we all know how to recycle, but you can also try upcycling, or finding new uses for items you no longer need (like turning old tees into cute new skirt or braided rugs – there are tons of ideas online). In most cases, the three R’s will also save you money, so adopting an eco-friendly attitude is good for the planet and your wallet.

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How to Decide Where to Go After You Graduate

Unless you have a job offer upon graduation, you may be understandably confused about what your next move should be. Many students elect to remain in the city where they attended school while others return home to live rent-free (or at reduced cost) while considering their options. However, you may also decide to forge your own path by moving to a brand new city in search of work. If this is the case, you need to think carefully about what you stand to gain and the possible challenges you face with such a move. If you’re trying to decide where to go after you graduate from college, here are a few things you’ll want to consider.

Evaluate Job Markets

Think about the amount of time you spend choosing a college. Most students spend a year or more reading stats, reviewing curricula, and visiting campuses before selecting the schools they will apply to. Why don’t college students take the same care when selecting a city to live in after graduation? The process begins with making sure there is an existing job market in the cities you’re interested in. If you can’t find work in your chosen profession, you may not be able to survive in a city, no matter how much you like it in other respects.

Research Cost of Living

It’s not enough to find a job. There are any number of locales that could likely deliver suitable job prospects, depending on your particular degree or specialization. However, some cities are definitely more expensive than others. Consider the cost of living in Los Angeles or New York City versus Augusta, Georgia or Memphis, Tennessee. You don’t necessarily have to live in seclusion in Montana to lower your cost of living, and in fact, you need to carefully balance job/earnings prospects with the cost of living. However, there are cities that not only deliver job opportunities, but also offer lower cost of living than major urban centers. It’s something to carefully consider before you make a move.

Other Considerations

After completing your GW Online degree program you’re probably raring to go. Before you make haste to a new living situation, however, there are a few things besides money that you need to consider. The area you move to will not only dictate your earning potential and living expenses, but also your social life and perhaps even your leisure activities. For this reason, there are several things you should factor into the equation before you select a new city to live in.

Think about your loved ones. How easy or difficult will it be to see family, friends, or a partner when you move to a new city? Will you have abundant opportunities to meet new people and make new friends? In addition, does the city you’re interested in offer the cultural amenities you prefer? Will you have the opportunity to pursue your passions and hobbies? These questions may or may not influence your decision as much as the ability to earn a living, but they should definitely play a role in your ultimate choice. If it’s all about money, you might not end up being very happy. Why waste your time when there’s likely a location that can deliver on every score?

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Job Prospects Of Medical Assistant Determining Salary Package

Medical assistants are held responsible for completing clinical and administrative tasks, in offices of hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare facilities. The duties might vary, and with that, the medical assistant salary also takes a toll. The duties vary by specialty, location and depending on the size of the practice.

What is the basic work environment?

As per the latest survey made in the year 2014,  there were nearly 591,300 jobs,  which were listed under medical assistant job prospect. Most of these experts are known for working in hospitals, physicians’ offices, outpatient clinics and other forms of healthcare facilities.

How can you become a medical assistant?

Most of the medical assistant have postsecondary education, which can be defined as a certificate program. Other aspiring students can enter this platform with just a simple high school diploma. If you want to join the same league, always opt for the on the job training sessions now.

What is the medium wage of a medical assistant?

In the general instances, the medium annual wage for the medical assistants is likely to stay within the $23,000 bracket, as per the recent statistics in May 2014. Well, the salary package will vary, depending on the post you hold. It also depends on the years of experience, which you have in store.

What is the basic job outlook?

As per the recent projection, it has been stated that the employment of medical assistants is likely to grow 23% from 2014 to 2024. It is way faster when compared with any other occupations, these days. The growth of this medical field is here to grow, thanks to the increment of preventive medical services.

What will be the result?

As the medical field is expanding at a huge rate these days, therefore; physicians will hire more medical assistants for handling their work. These experts are asked to perform clinical and administrative duties.

For more info on how to become a medical assistant, visit medicalassistantschoolspro.com

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8 Reason Teens and Their Parents Choose Online High School

Every year more teens choose to study through online high schools. Why ditch traditional brick-and-mortar programs for online learning? Here are the top reasons that teens and their families choose online high schools.
reasons-parents-choose-online-school

1.  Online high schools help teens make up missed credits.

When students fall behind in traditional schools, it can be difficult to make up missed credits while keeping up with the required coursework. Flexible online high schools let teens make up courses – some teens choose to enroll online while still attending their regular high school, while others decide to move completely to the virtual realm.

2.  Online high schools help teens get ahead and graduate early.

With online learning, motivated teens don’t need to be held back by classes that must take four months to complete. Instead, they can choose an online high school that allows students to finish courses as fast as they are able to complete the coursework. Many online high school graduates have earned their diplomas and moved on to college one or two years ahead of their peers.

3.  Online high schools provide flexibility for teens with unusual schedules.

Young people involved in consuming activities such as professional acting or sports often have to miss classes for work-related events. Instead of constantly struggling to catch up with their peers, these talented teens can complete online high school courses during their down time (which may be later in the evening instead of in the middle of the day).

4.  Online high schools help struggling teens get away from negative peer groups.

Troubled teens may want to make a change but find it difficult while surrounded by former friends. By learning online, teens are able to get away from seeing the same people every day and make new friends based on shared interests rather than shared locations.

5.  Online high schools let teens work at their own pace.

By choosing a flexible online high school, teens can speed ahead when they feel confident and take longer when they are dealing with subjects they find confusing. Instead of struggling to keep up or sitting bored waiting for the class, teens can progress through coursework at a pace that accommodates their strengths and weaknesses.

6.  Online high schools allow teens to focus on their academics & avoid distraction.

Some students simply lose focus of their education when surrounded by the distractions that school can bring. Online high schools help students focus on academics and save socializing for their off hours. Sometimes students study online for a semester or two to get back on track before re-enrolling in a traditional high school.

7.  Online high schools let teens esape bullying.

Bullying is a serious problem in traditional schools. When school officials and other parents turn a blind eye to a child that is being tormented on school property, some families choose to withdraw their teen from the situation by enrolling him in an online program. Online high schools can be a permanent academic home for bullied teens or they can be a temporary solution while parents find an alternative public or private school where their child is protected.

8.  Online high schools let talented teens access programs not available locally.

Virtual programs give students in rural or disadvantaged urban areas the ability to learn from a top-notch curriculum that may not be available locally. Elite online high schools such as Stanford’s EPGY program are competitive and have high acceptance rates from upper-tier colleges.

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School Automation Software to Improve Productivity

School Automation Software to Improve Productivity The education industry in many countries has been experiencing a change in the past few years. No one wants to go with slower and inconvenient methods of administration. This is where the need for cloud-based technology becomes necessary. The school automation software is there to improve productivity providing all types of schools with smart and effective methods of administration.

All admins have understood that school administration is a stepwise process and data automation is providing academic institutes with an easy way to manage and control their system. A lot of paperwork is involved in the entire school management process and keeping in mind the increasing demand of science and technology, schools and colleges can and have started working on newer and faster methods of administration.

Any school or college consists of a number of departments including, student affairs, finance, examination, attendance and so on. No matter how small the school is, it is no more feasible for a principle to rely on paper-based methods of administration such as register archiving. These types of procedures are not just time consuming, but also very costly and unreliable. Any school’s productivity depends on its pupils and students are directly linked to their teachers. If teachers are satisfied and happy, they will automatically put their mind and soul on multiple ways for maintaining a certain level of energy and interest in the classroom.

Schools and colleges with limited resources are in greater need for such types of up-gradations. The reason for that is because academic institutes that experience scarcity of resources on a daily basis cannot afford to bear the expense of extra manual labor and stacks of paper. This is where the need for automation transforms from a luxury to necessity.

Any admin has to follow a few steps in order to organize the entire school management system. As mentioned above, teachers and students need to be provided with special care or else they won’t be able to work as a team. That can only become possible if the teaching staff is not asked to sit for extra hours after school to complete tasks that they are not responsible for. The online school management system is there to simplify and organize all those school-based procedures that used to require a lot of man hours for their completion.

There was a time when teachers had to sit for hours counting and calculating papers and preparing bundles of appraisal reports and result cards. That is not just it. Keeping track of student attendance and enrollment records was also a huge problem for many academic institutes across the world. Lately, the digital system has taken care of all that providing academic institutes with an easy way to manage and control their system with complete ease and effectiveness.

Improving productivity should always be the main concern of any academic institute and the online school management system is helping schools achieve that. All kinds of financial transactions have become automated without having to rely on manual labor or registers. Similar is the case with student archiving and exam management. Therefore, school automation software is by far the only convenient and cost-effective method of administration.

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What Are the Causes of Child Behavior Problems at School?

What Are the Causes of Child Behavior Problems at School?

When a child misbehaves at school, it can be disruptive to everyone concerned. Sometimes it’s difficult to know the difference between normal and abnormal behavioral issues. What’s considered typical conduct for a 5-year-old might be unacceptable when it’s displayed by a 12-year-old. Acting out in school may have roots in a personality issue or a behavioral disorder.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

A child with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may find it difficult to pay attention at school. The American Academy of Family Physicians says the primary features of ADHD include lack of focus and impulsiveness ADHD can interfere with a child’s ability to listen and follow instructions. A child may be forgetful and disorganized, making him apt to lose school assignments and parental notes. A child with ADHD may be fidgety, overly talkative and unable to wait for her turn in class.

 

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

While it’s normal for a child to occasionally become upset and irritable, a child with oppositional defiant disorder is almost constantly disruptive and argumentative. This can cause numerous problems at school as he shows a blatant disregard for the rules, challenges authority figures and intentionally annoys classmates. A child with ODD may find it hard to make and keep friends and often seeks revenge on others.

Shyness

Sometimes a child is so shy that it interferes with her day-to-day functioning at school. An extremely bashful child does not adjust as easily as her peers in the classroom or on the playground, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The longer this pattern persists, the harder it becomes for a timid child to become more socially confident.

Peer Rejection

A child may be rejected by his classmates for being overweight or lacking in personal hygiene, or because of the clothes he wears. In some cases, a child is rejected by his peers because of his disruptive behavior that may be due to a behavioral disorder. A child may also be labeled an outcast by his peers for no apparent reason. Whatever the cause for dismissal, a rejected child is made to feel unwanted and unwelcome. He may respond by bullying classmates and breaking rules.

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Bad vs Good Chemistry Education

When I enrolled in college, I was pretty sure I wanted to major in biology and absolutely sure that I didn’t want to go into a medical profession. In fact, I selected my college partly based on the number of biology classes offered that were not pre-medical in nature. Thus, I found it particularly ironic (and painful) when I was required to jump through a variety of hoops designed to eliminate individuals on the pre-med track who were not serious enough to actually be accepted to medical school. The most significant of these hurdles was chemistry. While I didn’t learn much chemistry as an undergraduate I did learn a lot about education (and how it shouldn’t work). The flaws in my undergraduate chemistry education became all the more apparent when I took many truly fabulous and truly educational chemistry classes in graduate school (courtesy of Professor Pam Mills, at Hunter College).

As an undergraduate biology major, I was required to take 18 credits of chemistry(8 credits of inorganic chemistry and 10 credits of organic chemistry). This is a good and reasonable requirement for a biology major since a solid understanding of chemistry is undoubtedly helpful for understanding the biological world. Sadly, the chemistry classes weren’t designed to be educational. In fact, on the first day of class, the chemistry professor stood up in front of the lecture hall and told all 600 students that the primary goal of the class was to weed out people who couldn’t get into medical school. Thus, the university would consider the class a success if it caused everyone who couldn’t hack the medical schooladmissions process to change majors, transfer to a different school, or even drop out of college altogether. The professorseemed like a nice guy; I suspect that he wasn’t comfortable being involved with a chemistry class that was designed to be an ordeal in the medieval sense of the word and the one thing he felt he could do about it was to describe the situation openly.

By the standards that the university set for the class, it was a success. When I began my second year of chemistry, there were only 200 students left. By any other measure, I’m afraid that the class was a failure. One semester my average was 55%, but, thanks to the curve, I received a B+. Obviously, most people were learning even less than I was. (This is something I try very hard not to dwell on when I need to see a doctor.)

But what made these classes so bad? As an educator, this is a question that I have spent a lot of time considering.

On the surface, the chemistry classes appeared to be run in a professional and reasonable manner. If the designer of the chemistry sequence was asked to explain the pedagogy, undoubtedly there would have been three or four learning tools mentioned. Information was supposed to enter the students’ brains during the lecture periods and from reading the textbook. That information was supposed to be consolidated by completing problem sets for homework. Finally, there were the chemistry exams, which were intended to measure learning. Unfortunately, at no point was there any opportunity discuss ideas, ask questions, or get real-time feedback. This lack of opportunity to talk things through and have questions answered was, I believe, the single biggest problem.

There have been many, many research studies that demonstrate that learning must be active in order to be effective. It is absolutely essential for students to be able to take in information, manipulate it in their minds, put it out in a new format, and receive feedback to ensure that their understanding is accurate. Exams are not particularly useful feedback; by the time a test is given and graded, it is rather late to be telling a student for the first time that his or her ideas aren’t quite right. Instead, the real function of exams in chemistry, or any other subject, are to motivate students to study and to provide a relatively objective method of certifying that learning has taken place.

Fortunately, chemistry tutoring is almost the exact opposite of the classes I endured as an undergraduate. In a tutoring session there is nearly constant discussion, questioning, and feedback. This allows students to explore ideas and create understanding. It is a very effective way of developing a real understanding of challenging content and learning how to solve problems.

It’s true that private tutoring is generally one-on-one and is therefore very difficult to compare to large college classes. However, there is evidence that a properly structured large class can be quite effective. Indeed, there is a great deal of exciting research being done to discover more effective ways of teaching chemistry. Of course, that research is utterly useless if chemistry classes are mis-used as filtering devices. I do hope that my experience in undergraduate chemistry was the exception to the rule.

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When Educators Make Space For Play and Passion, Students Develop Purpose


Students and their teacher watch the progress of their paper rockets during a “tinkering day.”

Harvard education specialist Tony Wagner has been advocating that we reinvent the education system to promote innovation for years. He’s clear that content should no longer be at the center of school. Instead, he says a teacher’s main job should be to help students develop key skills necessary for when they leave school. He contends there are seven essential things young people need to be successful lifelong learners:

  1. Formulate good questions
  2. Communicate in groups and lead by influence
  3. Be agile and adaptable
  4. Take initiative and be entrepreneurial
  5. Effective written and oral communication skills
  6. Know how to  access and analyze information
  7. Be creative and imaginative

Wagner worries that unless the U.S. starts focusing on cultivating these skills, the nation will no longer produce innovative people who drive job growth. He interviewed dozens of innovative young people and asked them about their experiences in school. One third of those he interviewed couldn’t name one teacher who had impacted them. The other two thirds named teachers, who upon further investigation, were outliers in their schools. Their teaching styles and approaches were at odds with the dominant school culture.

Wagner found that all of these tremendously influential teachers ran classrooms that emphasized interdisciplinary learning, real team collaboration, risk taking, creating learning as opposed to consuming knowledge, and cultivated intrinsic motivation in students. These teachers made room for playful exploration and student passions in the classroom, helping their students to develop the purpose that drives them. He co-authored “Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era” with Tony Dintersmith.

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Fighting Educational Doldrums

There are times during the year when students are very excited about learning.  One of those times is when school starts in the fall.  Even parents seem to feel the excitement of a new school year and the bright, shiny, new school supplies.  By this time in the school year it is possible that students are less excited about school and this happens not just for public or private school but for homeschooling as well.

While there are many ways to overcome the educational doldrums of this time of year for homeschoolers, there are three worth particular mention.  While these may work in traditional education, it is important to note that homeschool has flexibility in some areas where traditional school might not.

Special Projects

After school has been in progress for a couple of months students often feel like it is just an endless series of studying, and chapter tests.  One way to break that cycle is to allow the student the opportunity to complete a special project.  Many subjects lend themselves to independent study and research.  And don’t think that it only has to encompass one subject.  These special projects can also be adapted to the age, abilities, and interests of your student. It is an opportunity to go beyond the standard homeschool curriculum. Here is an example for a high school student.

Suppose the student picked the Renaissance Period.  While it is easy to see that this might be a history project, consider that that period was rich not only in history, but art, literature, and music.  It was an important time for textiles, important time for science, and a challenging time for religion.  By choosing a time period that is so rich it is possible for the student to touch on many subjects as they relate to the main subject of the Renaissance.  If the student’s interest lies particularly in music or art, allow them to direct their research to those subjects.  The final project can include reports, art work, and perhaps a presentation as the student teaches and presents what he or she learned.

Allowing the student to direct his/her own education for a short period of time allows them to feel control, and lets them branch out from the week in and week out occurrences of worksheets, questions, and chapter tests.

Varying Schedules

While many student, especially young ones, benefit from a regular schedule, homeschooled students have the opportunity to have a schedule that fits their individual needs.  As students enter high school they often find that their biological clocks seem to shift.  It is more difficult for them to concentrate early in the morning, and harder for them to go to bed at night.  As parents we tend to want them up early and to school pretty quickly thereafter.  Fortunately, the schedule that homeschooled students need can be accommodated fairly easily.

One of the benefits of a flexible schedule for homeschoolers becomes very apparent for students who have a particular interest.  Consider a student who is very interested in science.  That student is not necessarily going to be ready to move on to another subject after an hour or so.   One student had a great interest in science and did all of her other subjects the first two days of the week to get them out of the way.  She then concentrated her studies in science to the last three days of the week.  By doing that she was not interrupted in the middle of a project or experiment, and it allowed her to get deeper into the subject than if she had only an hour at a time.

Another student had an interest in becoming a veterinarian.  Each morning she spent doing her coursework, and each afternoon she went and “shadowed” the local veterinarian.  Not only was it great experience for her, but it gave her a depth of understanding that could never come from just book learning.  Having the ability to vary the schedule students to specialize and work past the boredom that might come with a more regimented schedule.

Year-Round Homeschooling

Another way to avoid the educational doldrums of late fall is to homeschool year-round.  You might think that homeschooling year-round might make your child be bored more often.  The reality is that by homeschooling year-round you student is not required to take breaks when everyone else does.  Fall semesters usually have a Thanksgiving break of approximately a week, and then about three weeks later there is the Winter/Christmas break which lasts about two weeks.  The problem with this is that students sometimes need a break earlier than Thanksgiving week.

By going all year long homeschooled students have enough days in a “school year” to take short breaks when they need to instead of when other people think they need to.  Sometimes that means taking a three or four day weekend.  Sometimes that means taking a whole week.  At our home we call these short breaks “mental health” days.  They allow us to unwind after particularly difficult chapters, or if we just need an opportunity to collect and regroup.

Amazingly, one of the best ways to fight the educational doldrums is to allow the schoolwork to be geared to the student’s needs instead of trying to mold every student to the same schedule.  Whether that is by allowing the students to control some of the subject matter, or allowing them to choose to do coursework in their own schedule, or by allowing a longer school year so that you are not working from break to break, but making breaks where your student needs them.

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Digital School Management and Administration System for Academic Institutes

Cloud-based technology has been digitizing schools and colleges for the past many years. Paper related procedures are being replaced with computerized data recording systems. This has automatically reduced the need for extra manual labor and paper therefore, increasing the overall profit ratio for majority of academic institutes. Online school management and administration is the new way of running schools more effectively.

Just like everyone likes to go with trendy fashion, school admins have also started to prefer the online school management system than the traditional methods of administration. It’s the 21st century and most of the academic institutes especially in Pakistan, don’t have the resources to spend that much on improving various administrative procedures.

Almost 50% people of Pakistan still don’t know how to read and write therefore, it is essential to open more and more schools and colleges especially for those parents who can’t afford sending their children to schools. Keeping that in mind, another problem arises that is how to survive in the highly competitive education industry. More than 65% of academic institutes present in the country are deprived of even the basic amenities. In order to tackle that issue, schools with scarce resources have started to go digital.

Now, what does going digital mean? To digitize your academic institute means to automate all your administrative procedures such as exam management, student attendance, enrollment and accounts management. The online school management system records all important information and keeps track of it throughout the academic years. By using cloud-based data entering facility, school admins don’t have to rely on extra manual labor or stacks of paper. All paper related procedures can be taken care of with the help of the software solution.

If we go into further detail, we could see that the digital system has automated all core departments of any school or college opting for it. No wonder it is referred to as the next-gen solution to school administration. Admins have the responsibility to manage and control multiple departments on a daily basis therefore, it is essential for them to make sure everything is going on smoothly.

Any school has to go through various procedures such as accounts, exam management, attendance, enrollment and so on. Small scale schools don’t have the resources to carry all such procedures on a daily basis therefore; the web-based management system helps them organize all departments with ease and convenience.

Before cloud-based technology entered into the education industry, schools used to rely on manual book keeping and archiving which was not just a time consuming process, but also turned out to be very costly. Today, all similar procedures have been taken care of with the help of the software solution. Admins and teachers can easily have access to all important information by just a few clicks. All accounting transactions on the other hand, have also been made theft-proof and error-free. Executives don’t have to hire extra staff members to maintain loads of paper work on a daily basis. The digital school management and administration system is the new way of running schools and colleges.

Now, all school related information have become safe, communication procedures have picked up pace and admins have immediate access all important files, records and reports 24/7 without having to rely on various staff members. The web-based system has helped new entrants and small scale institutes in Pakistan to thrive in the education industry with ease.

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Common Core And Homeschooling

Many schools are experiencing the implementation of Common Core. Parents are finding out that the regulations that determine how the child will be educated might be more involved than they might have thought.

Homeschooling parents have considered themselves immune to the effects and regulations of Common Core because, after all, they are educating their children at home. But is it realistic to believe that homeschoolers can avoid the broad umbrella of Common Core?

There are a number of ways that Common Core may affect homeschoolers, both directly and indirectly. The following information is by no means exhaustive.

Data Collection

Currently homeschool students seem to be off the radar in many states. By right and by choice homeschooling families tend to want to keep their students out of the system. However, one of the components of Common Core is that it allows for a database of student information which begins in kindergarten and continues through the student’s entry into the workforce.

In states where students are not required to register in any way to homeschool the amount of data collected on that student will be minimal. However, for states that seek more control over their homeschoolers, those homeschoolers will be providing information for that database. While it may not seem like much, this database is accessible by outside sources which might not need to access student’s names and other personal information.

Standardized Testing

Homeschooling students in many states are not required to submit to standardized testing. In a number of states homeschool students who are not associated with church schools are required to participate in state testing. Homeschool students who are required to participate in state testing will have a fundamental freedom removed from them. Because they will be tested according to state standards, which are aligned with Common Core Standards, homeschool students will have to study homeschooling curriculum that will prepare them for those tests.

This removes the freedom to choose certain curricula. Homeschoolers pride themselves on their ability to choose the curriculum that is best suited for their student’s learning style and also their philosophical reasons for homechooling. By having to study curricula that are aligned with Common Core the homeschoolers are being forced to participate in a system that many of them oppose.

And College Entrance Exams

At a point in the foreseeable future college entrance exams will be rewritten and adapted to fit the curriculum that is being taught in public schools. The curriculum in public schools across the country will be aligned to Common Core Standards. Part of the reason Common Core is being enacted is to make the curriculum all across the country standard. Because of this, it makes perfect sense for the college entrance exams to reflect this.

Just as with standardized testing in elementary school, middle school, and high school, college entrance exam requirements will, by default, require that homeschoolers conform to learning the body of knowledge that will allow them to do best on these exams. If they choose to study homeschool curricula that do not currently conform to the Common Core Standards, or do not adapt to align with those standards they will be penalized for this lack of conformity by potentially lower test scores.

Finally, from the standpoint of someone who does not mind data being collected on their children, and consequently their families, and who does not mind that curriculum choices are being made for their children without their input or their control, it might seem odd that anyone would object to the implementation of Common Core standards and requirements across the country. However, there is a whole group of people, generally homeschoolers, who do not believe that the state or the federal government have the right to control how their children are educated. Neither the state nor the federal government should have the right or ability to collect, store, and disseminate information on the student or family. Common Core might seem like a step toward Big Brother and away from the freedoms that they enjoy as homeschoolers.

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Earning a Special Education Credential Online

Special education was originally a classroom full of kids who for one reason or another, couldn’t learn at the pace of their original classmates, or who had behavioral problems.  Today there are several categories of special education and in most states, licenses to match those categories.  That means special education teachers face an additional educational component for licensure and when they obtain it, will most likely be paid at a higher scale than regular classroom teachers.

The options for obtaining special education licensure are usually the traditional educational institutions because of the requirement for supervised classroom work that is a feature of any teacher education program.  However there are a few schools with online programs that are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) or by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Categories for Special Education Students

The education community and the organization of school psychologists have assembled a list of impairments that require special education.  Those include impaired hearing, impaired vision, emotional disability, developmental delay, autism, mental retardation, orthopedic impairment, speech impairment, traumatic brain injury, and a category for “other” health impairments.  Then there are the specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia that are not the result of any physical condition or injury.

Online Programs at Traditional Universities

The University of North Carolina offers several online programs for licensed teachers.  The East Carolina campus has a master’s program for licensed teachers that leads to a MAEd with emphasis on one of the following: mental retardation, emotional/behavioral disabilities, learning disabilities, or low-incidence disabilities.  The Chapel Hill campus has a MAT program with general training in special education for students with mild disabilities. The Western Carolina campus offers an online MAEd with three tracks: mild disabilities, severe disabilities, and gifted children.

The University of Massachusetts Online (UMassOnline) has several special education options.  There is a Master of Education in special education for children with impaired vision, and a MEd in vision rehabilitation.  A MEd in Curriculum & Instruction is available with emphasis on children with autism.  There is also a certificate program for Behavioral Intervention with Autistic Students.

A Mixture of Specialized Degrees and Certificates

The University of North Texas and the University of Minnesota/Mankato both have graduate certificate programs in special education.  Florida State University offers the Master of Science in Special Education with specialization in severe disabilities (autism and severe cognitive disability), early childhood special education (birth through age 5 years), and high incidence disabilities.  The University of Kentucky and Gonzaga University both have online graduate degrees in special education.  The University of Missouri/Columbia offers a MEd in Mental Health Practices in Schools, designed for both teachers and administrators.

Most of these programs are designed to meet teacher licensing requirements in the state where the campus is located; however there is a license reciprocity agreement for teachers with at least 33 states as participants.  There are a few exclusively online schools with accredited special education programs; the first to achieve NCATE recognition is Western Governors University, which also offers several K-12 teaching degrees that meet licensure standards.

If you are a licensed teacher wishing to break into special education there are several viable online programs available to you.  There are also MAT programs in special education for individuals who are not licensed teachers but are interested in making a career change into education.  Special education has become a respected and well paid educational niche that requires extra education, which is increasingly available to teachers who would like to go back to school and continue working.

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Watering The Seeds: The Blossoming of Creativity in the Classroom

We tend to think of creativity as an intriguing personality trait, but one that is only useful in practice to the artist or the aimless dreamer. But what if I told you that creativity, not in spite of the due emphasis on the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), is an increasingly essential skill to our children’s success, both in school and on the job?
Frankly, a non-creative person is an unadaptable person. Moreover, a person who cannot adapt cannot survive the turbulence of our ever-changing world. So why do we continue to push models of education that limit creativity in favor of rote memorization?
Of course, the transfer of traditional knowledge and information is needed for students to grow. However, that information would be little more than arbitrary if not for the creative ingenuity that transforms it into something meaningful in our minds. At a certain point, intellectual growth and evolution, skills like real-time problem solving, and the very seeds of entrepreneurial thought cannot take place without this ingenuity, so the fact that our educational system is based largely on spreading and storing data while neglecting creativity warrants concern.
In the following, we will examine our country’s current educational system and determine the ways in which it inadvertently stifles creativity and critical thinking. Hopefully, through a reassessment of our current practices, we can cultivate a more innovative society of tomorrow.
Let us begin by joining the typical elementary student in their classroom. Take your seat and remain silent. Do not fret, your input will not be necessary. There will be a man or woman at the front of the room that will handle all the thinking for you. Just memorize what they tell you. Once your ability to recite this information has been gauged to be on the level of your peers, you and your classmates will find a place on the assembly line. From there, you all will be packaged and shipped to the next level of institutionalized education, where you will undergo the process again. And so on and so on.
The aforementioned scenario illustrates (albeit crudely) our educational model. Sounds outdated, doesn’t it? That’s because our system of education is actually a remnant of 19th-century philosophy and a product of the Industrial Revolution’s economic circumstances. The model was created with the idea that intelligence was to be measured by one’s knowledge of the classics and their ability to carry out deductive reasoning. As a consequence of this model, the usefulness of the arts (its ability to provide both emotional stimulation and intellectual stimulation while inspiring new patterns of thought) was also forgotten.
Essentially a system of standardization, our public education model was constructed to mimic factory assembly lines because that was what worked best for production, and what worked to make machines must also produce efficient workers. Prior to the Industrial Era, a system of universal education simply did not exist. When the system was first proposed, it was based on the premise that the skills that are needed for work are the only skills that should be emphasized by educators.
The purpose was to get a group of students to consume the same information and all apply it in a similar fashion. For what it’s worth, the system was great for industrial productivity.
So, you may be wondering, where is the harm in the above process?
Well, as philosopher and politician Roberto Mangabeira Unger argues, it only serves to create more worker bees. The workers who were trained in this fashion were unadaptable because they were made (prepared) purely for a static function (job). By teaching students merely to take in information without first analyzing it, we imply that the world is static and constant. We teach them that it is only their task to internalize the prescribed laws of the world. There is no need to question anything or investigate the world because that has already been done for them. Educator and philosopher Paulo Freire argues that this practice robs them of their ability to become active participants in the world. So how can they improve and add value to their community when they only know how to follow directions and not how to maximize their full potential?
In fact, students’ ability to think critically may actually be reduced because of this process. In their book, Breakpoint and Beyond: Mastering the Future Today,researchers George Land and Beth Jarman present a study which corroborates this theory. Land and Jarman tested 1,600 students between ages three and five on their divergent (creative) thinking skills. They asked questions requiring abstract thought such as “How many ways can a paperclip be used?” More than 98% of the students scored at the level of creative genius. The authors waited five years before assessing the children again. When evaluated for the second time, only 32% scored at this same level; by the age of 15, less than 12% scored at this level. The test later made its way to some 280,000 adults (average age 31) and only 2% scored at the level of creative genius. Land concluded his study by asserting that “non-creativity” must be a learned behavior. Given the results of the study, it is not unreasonable to believe that our educational practices are largely to blame for the declining levels of creativity over time.
You see, the brain is responsible for two kinds of thinking: There is the divergent thinking referenced above and there is convergent thinking, which refers to the brain’s ability to make judgements about, critique, and evaluate a situation. Land refers to divergent thinking as the “accelerator” while convergent thinking is likened to the “brake.” Children are initially asked to use both, but it becomes difficult to think creatively while listening to the inner critic. Students will likely develop a fear of being wrong (having the wrong answer) as a result. Because of this disconnect (neurons on both sides of the brain are “fighting each other,” as asserted by Land), the brain is less able to capitalize on the divergent thinking. When a person succumbs to fear, then even less of the brain is active.
It is this stigmatization of mistakes (a fear cultivated by our deep-seated reliance on ranking students through standardized testing) that will hinder our children’s development because all evolution is the product of trial and error. One cognitive scientist, Guy Claxton, has caused an uproar in the educational community by referring to erasers as the “instrument of the devil.” While his statement does employ a bit of hyperbole, he bases it on the idea that the classroom often perpetuates the shaming of mistakes and errors.
Claxton argues that children should not be encouraged to hide their mistakes because mistakes give students an opportunity to reflect on the process that brought them to the right answer rather than just focusing on the answer itself. Further, in the real world there is no magic button that allows one to omit past decisions.
Instead, we must think wisely about the effects of any subsequent actions, while using past mistakes to help us adapt to new situations. In a consenting opinion, Chairman of the National Association for Primary Education (NAPE) John Coe stated that it is the job of teachers to be aware of the mistakes made by their students so that they “can target their instruction.”
In nature, certain characteristics arise within a species but are later removed or augmented when their applicability in the world is assessed. We are stifling our students’ growth because we insist on assessing the fitness of our educational practices against an antiquated model of the world. Our educators are trying to prepare our students to participate in the economy while ignoring the fact that it is constantly changing. How backwards is that? Teaching our students how to adapt is the only way that we can adequately prepare them for future problems.
So what can we do to promote more divergent thinking?  Well, we must first remember that cultures are malleable. We always have the opportunity to try new things to facilitate growth. So let’s shed the cocoon-like dogma that certain patterns of thought afford us. Let’s get rid of the notion that all students, all people are the same and learn the same way. Through the practice of differential education, we can assess students’ talents on an individualized basis. We can understand their strengths and find ways to help them discover and develop their special talents. We can also make use of the Socratic method, instead of only assessing a student’s ability to spit out a preprogrammed response without them understanding its applicability to the question. Focusing on inspiring inquiry and evaluating the level of abstract reasoning inherent to a student’s answer can foster creativity. Providing informative reviews of the students’ work rather than simply giving a letter grade will put the focus back on learning.
A move away from extrinsic motivation (motivation by external incentives, like an abstract grade) in elementary and middle school can be especially helpful for student development. Researchers Ruth Butler and Mordecai Nisan have shownthat the ability of a student to think critically is reduced when too much emphasis is placed on a grade rather than the actual learning process. Grading can also be damaging when the rational student realizes that the potential consequence of an intellectual challenge (a failing grade) isn’t worth the risk. They may ultimately choose the easier alternative because they are afraid of lowering their grade average.
Author and lecturer Alfie Kohn argues that believing competition, rankings, reward and punishment are just the “the way life works” obscures the fact that these are all simply societal practices which people can choose to respond or not respond to. Kohn reminds us that collaborative skills (employing someone else’s strengths) are essential to societal development, as well.
Furthermore, while in an interview with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), educationalist Sir Ken Robinson argued that “most original thinking comes through collaboration and through the stimulation of other people’s ideas.” On the other hand, pure competition may beget an overdependence on self that may hinder the development of the whole. Let’s remind our students that learning isn’t just about attaining an “A” or being better than the next person.
Earlier I alluded to how the arts can stimulate students both emotionally and intellectually, and even inspire new patterns of thought. To elaborate on this idea, empirical studies have also shown that the benefits of education in the arts transcends its immediate aesthetic and sensory appeal.
A 2002 report facilitated by James Catterall, an affiliate faculty member at the UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development, drew from the findings of 62 studies conducted by 100 researchers and revealed positive correlations between arts education and academic performance. For example, students who engaged in music education showed improvements in their mathematical skills, reading skills and cognitive development. Dance students tended to show improvements in their critical thinking skills and originality. Furthermore, students who were educated in a multitude of arts showed improvements in higher-order thinking skills.
I don’t mean to imply that math, science, and our other traditional school subjects aren’t useful areas of study, or that they should be tossed aside. Nor should we presume that higher-order thinking skills are limited to the college classroom. I’m only suggesting that students, even our youngest students, often miss out on a more applicable understanding of these subjects when they aren’t encouraged to approach them in novel and creative ways. It has less to do with the information presented, and more to do with how that information is presented. Do we want a generation of spectators and trend-followers, or do we want a future world filled with leaders and critical thinkers? The choice begins with how we educate our students.
As we recognize and respect our ability to change, we will see that certain situations will require new modes of thought: Innovation. George Land suggests that we tap into our “inner five-year-old.” So let’s think outside the box. Remember when we weren’t so afraid to think differently? It may sound odd, but we can only move the collective when we begin to think for ourselves.
If we can implement a few of the above practices (and perhaps others that are beyond the scope of this article) we can get our students to start thinking again!

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Taking the First Steps Towards Teaching With Video Games


Educators at Nordahl Grieg Upper Secondary, a public high school in Norway, are taking a unique approach to teaching that treats video games as just another classroom tool.

If teachers use books, music, videos and websites as resources for teaching, video games should also be included on that list, according to Nordahl Grieg teacher Tobias Staaby. He and his colleagues, including Aleksander Husøy, have been demonstrating the uses of video games to educators by inviting them to a workshop at the school each semester.

Staaby says it helps to take a look at who plays games. According to the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the video game industry, the average age of a video game player in the U.S. is 35 years old, which can be closer to the age of a teacher than a student.

Staaby and Husøy were at the Games Learning Society conference in Wisconsin earlier this month to talk about how they use video games in the classroom. When they host their workshops for teachers, they start off with these steps:

Show That It Works
When educators observe classrooms that use video games for learning, they can see the discussions that unfold and the lessons learned through the platform. In digital games like “The Walking Dead,” players have to make choices, explain their decisions and experience the results of their selections. Controlling outcomes, such as a character’s path and responses, makes a video game a different and more immersive experience than traditional books or movies in which the content is fixed.

A screengrab of The Walking Dead game by TellTale Games. The player has to decide how to respond to a group of strangers.

A screengrab of ‘The Walking Dead’ game by TellTale Games. In this scene, the player has to decide how to respond to a group of strangers.

Attending a Nordahl Grieg workshop to learn about video games in the classroom is one option, but there may be a teacher nearby who is using games. For educators with specific content areas and needs, there are game reviews written by educators on Gamindex and Common Sense Graphite.

Play!
In the workshop, educators can start playing games to see how they work. Staaby and Husøy start them off with “Gone Home,” “The Walking Dead” and “This War of Mine.”

Create
After trying out the games, educators look for ways to create lessons. Staaby, Husøy and their colleagues share and develop ideas during the workshop, but encourage anyone interested in using video games in the classroom to take ownership over how they will use them.

“It’s important to experience autonomy and be in control of whatever you’re doing,” said Staaby. “We say it’s important for students to be motivated and be in control of their learning situation, but that applies to teachers as well.”

And while there are out-of-the-box lesson plans, Staaby encourages educators to adapt lessons to their own classrooms. He says to think of a lesson plan as a recipe that can be adjusted for the ingredients you have available and that will meet the dietary needs of your students.

Rethink Learning Goals
In some cases, the learning that takes place when using games isn’t immediately obvious. Many of the workshop video games at Nordahl Grieg were not designed to be educational and don’t come with specified learning goals, but creative educators identified benefits for students anyway.

Staaby likens this approach to what teachers already do with films, books or videos that weren’t created with students in mind but can spark lessons, even if those sources are not packaged as educational content. He refers to an observation Husøy made about the bias many educators feel against video games as a learning tool.

“It’s weird the assumption that games have to have this stamp of approval,” said Staaby. “If it’s the EDU version, it’s OK. But we don’t have EDU versions of classical literature or music or movies.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Games allow players multiple attempts at accomplishing any goal, a good model for educators to use in their own approach to teaching with video games. Often teachers feel they need to be technically savvy with the game before using it as a teaching tool, but games are the perfect opportunity for teachers to share responsibility for learning with students. Trusting students in this way gives them learning autonomy, builds relationships and lets them be the experts, a great way to learn.

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Making Way for a Better Education

One of the very basic things that you need in order to secure a well paying job and a bright future is good education.  Indeed it all begins at home and then school and then college.  But it is at the college stage where you need to make some really important decisions.  From what you are going to study to where you are going to study, these are crucial questions that need answers.  These are in fact the answers that will shape your future.  Therefore you must give some serious thought to what kind of courses you wish to pursue and which college or university you wish to secure your degree from.

What and where?

One of the most important decisions you need to make as soon as you finish high school is the subject you wish to study further.  It could be literature, art, finance, science, engineering, medicine or associates degree detroit.  These are just a few of the popular options out of the hundreds of subjects out there, and you could choose to pursue your degree in any one of these.  What you choose should not depend upon what you like or where your talent lies.  Do not force yourself to study something that you don’t really like just because it seemed to promise a better paycheck in the future.  If your heart is in it, you can become successful studying any subject.

Next comes one of the questions that is topmost on the mind of every student graduating high school: Which college do I go to? There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a bachelors degree detroit. Some of these are the reputation of the university, programs available, fees, faculty, infrastructure and placement records etc.

Degrees in Engineering

For those interested in engineering and hoping to get a bachelor’s degree in Detroit, there are a number of great colleges available. Engineering is one of the most coveted degrees and has a wide variety of options from electronics to software and mechanical engineering. A typical bachelor’s degree in engineering would take you at least 4 years to complete. For those interested, this could be followed by 2-3 years of specialization in a particular area.

There are plenty of great career opportunities in America and across the world, available to those who have completed their bachelor’s degree in engineering. However, for those who wish to further acquire a stronghold on the subject and do a specialization in engineering, a mba Detroit is the perfect option. It is needless to say that the career opportunities after a master’s degree in engineering are huge and really high on the paycheck.

Once again, just make sure you do your research and seek admission in a truly reputed engineering college in Detroit that has world class faculty and an excellent track record. Getting admission in a reputable college almost always guarantees a good job at the end of the course duration.

For those looking for something other than an engineering degree or an enhancement to their degree, a good management college in Detroit could award an associate, bachelors or masters degree in business management. In the end, it’s all about where your interest lies.

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Seek After School Care for Your Child Online

In today’s hectic, fast paced life, many parents are working due to which they do not get as much time to spend with their children or pay the required attention towards them. This is why most of the parents enroll their child into a kindergarten. After school care is an institute that provides proper education to your child during his early developmental years. They help your child grow, learn and play. Every parent wants their child to flourish with success and grow up to be a beautiful human being in all aspects of life. It is every child’s right to gain knowledge and to pursue education. Every child is beautiful and different in his own way. One cannot expect their child to be what they want since it is the child who has to do it at the end of the day. Children should be given freedom to make their own decisions under the guidance of their parents.

Toddler education is the best option in order to make your child’s life prosperous. Right education, if given at the right time, may prove to be beneficial in the later stages of life. Kids should be provided with appropriate academic training in order to let them perform to the best of their abilities. A few decades ago, there were no after school care available for kids and this is the main reason why many people have criticized such schools while some also suggest that it is not necessary. These individuals should realize that times have changed and to sustain in this competitive market, it is necessary for one to learn the rights and wrongs from a very young age. After school program helps your kid in learning every aspect of their life and also ensures holistic development to make him an achiever.

Knowledge and intelligence are the two main aspects of life which can never go to waste. It is very important that your kid gets his basics right from a very young age. Early childhood education system or programs help your child to grow up better and able enough to compete in a competitive market. After school care serves your child with the best art of teaching and learning. Learning is a technique and kids are not machines that can be programmed with different tools. Preschool trainers understand this and help your child understand the art of learning instead of programming or scheduling their lives.

In order to find the best after school program for your child you can browse online. Online you will come across many institutes that cater to child care. These institutes deal with kid with a lot of care and affection and they understand that education cannot be completed unless provided with proper attention and pampering. Before enrolling your child in any of the after school care institute, you need to make sure that they are licensed and government recognized institute. For any queries you can call the school on the number mentioned on the website and dispel all your doubts.

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8 Tricks to Find Out the Right Open University

The internet has made higher education accessible for millions of people whose personal problems prevent them to attend conventional colleges or universities. Online academic centres offer education to all without the constraint of geography and time. But it is not necessary that all online universities offer quality education experience. Some provide great academic experience and some exist to make money only. Therefore, it is must to know how to choose a reliable or legitimate open university to make your online studies worthy.

1.    The initial step is to search for online universities that offer your desired specialization. Shortlist some universities to finalize the one where you tend to get admission.

2.    Carefully go through the proper state or regional accreditation of the shortlisted colleges. Ensure to shortlist again those colleges or universities affiliated or well-recognized by the education authority of the state. Such universities are not fraud. If you have shortlisted a fully private online institute for higher studies, you can be in trouble. These private institutions set their own terms and conditions. They are free to change their rules without any notice and for their own benefits. So, it is must that you choose a well-recognized and accredited university.

3.    Find out the logistics of the program. Some colleges offer complete online studies while others conduct some classroom sessions in addition to online. Analyse that your program needs classroom sessions. Do your shortlisted universities offer the facility?

4.    Keep yourself familiar with each college’s tuition policies, fees and registration. Compare fees and tuition policies to stay away from paying higher for a course. Ensure that the registration process is easy and the fee for the registration is moderate.

5.    Determine the college’s technical requirements. Such online schools require a laptop or desktop with internet access, printer and special software to conduct video chatting or conferences. It is important that you have all technical facilities to attend online classes without any interruption.

6.    Confirm about the selected university’s professors or teaching faculties. You have to know about their credentials and they are easily reachable via chatting, phone or email. Sometimes you may need personal guidance of your professor. In this situation, the college should offer the facility to connect with your mentor easily and rapidly. Before admission it is must to confirm the facility.

7.    Study materials and exam schedules for your post graduate program are necessary to know. Colleges have their own study materials and examination procedures. You have to ensure that the study materials for your program are valuable. Examinations are organized at the end of each semester.

8.    The last but not last thing to follow is to research about your finalized institute’s reputation. Check online to know any negative remark about the institute. You can ask friends and colleagues who recently completed a program from an online university. They may share their experiences which can be valuable for you. Avoid choosing the institute that has many negative reviews. You may find yourself in trouble. A reputed university can give assurance of safe study experience.

Author Bio:-

July Robert works as a content writer for karnataka open university free online certificate courses . She writes informative and educational write-ups and her main target audience are the students. Her articles cover changing career trends, career advice, various career options and similar topics. Like here she discusses the reasons to opt for post graduate & online education in India.

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Three Reasons to Homeschool High School

Homeschooled students are often placed back in school at the high school level. While it is possible that placing a homeschooled student back in traditional school for high school will be advantageous, there are distinct advantages to keeping the student home and homeschooling high school.

Time Management

By the time a homeschooled student has reached the high school level he is generally had to learn how to manage his schedule to complete assignments in a timely manner. Time management is a real world skill, and one that will be useful in any future endeavor whether that is college or the work place.

Why would a homeschooled high school student have more of a chance to learn time management skills than a traditionally schooled student? Primarily because the traditionally schooled student is not allowed to manage their own time, but most homeschooling parents encourage students to take responsibility for their own schedules. Traditionally educated students are told when to change classes, when assignments are due, and are held to a schedule that is designed to fit the majority of students. A homeschooled high school student is not dependent on the schedules or abilities of others.

Part of the benefit of homeschooling, especially in high school, is that the education is customizable. If a student needs a little longer to master an advanced math skill it is possible to adapt the homeschool schedule to accommodate that. If the student finishes a literature assignment early, the student can move on and it is not necessary for him to wait until all the other students in the classroom have completed the assignment.

Independence

Homeschooled students who have reached the high school stage have generally achieved some level of independence. By placing a formerly homeschooled student back in the traditional high school setting some measure of the independence the student is accustomed to is removed. As with time management, the student’s schedule is no longer their own when they must adhere to the schedule of others.

High school level homeschooled students often have more input into their education, not just in what they want to learn but also how they will learn it. Homeschooled students will have the ability to determine how long they will work on a particular subject. An example of this is science experiments. In traditional school it does not matter if an experiment is completed in the 50 minutes allotted, when the bell rings, the student needs to move on to a different class. In homeschooled high school the student would continue the experiment to completion, not interrupted by the end of a class period.

Acceleration/Specialization

A third benefit to the homeschooled high school student is somewhat related to the time management and independence benefits of homeschooling. Most traditional schools must teach to the masses. That is their purpose and with the reductions of funds, most schools do not have the ability to allow students to accelerate to a higher grade, or specialize in a certain subject.

Homeschooling, with its inherent flexibility and individualization can accommodate both. Some homeschooled high school students take dual credit, which is a way to gain not only high school credit but also college credit for courses.

Other homeschooled high school students find that they can finish academic classes more quickly, and therefore can spend more time practicing a specialty. This would allow a student who was a musician more time to practice her musical instrument, or a student who excels in dance or gymnastics to complete schoolwork around necessary practices and coaches schedule.

Some might worry that homeschooled high school students might be isolated from the socialization available through traditional education. The reality is that socialization is about teaching the students the things they will need to know to be functioning adults in the world they are about to step into after graduation. Homeschooling high school is a great way to foster real world skills such as time management and independence. By allowing homeschooled high school students to excel in one area, or accelerate their entire high school education, we are encouraging the real world skills of management and independence that will make them sought after by colleges and employers alike.

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Develop Your Emotional Intelligence Skills with Hile Rutledge Engaging and Experiential Training Designs and Interactive Materials

A growing body of research shows that increasing your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills—the behaviors with which you interface with the world and what you look and sound like in comparison to those around you—impacts every relationship, every group engagement, every encounter you have. This is why the topic of Emotional Intelligence (and the EQ-i assessment in particular) have become so popular in the world—the model and assessment produce tangible and measureable behavioral benefits from the broad sweep of major, multi-million dollar corporations to the day-to-day small incidents that influence your life.

People have realized the benefits of Emotional Intelligence skills in a very short interval of time, the field only having been in existence since the 1990s. Emotional intelligence can be used in a wide variety of areas—personal and professional. By applying simple, proven techniques consistently, most EQ-i users report measurable changes and improvements in decision-making, relationship management, conflict mitigation and even improved physical health. Emotional Intelligence (and the EQ-i) have long been tied to the physical manifestation of stress.

Everyone knows that real behavioral development is not easy, but with focused steps and a solid training design, anyone can be successful. There are even reliable and reputable resources and approaches that can be engaged or accessed online through webinars, blogs, downloadable resources, and e-learning modules. The world’s leading EQ-i firm, offering you EQ-i Certification and a host of other resources both in traditional and online/internet-based formats is OKA. Effective online research can not only help you in finding the such training and consulting firm with proficient trainers, but will also allow you have idea about the services provided by them.

One such EQ-i training and consulting firm is OKA (Otto Kroeger Associates), whose focus is on the growth and development of organizations, teams, leaders and individuals. OKA President, Hile Rutledge, is one of America’s most respected trainers in both the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment and the EQ-i® (Emotional Intelligence) as well as many other psychological tools and instruments.

Hile Rutledge is the author of Reversing Forward, the MBTI® Introduction Workbook, the EQ Workbook, the Four Temperaments Workbook and co-author of the Portrait of Jung Type Behavior (tool) and the best-seller Type Talk At Work. Hile is also an internationally known trainer, whose designs and trainer support materials are among the most respected and used in the worlds of both Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the EQ-i (Emotional Intelligence). Also involved in designing and supporting blended learning, Hile has designed and delivered videos, webinars, e-learning modules, online tutorials and a host of other internet-based/online training and trainer support materials.

To promote the understanding and use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) and the EQ-i (as well as the many other tools in which OKA is expert), Hile Rutledge maintains an active blog at OKA’s website (www.oka-online.com), in which he frequently shares insights, trainer tips, exercises, action plans and other materials, free of charge, in the hopes of keeping people interested and motivated to do this important self-development work.

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Earning a Special Education Credential Online

Special education was originally a classroom full of kids who for one reason or another, couldn’t learn at the pace of their original classmates, or who had behavioral problems.  Today there are several categories of special education and in most states, licenses to match those categories.  That means special education teachers face an additional educational component for licensure and when they obtain it, will most likely be paid at a higher scale than regular classroom teachers.

The options for obtaining special education licensure are usually the traditional educational institutions because of the requirement for supervised classroom work that is a feature of any teacher education program.  However there are a few schools with online programs that are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) or by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Categories for Special Education Students

The education community and the organization of school psychologists have assembled a list of impairments that require special education.  Those include impaired hearing, impaired vision, emotional disability, developmental delay, autism, mental retardation, orthopedic impairment, speech impairment, traumatic brain injury, and a category for “other” health impairments.  Then there are the specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia that are not the result of any physical condition or injury.

Online Programs at Traditional Universities

The University of North Carolina offers several online programs for licensed teachers.  The East Carolina campus has a master’s program for licensed teachers that leads to a MAEd with emphasis on one of the following: mental retardation, emotional/behavioral disabilities, learning disabilities, or low-incidence disabilities.  The Chapel Hill campus has a MAT program with general training in special education for students with mild disabilities. The Western Carolina campus offers an online MAEd with three tracks: mild disabilities, severe disabilities, and gifted children.

The University of Massachusetts Online (UMassOnline) has several special education options.  There is a Master of Education in special education for children with impaired vision, and a MEd in vision rehabilitation.  A MEd in Curriculum & Instruction is available with emphasis on children with autism.  There is also a certificate program for Behavioral Intervention with Autistic Students.

A Mixture of Specialized Degrees and Certificates

The University of North Texas and the University of Minnesota/Mankato both have graduate certificate programs in special education.  Florida State University offers the Master of Science in Special Education with specialization in severe disabilities (autism and severe cognitive disability), early childhood special education (birth through age 5 years), and high incidence disabilities.  The University of Kentucky and Gonzaga University both have online graduate degrees in special education.  The University of Missouri/Columbia offers a MEd in Mental Health Practices in Schools, designed for both teachers and administrators.

Most of these programs are designed to meet teacher licensing requirements in the state where the campus is located; however there is a license reciprocity agreement for teachers with at least 33 states as participants.  There are a few exclusively online schools with accredited special education programs; the first to achieve NCATE recognition is Western Governors University, which also offers several K-12 teaching degrees that meet licensure standards.

If you are a licensed teacher wishing to break into special education there are several viable online programs available to you.  There are also MAT programs in special education for individuals who are not licensed teachers but are interested in making a career change into education.  Special education has become a respected and well paid educational niche that requires extra education, which is increasingly available to teachers who would like to go back to school and continue working.

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Reasons Why Kids Should Go to School

Reasons Why Kids Should Go to School

 

A portrait of elementary school classmates in front of a chalkboard. Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Overview

Close to 50 million children attended America’s public schools in 2010. Five million more students occupied lockers in private schools. Prekindergarten and kindergarten enrollment numbers are breaking records accoring to the United States Department of Education. More than 3 million teachers dedicate themselves to teaching these youngsters. The important lessons of reading, writing and arithmetic are just three reasons that these children and teachers will fill the classrooms.

Gain Social Skills

Family Education lists the development of important social skills as one of the leading reasons to send a toddler to preschool. By interacting with other children at an early age, kids learn how to take turns, how to listen and how to share. Playing with other kids also helps children learn about their own personalities, and their own likes and dislikes. The independence that kids gain in preschool is also a lesson that is hard to learn at home.

Social development doesn’t stop in kindergarten. Throughout elementary and secondary school, children learn how to negotiate, compromise and interact with their peers. Without learning these valuable skills as children, individuals would struggle in a professional setting when they are old enough to start working.

Learn Other Viewpoints

Public School Review explains that children who learn only at home have an individual learning experience, whereas children who learn in school do so through relationships. Learning through relationships is more reflective of the adult world in which people contribute to society by working together. Children in school systems hear other people’s ideas and viewpoints. They learn to merge different beliefs to create their own values and principles. In a school setting children learn to listen to various thoughts before forming their own opinions.

Qualify for Jobs

According to the Education Commission of the States, more than half of today’s employers insist on hiring people who have at least graduated from high school. That is up from 20 percent in the 1940s. The organization claims that young people with high school diplomas also earn more and are less likely to turn to public assistance or crime than those who haven’t graduated. A high school diploma shows colleges, technical schools and potential employers that a student has important life skills such as problem solving abilities, negotiation skills, and the ability to focus. A diploma is not given lightly. It is earned by students who go to school and succeed.

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5 Surprising Perspectives About Online Schools

Most people think of online learning as a quiet, solitary experience. But over the past few months, after interviewing students, parents, and educators, a different sort of picture has emerged. We’ve learned about who teaches and learns online, and why, what works and what doesn’t, and perhaps most importantly, whether online learning affords the same quality of education as that of traditional schools.

I spoke with Apex Learning CEO Cheryl Vedoe, one of the leading online curriculum providers to traditional and virtual schools; Maureen Cottrell, a science teacher at iHigh Virtual Academy in San Diego, California; Rian Meadows, an economics instructor at Florida Virtual School; Patti Joubert, the mother of two full-time Florida Virtual School students; and Carylanne and Christiane Joubert, her two daughters.

As with most issues in education, nothing is black and white. There are many different kinds of learners and teachers, and while virtual education may be a revelation for some, it would never work for others.

It’s true that Skyping and instant-messaging can’t replace the face-to-face experience — and for those who need the social interaction — both teachers and students — virtual schools would be difficult. “The high school experience in which you’re socializing with your peers or doing sports after school is important. There are a lot of teachers who would hate to use Skype all the time; they’d prefer being in the classroom. They would hate my job,” said Cottrell, a science teacher at iHigh Virtual Academy. “I think you have to be a certain personality type and have a certain mindset to be a virtual teacher and still ensure student success.”

That said, here are five surprising perspectives you might not have associated with online learning.

1. Students get more one-on-one interaction with teachers, not less.

  • “Students still talk with their teachers; you might even say they talk more. When I was in school, you didn’t have many one-on-one conversations with your teachers. Your teachers spoke to you, they didn’t speak with you. Here, they do oral exams, they talk with the kids, they really get to know each student.” — Patti Joubert, parent of Florida Virtual School students
  • “If you have an issue, if you’re not quite getting something, you can email or text your teacher. I get a call from one of my teachers at least once a week asking if I’m doing okay, if I need help. I think you get a better way to talk to teachers [in virtual school]. You get that one-on-one.” — Christianne Joubert, 13, Florida Virtual School student
  • “The one-on-one interaction with students is key. My students will say, ‘You’re there to help me when I need it!’ It takes down a lot of barriers that kids have to asking questions in class.” — Rian Meadows, economics instructor, Florida Virtual School.

2. Online courses are not necessarily easier than traditional courses.

  • “Many students get into our system and find that they didn’t know how difficult it was going to be. I think the virtual world does make your life easier in a lot of ways. But it doesn’t make education easier. You’re not going to learn more easily or teach more easily; it’s just different.” — Maureen Cottrell, science teacher, iHigh Virtual Academy
  • “Our courses are often viewed as too rigorous by the schools. One of the things the New York Times article pointed to was that the student wasn’t required to a read a work of literature. We do require that, but school districts don’t always choose to implement the entire curriculum.” — Cheryl Vedoe, CEO of Apex Learning
  • “Most of the assignments are essays and take hours to do,” — commenter and student of FLVS.

3. Online learning could work for unmotivated students, as well as for those who are self-disciplined.

  • “People always say, ‘It has to be for the highly motivated.’ No. That is our job as teachers. I don’t care if you’re a virtual or a brick-and-mortar teacher. We all have to help motivate our students across the board to be an effective instructor. Parents of children with learning disabilities will say, ‘How will my child be able to fit in?’ But often, if a child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), most of what it might say we already do here, such as allowing unlimited time on tests or letting kids redo assignments.” — Rian Meadows, economics instructor, Florida Virtual School
  • “Whenever I meet another kid my age, I always recommend it as another way to do school. Especially for kids who don’t have an easy time with homework or with school.” — Christianne Joubert, 13, Florida Virtual School student
  • “Credit recovery is not new, but in the past the only option schools had was to have the student repeat the course. This was typically unsuccessful. If they failed it the first time, they might fail it the second time using that model. But they might succeed in a different model. Students can go quickly through the material and only take time when they need to work on specific skills.” — Cheryl Vedoe, CEO of Apex Learning

4. Online learning can create a lot more free time for extracurricular activities.

  • “I get to travel at whatever pace I want to. If I’m having a bad week, or a bad day with my diabetes, it doesn’t matter. I have Monday through Sunday to do my work. The flexibility makes it a lot easier. And with more time on our hands, it’s easier to do other activities like volunteering or Girl Scouts or other clubs.” — Carylanne Joubert, 14, Florida Virtual School student
  • “By having this type of learning, we are able to still have a family life. We have the ability to travel when we want to and choose our time. You can’t do that in traditional schools.” — Patti Joubert, parent of Florida Virtual School students

5. Students can learn how to work cooperatively even without face-to-face interaction.

  • “In all the courses they’ve taken so far, they’ve had assignments where they pair up with another student and do a project together. It’s a good experience — they’re learning how to overcome the challenges of working with someone else and to interact with other kids. Just because you don’t ‘see’ someone doesn’t mean you’re not interacting.” — Patti Joubert, parent of Florida Virtual School students
  • “I’m in the newspaper club at FLVS. I’m able to have my voice heard and get across what I think is important. We have online meetings every Tuesday through Eluminate Live. It’s just like every other school newspaper, we’re just online.” — Christianne Joubert, 13, Florida Virtual School student
  • “We have great phone conversations and discussion-based assessments. The students connect with one another, too. We have discussion groups where students post something and other students will post back; plus, they do a lot of collaborative projects and group work.” — Rian Meadows, economics instructor, Florida Virtual School
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Educational Summer Activities

Just about any teacher or tutor will tell you that children who have sophisticated vocabularies for their age and who have background information about the world are at an advantage when compared to students with more limited vocabularies and background knowledge. This shows up in the classroom, especially in English and history, and it shows up on standardized tests. No amount of test prep for the SHSAT, ISEE, English Language Regents, or SAT can level the playing field for a student who hasn’t been exposed to a wide variety of experiences, ideas, and words throughout life. Summertime presents many fabulous opportunities for fun, informal learning. Especially in a city like New York, the opportunities are nearly endless (and don’t have to be expensive).

Theater

Reading books is often touted as the best way to learn new vocabulary- and it probably is. But, it certainly isn’t the only way. Any activity that exposes a person to a rich selection of words in context is sure to be beneficial. In New York City, we’re fortunate to have a surfeit of great theater available to us, but it can be very expensive, especially if you’re taking a whole family. That’s one reason that the outdoor, free theater we get in the summer is so exciting.

A large percentage of free summertime theater consists of Shakespearian productions, which can be intimidating. In general, seeking out comedies and tragedies (as opposed to histories) and reading a plot synopsis before you go are ways to make the shows more accessible.

Walking Tours

Walking tours aren’t just for tourists. If you look, you can find a tour catering to just about any interest. The beauty of walking tours is that you can learn about history, culture, art, and architecture while standing in the places where great events happened.

In New York City, tour guides must be licensed, but the test isn’t very hard and some guides are far more knowledgeable and interesting than others. To improve your chances of getting a guide who tells stories that are true as well as entertaining, look for companies or individuals that are established and tout the educational qualifications of the guides.

Art Museums

Art museums aren’t seasonal, but they do make great outings on a blisteringly hot summer days. Going to a museum and just looking at art is great, but it’s also good to remember than many museums provide tours (often, these are included in the price of admission). Or, if you prefer, you can download an unofficial podcast tour for almost any exhibit. By reading signs and going on tours, you can learn a surprising amount about history as well as enjoying great art.

History and Science Museums

These are obviously educational and have the potential to be great fun. However, it helps to know your audience when choosing where to go. As of July 2012, Wikipedia listed 65 museums within the 5 boroughs of New York City that specialize in either science or history; virtually anyone can find something of interest. As with art museums, keep an eye out for docent-led tours or podcast tours to add context to your visits.

Hobbies

Sadly, the golden age of hobbies is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a crystal radio, launch model rockets, or watch birds with your children. Developing real interest and expertise in a topic is one of the best possible ways to promote learning. Becoming an expert in a hobby is an especially good way for children to learn how to learn independently, which is a valuable life skill.

It would be a crime to value fun, summertime activities purely for their ability to help students get good grades and solid test scores. But, it’s undeniable that as a tutor I see a strong correlation between students who lead culturally enriched lives and students who do well on the SHSAT, ISEE, and SSAT. The correlation is even stronger for the most difficult tests designed to identify gifted students such as the Hunter College High School admissions test and the SCAT. There isn’t any downside to enjoying fun, enriching, educational activities as a family; increased academic success just happens to be a great extra benefit.

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Whats A Homeschool Cruise All About?

This time last week, I was standing on a small wooden bridge over a creek and taking pictures of the multiple iguanas who were perched in the pine trees above my head. My family continued our walk through the woods and discovered a “poisonwood tree” that will make your skin bleed just by touching it, and for which there are no known medicines to treat the wound. Then we spent hours splashing in the crystal-clear water on the beautiful beach and marveled at nature’s beauty all around us, before heading off to a fancy dinner where my husband ordered escargot and the kids drank chocolate milk in wine glasses with their meal of gourmet lasagna.

Where was I last week? In the Bahamas, on the 8th Annual Homeschool Cruise, of course! And for this first-time cruiser, what an adventure it was! I was hoping to find something different from the stereotypical party-cruise experience, and I discovered that a cruise is what you make it, and a homeschool cruise even more so.

Travel and Sightseeing
Adventure was definitely on the agenda, as we drove to Florida to board the ship at Port Canaveral. Our ports of call were Freeport and Nassau, and the cruise line’s private island, called Little Stirrup Cay. We weren’t terribly impressed with Freeport, which is mainly an industrial port anyway, but we loved Nassau. The city was bustling with activity, and down near the port there were hundreds of tourists shopping for Bahamas trinkets in the straw markets, although the city has an impressive array of upscale shopping that was crowded as well. We decided to walk a bit and see some of the city, and we stopped to tour the Pirate Museum, which was well-worth the admission since we all learned a ton about the pirate history of the area.

Kids and Water
Just what is it about kids and water? The whole family had a wonderful time on the beach at Little Stirrup Cay, but our kids also took advantage of the pool onboard the ship. They swam every single day! On one of the upper decks, the ship also had an assortment of water slides, something for every age group, and the kids never seemed to tire of it. One of the slides went out over the side of the ship before curving back to land safely on deck!

Learning Opportunities
A case could be made that simply going on a cruise for the first time is a learning experience, but there were opportunities for education along the way. The Pirate Museum we toured is a great example, and so was the Nature Tour of Little Strirrup Cay, where we learned about the iguanas and several herbal remedies growing in the wooded areas of the island. There were plenty of other shore excursions to choose from, and kids can learn a ton just from snorkeling! Our group leader gave each homeschooler a packet of information printed especially for students by the tourism council in the Bahamas, so the kids could learn about the different islands, local customs, etc.

Overall, I was impressed with the homeschool cruise and my family definitely had a good time. My only suggestion is that there ought to be more chances for the homeschoolers to get together, beyond just seeing one another in the dining room each evening. But there was definitely not a lack of things to do, and sometimes it was hard to choose! If we wanted to strictly enjoy a relaxing vacation, we could do that. If we wanted to toss in some educational experiences, that was possible too.

I would surely recommend this program to others! Next year’s homeschool cruise is already accepting bookings, and you can learn all about it at www.homeschoolcruise.com. Maybe I’ll see you on board next year!

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Entertaining Kids With Fairy Books

You can impart extra knowledge to your children through books. Extra books may help in better understanding of different subjects. You can impart specialized information and knowledge to your children in an exciting manner by using fairy books. Children fairy books are available in schools and market.

If you do not want to buy books, you can also search children books from the internet. Fairy books are available on the internet for free and you can download them and read for your children. It is a new method of entertaining children. It has double benefits as it not only helps your children to learn about new things but also help them to view different pictures and new places.

Fairy books may take your children into a fascinating world where they may learn about different characters. They learn about new values of life. Fairy books are not only entertaining but also informational for your children. In some books colorful pictures and scenes are given that look attractive to children. Pictures and images in the books increase the interest of children and they feel happy when they see different birds and animals. In fairy books children find speaking birds and animals which look fascinating to them.

Fairy books inculcate the habit of reading among children as they read such books with great interest. It is entertaining to them as well because they feel happy when they read about unknown places and various characters in the fairy tales. On the internet you may find links to different story books and at some sites you may find that they offer different games and prizes for children by keeping a quiz on the basis of reading of any particular fairy book. In this way children read the books with great interest and learn new and interesting things.

In the market you may also find Cds and DVDs on different children books. You may buy CDs and DVDs of interesting books and play them for their children. These are important sources of providing information and creating interest among children. These new methods may help to your children remain engaged in useful activities. This will help them to remain away from doing useless things.

This is the best way of teaching your children practical aspects of life. Fairy books depict some important issues that may help your children to move forward in their life and understand the difficulties of life. They also get to learn about different solutions for their problems.

Fairy books are thus a great source of entertainment and information for your children and parents should take steps to encourage their children reading story books. You may find some interesting fairy books on the internet and get such boos for your children so that they may remain engaged in useful activity. Books may become best friends for your child as these are source of great knowledge and entertainment.

You can see your children laugh and enjoy while reading fairy books as these books are store house of humor and valuable knowledge. With fairy books they may learn good manners from different characters in the story. They get to learn about both the good and bad deeds of life and if they are able to learn some good things from fairy books it is worth to spend some money for your child so that he/she may learn experiences of life.

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Tips making learning fun for ADD/ADHD Childern

One positive way to keep your child’s attention focused on learning is to make the process fun. Using physical motion in a lesson, connecting dry facts to interesting trivia, or inventing silly songs that make details easier to remember can help your child enjoy learning and even reduce the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.

Helping children with ADD/ADHD enjoy math

Children who have attention deficit disorder tend to be “concrete” thinkers. They often like to hold, touch, or take part in an experience in order to learn something new. By using games and objects to demonstrate mathematical concepts, you can show your child that math can be meaningful—and fun.

  • Play games. Use memory cards, dice, or dominoes to make numbers fun. Or simply use your fingers and toes, tucking them in or wiggling them when you add or subtract.
  • Draw pictures. Especially for word problems, illustrations can help kids better understand mathematical concepts. If the word problem says there are twelve cars, help your child draw them from steering wheel to trunk.
  • Invent silly acronyms. In order to remember order of operations, for example, make up a song or phrase that uses the first letter of each operation in the correct order.

Helping children with ADD/ADHD enjoy reading

There are many ways to make reading exciting, even if the skill itself tends to be a struggle for children with ADD/ADHD. Keep in mind that reading at its most basic level made up of stories and interesting information—things that all children enjoy.

  • Read to children. Read with children. Make reading cozy, quality time with you.
  • Make predictions or “bets.” Constantly ask the child what they think might happen next. Model prediction: “The girl in the story seems pretty brave—I bet she’s going to try to save her family.”
  • Act out the story. Let the child choose his or her character and assign you one, too. Use funny voices and costumes to bring it to life.

How does your kid like to learn?

When children are given information in a way that makes it easy for them to absorb, learning is a lot more fun. If you understand how your child with ADD/ADHD learns best, you can create enjoyable lessons that pack an informational punch.

  • Auditory learners learn best by talking and listening. Have these kids recite facts to a favorite song. Let them pretend they are on a radio show and work with others often.
  • Visual learners learn best through reading or observation. Let them have fun with different fonts on the computer and use colored flash cards to study. Allow them to write or draw their ideas on paper.
  • Tactile learners learn best by physically touching something or moving as part of a lesson. For these students, provide jellybeans for counters and costumes for acting out parts of literature or history. Let them use clay and make collages.

It’s tough to enjoy learning when there is something undiagnosed standing in the way. In addition to ADD/ADHD, children may also be affected by learning disabilities. These issues make even the most exciting lessons extremely difficult for students. Like children with attention deficit disorder, children with learning disabilities can succeed in the classroom, and there are many ways you can help.

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Some Tips On How to Teach English

Teaching anyone a foreign language can be pretty hard. It is really hard for many people to understand how to teach English.

Teaching anyone a foreign language can be pretty hard. It is really hard for many people to understand how to teach English. If this is your job, there are many ways to make your learners to gain the right skills once their course is complete. As their teacher, you have to also dedicate your time to learn about the things that you can do to make it easier to teach this subject. If you are teaching English as a second language, your learners will be looking up to you to acquire their first language skills. This is why you have to give the English language learners the right information at the very beginning.

First of all, you need to understand that teaching this language does not involve showing your students how to memorize some common English words and phrases and teaching them a little bit of grammar. Some of the core elements of English teaching are listening and pronunciation. For your students to gain some listening skills in English, you can ask them to speak English and then record their speeches. Ask the English language learners to compare the way they speak English with the native speakers’ speech. Practicing this activity will help them to improve on their listening and pronunciation.

Your students also need to learn how to speak the language. This can be done through face to face teaching whereby the English teacher selects a suitable topic for the students. In such a case, one of the mistakes that should be avoided completely is interrupting students when they are speaking. You shouldn’t try and correct the students’ errors as they speak. This will lower your students’ morale and prevent them from engaging in any public speaking.

You also need to teach your students how to read English. Your students need to recognize the right vocabularies. You can help them to be confident when reading English by using a number of teaching activities like scanning and skimming. You should also think of investing in a number of text books which are available to help ESL teachers boost their student’s reading skills. Other than the text books, there is also the option of online software that can be a helpful resource for those who want to get intensive reading courses for English language learners. When teaching your students how to write English, you need to consider their age and their main purpose of learning the language. Other areas like punctuation and grammar can also be improved.

As an English teacher, you might also need a course outline and lesson plan when teaching this language. The course outline is usually given by the school because it helps the student to get an overview of what the ESL course will cover. Most teachers who need a lesson plan have a number of other lessons to teach in a day. They need the lesson plan to help organize well. This plan should be properly written in a concise manner. If you are an English teacher, there are a number of online resources where you can get critical information on how to teach this language. Get online to find out more.

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Montessori Schools – Cultivate Good Learning Habits among Children

Education equips children with skills to lead a successful life. Hence, as a formidable measure, it is pertinent for parents to admit their children to a good school in the neighborhood.

Education equips children with skills to lead a successful life. Hence, as a formidable measure, it is pertinent for parents to admit their children to a good school in the neighborhood. In today’s academic scenario, it is of no surprise why most parents prefer admitting their children to Montessori schools. These types of educational facilities differ from the traditional types. While the traditional schooling believes in a desk-based and homework oriented methodology of learning, the Montessori educational system is more informative in its approach. The learning methodology in these schools is perfectly programmed to cater to every child’s individual interests. With such unique training rendered, the child can develop an independent learning style. The setting of every classroom inspires proactive learning habits from every student.

Many elementary schools have now started imbibing the Montessori philosophy to impart education to their students. Government funding has further enhanced the scope of the educational programs and made it easier to set up these facilities. This is the reason why more than a hundred school districts in the United States implement the methodology in their students’ educational program.

The Montessori way of grooming students in middle schools is even more encouraging. This method of teaching employs a buddy system for cultivating interest in its students. Without making the students conform to set standards, as done by most conventional educational facilities, the method stresses on giving scope to the talent and special attributes of each of its students. This method of learning not only arouses a sense of individuality in the students, but also helps them to make use of their potential. This freedom to learn method, as practiced by the Montessori educational facilities, is what makes education even more interesting.

There are several Montessori facilities established across the globe. However, one ought to indulge in an in-depth research before enrolling his child in any such institutions. Although all institutions employ unique teaching practices, they differ from one another in terms of the accreditation awarded to them. Most private schools are recognized by the respective state. However, not all of them enjoy the same popularity. Therefore, it is necessary for every individual to undertake research before choosing a facility. One has to understand the core values as well as the vision of the Board of Directors of the institution. Further, going through the educational curriculum of such facilities would help in taking an informed decision. The tuition fees charged by them could be a useful parameter for comparing the educational institutions. Likewise, relying on authentic sites for reviews of each of the educational facility on the short list could act as a good measure in making a selection.

The Montessori educational system is undoubtedly an effective mode of cultivating good learning habits in one’s child. However, it is pertinent to choose the right facility for boosting the child’s productivity.

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The 30 Most Technologically Savvy Online Schools Part-1

30. The George Washington University – Washington, D.C.

30. The George Washington University – Washington, D.C.

The online facilities at The George Washington University in the U.S. capital are so effective that associate dean Toni Marsh believes the school’s “on-campus program has gotten better as well.” Moreover, technology has played a big part in this. As the official website explains, “Technology continuously presents opportunities to challenge our students while expanding their access to information.” Students may undertake synchronous or asynchronous degree and certificate programs and can expect to use software such as iTunes U to access podcasts, and Second Life to enter a virtual classroom environment. Blackboard and Embanet are learning management systems favored by the school, while Skype, video conferencing and real-time chat rooms are also available to help online learners reach their potential.

29. University of Texas at Brownsville – Brownsville, Texas

29. University of Texas at Brownsville – Brownsville, Texas

Management systems, web conferencing and virtual drives come together at the University of Texas at Brownsville to create a progressive learning environment that’s ideal for online students. The school runs 17 fully online courses covering a selection of master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees and graduate certificates. Blackboard is employed for the organization and synchronous and asynchronous delivery of the school’s programs, while the digital settings of Second Life, or Blackboard’s own Collaborate software, can be used by students and faculty members to interact with one another and cooperate on assignments. The university’s impressive Tegrity Campus will also record lectures for live streaming, and these are then all made available for downloading.

28. University of Bridgeport – Bridgeport, Connecticut

28. University of Bridgeport – Bridgeport, Connecticut

The University of Bridgeport in Connecticut’s website helps offer online learners their pick of several programs including undergraduate, graduate and post graduate options. The myUB portal allows all of their students to register for their courses and will hook students into learning management system Canvas as well as ample other services – including email, provision of the latest school information, and library resources. Teaching tends to be asynchronous, making use of discussion threads and internet-based tests within Canvas and the university integrates video into their online courses as well as other multimedia materials. The faculty can also engage students via live messaging or conferencing with technology such as Blackboard Collaborate. Unrestricted technical assistance and a free eTutor are among the additional benefits for online students at the school.

27. Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland

27. Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland

Two popular technologies are used across all online classes at Baltimore, Maryland’s Johns Hopkins University: Blackboard for course management and Adobe Connect for web conferencing. What’s more, this is enhanced by multiple web-based applications, including VoiceThread, Mediasite and JShare – the latter being the school’s cloud sharing tool, which offers every user five gigabytes of free online storage. Faculty members can take advantage of Facebook and live streaming technology software like Panopto. Meanwhile, online learners may connect to the campus via group chats with instructors in real-time, and student discussions on Skype and in webinars are also encouraged. The school placed well in three 2014 graduate program honor rolls by U.S. News & World Report.

26. Fort Hays State University – Hays, Kansas

26. Fort Hays State University – Hays, Kansas

Online student Michelle Fairbank described “trying new things with technology that [she] never in a million years thought [she] would do” in completing her master’s degree at Hays, Kansas’ Fort Hays State University Virtual College. Distance learners use Blackboard to remain hooked up with their courses and can join in with classes in real-time or watch video recordings of them at their own leisure. Students also get free access to the website Smarthinking for tutor assistance as well as having the option to email, call or Skype their professors. There is a selection of over 40 online degree programs from which to choose, too, with the majority of them taught by Fort Hays State staff.

25. Utah State University – Logan, Utah

25. Utah State University – Logan, Utah

Student support is an important part of online life at Utah State University. As well as receiving attention from teachers and fellow distance learners, students taking an online course at the Logan-based school also benefit from an academic adviser. Meanwhile, a dedicated eTutoring website provides learners with three outlets for help: a writing lab, real-time sessions with a tutor, and an offline aid service. There are eight bachelor’s plus six master’s degrees and ten additional courses to choose from, available via Utah State’s online learning platform, Canvas. Content has been optimized for smartphones and tablets, and the university even has its own app.

24. Boston University – Boston, Massachusetts

24. Boston University – Boston, Massachusetts

Interactivity and community are essential elements of Boston University’s online degree and certificate courses, with technology the bedrock of the students’ virtual classrooms. Blackboard, Adobe Connect and Echo360 blend seamlessly, facilitating a variety of programs – and helping the school to have ranked second and eighth on U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs and Best Online Graduate Business Programs lists, respectively. Recorded lectures are accommodated online, as are animations and chat sessions, while Respondus LockDown Browser software ensures that learners complete their examinations in a controlled context. Distance learners are further encouraged to bond with their peers using allocated course web spaces.

23. Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona

23. Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona

In 2006 Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona became the first institution of its kind to utilize Google Apps for Education. Besides which, the forward-thinking school encourages learners to use social media site Facebook to contact instructors and connect with their classmates. And that’s not all. Students may create, edit, save and share documents and view lectures in an on-demand, asynchronous context within the school’s course organization system, LearningStudio. Hallway Conversations is another useful feature at Arizona State; it’s an “open forum” where “we can set up study groups, post questions and reply to them,” according to one student. Meanwhile, learners can get guidance 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the school’s technical support team as well as unlimited library access via an online chat facility. Furthermore, the library offers digitized versions of its collections.

22. McKendree University – Lebanon, Illinois

22. McKendree University – Lebanon, Illinois

In addition to offering online students substantial I.T. support, access to the Holman Library and the benefits of the Academic Support Center, McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois also provides assistance with writing, both online and in-person. TheWriting Center offers interactive online sessions with writing consultants, who work collaboratively with students to improve their writing skills and can assist during any stage of the writing process. Graduate and undergraduate classes are available – and in terms of student support, education and technology, the school was ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 list of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and Best Online Graduate Business Programs.

 

21. SUNY Delhi – Delhi, New York

21. SUNY Delhi – Delhi, New York

SUNY Delhi in Delhi, New York took joint top spot in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 honor roll for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. The school’s learning management system is called Vancko Hall, more widely known as open source e-learning software Moodle. Writing workshops and academic advice are among the benefits received by online students, who can also enjoy around-the-clock access to SUNY Delhi’s comprehensive Resnick Library – a repository of around 35,000 journals stored in 30 databases. The school’s regard led to it being a “critical component” in the launch of the innovative Open SUNY network, an online learning system that brings together all 64 campuses of New York’s state universities.

20. Pace University – New York City, New York

20. Pace University – New York City, New York

“Cutting-edge web-based technology” is used to deliver both wholly online and online-offline hybrid courses at New York’s Pace University. The school’s iPace program for course completion takes advantage of virtual learning management system Blackboard, while other software such as Echo360, Respondus and ProctorU helps give students a flexible and accessible distance learning experience. Pace also has a devoted advisory group for online students, who feel connected to the main campus thanks to programs that include web chats and other live online elements. Additionally, the school has a partnership with iTunes, providing an accessible platform that hosts submittable educational material. Pace University believes the amount of interaction – whether real-time or otherwise – between remote students and their instructors and peers should mirror that of the on-campus experience.

19. Central Michigan University – Mount Pleasant, Michigan

19. Central Michigan University – Mount Pleasant, Michigan

U.S. News & World Report featured Central Michigan University (CMU) in joint first place on its Best Online Bachelor’s Programs list for 2014. CMU’s Global Campus is based in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and the school’s online classes offer prospective students a range of bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as graduate certificates. Distance learners can also use the Blackboard application 24 hours a day to access relevant material, submit work and chat with lecturers – and students may also be required to log in to planned live discussions. Besides which, anyone struggling to keep up can enlist the help of an Online Ally – a knowledgeable, advanced online learner able to offer insightful guidance and support.

18. Wright State University – Dayton, Ohio

18. Wright State University – Dayton, Ohio

Wright State University calls its distance education program a “new kind of learning” – and to back up this claim, the Dayton, Ohio-based school now boasts online classes featuring “new interactive video instruction” that “moves beyond the traditional e-learning environment.” That said, the more conventional aspects of distance learning are still comprehensibly covered, with all students using the school’s dedicated online portal, Pilot, to access course resources and information. Students can also enjoy the additional assistance of 24-hour tech support, seven days a week and utilize the university’s career services and library database. Live and recorded video will see learners through a selection of degree programs such as master’s in nursing and information systems.

17. Drexel University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

17. Drexel University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Drexel University has offered online programs for nigh on 20 years, and in 2010 the school was presented with the Sloan-C Award for Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education. More than 100 online courses are taught by on-campus staff at the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based school, with Blackboard Learn used to enable students to collaborate on assignments and sit in on “live classrooms” with instructors and peers. Additional teaching tools include multimedia presentations and online threads. Through the Writing Center, students may also take advantage of real-time discussions with tutors, who can help with papers by offering guidance. Plus, there’s a mentoring scheme dedicated to “improving the student experience.”

16. University of California, Los Angeles – Los Angeles, California

16. University of California, Los Angeles – Los Angeles, California

U.S. News and World Report placed the online master’s degree at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science second on its 2014 Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs list. Distance students get the same courses as their on-campus counterparts, with lectures and class materials made available via the school’s learning management system. Frequent real-time chats with instructors support learners through their study and are recorded and uploaded for students who can’t make the sessions. Meanwhile, the school has three lecture-capture studios on hand for the faculty; two are equipped with Echo360 software for asynchronous sessions and the third is provided with Blackboard Collaborate for live discussions and debates.

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What do Students Lose by Being Perfect? Valuable Failure

 

In the first pages of Being Wrong, Kathryn Schulz writes, “In our collective imagination, error is associated not just with shame and stupidity but also with ignorance, indolence, psychopathology, and moral degeneracy.” This cultural terror of messing up, combined with modern modes of parenting and schooling obsessed with narrow versions of academic and career “success,” are making students more than risk-averse.

Books like How to Raise an Adult and Teach Your Children Well say kids are coming to college “underconstructed,” at best unsure of who they are and where they fit, at worst anxious and depressed, because their parents have protected them from the uncomfortable and unacceptable state of being wrong. Focused on getting the grades or winning the game and excused from helping out around the house, these children have internalized the pressure, and it’s morphed into a monster that paralyzes kids in their ability to take risks, screw up, find out the consequences and learn from their mistakes.

Parent and educator Jessica Lahey, author of the new book The Gift of Failure, wants parents (and teachers) to back off. She said it’s time for adults to do the responsible thing and let the children fail. Trying something and failing, she writes, is how children learn and make discoveries about themselves and the world around them. This applies to unloading the dishwasher as well as the science fair. Becoming autonomous gives children pride in themselves and their abilities, and makes them independent thinkers and doers who can cope with the ups and downs of life.

But it will be messy, and adults should expect as much. To Lahey’s credit, The Gift of Failure defiantly rejects the binary choices of either “triumphant or bumbling adulthood” as end goals, and sees growing up as a series of peaks and valleys with lots of time to figure things out in between. Instead, she offers practical advice, steeped in the latest research, on how to let kids find their own way as parents and teachers guide them, the key word being guide — not instruct, dictate, or enable. Giving kids autonomy may or may not make them a big “success,” but the research supports that it will make kids happier, less anxious and depressed, and more fulfilled to work towards agency in their own lives.

Lahey taught middle school for more than a dozen years, and said that in that period of time, she watched as kids went from cautious to take risks to too terrified to even make a move — write a sentence, for example — without considering what people might think or how it would affect their grade.

“The thing I began to notice was not the fear of an ‘F’, it was the fear of any mistake,” she said. “It’s not that students couldn’t get to a final draft, they couldn’t get even their ideas down. From a teacher’s point of view, that’s a nightmare! If they can’t take a risk, then certainly they aren’t raising their hand with an I-wanna-try-this-idea-out kind of thing.”

Many educators already know this, but what to do about it? Educators can play a crucial part in helping kids to get comfortable with failure, which Lahey calls “autonomy-supportive teaching” and goes hand-in-hand with “autonomy-supportive parenting.” She says there are ways educators can encourage parents to let go, and here are a few:

Encourage parents to think of raising a child as a long-haul job

Stop bringing forgotten homework to school, Lahey tells the parents of her students. And stop stressing over how your daughter will do on next week’s quiz: instead, focus on what your daughter can learn if she does it all herself, without nagging and pestering and pressure. If she does indeed fail the quiz, she may be forced to ask herself what went wrong, and what she could do better next time. Parenting is a long-haul job, Lahey says, and parents and teachers need to think more about what’s going to make kids happy in the long term. In the case of the quiz, the short-term goal is getting an ‘A,’ but the long-term goal of self-sufficiency eclipses that minor ‘A’ by a long shot.

“It’s so freeing!” she said. “You can stop worrying about the stupid details of the moment-to-moment junk, and start focusing on the big things. Just think about where your kid was one year ago today. They’re amazing!” Lahey said she’s not sure if adults just forget, or worry that’s not true. She suspects, though, that parents don’t see the amazing growth in kids because they aren’t given the opportunity to show it very often.

Focus on Process Instead of Product

Lahey confesses this is a tricky balance, especially since schools today are inherently — almost obsessively — focused on product (and may inadvertently be contributing to parents’ anxieties over academic success). But there are ways to get around that, she says.

Adjust expectations (and grades) to make room for real student work. In the book, Lahey asks a kindergarten teacher what her kids can do that their parents don’t think they can. She responds: “Everything!” In autonomy-supportive teaching, work that students plan and orchestrate themselves will look like — well, like a kid did it. That means no more science projects worthy of their own Nobel. “Teachers need to move their expectations as well. Our lines for where grades should be have creeped up anyway, based on our expectations for what the product should look like. Our expectations have been skewed by the work of the parents.”

Back away from the parent portal

One of the biggest pitfalls to autonomy-supportive parenting, Lahey says, are the parent portal websites, with access to up-to-the-minute feedback about scores and grades. Lahey and her husband decided to forgo the parent portal for their older child. They handed the password over to their son, telling him he’d need to let them know if he was in academic trouble. Some of her friends were shocked, “as if we were defaulting on our parental duty,” she writes. “I disagree. Checking in on children’s grades is a type of surveillance, which is one of the forms of control and is often mentioned in the research as an enemy of autonomy and intrinsic motivation.”

For parents who decide to forego the parent portal (or only check it occasionally), Lahey recommends sending a note to teachers about the decision, explaining that your student is now responsible for her own communication information.

Consider the Fear of Failure May Affect More Kids Than You Think

Some educators have called out the rash of overparenting books as only written for a few upper-class parents; some have called The Overstressed American Child “a myth.” Many students are well-acquainted with failure, both their own personal shortcomings as well as the systemic failures of their schools and homes. While Lahey openly admits that The Gift of Failure doesn’t apply to everyone, she cautions that it’s not just the 1% who are terrified of their kids failing: “What I did find out by talking to teachers, is that it’s far more pervasive than we thought,” Lahey said. “We’re talking about a big chunk, a lot of middle class kids are getting the same kind of pressure,” as kids at the top. Many times, she said, the pressure’s even greater if a family doesn’t have the means to pay for college — especially when it comes to sports and scholarships.

Fear of failure destroys the love of learning

In chapter 2, Lahey relates the story of one of her students, capable and intelligent Marianna, who has “sacrificed her natural curiosity and and love of learning at the altar of achievement, and it’s our fault.”

We taught her that her potential is tied to her intellect, and her intellect is more important than her character. We taught her to protect her academic and extracurricular perfection at all costs and that it’s better to quit when things get challenging rather than risk marring that perfection.

Above all else, we have taught her to fear failure, and that fear has destroyed her love of learning.

And this is the real shame: fear of failure taints the waters of learning, keeping kids from taking risks. Making failure normal — even celebrated — Lahey contends, may be uncomfortable in the short-term, but in the long haul makes for happier, more confident kids.

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Spring Your DYSLEXIC Child from the Reading Trap the EASY Way!

Having been involved with the Home Schooling Movement since 1985, I recall that the initial reason parents rescued their children from public schools was because their children weren’t learning to read. They scoffed at the term “dyslexia” and attributed reading failure to ineffective reading methods – specifically, the lack of teaching reading with Intensive Phonics. Now, 30 years later, there is an ever-increasing number of parents who accept the diagnosis of “dyslexia” and seek help for their children who are having great difficulty learning to read.
What has caused this shift?
As a Reading Specialist for over 40 years, I have found that this shift is caused by the fact that some Phonics methods actually create the reading traps that Dyslexics get caught in.

What sets the trap?

Over the years, it became very clear that Phonics methods that teach endless Phonics rules and exceptions and numerous sounds for many of the letters and letter-combinations, along with the constant influx of “sight” words (words that can’t be sounded out), just lead to hesitation and confusion. (Ex. “a” as in cat, want, father, away; “ea” as in neat, head, great, earn, heart; “ou” as in out, soul, soup, could. young, thought; “ch” as in chin, school, machine; etc., etc., etc.). Children were confronted with the dilemma, “What SOUND does this have this time – or – is it a SIGHT word?” Consequently, they couldn’t read. Phonics is essential – but, as can be seen, you can overplay that card.

How to Unlock the Trap?

First, I found that it is essential that you teach only ONE sound for each letter or letter-combination – and NO exceptions. This RELIABLE Phonics information, which years “on the firing line” have weeded out, covers about 90% of the Phonics information needed to read. Dyslexic students are very capable of mastering this 90% of RELIABLE information – and it will give them “mastery at their fingertips.” But when an attempt is made to teach that small 10% of exceptions, it just confuses the TOTAL 100% of words.

Before introducing a single word to them, gradually supply them with the following Phonics AMMUNITION:

Consonants: (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z)

Digraphs: ch, sh, th, wh

Vowels: a, e, i, o, u (long and short) – NO rules yet.

Put these sounds on Flashcards as they are introduced and review them daily. They will easily master these sounds because, like learning to speak, the message will be consistent and repetitious.

Secondly, it is essential that you use “real English” Literature-based text such as, “This dog can run fast,” rather than “Decodable” text, such as “Sid hid a big lid,” because Literature-based text provides a meaningful “context” which assists decoding of words, as will be shown.

Now, here’s the game changer!

Never require Dyslexic students to “sound out” a word independently at this point. It has been demonstrated time and again that this only leads to struggling, hesitation, and cacophonous agony. Rather, TELL them the word. Ex. dog: This word is “dog.” Then, using their RELIABLE Phonics Ammunition, ask “What’s the Clue?” and have them simultaneously SOUND and UNDERLINE the Phonics clues from left-to-right – d o g. Ex. that: – This word is “that.” – What’s the Clue? th a t. Introduce phonetically irregular words the same way. Ex. have: This word is “have” – What’s the Clue? h a v e. Ex. friend: This word is “friend” – What’s the Clue? f r i e n d. (Just ignore irrelevant letters.). With a little prodding at first, you will find that they will soon become very adept at SOUNDING and UNDERLINING the left-to-right relevant sounds in each word. Note that in this way, we also remove the necessity for introducing “sight” words.

Introduce only words that contain the Phonics information that has been introduced. Repeat these words often enough to assist retention. And remember – if you ask them to sound out unknown words independently at this point – it’s game over.

After you have introduced about 50 high-frequency words and arranged them into intelligible sentences, begin to gradually filter in additional Phonics information. Teach just ONE sound for each of the following Phonetic components, as in each key word below. As you introduce each sound, put it on a Flashcard and review it daily:

ow (now). ou (out), ound (round), ay (day), oo (zoo), ew (new), ar (car), oy (boy, oi (oil),
ight (night), igh (high), alk (walk), er (her), ir (sir), ur (fur), all (ball), eight (weight), eigh (weigh),
aw (saw), au (auto), aught (caught), ought (thought), ange (range), tion (station), sion (mission).

Introduce words containing one of these Phonetic components as follows:

Ex. now: What’s the family? (ow) – What’s the word? (now). Ex. night: What’s the family” (ight) – What’s the word? (night).

After you have introduced about 75 high-frequency words, Dyslexic students begin to understand how Phonics decoding works. So it’s time to introduce words with Short and Long Vowel Phonograms – one rule at a time. You will note that these Phonograms can be easily sounded out by Dyslexics because vowel sounds (unlike most consonant sounds) can be prolonged. Ex. and – aaaa-n-d. It’s also important to
note that although they have great difficulty decoding unknown words letter-by-letter, they have little difficulty decoding words by these phonetic “units.” Guide decoding of these words as shown below:

Rule 1: If there’s one vowel, it’s Short.
Ex. hand: What’s the family? (and) – What’s the word? (hand).

Rule 2: “e” on the end” makes the vowel Long.
Ex. ride: What’s the family? (ide) – What’s the word? (ride).

Rule 3: When two vowels are together, the first vowel is Long and the second vowel is Silent.
Ex. team: What’s the family? (eam) – What’s the word? (team).

Continue to introduce all exceptions to these rules with “What’s the Clue?”
Ex. gone: This word is “gone” – What’s the clue? g o n e. Ex. head: This word is “head” – What’s the Clue? h e a d.

This concludes all of the 90% of RELIABLE phonics information. Now it’s time for game on – time to ignite a solution for independent reading.

Show these students how to decode EVERY word exactly the same way: Begin with the vowel each time and ask:

What’s the family?
What’s the word?”

For multisyllabic words, just go to the next vowel and proceed the same way. Ex. contain: What’s the family? (on) – Add “c” (con). What’s the next family? (ain) – Add “t” (tain). GO BACK – What’s the word? (contain). Ex ignite: What’s the family?” (ig). What’s the next family? (ite) – Add “n” (nite). GO BACK – What’s the word? (ignite).

Now how do they handle exceptions independently?

When they hit an exception, they will know it immediately because it is a “nonsense” word. Ex. said: What’s the family?
(aid) – What’s the word? (sãd)

So what do they do?

They simply fit this mispronunciation of the word into the meaningful context of the sentence. Ex. I heard every word you sãd. Fitting words into the meaningful context of a sentence is no problem for Dyslexic students at first because their verbal
vocabulary is thousands of words above their reading vocabulary. When their reading vocabulary begins to pull up their verbal vocabulary, at which time they may not be able to fit an unknown word into the meaningful context of a sentence, it’s time to teach them how to use the Pronunciation Key in the Dictionary. Then, when they can’t fit an unknown word into the meaningful context of a sentence, they can simply look up the respelling next to the word in the dictionary: Ex. bouquet (bō kã’). Ex. vignette (vin yet’). Ex. xenon (zē’ non). So there’s no unchartered waters.

This is what drives the outcome. They have a UNIFORM APPROACH, a compass, to decode every word. When they hit an exception – they know it – and they
know exactly what to do about it. And that’s the tipping point. There’s no hesitation or confusion – so SUCCESS is assured!

. . . and you’ve sprung your Dyslexic child from the reading trap the EASY way!

P.S. If this works with Dyslexics, imagine what it can do with average achievement
students!

Author Biography

Mary F. Pecci is the author of At Last! A Reading Method for EVERY Child! (which was the Main Selection of three of Macmillan Book Clubs), correlated Pecci Reading Series (which integrates the above solution), and numerous other publications and articles. She is listed in Who’s Who Among American Teachers and Who’s Who of American Women. For more information, check out: www.OnlineReadingTeacher.com.

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Homeschool High School

Many parents homeschool elementary and middle school but become nervous when the time comes to homeschool high school.

There are many reasons that homeschool parents look for another choice besides traditional homeschooling when it comes to high school. Let’s look at some of those reasons, and explore how homeschool parents can continue to homeschool high school.

Course Subject Matter

One of the main reasons parents worry about homeschooling their high school students is that parents are uncomfortable with teaching courses they might not be familiar with. Examples of this are advanced math and science courses. While a parent who is a high school graduate should be able to teach elementary and middle school classes, it may be that a parent without exposure to courses like calculus, trigonometry, and physics simply doesn’t have the subject matter knowledge to teach the courses.

Lack of subject matter knowledge does not necessarily mean that the parents must put the student back in a more traditional school setting to complete high school. One choice is to look into alternatives to the parent being the teacher for some courses. Homeschool Co-ops are a possibility. Co-ops consist of other homeschooling families who get together to teach classes to small groups of children. Some co-ops teach those more difficult classes such as the advanced math and science courses, including labs. Parents who have the expertise in one subject teach a class such as chemistry, and other parents who can offer math knowledge, writing instruction, or enrichment classes like art or music. By the families cooperating, all students benefit from the availability of course subject matter experts.

Another alternative, especially for older homeschooled high school students is to take dual credit courses through either the local community college, or sometimes even major universities. Dual credit courses allow the student to receive not only high school credit for the course, but also college level credit. It allows homeschooled students to experience being taught by others, meeting course requirements for someone who is not their parent, and allows them to get a taste of college course work. A bonus here is that dual credit courses are sometimes less expensive than the same college course would be because high school students are allowed a discount.

Record Keeping Issues

Homeschooling parents may also be concerned about the record keeping involved with homeschooling high school. There are several aspects to the record keeping end of things. First, there is a concern over how to rate class credits. For courses taught from traditional high school text books, completion of approximately 75% of a high school text book would constitute one high school credit.

For courses that are not taught from traditional high school text books it is possible to count hours. A core curriculum high school credit should take between 150 and 180 hours of course instruction to complete. This would apply to the traditional academic courses. One high school credit is the same as a full year of course work. Enrichment courses such as music or art could be counted in the 120 to 150 hour range. Other elective courses fall into the 120 to 150 hour range as well.

Another aspect of record keeping that is important for homeschooled high school students is compiling a transcript. This is not nearly as difficult as it might seem. Keeping in mind the previously listed guidelines for completing a high school credit, students will need somewhere between twenty-four and twenty-eight high school credits, depending on the state in which they live. Another consideration for the number of course hours needed to graduate high school will be whether the student is college-bound. For students headed to college it is important that they plan on four credits of English, four credits of Math, four of Science, four credits of social studies, as well as at least eight elective credits.

What about a Diploma?

Parents of homeschooled children often worry about whether their child will receive a diploma as some sort of official recognition of their completion of their high school studies. In addition to this, parents worry about whether their student’s accomplishments through high school will be recognized by higher learning establishments. Parents are also concerned about whether their student’s high school record will be acceptable to the military, should that be their student’s goal.

It is not really a concern that should worry homeschooling parents. Many states have enacted laws that make a homeschool high school diploma carry the same weight as a diploma from a traditional school. In some states homeschooled students are actually private schooled-at-home because the state requires a cover school, or umbrella school. In that case, the cover school issues a recognized diploma. Universities and the military recognize homeschooler’s high school credentials as well.

Homeschooled high school students can and do receive similar consideration and treatment as their traditionally educated counterparts. There are many different ways to ensure that the homeschooled high school student gets credit for the courses needed to allow them to graduate from high school as well as enter any post-high school situation such as college or the military. If you think that homeschooling through high school might be for your student know that it is becoming easier to educate at home than it has ever been.

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The 50 Best Online High School Diplomas Part-1

Online-StudentAn Online High School Diploma may be your ticket for graduating high school as well as your springboard to a first-rate education. Having a high school diploma has significant advantages over passing the GED, or the General Education Development test, which is supposed to certify academic skills at the high school level, but sets the bar much lower than a good high school education.

Many reasons exist why people are discouraged or prevented from completing high school in the traditional way. It’s important to realize, however, that adults with a high school diploma or GED earn an average of $11,000 per year more than adults who haven’t finished high school (US Census Bureau). Furthermore, those with diplomas make considerably more than those with GEDs. For more about the advantages of a diploma over a GED, see our article “High School Diplomas versus the GED.”

The variety and availability of online high school diploma programs can be both liberating and frustrating. Diplomas from quality online high schools are academically equivalent to those earned in the traditional high school setting, and should be recognized as such by potential employers and colleges and universities. However, searching for an online high school diploma program without knowing certain facts and pitfalls can waste time, money, and energy.

In determining the quality of a potential online high school program, accreditation and state approval are of prime importance. Programs accredited through agencies recognized by the USDE (U.S. Department of Education) are your safest bet in terms of legitimacy. These are usually regional or national accrediting agencies.

Regional accreditation is the most accepted in terms of transferring coursework or pursuing a college degree. If a school isn’t up front about their accreditation status or the accrediting agency isn’t recognized by the USDE, you may want to look elsewhere. Legitimate online high school programs must also be state-approved. This means they must be approved in the state from which the diploma will be issued, regardless of the state in which the student resides.

In determining the value of an online high school program, you will want to consider the following: rate of successful program completion, ease of communication with the school and with teachers, flexibility and delivery of classes, counseling and tutoring services, individualized programming, availability of specialization (engineering, religion, arts, etc.), dual credit offerings, and extracurricular activities or clubs.

The cost for an online high school education ranges anywhere from $0 – $10,000+ per year. This depends on the type of high school and whether government funding is available. All schools should provide an itemized list of costs and should explain how tuition is charged (by credits, by class, by semester, etc.).

Four Basic Types of Online High School Diploma Programs

There are four types of online high school diploma programs: private, public, charter, and college/university sponsored. Many parents of homeschool students turn to programs offered by private, accredited high schools for curriculum and assistance. Each program type has its place; it’s up to you to figure out which is right for you.

Public & Charter Online High School Diplomas:
Public and charter school programs are government funded, are offered by particular states or districts, and are free to resident minors. They are usually accredited regionally and are state-approved. Online public schools have rigid guidelines, have limited course selections, and often cater only to certain resident populations. Charter schools offer more flexibility with either specialized or individualized programming, but they run the risk of losing funding and are viewed as less stable. They are also often not available to students outside of certain districts.

Each state’s department of education maintains a list of funded online programs, including charter schools. Because these programs are based on each state’s approved curriculum and are restricted to certain populations based on residency and age, it is meaningless to rank these programs.

Private Online High School Diplomas:
Private online high schools vary greatly in terms of quality, recognition, and cost. This avenue demands the most research (which we’ve greatly assisted in) but also offers some top-notch education programs at great values. Private online high schools are usually offered nation-wide and have limited government oversight. They offer great programs in terms of catering to the needs of individual students, offering specialized interest programming, and meeting a variety of learning styles.

Homeschool graduates most often use private online high schools for the curriculum, even though they may receive their diplomas through their resident states. Many of these private schools have programs that cater specifically to the needs of homeschool students. The drawback of private schools: They can be very costly. Furthermore, even the most exciting programs need to be properly accredited for a valuable education.

College & University Sponsored Online High School Diplomas
University sponsored online high school diploma programs offer many programming advantages and often have regional accreditation. Most university sponsored programs offer a high quality education, flexibility, and advanced and dual credit programs. However, these programs often have more selective admission standards, have less interaction with instructors or services, and can be expensive.

University sponsored programs tend to work best for students who can monitor their own progress and work independently. Motivated students may have the opportunity to complete a full year of college courses by the time they graduate from high school. This can be a significant value for students planning to pursue college degrees. For the purpose of classifying high school diploma programs, programs offered by colleges and universities are usually not public, even if the institution is a public college or university.

 

The Best Online High School Diploma Programs

Best-schools-sealThe following private and university-affiliated high school diploma programs have all received regional accreditation, except for the two that are independent school districts in the state of Texas. To find more about accreditation, click here.

The listed schools were evaluated based on their programming, academic oversight (accreditation status at publication time), state approval, performance, inclusivity, personal attention, and cost. Refer to the cost table provided to identify tuition ranges.

$ = $1,000 or less $$$ = $4,001 – $5,000
$+ = $1,001 – $2,000 $$$+ = $5,001 – $6,000
$$ = $2,001 – $3,000 $$$$ = $6,001 – $7,000
$$+ = $3,001 – $4,000 $$$$+ = $7,000 or more

 

1. Northstar Academy

Northstar-Academy-logoNorthstar was the first online Christian school to receive accreditation and has maintained it ever since then. Northstar offers quality academic courses, learning materials and resources, instructor support and an interactive community of online users. Students can enroll at anytime with classes forming monthly.

The course selection at NSA includes almost 200 core and elective courses, including Advanced Placement courses. Many courses are designed “in house” and deliver a Christian worldview. Students can pursue the Standard, Advanced, or the AP International high school diploma. Additional programs/initiatives offered include the following: homeschooling assistance, supplemental courses, Christian school support programs, dual credit college courses, ESL courses, parent-led courses, and Bible studies and interest clubs. Tuition is calculated on a per course basis.

Accreditation: AdvancED, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).
Cost: $+

2. Indiana University High School

Indiana-University-High-SchoolIU High School offers high school diplomas to both youth and adult learners. IU has been educating distance learners since 1925 and its reputation attracts students from around the world. Meeting the needs of online students, the school provides high quality courses, an experienced, professional staff, licensed and certified instructors, and academic advisors. This program supports students from a diverse population, including homeschoolers, gifted students, artists and athletes, incarcerated students, children of military personnel, and home-bound students.

Online courses are offered through Dragon or Oncourse, with Oncourse being IU’s course management system. Through either system, students can access course content, view course syllabus and grades, and apply for exams. While courses are self-paced, IUHS requires a minimum of six weeks on each course and lessons to be done in the order presented and turned in one at a time. This allows instructors to give helpful feedback to assist in future lessons. Students can pursue one of three high school diploma options: general education, college preparatory, and academic honors. Additional programs/initiatives available include print courses, supplemental coursework, AP courses, and dual college credit courses. Tuition is calculated on a per course basis.

Accreditation: AdvancED, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI).
Cost: $$

3. Forest Trail Academy

logohighresForest Trail is committed to offering an educational foundation that will serve for both students pursuing continued education or entering into a career path. The College Prep high school diploma track requires foreign language classes and for half the program credits to be in specified rigorous-level courses. Parents and students can access the Advisor System, which offers assistance in course and program selections and college exploration and application.

Forest Trail encourages students to socialize through various cross-curricular online activities. Programs and initiatives offered include the following: vocational education diploma, part-time status, summer school, high school equivalency certificate, and a prescriptive/adaptive program. Tuition is calculated by academic year for programs and by credit for supplemental courses.

Accreditation: AdvancED, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), and National Association of Private & Home Schools (NAPHS).
Cost: $+ – $$

4. Christian Educators Academy

Christian-Educators-AcademyCEA uses high-quality curriculum, professional Christian teachers, and a wide variety of courses to tailor instruction to meet the needs of each student. A low student-to-teacher ratio allows teachers to get to know the students and to encourage positive intellectual and emotional development.

Students can choose from three high school diploma options, creating a 3-5 year graduation plan: college preparatory track, honors/advanced placement track, and standard academic track. While students can start courses when they want and work at their own pace, they are given a year to complete up to 6 courses. Additional programs and initiatives include: remedial courses, Literacy Advantage, honors/AP, career-vocational training, and home schooling assistance. Tuition is calculated on an academic year basis.

Accreditation: AdvancED and Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC).
Cost: $$

5. Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences

Christa-McAuliffe-Academy-A&SThe Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences upholds a Personalized Education Philosophy, using curriculum and teaching methods based on current brain and educational research. Students engage in self-paced, mastery-based courses, that are personalized to their interests, goals and learning styles. Students can access their classes at anytime and have regular interaction with instructors.

CMSAS offers several high school diploma options based on student goals: standard, college prep, and career prep. Many extracurricular activities are available, such as language clubs, a student newspaper, and a technology club. Other programs/initiatives offered include Honors/AP coursework, adult high school completion, service promotion, and a global adventure program. Tuition is calculated on an academic year basis.

Accreditation: Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and The Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA).
Cost: $$+

6. University of Missouri—MU Online High School

Mizzou-online-high-schoolMU Online offers more than 180 courses with a variety of delivery methods for learners, both minors and adults, to take towards earning a high school diploma. Students can choose between self-paced independent study and semester learning. In semester learning courses, students progress through the class with an instructor and classmates as a group. This method offers online live chats and discussions, increased time with instructors, weekly calendars, and assignments with due dates. Self-paced courses have rolling enrollment and can be completed in as few as six weeks. Students can choose to take core classes, electives, languages, and even college credit class through this delivery method.

MU Online offers two high school diploma tracks, the general and the college prep. Students can take dual credit courses, earning high school and university credit through one course. All students are required, through the State of Missouri, to pass a test on the Missouri Constitution and the U.S. Constitution which is incorporated into the American Government or Civics courses. Other programs/initiatives include supplemental courses, textbook repurchase program, personal development and character education, career planning courses, and practical arts courses. Tuition is calculated on a per unit basis, dependent on course type (averaged below).

Accreditation: AdvancED, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI).
Cost: $$

7. Penn Foster High School

Penn-Foster-High-SchoolPenn Foster has been educating students for 120 years and now is the largest high school in the U.S., with over 40,000 students. Penn Foster offers a career-focused education that is affordable. More than 150 courses are provided that enable high school students to acquire core competencies, as well as college and career preparation. Courses integrate contemporary learning strategies and interactive media.

Extensive student support services, including an online library, provide for student needs and interests. The program is organized so that students take the same courses, at the same level, in the same order, except for electives. Traditional students and adult learners can both enroll in the high school diploma program on a year-round, rolling basis. Additional programs/initiatives available include the following: DANTES, veterans education benefits, Early College program, and a Career Services department. Tuition is calculated on a monthly basis.

Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Cost: $

8. James Madison High School

James-Madison-High-schoolJames Madison High School, a part of Ashworth College, enrolls thousands of students each year. Courses are offered open enrollment and are self-paced. James Madison helps students pick up wherever they left off in their high school education, whether they need just a few classes or the whole high school diploma program.

James Madison strives to develop students in effective communication, critical thinking, professional and life skills, and qualifications for advancement. Students are assisted and encouraged by the student services staff, tutors, and certified teachers. Courses included web-based eBook supplemental materials, such as study guides, learning objectives, reading and practice assignments, teacher tips, and exam books. Students can pursue a general track or a college prep track high school diploma. Additional programs/initiatives offered are as follows: adult diploma completion programs, at-risk programming assistance, homeschooling courses, and summer school. Tuition was calculated based on a full program amount.

Accreditation: AdvancED, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), and Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).
Cost: $

9. Mother of Divine Grace School

Mother-of-Divine-GraceMODG seeks to develop students to be active learners, effective communicators, independent thinkers, and multifaceted individuals. MODG pursues this goal through classical methodology consisting of interdisciplinary studies and courses that augment the stages of learning and promote an awareness of being a member of a universal, Catholic community.

MODG has a strong reputation for high academic standards and preparing students for college. College-bound coursework integrates religious study and classical academia, including Latin. An Alternative Course of Study is also provided that is still rich in religion and the classics. MODG also promotes the fine arts with courses in music, visual arts, and performing arts. MODG offers families three program types based on the level of independent learning desired: assisted, directed, and enhanced directed. Additional programs/initiatives offered include: supplemental course attendance, apprenticeships, homeschooling assistance, and teacher services/learning support. Tuition is calculated per academic year based on program desired.

Accrditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Cost: $$

10. University of Nebraska High School

University-of-Nebraska-High-SchoolThe mission of UNHS is to assist students in developing “skills, attitudes, and knowledge that will enable them to be thoughtful, committed and successful people in whatever calling they choose”. Students can pursue either a general studies or a college preparatory diploma track. Students at UNHS are able to transfer qualifying high school or home school credits, earn their diploma anytime of the year, and graduate early. The high school diploma program is offered to adult learners, as well as minors.

All diploma programs offer open enrollment, self-paced courses, and experienced, certified teachers. While courses are self-paced, students are required a five week minimum per course and assignments must be done in the order outlined and turned in one at a time. This allows instructors to give helpful feedback to assist in future lessons. Various course delivery formats, content levels, and instruction methods are made available as part of UNHS’s individualized study approach, which strives to meet the different learning styles of students. Students can access coursework, grades, and instructor feedback through WayCool, the UNHS course management system. Additional programs/initiatives include printed courses, placement tests, Online Worldwide, and AP and dual college credit courses. Tuition is calculated on a per credit basis, non-resident (Nebraska residents have a lower tuition rate).

Accreditation: AdvancED, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI).
Cost: $+

11. Liberty University High School

Liberty-University-Online-High-SchoolStudents at Liberty receive a customized learning plan that draws upon the variety of courses and formats offered for academic success. The “structured, yet flexible” program offers open enrollment, continuous access to curriculum and grades, and self-paced classes.

LUOA’s curriculum is taught from a biblical perspective with Christ-centered instruction. Certified teachers and trained staff offer oversight and encouragement and assist in administrative and technical matters. Online classes are interactive and engage students in the learning process. Electives include classes such as America’s Colonial Foundations, British Literature, Essentials of Business, Spanish, and State History. Students can pursue either a General Education or an Advanced Studies high school diploma. Additional programs/initiatives include Christian homeschooling, dual enrollment/EDGE courses, standardized testing, and part-time and supplemental courses. Tuition is calculated on a per credit basis.

Accreditation: AdvancED, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).
Cost: $$+

12. National High School

National-High-SchoolCustomized educational plans, cutting edge technology, schedule flexibility, and self-paced courses allow National students to achieve peak academic performance. Through National’s Learn Center, students can access course syllabi, assignments, exams, and instructional guidelines, as well as interact with teachers and other students through dedicated chatrooms, email, and message boards. School administration offices can also be contacted through the Learning Center.

National’s curriculum offers a strong foundation and was developed internally with the assistance of SACS and the Georgia Department of Education. Courses were designed to promote strong critical thinking skills, analytical, and communicative skills. Additional programs/initiatives offered include credit recovery, advanced and remedial courses, home school integration, enrichment program and adult diploma completion. Tuition is calculated on a monthly basis.
Accreditation: AdvancED, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).
Cost: $+

13. Laurel Springs School

Laurel-Springs-SchoolA personalized learning approach is the hallmark of Laurel Spring’s educational system. Students are given five learning assessments to discern their developmental stage, interests, talents, learning style, and strengths. Teachers, who are credentialed with advanced degrees, work as a team with parents to ensure a curriculum that matches the student. Laurel Springs provides one-on-one time with teachers, individually-graded assignments, and real-time events and clubs.

While two options are available for high school diplomas, both are considered College Prep tracks. Laurel Springs has developed programming that is particularly sensitive to and enriching of students that are gifted/talented, performers, or competitive athletes, such as their Personal Project Portfolios and integrating experiences. Teachers and counselors are engaged in each student’s pursuits. Additional programs/initiatives offered include college/career counseling, home schooling assistance, educational travel options, parent support groups, and summer school. Tuition is calculated on an all-inclusive academic year basis.

Accreditation: AdvancED, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Cost: $$+

14. Sevenstar Academy

Sevenstar-AcademyAcademically rigorous courses are designed to teach a Christian worldview and to develop critical thinking. Over 90 online classes are available, with an additional 100 dual credit courses from partner Christian colleges and universities. Christian teachers and academic coaches facilitate the curriculum progression and offer advice and support.

Because professional educators are skilled at motivating students, Sevenstars has achieved an 85% course completion rate. Sevenstar has supports in place to be of service to a variety of students and situations, including accelerated learners, struggling students, missionary families, military families, and homebound students. Students may pursue either a standard or an honors high school diploma. All students must complete 40 hours of volunteer service for each year of enrollment. Additional programs/initiatives offered are supplemental courses, homeschooling assistance, and international student support. Tuition is calculated on an academic year basis.

Accreditation: AdvancED and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI).
Cost: $$+

15. New Learning Resource Online

New-Learning-Resource-OnlineNLRO works to assist students in obtaining their high school diploma, whether they are pursuing the full-time program, seeking credit recovery, or supplementing their home school’s course offerings. All students are treated equally and receive support and attention from the staff and faculty.

Students can pursue one of two high school diploma paths: college preparatory or career/vocational. Both contain the same high academic level core courses. The Career Pathway incorporates basic skills and knowledge with viable career preparation. Students are awarded a certificate of training completion in the vocational field they complete. Parents maintain the control of choosing between a variety of core course and elective options. Additional programs/initiatives offered are as follows: Job Corps Center, adult diploma completion program, homeschooling assistance, and student community forums. Tuition is calculated on a per course basis.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) and Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).
Cost: $+

16. Alpha Omega Academy

Alpha-Omega-AcademyAOA caters to thousands of students from over 40 countries, offering more than a hundred Christian courses. Students can pursue a general studies track or a college prep track high school diploma.

AOA offers two types of online classes to meet students’ different learning styles, Ignitia and Switched-On Schoolhouse, as well as print-based classes through LIFEPAC and Horizons. Students can interchange class types as desired. Teachers are readily available during online classes and set office hours. Students are able to socialize with each other through the virtual student center.

Accreditation: AdvanceED and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI).
Cost: Undisclosed, “Tailor-Fit.”

17. CompuHigh Online High School

CompuHigh-SchoolGoing also by the name Whitmore School, CompuHigh has been on the forefront of online high school education, offering online classes since 1994. Students can pursue either a general studies or college prep high school diploma. Online courses are easy to understand and use a conversational tone, which can be sampled on the school’s website.

While the regular diploma program mainly depends on parents and the student to navigate the coursework and progress, CompuHigh offers a Diploma PLUS Program that offers more institutional support, planning, and progress evaluation. Supplemental programs/initiatives offered include Adult degree completion, “life experience” credit, summer school, demo courses, and virtual graduation. Tuition is calculated by academic year and is dependent on diploma program.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA).
Cost: $ (regular), $+ (Plus Program).

18. Texas Tech University Independent School District

Texas-Tech-IndependentAs an alternative to a traditional campus-based school, TTUISD offers flexible educational opportunities and awards a Texas high school diploma. TTUISD has graduated over 2,600 students from 58 countries. This program offers a quality educational platform, incorporating sophisticated instructional techniques, management, and technology, and extending to learners regardless of age, location, or physical limitations. The curriculum is designed to incorporate different learning styles, include application activities, and emphasize higher-level thinking skills.

Students can typically average completing one course in a two-month period (30 day minimum), amounting to 6-8 courses per year, which can lead to an accelerated graduation time. It is encouraged that students stay enrolled in at least four to six courses at all times. Students can pursue either the Foundation Plan or the Endorsement Plan for a high school diploma. Students must pass certain state-required assessments in order to graduate. Additional programs/initiatives offered are as follows: Summer Academic Camp, print courses, credit by examination, and dual college credit courses. Tuition is calculated on a per course basis, online program.

Accreditation: Texas Education Agency as an independent school district.
Cost: $+

19. Orange Lutheran Online High School

Orange-Lutheran-High-SchoolOrange Lutheran Online (OLO) is committed to offering the exceptional academic structure and teaching methods of its on-campus program to its online students. Christian character development is important at OLO and all students are required to complete 20 hours of community service annually and take theology classes.

Fulltime students at OLO take three to four courses at a time for an 8-week semester (half of a term). Therefore, students could finish a yearlong course in 16 weeks, which spans a term. OLO offers two terms, plus a summer session (half of a term). Orange Lutheran instructors develop the courses and meet together weekly to address student needs. OLO maintains a web portal, myOLu, where students can track grades, get assignments, and access relevant information. Additional programs/initiatives available are as follows: supplemental courses, a Blended option, AP courses, and STEM program. Tuition is calculated on an annual basis, using the Lutheran Non-Association amounts (Association tuition is lower).

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Cost: $$$$

20. International Connections Academy

Connections-AcademyIndividualized instruction at iNaCA is supported by a multi-dimensional curriculum, hundreds of K–12 courses, trained, certified teachers, and an experienced educational management system. iNaCA’s parent company, Connections Education LLC, has established 25 successful virtual public schools in 23 states.

Full-time students receive a Personalized Performance Learning plan, a comprehensive plan based on individual strengths and needs, designed to challenge and motivate students. Certified teachers and licensed counselors work with students to evaluate their progress and help them reach their goals. Students can pursue one of three high school diploma programs: Minimum, Recommended, and Distinguished. Additional programs/initiatives available include the following: school community for social development, clubs and activities, learning coaches for parents, 50+ Honors and AP courses, and college acceleration programs. Tuition is calculated on an academic year.

Accreditation: AdvancED, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), and Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC).
Cost: $$$$

21. Keystone National High School

The-Keystone-SchoolKeystone has been offering correspondence and remedial study since 1974, and continues to offer its correspondence program along with its online high school diploma program. Keystone students receive the advantage of interactive lessons, one-on-one teacher consultation, a resource library, and technical support.

Students can pursue either a college prep track, with Advanced Placement courses, or a career track high school diploma. Courses are self-paced and students can accelerate the time needed to graduate. Keystone allows students up to a year to complete each course. Additional programs/initiatives offered include supplemental courses, extracurricular clubs, and college and career counseling. Tuition is calculated based on an academic year.

Accreditation: Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).
Cost: $$

22. Advantages School International

Advantages-School-InternationalAdvantages offers over 400 courses, including advanced placement, honors, and world languages courses. Advantages School specializes in working with international students, including expat citizens and students residing or travelling outside of the USA.

Licensed teachers and advisors support students in obtaining their educational goals. Students can pursue a general studies or a college prep high school diploma. ASI administers the following programs in addition to the online high school diploma program: independent supplementary courses, credit recovery, adult learners, and summer school. Tuition is calculated on a yearly basis and includes unlimited enrollment in courses.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI).
Cost: $$+

23. Greenways Academy

Greenways-AcademyGreenways Academy promotes continual improvement and staying on the cutting edge of educational methods. The school holds a fantastic completion rate of 100% of their students complete their courses on time. Access to teachers, superior network quality, counseling support, and multi-sensory course materials assist in subject comprehension and increased confidence.

Class customization through a Learning Styles Profile allows teachers to meld a learning plan to fit each student’s needs. Additional programs/initiatives offered are IEP and 504 Plan modifications, parental monitoring codes, tutoring service, and over 200 vocational courses. Tuition is calculated on an academic year or by credits.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA).
Cost: $$+

24. The University of Mississippi Independent Study High School

Ole-Miss-Independent-Study-High-SchoolUM-ISHS offers comprehensive high school academic services, whether used to supplement other high school courses, to allow adults to complete their diploma, or to serve as a high school for students to pursue a diploma full-time. Courses are available to meet a wide variety of learners, including the following: low-enrollment courses, interest-specific electives, college-remedial courses, courses for special needs students, and advanced level courses.

UM-ISHS employs certified teachers, who provide students with instruction, fast responses to inquiries and assignments, and one-on-one attention. Although students may enroll in courses as they want, instructors are available to assist students in the creation of individualized pacing guide. Blackboard is utilized for students and teachers to submit and return assignments. Additional programs/initiatives offered include a free credit advisory course, print-based courses, and academic advising. Tuition is calculated on a per course basis.

Accreditation: AdvancED and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).
Cost: $$

25. Clonlara School

Clonlara-SchoolFounded as a school in 1967, Clonlara’s Home Based Education Program began educating students around the world in 1979. Clonlara is a non-profit institution that has educated over 40,000 students. For each student at Clonlara, a personalized educational path, based on goals, strengths, and interests, is developed by a school advisor or teacher, the parent or mentor, and the student. For this reason, the school does not distinguished between high school diplomas.

The student and their parent/mentor evaluate progress, with advisors assisting on content and learning approaches, educational materials, and resources. Additional programs/initiatives offered include college planning support, Clonlara Commons, home based education program, and supplemental course enrollment. Tuition is based on an academic year.

Accreditation: AdvancED, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), and Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA CESS).
Cost: $$$+

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Online High School for Your Kids

You may agree with the fact that school years are one of the best phases of an individual’s life. It is a stage where children learn, develop their skills, thinking ability and gain knowledge. They get exposure and chance to mingle with other people apart from their family members.

You may agree with the fact that school years are one of the best phases of an individual’s life. It is a stage where children learn, develop their skills, thinking ability and gain knowledge. They get exposure and chance to mingle with other people apart from their family members. However, with time the concept of schooling and studying has turned out to be a burden for kids. The thick pile of books that students have to mug up proved a big deterrent. Moreover, kids do not find time to explore their skills and enjoy extra-curricular activities. Parents soon realized this and started looking for an alternative which could help them educate their child and at the same time enhance their skills and thinking ability. Thus was born the need for Online High School. These schools are no different from regular schooling but it provides the convenience and opportunities to kids to explore within the boundaries of their home.

People are concerned about right schooling for their kids. They do not mind spending a hefty sum on admission to give their child a bright future. Every parent on this earth desires to provide their little ones the best possible education. Sending kids to school for hours could give parents mental satisfaction but at the other end it is not necessary that your child will receive the education you want them to. The concept of Virtual High School is gaining popularity worldwide for endless advantages. Online schools present content in the most creative manner with graphics and 3D animations that attracts kids and makes studies fun. Many parents gave thumbs up to this the concept of edutainment. Kids can enhance their knowledge by playing games and solving quizzes related to studies. The growing minds of kids do not need hampering of studies. They want guidance to explore their skills themselves in which Online High School plays a pivotal role.

Online schooling enriches the homeschooling experience by providing you with knowledge in a crisp and precise manner. With Online Middle School you get access to the curriculum at all times. Whenever you need help in studies, you can directly turn to the Internet for assignments and lessons. No other technique could explain and understand kids more clearly than graphical representations. The flashy colors and artistically designed graphics grab the attention of kids and secure a place in their minds. Kids are vulnerable and at this tender age they cannot take the huge chunk of texts; instead you can explain the same point in a different and more creative manner. Considerable number of people today prefer opting for Online High School than conventional schools.

Home schooling curriculum online are compiled by highly experienced professionals who possess years of expertise in coaching. They understand the challenges faced by kids while learning and try to cope with them in the most effective manner. Edutainment will help you in accomplishing your goal and making your kids smarter and sharper. So create the best learning environment for your kids at home.

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The 30 Most Technologically Savvy Online Schools Part-2

15. Sam Houston State University – Huntsville, Texas

15. Sam Houston State University – Huntsville, Texas

Huntsville, Texas’ Sam Houston State University boasts seven lecture theaters spread out across two campuses that have been equipped with interactive television technology. This enables classes to be streamed live to distance learners, with the added benefit of adjustable cameras and multiple microphones. Julie Combs, director of the Center for Research and Doctoral Studies in Educational Leadership, believes this “allows students from many different regions to join a class in a face-to-face format.” Online undergraduate and graduate programs are both run by the school, which utilizes Blackboard to organize course content while also enabling web-based students to use the university’s library, career services and writing hub.

14. Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California – Los Angeles, California

14. Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California – Los Angeles, California

More than 40 online master’s programs are available through the University of Southern California’s Distance Education Network at the Viterbi School of Engineering in Los Angeles. A number of interactive applications – such as Skype, Cisco WebEx and BlueJeans – are used to encourage teamwork, and remote students even have access to a toll-free number to contact their professors for assistance. Lectures are streamed live from distinctive “studio classrooms” before being archived along with the relevant notes. The school’s commitment to distance learning is also seen in its innovative Viterbi iPodia program, which strives to “create a true ‘classrooms-without-borders’ paradigm around the world.”

13. Westfield State University – Westfield, Massachusetts

13. Westfield State University – Westfield, Massachusetts

Massachusetts-based Westfield State University’s distance program is called PLATO, or People Learning and Teaching Online. Six bachelor’s completion courses and four minors as well as numerous other online classes are offered, all backed up by free eTutoring from Smarthinking. Podcasting is encouraged through the use of Audacity software, while image and video capture is made possible by TechSmith’s Jing application. Blackboard Collaborate is the university’s latest web conferencing tool, and students receive considerable concessions on Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite software thanks to the school’s licensing agreements. Meanwhile, faculty members are put through their paces at Web Camp, an acclaimed training program for effective online teaching, helping the school rank number 1 in 2013 and number 3 in 2014 for Training and Faculty Credentials by U. S. News & World Reports.

 

12. Washington State University – Pullman, Washington

12. Washington State University – Pullman, Washington

“Our faculty and course designers work together to ensure the online classroom is engaging, lively and interactive,” states Washington State University’s official website. The school’s online learning platform, Angel, is the property of Blackboard and is largely maintained on campus in Pullman, Washington. Instructors are also encouraged to utilize a variety of technology to deliver course content. Students can employ digital pens to easily review notes from lectures and may record presentations using screen capture software like TechSmith’s Camtasia. “Virtual field trips” are promoted, as is the option of creating digital games directly in Angel. The online community is further supported by access to a student government, virtual mentors and extracurricular events.

11. Northern Illinois University – DeKalb, Illinois

northernillinois

With official Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts and more all accessible from the university’s own social media “SmashUp” page, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois is proud of the “community-building” capabilities of its technologies. One faculty member responsible for the online courses stated, “If you are not moving ahead in this field, you are falling behind.” That’s why iOS and Android platforms can deliver course content to online students, and software like Adobe Connect and Blackboard are used alongside podcasting, blogging and a custom “lecture capture” classroom. In 2014 the school topped U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs list.

10. Western Carolina University – Cullowhee, North Carolina

10. Western Carolina University – Cullowhee, North Carolina

Distance students at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina can augment their education with the use of live streaming video and audio as well as with remote access to their instructors. The school began offering distance education in 1997, and it constantly endeavors to take “maximum advantage of the changes in information and communications technologies.” So whether enrolled in a fully online course or a hybrid degree, learners still have access to the university’s Hunter Library – including the ability to directly receive information and research services 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday, and from 8:00 a.m. to midnight on weekends. Students may use the library’s comprehensive database to retrieve digital texts and request materials from the physical collections.

9. East Carolina University – Greenville, North Carolina

9. East Carolina University – Greenville, North Carolina

At Greenville, North Carolina’s East Carolina University, distance education is made easy with the use of collaborative communication applications from Blackboard and Saba. Furthermore, each online learner is given access to the school’s own Onestop student portal, which enables them to customize the system’s interface and browse a variety of relevant materials. The school boasts over 80 online courses, with live talks between students and teachers available in some of them. Coursework is submitted digitally, and tutors are also on-hand during stipulated hours so that distance learners can feel connected to the main campus.

8. St. John’s University – New York City, New York

8. St. John’s University – New York City, New York

At St. John’s University in Queens, New York, nearly three quarters of all distance courses are taught by current on-campus staff, and every full-time remote (and on-campus) degree learner is given a new laptop. Additionally, distance learners have the opportunity to access important aspects of university life such as the library and ministry. Daily communication with lecturers is encouraged, and much of the program involves active engagement in online discussion boards. These exceptional features have helped the school reach fifth place on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs list for 2014. Recent graduate Errol Adams says that his online course “kept [him] abreast of all the advances in technology throughout [his] profession.”

7. University of Denver – Denver, Colorado

7. University of Denver – Denver, Colorado

“Our philosophy is to embrace technology to improve and accelerate learning for busy adults,” states the University of Denver’s official University College website. The physical campus is based in Denver, but the online learning platform Canvas is accessible to distance learners 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students can enjoy real-time messaging with peers, stream multimedia and contribute to talks via web conferencing tools. Master’s and bachelor’s degrees are available, along with other courses and certificates, and there’s also the option to be fully online or part of a blended class – although the course content in both cases is identical. What’s more, with technical support on hand all day, every day, there’s no excuse for being late with an assignment.

6. Regent University – Virginia Beach, Virginia

6. Regent University – Virginia Beach, Virginia

As a Christian-affiliated school, Regent University in Virginia Beach offers its online students not just 24-hour technical support, but around-the-clock spiritual guidance as well. Benefits include access to the school’s digital library, writing center, internet-based seminars and workshops (at the Center for Student Development) and the ability to stream content from Regent’s chapel. Blackboard Collaborate is used to create a virtual learning environment incorporating scheduled face-to-face educational exercises, while a personalized Regent webpage is offered to each student to allow ease of access to learning accounts and emails. A variety of undergraduate and graduate online degrees are obtainable – more than 50 in total – alongside several hybrid courses.

5. University of Wisconsin-Platteville – Platteville, Wisconsin

5. University of Wisconsin-Platteville – Platteville, Wisconsin

Desire2Learn, Pioneer Administrative Software System (PASS) and Atomic Learning are three technologically savvy means used to deliver online courses at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. PASS is responsible for program registration and financial support. Desire2Learn, meanwhile, is the school’s education management system of choice; it’s a solution that in addition to taking care of media content and prospectuses, can connect with Atomic Learning’s digestible video tutorials to improve learning. In 2014 University Business magazine selected the school as one of its eight “Models of Efficiency” in the U.S. – an acknowledgement of “innovative approaches for streamlining operations through technology,” according to the university. Faculty member Dawn Drake explains, “We find technology to support what we do to help students get the education they need.”

4. New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering – New York City, New York

Dibner

The 2014 U.S. News & World Report list of Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs placed the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering in New York City at number twelve. The school’s director of online and virtual learning, John Vivolo, says that the programs are “diverse, interactive and ever-evolving” in terms of the technologies that they use. Lectures are available to be viewed live or at a later date – even through smartphones and tablets – while content is also delivered via the Blackboard learning system. Plus, distance students can remotely access the university’s library resources and career services and benefit from frequent communication with peers and staff by utilizing online discussion boards and webinars.

3. Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Science, Columbia University – New York City, New York

3. Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Science, Columbia University – New York City, New York

Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science in New York City topped U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Graduate Engineering Program list in 2014. Its graduate remote-learning school, the Columbia Video Network, has been described by one student as providing an “Ivy League, world-class education” and having an “outstanding” choice of classes. All of the relevant course resources are accessible online, and distance learners are taught identical lessons to those of their on-site peers. This is achievable through the use of bespoke on-campus classrooms, which record live lectures that can then be streamed or downloaded by online students – with the additional benefit of high-resolution footage. There’s also a special Student Center system that makes virtual collaboration possible.

2. Wilmington University – New Castle, Delaware

2. Wilmington University – New Castle, Delaware

There are in excess of 80 fully online classes on offer at New Castle, Delaware’s Wilmington University. Each virtual classroom is kept to an average of 17 learners, fostering a “personalized” educational experience with easy communication between instructors and peers. This can be accessed through the school’s Blackboard discussion boards, email, Skype or the web conferencing tool, Collaborate. Attendees may even take advantage of the online student association’s monthly meetings for all web-based students in a comfortable webinar format utilizing Blackboard Collaborate. Advanced multimedia content is added to Blackboard by Kaltura Building Block software, while faculty can use Swivl to record classes. Learners also benefit from an array of online student services – from writing workshops to mentoring – as well as around-the-clock technical assistance.

1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach, Florida

1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach, Florida

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida has been offering distance education opportunities since 1971. Today, it presents an array of master’s, associate and bachelor’s programs, with the university ranking joint fifth on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs list for 2014. Students enrolled in an online course can benefit from an impressive range of services, such as 24-hour tech support, seven days a week and a variety of apps for tablets and smartphones. Embry-Riddle Worldwide also employs an innovative, staff-developed piece of software called EagleVision Home, which enables remote students to experience live classes in a virtual environment and interact with peers and faculty in real-time.