How To Homeschool Your Children Like Finland Does

Homeschool Your Children Like Finland studygate

How To Homeschool Your Children Like Finland Does—By Sir Ken Robinson

When I moved to the United States, I was told various things like, “Americans don’t get irony.” Have you come across this idea? It’s not true. I’ve traveled the whole length and breadth of this country. I have found no evidence that Americans don’t get irony.

I knew that Americans get irony when I came across that legislation, “No Child Left Behind.” Because whoever thought of that title gets irony.

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No Child Left Behind Leaves Children Behind

It’s leaving millions of children behind. In some parts of the country, 60 percent of kids drop out of high school. In the Native American communities, it’s 80 percent of kids. If we halved that number, one estimate is it would create a net gain to the U.S. economy over 10 years of nearly a trillion dollars. From an economic point of view, this is good math, isn’t it, that we should do this? It actually costs an enormous amount to mop up the damage from the dropout crisis. But the dropout crisis is just the tip of an iceberg.

What the statistics couldn’t count are all the kids who are in school but being disengaged from it, who don’t enjoy it, and who don’t get any real benefit from it. And the reason is not that we’re not spending enough money. America spends more money on education than most other countries. Class sizes are smaller than in many countries. And there are hundreds of initiatives every year to try and improve education.

The trouble is, it’s all going in the wrong direction.

There are three principles on which human life flourishes, and they are contradicted by the culture of education under which most teachers have to labor and most students have to endure.

Principle #1: Human beings are naturally different and diverse

Education under “No Child Left Behind” is based on not diversity but conformity. What schools are encouraged to do is to find out what kids can do across a very narrow spectrum of achievement. One of the effects of “No Child Left Behind” has been to narrow the focus onto the so-called STEM disciplines. They’re very important. I’m not here to argue against science and math. On the contrary, they’re necessary but they’re not sufficient.

A real education has to give equal weight to the arts, the humanities, to physical education.

One estimate in America currently is that something like 10 percent of kids, getting on that way are being diagnosed with various conditions under the broad title of attention deficit disorder. ADHD. If you sit kids down, hour after hour, doing low-grade clerical work, don’t be surprised if they start to fidget, you know?

Kids prosper best with a broad curriculum that celebrates their various talents, not just a small range of them. And by the way, the arts aren’t just important because they improve math scores. They’re important because they speak to parts of children’s being which are otherwise untouched.

Principle #2 Human life flourishes in curiosity

If you can light the spark of curiosity in a child, they will learn without any further assistance most times. Children are natural learners. It’s a real achievement to build that particular ability out, or to stifle it. Curiosity is the engine of achievement.

One of the effects of the current learning culture has been to de-professionalize teachers. There is no system in the world or any school in the country that is better than its teachers. Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools. But teaching is a creative profession. Teaching, properly conceived, is not a delivery system. You’re not there just to pass on received information. Great teachers do that, but what great teachers also do is mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage.

In the end, education is about learning. If there’s no learning going on, there’s no education going on. And people can spend an awful lot of time discussing education without ever discussing learning. The whole point of education is to get people to learn.

The Difference Between A Task And An Achievement

You can be engaged in the activity of something, but not really be achieving it, like dieting. It’s a very good example. There he is. He’s dieting. Is he losing any weight? Not really.

Teaching is a word like that. You can say, “There’s Deborah, she’s in room 34, she’s teaching.” But if nobody’s learning anything, she may be engaged in the task of teaching but not actually fulfilling it. The role of a teacher is to facilitate learning. That’s it. And part of the problem is, I think, that the dominant culture of education has come to focus on not teaching and learning, but testing.

Now, testing is important. Standardized tests have a place. But they should not be the dominant culture of education. They should be diagnostic. They should help. If I go for a medical examination, I want some standardized tests. I do. I want to know what my cholesterol level is compared to everybody else’s on a standard scale.

But all that testing should support learning. It shouldn’t obstruct it, which of course it often does. So in place of curiosity, what we have is a culture of compliance. Our children and teachers are encouraged to follow routine algorithms rather than to excite that power of imagination and curiosity.

Principle #3: Human Life Is Inherently Creative

It’s why we all have different résumés. We create our lives, and we can recreate them as we go through them. It’s the common currency of being a human being. It’s why human culture is so interesting and diverse and dynamic. I mean, other animals may well have imaginations and creativity, but it’s not so much in evidence, is it, as ours?

We all create our own lives through this restless process of imagining alternatives and possibilities, and one of the roles of education is to awaken and develop these powers of creativity. Instead, what we have is a culture of standardization.

Now, it doesn’t have to be that way. It really doesn’t. Finland regularly comes out on top in math, science and reading. Now, we only know that’s what they do well at, because that’s all that’s being tested. That’s one of the problems of the test. They don’t look for other things that matter just as much.

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Education In Finland: Three Things They Never Measure

1. Specific Disciplines

They have a very broad approach to education, which includes humanities, physical education, the arts.

2. Standardized Testing

I mean, there’s a bit, but it’s not what gets people up in the morning, what keeps them at their desks.

3. Dropout Rates

The third thing was at a meeting recently with some people from Finland, actual Finnish people, and somebody from the American system was saying to the people in Finland, “What do you do about the drop-out rate in Finland?” And they all looked a bit bemused, and said, “Well, we don’t have one. Why would you drop out? If people are in trouble, we get to them quite quickly and we help and support them.”

Now people always say, “Well, you know, you can’t compare Finland to America.” No. I think there’s a population of around five million in Finland. But you can compare it to a state in America. Many states in America have fewer people in them than that.

But what all the high-performing systems in the world do is currently what is not evident, sadly, across the systems in America as a whole.

Homeschool Children Like In Finland studygate

Here’s What Finland Is Doing To Build Education

Finland individualizes teaching and learning

They recognize that it’s students who are learning and the system has to engage them, their curiosity, their individuality, and their creativity. That’s how you get them to learn.

Finland attributes a very high status to the teaching profession

They recognize that you can’t improve education if you don’t pick great people to teach and keep giving them constant support and professional development. Investing in professional development is not a cost. It’s an investment, and every other country that’s succeeding well knows that, whether it’s Australia, Canada, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong or Shanghai. They know that to be the case.

Finland localizes responsibility at the school level for getting the job done

There’s a big difference here between going into a mode of command and control in education. Central or state governments decide, they know best and they’re going to tell you what to do. The trouble is that education doesn’t go on in the committee rooms of our legislative buildings. It happens in classrooms and schools, and the people who do it are the teachers and the students, and if you remove their discretion, the system stops working. You have to put it back to the people.

Many of the current policies are based on mechanistic conceptions of education. It’s like education is an industrial process that can be improved just by having better data, and somewhere in the back of the mind of some policy makers is this idea that if we fine-tune it well enough, if we just get it right, it will all hum along perfectly into the future. It won’t, and it never did.

The point is that education is not a mechanical system. It’s a human system.

It’s about people, people who either do want to learn or don’t want to learn. Every student who drops out of school has a reason for it which is rooted in their own biography. They may find it boring. They may find it irrelevant. They may find that it’s at odds with the life they’re living outside of school. There are trends, but the stories are always unique.

Homeschool children like Finland studygate

Here’s What Education In The United States Looks Like

I was at a meeting recently in Los Angeles of they’re called alternative education programs. These are programs designed to get kids back into education. They have certain common features. They’re very personalized. They have strong support for the teachers, close links with the community and a broad and diverse curriculum, and often programs which involve students outside school as well as inside school. And they work. What’s interesting to me is, these are called “alternative education.”

And all the evidence from around the world says, if we all did that, there’d be no need for the alternative. So I think we have to embrace a different metaphor. We have to recognize that it’s a human system, and there are conditions under which people thrive, and conditions under which they don’t. We are after all organic creatures, and the culture of the school is absolutely essential. Culture is an organic term, isn’t it?

Death Valley

Not far from where I live is a place called Death Valley. Death Valley is the hottest, driest place in America, and nothing grows there. Nothing grows there because it doesn’t rain. In the winter of 2004, it rained in Death Valley. Seven inches of rain fell over a very short period. And in the spring of 2005, there was a phenomenon. The whole floor of Death Valley was carpeted in flowers for a while. What it proved is this: that Death Valley isn’t dead. It’s dormant. Right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come about, and with organic systems, if the conditions are right, life is inevitable.

It happens all the time. You take an area, a school, a district, you change the conditions, give people a different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations, a broader range of opportunities, you cherish and value the relationships between teachers and learners, you offer people the discretion to be creative and to innovate in what they do, and schools that were once bereft spring to life. Great leaders know that.

The real role of leadership in education and I think it’s true at the national level, the state level, at the school level is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control, creating a climate of possibility. And if you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that you completely did not anticipate and couldn’t have expected.

Conclusion with a quote from Ben Franklin

There are three sorts of people in the world: Those who are immovable, people who don’t get it, or don’t want to do anything about it; there are people who are movable, people who see the need for change and are prepared to listen to it; and there are people who move, people who make things happen.

And if we can encourage more people, that will be a movement. And if the movement is strong enough, that’s, in the best sense of the word, a revolution. And that’s what we need.

Watch the original video here.

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What to do if your child’s homework looks incomprehensible

Parenting.com contributor Teri Cettina could have used the caterpillar to butterfly metaphor. She emphasized the importance of not doing your child’s homework for them in a recent blog.

They have to struggle on their own, or they will never fly

Cettina makes a great point. If we don’t let others struggle, they won’t build strength needed for tomorrow. I still remember my mom telling my five-year-old self not to help that butterfly escape the cocoon. We must treat our children with the same care. We must let them grow within uncertainty and struggle in a safe environment.

But school is turning into a giant rat race. Today, I see concerned parents of children as young as the kindergarten age focused on making sure their child competes. How can we help our children succeed when they get stuck and don’t have the answers? What can we do if the teachers themselves are incompetent?

As so often happens, my answer came from an unexpected place.

I started a hiking Meetup this month and met a parent with some great insight into this question. Meet Douglas Zaldana. He has five children. The first three went to school without Common Core. The last two attended school with Common Core.

Common Core is certainly a term we are all used to hearing. President Trump campaigned against it in the 2016 elections. But what does Common Core actually look like?

Hey dad, I don’t get it either

Well, the homework above meets Common Core standards of learning for second grade students. Parents experience frustration more than ever when teaching their children even these basic concepts.

At least that’s what occurred with Zaldana. He related on the hike somewhere along Eaton Canyon: “I could coach my first three children with their homework, but not even they could help their younger siblings!”

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would happily dismantle Common Core. However, the standards represent a series of benchmarks and not an actual curriculum. Which makes it pretty hard to tear apart since states decide whether or not to use Common Core. Not the federal government.

States are taking a wide variety of approaches to following the Common Core standards.

Zaldana taught me that listening to young people and empowering them to find their own solutions are the best courses of action. So if your child’s homework looks incomprehensible, you can do one of two things:

  1. Make a donation to your local school district by writing a check in Common Core notation and remind teachers that you’re not enrolled in class this year.
  2. Find a tutor who knows what your student is going through, can check the work themselves, and can discuss the matter at a decent price. Here is a list of common core tutors available to assist on StudyGate 24/7.

Even before Common Core, learning wasn’t easy. To stay ahead of the curve, make sure your child can at least connect with someone who understands.

Check written in ten frames
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Fighting The System: Good Students Vs. Academic Dishonesty

Academic Honesty

Students are blurring the lines between academic honesty and legitimate study more and more as time goes on. While the nature of cheating is still clearly defined, students can now find help online in a multitude of ways. It can be difficult to determine what is dishonest and what isn’t.

For example, is it cheating if a tutor works out a math related homework problem for a student to study later? The student did not technically do the work, but the student does not turn it is as his or her own work. The distinction is becoming more and more unclear.

As students go further in their academic careers, there is a greater urge to be academically dishonest. The students who have cheated in the past will continue to do so. But what about everyone else? What about the students who normally perform well, but find the need to find extra help elsewhere? There are many reasons why students cheat, but the most consequential reasons come from the fact that students in higher education are often pitted against an unforgiving system that gives very few second chances.

 

Numbers Matter

Many rigorous college courses weigh some assignments more heavily than others. It’s very common for a teacher to instruct a course in which there are two important assignments—a midterm and a final, or a final and a research project. The homework has little, if any, influence on the final grade. Students understand that they’ve got to learn strategy if they want to succeed in higher education. It’s not enough to just show up, listen, and do the assignments. You’ve got to know how to work the numbers and figure out what hits you can and cannot afford to take. If both your tests are each 40% of your final grade, and you don’t do so well on the first one, you know you’re performing damage control for the rest of the semester. This is part of the problem. Students will do anything to boost or stabilize that grade percentage. Sometimes, they run into situations that are less about ethics and more about survival.

 

Full Speed Ahead

The pace of the course is also a contributing factor to why students cheat. You’ve got to be absolutely ready for a midterm in a ten-week course because, again, doing poorly will cost you for the rest of the term. It’s one thing to have difficulty learning at such a rapid pace. Being penalized for it is another matter entirely! Yes, that’s just part of the challenges students face in higher education and they should learn to adjust. But the breakneck pace leads to a lot of anxiety among students who have a lot depending on the outcome of a course. A low or average grade could cause a student to miss out on an internship, university admission, or scholarship. The challenge itself is not what causes academic dishonesty. The outcome and subsequent effect on a student’s life is enough for even the most ethical student to weigh their options more closely.

 

Learning Factory

Many universities around the country offer courses with an enrollment size of 100 or more students total. Professors often do not have time to get to know each student individually, much less learn their handwriting, work ethic, and learning style. Academic dishonesty becomes much more attractive knowing that the instructor may not know that the student is cheating in the first place. It’s much harder to do in community colleges or schools with smaller class sizes, but is relatively easy in larger university courses.

 

So What’s The Takeaway?

I don’t believe new technology has any influence over a student’s decision to cheat. The way we cheat today is the same way we’ve cheated 30 years ago, those methods have just moved to an online format. However, today’s students are aware that they have to understand the system they’re engaged in if they want to survive. Every course syllabus explains the weight of various assignments. The student decides what to focus on. If they slip up on a certain assignment, or perform poorly on a test, they understand that it’s not enough just to do well on the next one. Academic dishonesty isn’t necessarily a route for lazy students to avoid applying themselves. It’s also a way for students to stack the odds in their favor. If we want to address the growing threat of academic dishonesty, we first need to understand the situation students all over the country contend with. It’s so much more than just studying and taking tests. It’s strategy, too.

 

For homework help, one-on-one tutoring, and more articles like these, visit StudyGate.com!

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Four Reasons Why Vocational Classes Will Make AP Students Successful

AP Students

Harvard president Charles Eliot expresses how difficult it is to provide an  education that leaves students prepared for the workforce in his 1869 article, The New Education. On one hand, he champions trade schools. He cites their usefulness in producing effective workers with a strong sense of practicality. On the other hand, he recognizes the need to develop the American educational system to cultivate strong thinkers and educators. His difficulty in finding a comprehensive education presented a problem that still exists today.

About forty years ago, lifestyle courses such as home economics and wood shop were serious elective classes. They taught important skill sets for everyday life. As schools slightly shifted their focus to boosting academic test scores, these classes have taken a backseat and gained a reputation for being “easy A” courses. They are basically where unmotivated students can gain extra credits toward graduation.

In recent years, however, schools like Tesla STEM High School in Redmond, Washington are starting to combine Advanced Placement courses with vocational classes to provide much needed hands-on experience and better prepare students for life after high school, according to a recent PBS article. It’s a move that could potentially lead us to emphasize that pragmatism and scholarship go hand in hand. Here are a few reasons why this improvement is a step toward Eliot’s vision that will give students the tools to be more productive and successful in the future.

 

Practice Over Theory

Typically, high schools separate hands-on experiences from textbook learning as students get older. Yes, many courses incorporate effective learning exercises into their curriculum, but at the end of the day, there is a greater emphasis on standardized testing and sprucing up that all-important college transcript. Students mostly apply their knowledge to hypothetical situations. While this may do wonders for test scores, abstract theories do not completely prepare students for the future. In short, students learn by doing things. The more things they do, the more they think about their skills and work they want to pursue in the future.

 

Practical Skills Are Essential For Survival

Home economics, wood shop, auto repair, and other vocational courses teach valuable skills that adults use every day. While it is important to learn advanced science and math concepts, learning to cook a complete meal is equally important. Students need to learn basic survival skills, such as how to change a tire, change oil, sewing, tax preparation, and so much more. As students transition into college life, these skills will give them a sense of independence.

 

More Application, Less Memorization

In most AP courses, students rapidly move through difficult concepts and lessons throughout the year, taking tests regularly. Then, over the months of March and April, students and teachers shift into test preparation mode. They study the AP test format, nailing down all the definitions and possible questions and preparing students for the big test in May. These courses are useful for teaching students advanced concepts and how to take on challenges, but they are ultimately test centered. The knowledge gained is quickly lost. Students at Tesla STEM High School agree that applying knowledge to real-world situations helps them understand the material. One student links behavioral sciences to a career in forensics, saying that, “The lab work really puts things in perspective and makes them easier to understand when we take tests.”

 

Mixing Students Of Different Academic Levels Could Be Beneficial

In our current academic culture, the gifted and talented students are slowly separated from everyone else. In high school, there is a clear distinction. Mixing students of various skill has the potential to increase learning by removing status as a factor in academic success. The students normally suited to AP courses can apply their knowledge with other students and learn to become problem solvers. They learn how to work in a team of people will different backgrounds and skill sets. Students who lack the skills to succeed in college and beyond would face greater challenges and demand excellence from themselves. A learning environment plays a significant role in a student’s success and there is a lot that they can do to support each other.

 

 

A man cannot run an organization or company without having first performed the organization’s basic services, according to Eliot. A doctor cannot become the head of a major medical institution without having spent time with actual patients. The same concept applies here. Students will be better off if they apply their advanced lessons to real situations. Knowledge coupled with experience yields longer lasting success, and it is time that our educational system reflected this principle.

For more articles about education, homework help, study tips, and one-on-one tutoring, visit StudyGate.com!

 

 

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StudyMate: Smart And Secure Strategies To Survive The SAT Showdown (Part 1)

SAT Survival

If there’s one test that fuels the anxiety of millions of students around the United States, it’s the SAT. Students and parents alike invest tons of money, time, and energy into preparing for the test that will decide their fates, and many people prepare the wrong way. Contrary to popular belief (and all that bad advice you’ve gotten) the SAT is all about strategy. Taking the SAT is like going to war (just go with it), and if you’re going to war, then you need an effective plan. Take a look at these smart SAT strategies to help you prepare for battle and ready yourself for the big test.

 

1. Gather Some Intel

Whether you’re taking a subject test or the full-blown SAT, you need to know what kinds of questions you’re going to run into. Go to your local bookstore or library and pick up a couple of books with complete tests that you can practice with every few weeks. If you search online, you can find actual tests from previous years that you can practice on. Before you even THINK about registering for the SAT, take a practice test and see how you do. With any luck, you’ll do pretty badly, and that’s the perfect place to start your training!

 

2. Get The Lay Of The Land

I cannot stress this enough: The SAT is all about strategy. You’ve got to know when to jump, when to slide, when to duck, and when to run for your life! Study the test format. The SAT is written with the easiest questions at the beginning and gets progressively harder as you go. Study the wording of each question. SAT writers love to use seven words to express what you could probably say with three. Get used to the language and the way certain questions are asked. The quicker you can read and anticipate what you’re being asked to do, the quicker you can answer and move on!

 

3. Words Win Wars

You know you’re in deep trouble when you’re taking the reading portion of the test, and you run into a word you don’t know.

Like “nadir”. Or “halcyon”.

You can try to guess the meaning through context clues, but if you can’t, you’re sunk. Get some flash cards and learn the definitions of just five SAT words per day. 5 per day turns into 35 per week! Also, take the time to read anything you can: books, articles, journal entries, essays, and try to figure out the author’s main point as quickly as you can. If you’re unprepared, the reading section is going to be a pain! Arm yourselves!

 

4. Meet Calculator, Your New Best Friend

In this battle, you’re allowed to bring only one weapon (besides your brain), and it’s your trusty scientific calculator. Your mastery of your calculator can potentially slow you down or give you a much needed speed boost! Take some quality time to learn every function, every shortcut, and every formula you need for the test. It will also clear room in your brain for other information you’ll need to memorize. Make sure you know which situations call for which formulas, but make your calculator do the heavy lifting.

 

5. Train Yourself

Now that you know the test inside out, learned a lot of big words, and bonded with your calculator, it’s time to begin your training. Set aside about 1 to 2 hours every other week to sit down and take a practice test from beginning to end. If you like, you can simulate actual test conditions to allow yourself to adjust. Take a test early in the morning, bring some snacks with you, close yourself off in a cold room, whatever you have to do! Pay special attention to the way you manage your time. Time is such an influential factor in the SAT experience—many students feel rushed at times and completely abandon their strategy in order to finish as many questions as possible. Make your time work for you!

 

6. Assemble A Survival Kit

On the day of the test, you shouldn’t be wondering where all your stuff is. Take a few minutes to gather everything you need. In your kit, you should include:

  • A bottle of water
  • Your calculator
  • A couple of extra pencils
  • An eraser
  • Some (a lot of) snacks
  • A watch (yeah, the ones with the hands that you wear on your wrist)

Put ’em all in your favorite bag and store them close by so you can just grab it and leave. Simple.

 

7. Energize

Energy is your greatest resource when taking the SAT. It’s not time, intelligence, or anything else. When you’re sitting in that classroom, you’ve got to have a clear mind and sharp focus. What does this mean for you? For a start, eat a good breakfast! Get plenty of sleep the night before the test! Do all the healthy things you’re supposed to! You need to be in tip-top condition, so take care of yourself! Don’t leave anything to chance!

 

Preparing for the SAT is about dividing your attention between learning the material and developing your test taking strategy. Even though mastery of these two aspects will leave you in the best shape to perform well on the big test, you’re not out of the woods yet! In Part 2, we’ll show you how to handle yourself during the test! Stop by StudyGate.com for more helpful tips and homework help!

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Amazing Time Management Tips For Someone Who Just Can’t Get It Together

24 hours. That’s all you get in a single day. You can either waste them, get nothing done, and wonder where the time went, or you can make things easier and use your time wisely. At StudyGate, we’re no strangers to time management. We’ve decided to take a moment to share some techniques that will help you develop amazing time management skills!

 

Make A List

Instead of committing to memory everything you have to do today, why not make a short list? Download a note taking app on your phone like OneNote or Google Keep, or use a simple pen and paper and make a to-do list starting from your most urgent task to your least. This something you should do out of habit every day because as your tasks become organized, so too will your thoughts!

 

Know Your Sweet Spot

When I was in high school, you couldn’t get me to do anything productive until around 6:34 PM (very specific). After that, I could hit the books and study for hours, late into the night! It’s worth finding out what time of day is best for you to get things done. Some people work best in the early morning, while many people consider themselves night owls. Understanding when you’re most productive can help you plan your day more efficiently.

 

Prepare Beforehand

I can’t wake up in the morning.

I mean—I can—but I don’t want to, and it’s a big problem when I’ve got to pack all my meals for the day, choose what I’m going to wear, exercise, and get to work on time. Take some of the pressure off and start preparing the night before! Make your lunch, pack your backpack with everything you need, lay out tomorrow’s outfit in a chair (yes, like you did when you were little), and do as many necessary things as you can. Now, you can focus on more important things, and when it’s time, you can just grab your stuff and go!

 

Dream A Little Dream

Only robots can work straight through the day without stopping. For the rest of us, it’s good to take a minute or two to stare out a window or look around and just think. Rest your eyes and give your brain a chance to pause. Daydreaming can be a welcome break from a steady workflow!

 

Future Sight

At the end of the day, when you’re maxin’ and relaxin’, take a moment to just think about what you’ve got to do tomorrow. Organize your thoughts and think of all the ways you need to prepare. It will put you in the right mindset to take on the next day’s tasks and do what you need to do!

 

 

Try some of these out and see how they feel! To tell you the truth, 24 hours is A LOT of time. When you manage your time well, you feel as though you have more time in the day. You have more time to work, more time to sleep, more time to spend with friends, and more time to do more of what you love. Check out some more helpful advice, study tips, and homework help at StudyGate.com!

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Hey Parents! Here’s How You Can Change The Conversation About School And Help Your Child Succeed!

Help Your Child Succeed

If you’re like me, you tried to hide something from your academic career from your parents every now and then. Even as a good student, messing up on a test or a bad progress report could spark a very uncomfortable conversation that could lead to World War III.

Of course, students should always be transparent with their parents (pun definitely intended), but there are also a few things you can do to reduce the pressure and help your child succeed in a healthy way.

 

Share Your Own Experiences

It’s easy to tell a student that they should be getting a certain grade, or that they should take a certain class because it would look great for college, but did you? Tell your child what your life was like when you went to school. Be honest and share the things you were good at, as well as the things you struggled with. You will appear less…um…strict…and more relatable. And it’s good to at least be relatable if you want your child to share your problems with you, right?

 

No Competition

There’s a lot of pressure on students to outperform their peers and BE THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME. Everything about school is competitive, and that’s a good thing. Competition breeds excellence. What isn’t good is the tendency to place unnecessary stress on your child in an attempt to be successful. Express to them that the only person they are in competition with is themselves.

Now, before you grab your torches and pitchforks and come get me for coddling your children, think about this: Isn’t it better for a student to do well and then outperform themselves, rather than worry about what everyone else is doing? Just sayin’.

 

Be Their Ally

You hate finding your child’s less-than-stellar report card stuffed in a drawer as much as they hate hiding it there. We’re all human, and we all fall short sometimes. Acknowledge it! Let your child know that finding solutions and success is more productive than placing blame and starting fights. If you’re child is struggling, ask them why! They could be having an issue learning the material (in that case, we know a great website you can check out *wink wink*), or they could be having a serious personal issue that is affecting their ability to focus. Whatever it is, show them that you can work it out together!

 

Cut Out The Superlatives

To the average student, all parents talk about is getting good grades so their child can go to a good school so that they can graduate and find a good job that will pay they good money.

Sound familiar?

Of course that’s something to aspire to, but here’s the thing: Your definition of “good” might be “not-good-enough” to somebody else! Some people would be ecstatic to find out their child was accepted to UCLA, and maybe some wouldn’t be caught within 100 yards of the place! Some people just want to graduate, learn a trade, and start working right away, while others want to climb to the peak of Mount Academia. You don’t know your child’s goals until you talk about them, but in the meantime, take it easy on the “good” talk, okay? Success is subjective. Encourage them to maximize their potential, instead. They’ll be much more motivated.

 

Talk About Your Dreams

When you were their age, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did it happen? Did you change your mind? Did you settle? These are all great things to talk about with your child. Somebody wise once said, “Don’t tell people your dreams because they will try to talk you out of them”. This is true–ask anyone who ever wanted to do anything ambitious! The key here is to talk about them without judgment. It’s easy to tell a child that their dream job doesn’t make all that much money, but an honest conversation about your aspirations could do a lot of good. Not only will you bond over them, but it’s also great to share goals regularly to keep morale high!

 

 

Parents, we know there isn’t an instruction manual for raising children. And you’re doing a great job as it is. Raising an achievement-oriented child is a great thing! Just make sure you show a little empathy, too. You and your child should work as a team as they go through school. The closer you are, the stronger your teamwork will be, and the more likely your child will be to succeed and make you proud!

For more solid parenting advice and homework help, make sure you stop by StudyGate.com!

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Effective Parenting Tips: What NOT to do When Your Child Gets a Bad Grade

Parents carrying their two young kids piggyback in a park

When your child walks into school on his or her first day of kindergarten, it’s inevitable that he or she will make plenty of mistakes on the long educational road ahead. No matter how many parenting tips you’ve received from everyone and your mother, or what discipline methods you practice, your child is bound to bring home a bad report card or a flunked pop quiz, and that’s totally okay. Children aren’t perfect and neither are you, but it is always your job to be your child’s number one supporter; chances are, your child will crave your help and advice the most when he or she is struggling in school. When your child brings home a grade he or she isn’t too proud of, avoid these behaviors that can escalate an already less-than-ideal situation.

Parenting Tips #1: DON’T raise your voice or display aggressive body language.

effective parenting tipsYour first reaction sets the tone for the entire exchange with your child, and he or she will be unlikely to approach you for help in the future if he or she expects you to react negatively. Remember that a bad grade isn’t the end of the world, remain calm, and ask your child what they think went wrong.

Parenting Tips #2: DON’T interrupt your child or place blame right off the bat.

Respect your child by listening attentively, and give him or her a chance explain the situation at hand. If the story seems odd, or something doesn’t add up, don’t automatically shift into interrogation mode; instead, remind your child that you want to help them be as successful as possible, and you can’t do that if you aren’t aware of the entire situation.

Parenting Tips #3: DON’T nitpick or obsess over trivial details.

pareting tips_what not to doReassure your child that any mistakes are in the past now, and the best possible option is to learn from them and move forward. Form a proactive solution with your child that targets the issue as a whole; if your child didn’t understand the material, suggest getting a tutor or making efforts to improve study habits. If there seems to be a grading discrepancy, encourage your child to meet with his or her teacher one-on-one to discuss it.

Above all, remember that your ultimate goal as a parent is to help your child be successful in the best way that you can. If you’re lucky enough that your child seeks out and respects your opinion, don’t waste the opportunity for a valuable learning experience – one they won’t find in the classroom.

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Helicopter Parenting: Being Overprotective can Help and Hurt Your Child

Helicopter Parenting_parenting tips

We’ve all seen that overprotective parent at least once in our lives: the one who volunteers to supervise every field trip, or whose children have never lifted a finger to do a chore. If you’ve never encountered said parent, you probably are one. While you may get some snide looks from those who take a more relaxed approach to parenting, you know you’re trying to look out for your child’s best interests. Nonetheless, it pays to take a leaf out of the free-ranger’s book more often than not. A child who’s too sheltered will turn into an adult who’s too anxious to step out of his or her comfort zone and achieve real success. Keep reading to find out the benefits and setbacks of helicopter parenting.

Helicopter Parenting Pro: Your child feels secure.helicopter parenting_family support

Children of older generations have often reported that their relationships with their parents felt conditional, or relied solely on achievements parents found worthy. By being involved in every aspect of your child’s life, he or she receives constant reassurance that you will always be ready and willing to love and support them.

Helicopter Parenting Con: Your child will not be able to survive independently.

If you’ve intervened in every aspect of your child’s life, he or she will not know what to do when the time comes to act of their own accord. After all, how can you expect your child to solve a disagreement with a peer or change a tire if you’ve always done it for him or her? Give your child space to learn and make mistakes; he or she will come to you if help is needed. You can find out more parenting tips here.

Helicopter Parenting Pro: Your child will provide you with the same care and attention as you grow older.helicopter parenting_parenting skills

An old saying claims that parenting is a thankless job, but a child who receives unconditional love and support will undoubtedly feel grateful and be more likely to treat you the same way. Seniors are prone to isolation as they become less active, but a well-loved child will ensure that’s never the case.

Helicopter Parenting Con: Your child will never become a critical thinker or take necessary risks.helicopter parenting_how to be a good parent

If you teach your child that your way is always the right way, he or she will never be able to think for him or herself and decide what’s truly best. You may think you have everything figured out, but your child will never form unique opinions or answer important questions about the world at large if he or she doesn’t stray from the path you’ve laid out.

No parent is perfect, and every single one worries about their children, but take a breath and think before you swoop in to save your child from learning to act independently. It’s normal for a child to take a few tries to correctly iron a shirt or pump gas. If it won’t hurt him or her to make a mistake, it won’t hurt you to stand by and let him or her gain valuable learning experiences.

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Keys to Success: 2 Big Ways to Help a Digital Native Succeed in School

Education Success Tips

Back in the day when I went to school, classroom technology was limited to this:

It was mobile because it was on a cart. The little fan spun around in the back. That was kinda neat.

Technology in education has progressed leaps and bounds since the 1990s. If your school was anything like mine, budgets and administrative constraints meant that you couldn’t take advantage of all the latest advancements. It’s like the new joke that already sounds trite:

If your kids are like the “typical” Generation Zer, she’s probably already a whizz with mobile and digital learning. If they’ve been online at an early age, they’re already used to exploring the digital world around them. They’re comfortable with it and aren’t afraid they’ll break it. Even if their classrooms aren’t equipped with the latest holographic displays, they can take advantage of digital resources to succeed in relatively low-tech school.

Even if those ways require being less digitally dependent so they can better prepare for class.

This might sound like an old, but worth repeating: encourage your child to read. 

Here’s the catch: read print books.

technology in education_read

According to one study from 2015, many college-aged kids who grew up on Kindle and e-readers prefer buying print copies of their assignments. Even if the e-copies were given away for free. The answer: print books discourage skimming and scanning that screen reading makes so easy. No ads. No sound effects. No adjusting lighting and font size settings. No clickable pictures. No new web tabs. No writing made up of short and incomplete sentences or #impropersyntax. No sound bites like the sentences in the paragraph. Just you and a book.

But how can technology help with that?

By doing what it does best, open doors.

If your child likes to read already, then bravo! You’re a great parent.

But try this little experiment: Download a free e-book, say Harry Castelmon’s Our Fellow; or, Skirmishes with Swamp Dragons. It reproduces an old book faithfully, complete with original pictures and vintage ads from 1872.

Then, switch off the internet.

And have Junior read out loud to you. Just a few minutes, every day. And you can prove you’re paying attention by reading along.

Break a Sweat

Getting ready for school means getting back to large work loads. Homework. Classwork. Mental strain in general.

Sure, workout out problems can be good for flexing your brain power. But there’s a darker side: work overload can cause students to burn out. Kids go to school because they have to. But going to college is a choice, and freshmen who drop out of college cite stress, too many expectations, and depression. Students give up, drop out, or choose self-destructive choices instead of working them out.

So, what to do about it?

Work them out. Literally, by working out.

technology in education_work out

Exercise is one of the best ways to fight off stress. Working your body improves your mood by releasing “feel good” antidepressants in your body, and can help relax your brain. You can improve your sleep, improve your appetite, and burn off calories at the same time.

What’s in it for a digital native?

technology in education-video gamesVideo game exercising is one of the largest booming digital industries. Since over 90% of kids and adolescents play video games, the industry and nutritionists have teamed up with smartphone apps and traditional console games to get kids moving. Some of these exergaming programs are free and some aren’t, while some require specific equipment. But whichever ones you do, the game itself is less important than the benefits for the body—and the mind.

So, power up your screen with a book. And then relax by working it out!

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Fit, Not Famous: Why Harvard may not be the Best Choice for College

college rankings_how to pick a college

Every child faces the same crushing dilemma: what college should I go to? Harvard is usually listed as among the top colleges of the USA, and anyone who loves a “best ever” list will spend time drooling over the college rankings splattered all over the internet.

But, really, before you send off the non-refundable application fees, ask yourself what college is right for me.

How to pick a college isn’t easy. After all, not only does it cost a lot (an average of $33,420 for a private college for the 2016-2017) and horror stories of students saddled with debt abound, but the costs have only been climbing for the past twenty years. College is an investment in your future. Your networking. Your career. Your retirement. Some websites offer a college match quiz as if you were looking for a four-year date.

But the best judge of a college isn’t a quiz algorithm, it’s you. Finding a college that fits your personality doesn’t mean packing your bags and heading off to meet the Pilgrim. It doesn’t mean juggling “best values schools” versus “A-Plus Schools for B Students” or the “Top Public Schools.” What it does mean is taking an honest look at yourself, your values, and your goals. Polish your strengths, patch up your weaknesses and put your best foot forward in an honest direction.

college rankings_havard

If your hobby is surfing, and you managed to hang ten while scoring a high SAT, Harvard probably isn’t the place for you.

If your dream is to have a vineyard and mix fine wines, Harvard probably isn’t for you.

If you want to turn your comic book collection into a serious field of study, Harvard probably isn’t the place for you.

If you have a fondness for gunsmithing and have a tommy gun and brown bess stashed under your bed, Harvard probably isn’t the place for you.

college rankings_fit not famous

College isn’t just a giant study hall—although it can be if that’s your thing—it’s also a place to hang, to make life-long connections, and to explore the world around you. A “good fit” means finding the right vibe; Harvard’s most popular course, Computer Science 50, has over 800 students enrolled in it, while an intro to Economics has 711. These courses are super awesome, no doubt, but if you’re the type who can’t stand being a face in a crowd, then these intro classes might not be your cup of veritas. If you want a hip school with a modern vibe and find old brick buildings reeking of tradition a bit stuffy, Harvard probably won’t set your groove on fire.

But wait! All this makes a perfect amount of sense, you say, but what about the money? I want a six-figure salary when I graduate. Sure, who doesn’t? But what you get out of college depends on what you put into it. Just like high school—but more. Harvard (and any school, really) produced its share of bums, criminals, and jail birds. When weighting fit vs. fame, isn’t it better to find a school that you can call home?

So, if not the Top Ten, then where? How to decide? There are 7,236 post-secondary schools in the U.S. Don’t go through them one at a time, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

college rankings_college in america

Man can’t fly, but the sky’s the limit if you prepare. Knowing where your passions lie is great, but addressing your weaknesses will also open more doors—just in case that Mortuary Studies major requires a bit more in writing or math skills than you thought. Take a remedial task or seek out a tutor. Taking some time out to turn those weaknesses into strengths might take you away from what you really want to do in life. But when it comes to building up you and your future, that’s an investment worth making.

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Don’t Put Down That Tablet Just Yet:Online Learning and Test Prep Are Right At Your Child’s Fingertips

online learning_technology

These days, it seems that everywhere we look, children are more likely to have an electronic device in their hands than to have a book. Many parents and educators lament the intrusion of technology and digital devices as a distraction. But technology, when used effectively, can act as a great learning tool by students, teachers and tutors. Technology advances beyond the traditional schoolhouse model by advancing integrative learning. The medium also enhances online learning and even offers a broad base of college test prep and tutoring opportunities. Standard teaching methods and test prep for college entrance exams are established as a one size fits all institution, which seems to be failing both students and teachers. Fortunately, online learning and digital technology can increase flexibility in education and offer the opportunity to reform the traditional education model to fit the needs of today’s student.

Parents all know that education is one of the cornerstones of success and one of the most effective opportunities to improving a quality of life by offering upward mobility. But children are individuals, with different temperaments, backgrounds and learning styles. The one-size-fits-all model that is reflected in the United States educational model leaves many students feeling left behind or lost in the shuffle. This article reviews the tools and learning models that are being integrated into the classroom to strengthen the learning capability of every child.

Online Learning: Interactive Learning Technologyonline learning_integrative learning technology

It’s no secret that students are more engaged with technology and more plugged in than any preceding generation. Interactive learning marries technology with education to allow students to be actively engaged with the lessons they are trying to learn. Educational websites and applications allow students to use interactive learning programs to gain strength in critical skills in Math, Science and Reading. Technology can also offer more opportunities for learning and understanding in the everyday classroom. Interactive learning programs can also make learning and homework fun. These are important factors for students who are often overburdened with homework and long school days in the classroom. Interactive Learning is a model that holds the future of education and should be a key factor when school districts and legislators are seeking ideas for reform that works.

Online Learning: The Future is Collaborative

 learning_collaborative learningCollaborative learning has become an important module of learning in classrooms. Parents may be surprised at how often their children are engaged in class team projects.  But is an important skill to master because many businesses require project collaboration. When students use technology like iPads, interactive SMART Boards, and teleconferencing, to complete their collaborative projects, they are able to work independently on parts of a project, while also learning to collaborate more effectively. As a matter of fact, a study conducted in Canada by SMART Technologies found that educators believed strongly that collaborative learning paired with technological tools like SMART boards in classrooms helped social and emotional development among their students. So if your child struggles with working in groups, it is important to know that with effective teaching practices, engaging software, and collaborative learning opportunities, students can work through solutions while learning from each other. Mastering such skills early on will prove to be a great benefit to children when they reach college age or when entering the workforce.

Online Learning: Technology, Tutoring, Test Prep

Not only do tools like iPads and educational applications open a world of knowledge at the speed of a double click, they also offer flexibility in learning and teaching techniques. However, funding, bureaucracy, and class sizes often limit the capability for schools to fully integrate these tools, or quickly implement changes in the classroom model. In such cases, parents sometimes seek a tutor for their students. Whether your child is a student that is struggling to catch up or you want them to learn effective test prep, tutoring stands as one of the best resources for parents and students. In a nation that has long cried for education reform, tutoring may be one of the most effective solutions in schools. This is backed by a study released in 2014 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which highlighted the benefits of tutoring for struggling students. In this study, a group of high school students learned three years of traditionally taught math skills in eight months with intensive tutoring and counseling. This offers hope to many parents who have students who are struggling in the traditional school model. For parents who are seeking local tutors, tutoring centers offer test prep classes for their child. When geography is a problem, online tutoring websites allow parents to seek help online from qualified professionals, regardless of where they are in the world.

Online Learning: Education Reformonline learning_education reform

With the challenges presented by the traditional school model, educators are reconsidering the future of learning through the use of technology and even integration of tutors in public schools. Some states, like Texas and Pennsylvania,  offer Charter School funding to online schools for students who need alternative education. These programs are often strictly online, but still utilize integrative and collaborative learning models for students. Some education reform advocates have argued that education reform should include tutoring in public schools. There are currently no federal tax deductibles for tutoring unless you have a student who receives special education. Such reform would benefit students and ease the financial burden of those parents who currently pay for tutoring out of pocket. States may not have the capability of placing tutors for individuals in public schools, but they do allow parents to apply state tax deduction to offset the cost of tutoring. For example, the Indiana Department of Revenue allows a $1000 deduction per dependent toward private and homeschooling expenses, which includes tutoring. In the future, other states could adopt similar deductions to include online tutoring programs.

The truth is that traditional educational model shave long been in need of reform. But more than any other time in history, parents and students have choices that are not limited to geography thanks to technology. Additionally, classroom teachers are finding that digital tools like tablets and SMART boards are increasing their capability to reach students better than rote learning and lecturing alone. Interactive learning and collaborative learning are becoming mainstream staples in primary schools as well as higher learning, and it is in the best interest of the student and the public school systems to have such tools available for the upward mobility and the individual’s future success.

References

ActivTable Changes The Way Curriculum is Delivered [Online] / auth. Promethean World. – https://www.prometheanworld.com/perspectives/activtable-changes-the-way-the-curriculum-is-delivered.

Back To School: Deducting Tutors & Special Education [Online] / auth. Erb Kelly Phillips // Forbes . – Forbes.com, 09 09, 2013. – https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2013/09/09/back-to-school-deducting-tutors-special-education/#7b58d12b1d35.

EDUCATION CREDITS AND DEDUCTIONS [Online] / auth. Indiana Department Of Revenue // In.gov. – August 18, 2014. – 2017. – http://www.in.gov/dor/5192.htm.

Intensive Small-Group Tutoring and Counseling Helps Struggling Students By MOTOKO RICHJAN. 26, 2014 Continue reading the main storyShare This Page Share Tweet Email More [Online] / auth. Rich Mokoto // New Tork TImes Online / prod. Times New York. – 01 27, 2014. – https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/education/intensive-tutoring-and-counseling-found-to-help-struggling-teenagers.html.

SMART Reveals Positive Results in Students’ Skill Development Linked to Technology-Driven Collaborative Teaching [Online] / auth. SmartTech . – 2016. – https://home.smarttech.com/about-us/news/media-releases/ttl-report.

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