The Myth of the Helpless Parent

I Can statements are all the rage in our public schools. Students are to say I can and then positively reaffirm something they feel capable of doing.

Im offering suggestions for We can statements. If your school district obeys the law, tells the truth, spends money wisely, and properly educates children, then you probably dont need these. Sadly, most citizens dont have a school district like that, and this article is directed to them.

Parents have been trained for decades to trust in Americas K-12 government schools. This trust now serves the districts but not the students within them. Most districts arent being held accountable for violations of the law failures to properly educate children improper spending of tax dollars or long-term refusals to tell citizens the truth.

Many districts seem increasingly dictatorial, deceitful, expensive and intrusive. We trust them with our children, and in return, they lie to us, miseducate our children and blame us for their failures. When we question them, some even attack us, using government/media/corporate allies to help pile on. They retain power in the way schoolyard bullies do, by ensuring that parents remain cowed, isolated and uninformed. Its ironic. In reality, parents have all of the power.

Most parents dont know that. Schools have purposefully fostered a sense of helplessness in parents (and in students and teachers), training us to believe that we must do as were told. Schools couldn’t eliminate parents altogether, but they could create parents who agree to eliminate themselves.

Schools thus trained successive generations to work in a group, defer to the group, think as a group, achieve consensus with the group, be assessed with the group, and defend group decisions. Punishments and rewards have been used to mold thinking and behavior and to direct energies. Parents are encouraged to be involved in the schools, as long as our involvement brings in money, furthers the agenda and doesnt question the authority. Obeying = Rewards. Dissenting = Punishments.

Nowadays, when schools praise critical thinking, they usually mean non-critical thinking or groupthink. When they talk about community input, they tend to receive it via the Delphi Technique, a way of manipulating groups to agree on predetermined conclusions. When they ask for parent help, they mean any help that doesnt question the authority, not even to help a child.

Meanwhile, parents have long been shut out of the education of our own children. Books are eliminated, homework isnt sent home, traditional methods are derided as old school, and our wishes are undermined or ignored. Parent preferences are openly criticized and dismissed, and in conferences, were told: Dont teach that at home. Dont help. Youll just confuse your child. Schools now use technology to hide the curriculum on tablets and laptops and in private email accounts for children.

This operant conditioning skillfully done, Ill give them that has produced a population that generally feels helpless. Worse, it accepts feeling helpless. This population doesnt need to be shut down it shuts down itself. Oh, no, I couldnt. It will be OK. They must have a good reason. They must know what theyre doing. Such apathy suits authoritarian, intrusive governments. Its easier to implement an agenda with weak and politically aligned sheep than with individualistic and critical thinkers. Most of us do find now that its easier, safer and infinitely more profitable to be sheep.

And yet, dissent is critical to helping our children, to serving our honor, and to maintaining a free country. Were helpless only in our mind. The government cannot make our child take a test. It cannot force us into its failed bureaucratic, narcissistic, adult-centered system. Not unless we allow it.

We can say no to this government. We can refuse to allow it to eliminate our ideas and preferences, or to miseducate, misuse and misguide our children.

Few leaders are likely to help us. Most now are part of the government network. Think of the vast array of government and elected officials, their associations and throngs of legal teams now partnering with influential people and non-accountable, non-transparent corporations, organizations and foundations to implement policies that suit them. Instead of partnering with parents for a better education system, they partner with each other to implement policy, gather data on us and our children, sell their products and services, and implement a political and social agenda. Its a symbiotic relationship for them, but its largely parasitic toward us and our children.

They help each other. They sit on boards, hand out grants and contracts, campaign, advertise, lobby, buy and sell. They socialize together, travel together, praise each other, help friends and family members gain preferred positions, and allow each other to get away with things.

These partnerships might be fascist in nature (the government controlling the corporations), or corporatist (the corporations controlling public policy), but in any case, theyre neither democratic nor representative of a Republic. America is being fundamentally transformed to a totalitarian state in which government and corporate cartels work together to do what neither is allowed to do by itself. It pays well now to be a government or corporate crony it does not pay, and in some cases, it has become dangerous, to dissent from this government/corporate network.

The Network wont spend our tax dollars wisely, wont return control of our childrens education to us, and wont stop its intrusive data collecting. It has no incentive to tell the truth or obey the law. Many media outlets which are supposed to have our back appear to be part of the Network.

Suddenly we find that although our schools lack solid academic programs there are laptops, iPads and SMART Boards in front of every childs face. There are new curricula every few years, new calculators even in kindergarten, and cool electronic toys that dont foster real learning. De facto national standards and tests are being pushed on all of us from cradle through career. When we ask who is doing that pushing, the feds point to the states and to non-accountable associations the states point to districts the districts point to legislators the legislators claim ignorance.

Suddenly, some of us find that there are handguns in the hands of school employees. There are cameras and video recorders on the wall to track visitors, and new machines to scan our drivers license, track our children, scan their irises, record their fingerprints, or track their biometric information.

Look around you the K-12 education system in America has become freaking scary.

Citizens MUST be the dissenters. Our childrens future this countrys future is on the line.

Clearly, the American government no longer knows how to educate a child. Thats been proved in 10,000 ways. It has ceased to hold itself accountable, and it now works collaboratively to skirt laws and protect itself. This isnt a left/right issue. This simply is in or out of the government/corporate Network. If youre in, youre taken care of. If youre out, well, good luck with that.

But we arent stuck in this machine. Were helpless only when we agree to it. My first We can statement is this: We can say no to the K-12 government education system. Here are some more:
Opt out of programs: We can opt out of failed academic programs, and out of excessively mature sex education classes and materials. We can find solid math and English curricula online, buy them, and start teaching them to our children.
Leave the system: When a school mistreats, abuses, blames, mocks, neglects or refuses to educate our children, we can walk out of that school and never look back.
Opt out of testing: We can opt out of state and federal testing that sucks up class time tells us nothing of value collects intrusive and flawed data on us is manipulated to show success where none exists and forces our children to either take math tests online or be labeled as special education.
Say no to technology: We can say no to excessive and intrusive technology and data collection.
Question the money: We can question the barrels of state and federal money allotted for special education programs that never seem to go to special education students. We can vote no to the next levy and bond for school districts that misspend taxpayer money use taxpayer money against taxpayers and lie to us about budgets, expenditures and outcomes.
Inform others: We can inform other parents, run for the school board, or help other citizens run. We can recall corrupt or obstructive board directors and push to replace superintendents and administrators.
Reject Common Core: We can push our legislatures to reject the de facto nationalization and radicalization of the American public school system, epitomized by the questionable, authoritarian and unproved Common Core initiatives.
Reject pretend \”choice\”: We can refuse to support charter schools that clearly are under the thumb of local school districts.
We can say no. We can make a good system happen. We can help our children, fix the problems, rebuild an accountable government and put responsible individuals in power. We can homeschool, find private schools, hire tutors, or ask family members or friends to teach our children what the schools will not. We can step away from the entire madness of public education. Believe me, folks, its a mess. Its much worse in 2014 than it was in 2007, even as our avenues of dissent have narrowed dramatically.

The government/corporate Network depends on us thinking were helpless, that we cant say no, that we dont know any better, that they mean well, that they really do care about our children, and that they will eventually do whats right.

Dont believe it. We are not helpless, we can say no, and we do know better. The Network doesnt mean well, it doesnt care about our children more than it cares about itself, and if the Network was ever going to use its considerable power to do whats right for our children, it would have done it by now.

Summer School? Seriously?

May and June will arrive and most kids will bound through the doors of some school building praying they do not see those empty halls for at least three months. Parents will delight in the break from homework and fill the days with pool trips, camps, and clinics.

But we homeschoolers, well, let’s just say we do things a little differently around here.

Near of the end of the school year we have finished several subjects early and already our load has been lightened. When the final book is read and last workbook page is completed, we – well, we start again.

Yes, I admit, I do usually give the kids a week or two off but then it is time to get going again.

Seriously, how much pool and fun can one family take?

We thrive on schedules. I am convinced that the key to peace and happiness is a schedule.

OK, maybe not, but you get the idea. How many times do you hear people bemoaning the fact that they are ready for school to be back in session after just a few short weeks of summer fun? All-the-time!

Why? Because their kids are bored. The parents are tired of playing tour guide and entertainer, are short tempered, and have run out of things to do.

It is a recipe for disaster.

I do not even want to go there! So we don’t.

We do summer school.

Yes, it is on a revised schedule. (I am not THAT mean) But it is school none the less. They all have summer reading and we require about an hour a day for that. Some of the kids actually have to be told to get their noses out of a book! We usually continue with math at a review level. I am not pushing for the kids to finish school at age 15, but I also do not want to have to spend the first month of each \”school year\” having to review forgotten skills because of a three month break. It is a complete waste of my time and theirs. An hour or so in the mornings of work is not going to kill them, and at the very best, it is teaching them to be hard workers and diligent.

This year I have found a 10 week program for my 1st and 6th grader that reviews what they have learned in those particular grades. Because it is broken up into days and weeks, it is easy for them to follow on their own and so they will spend about 30 minutes a day doing that as well. My 10th grader will continue Spanish and begin duel credit online classes.

Will they still have fun? Of course they will. We do like to have fun around here, I promise. Lots of field trips, time outside, and fun with friends. But we also want to make good use of our time and continue to emphasize the importance of learning. While it may not be an official \”school day,\” everyday is about learning. Even in the summer!

What about you? How are you filling your kids’ summer days?

Paradigm shift: Curriculum is not something you buy

What if weve got it all wrong?
What if it doesnt matter which books we use, which history projects we take on, how many lessons of math we accomplish in a year?
Homeschoolers spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about curriculum, but what if, when we compare spelling programs and choose math books, we aren’t really talking about curriculum at all?
Curriculum isnt something we buy. Its something we teach. Something we embody. Something we love. It is the form and content of our childrens learning experiences.
Saxon Math isnt the curriculum. Its just the book that we use to teach the actual curriculum, which is: math.
If we started thinking about our childrens learning in terms of what we hope they will come to encounter in any given year rather than thinking of getting through a particular book or covering material, we free ourselves to learn far more than we could by binding ourselves to a set published resource. Of course we will use such resources to reach our goals but the resource will be our servant, not our master.
Authors of curriculum resources are often wise and helpful in setting general standards and goals, but no one knows our particular children better than we do. No curriculum publisher could possibly understand our hopes and dreams for them their strengths, their weaknesses, the longings of their hearts.
We, however, do.
Why trade that out for 36 weeks of someone elses?
We are an anxious bunch, we homeschoolers. We fret and worry over how much of the curriculum we can cover in a year.
But curriculum cannot be covered anymore than we could hope to go over all the mysteries of the universe in 12 academic years.
Curriculum is life, and life cannot be contained within the pages of a book. Lets not shrink this down from the splendor that it actually is. We have the opportunity here for wide expansive learning.
When our children look back on their childhood, what are they most likely to remember with pleasure? The history paper on the Hundred Years War? Or the family trip to the local museum taken on a rainy afternoon? The chapter in the science book about waterfowl, or the trumpeter swans seen on a weekend hike?
Intellectual learning is of tremendous value, of course, but in our seeking after it, let us not forget the importance of poetic knowledge. Poetic knowledge is that which we can only acquire through real experience the rich deep knowing that happens down in our bones.
Those afternoons we forego the usual schedule to volunteer at a soup kitchen or shovel snow for the sick neighbor are of no less value than academic work. We know this at our core, but we forget when we get right down to the daily grind.
We give lip service, saying that we value service projects or family leisure but then leaving no room in our schedules for doing puzzles, taking long afternoon strolls, or making meals for the mom with a new baby down the street.
Instead: live life. Fill it to the brim with love. Take your time, and talk about everything. Doing this in front of our kids, doing this with our kids this is the essence of poetic knowledge.
Im not suggesting that we tack this on to our already crammed schedules. Im suggesting that we clear the way and MAKE room. Forget about getting through every single lesson in the book between September and May. Do the next lesson, do it well, and give it our all.
But then do something else.
Dont let published resources be the master of the curriculum. When we realize that our family camping trip is ripe with learning opportunities, we come to value that week in August as much as we value a productive academic week in January.
Once we understand that the curriculum is actually far, far bigger than any published resource could ever be, the opportunities to let all of life become teacher explode before us. The doors of learning fling wide.
Our children are indeed learning all the time sometimes its academic, sometimes its poetic. Our children need both. Lets not slide into thinking that nothing is happening if we arent hitting the books.
The real curriculum, after all, is the curriculum of life.

Making First Grade Math Fun With Online Games

Kids who have completed kindergarten should enter first grade with a solid grasp of basic numerical concepts including counting, number recognition and identifying the difference between number values. First grade math builds on these concepts with the introduction of addition and subtraction as well as more advanced number relationships within base 10. Through integration of technology such as online math games, teachers can present these new ideas in a way that makes math fun and engaging for children of all skill levels.

Technology and Education

Incorporating technology into education isn’t a new idea. Computers have been fixtures of schools and individual classrooms for many years, with students using them for everything from learning to type to doing research for reports. Young children are at a prime age for picking up on the skills necessary to properly utilize technology as part of their daily lives and can often adapt quickly to a virtual environment. This makes it both easy and practical for teachers to use first grade math games in the classroom. When kids engage in an online learning environment, they build skills in computer use as well as in the subject being presented, thereby gaining knowledge that they can use in both the classroom and out in the real world.

Individualized Learning Environments

One concept that keeps popping up in modern educational models is the idea of individualized instruction for students who are struggling. Advanced students also benefit from a learning environment where material is presented on their level rather than at a set pace. With a classroom full of students all approaching first grade math with slightly different skill levels and learning styles, it can be difficult for teachers to get all of the essential information across in a way that makes sense to every child. The adaptive nature of online programs and games makes them very useful when it comes to giving students an individual learning experience. Kids can play through games on their own time, progressing to the next level only when they’ve mastered the current one, ensuring a better understanding of each new concept.

Building Skills Through Interactive Play

It’s said that kids don’t get enough time to be kids any more, and with the growing demands on students of all ages, this is often the case. More and more frequently, playtime is edged out by homework and other school-related obligations. But kids need time to play and interact in settings outside of the classroom. First grade math games take this need for play into account while still providing the solid foundation necessary for kids to understand basic math concepts and build proficiency in core skills.

The concepts learned in first grade math are essential to developing a full understanding of mathematics as a whole. Combining online math games and other tools within a virtual learning environment helps kids to visualize new ideas as they engage with entertaining characters and settings. With these tools at their disposal, it’s possible for teachers to keep math material fresh and interactive throughout the year, making it easier to present potentially difficult concepts to all students within a traditional classroom setting.

How to Choose an Academic Journal for your Article … and why you should choose one now!

The past few posts this semester have dealt with learning skills that enhance your scholarly productivity, including: planning your Fall semester, making time for writing, planning your week, and writing every day.

Time management and daily writing are skills and habits you can learn by practice. For example, I learned about the skill of daily writing in a class on writing with Sherryl Kleinman in 2004. However, I did not form the habit of daily writing until I joined an online discussion forum organized by Kerry Ann Rockquemore in 2007. That discussion forum encouraged participants to develop the habit of daily writing, and it worked wonders for my productivity. If daily writing has not yet become a habit for you, check out this post for more strategies on how to make writing part of your life.

Similar to time management and daily writing, publishing is also a skill you can learn. No academic was born knowing how to publish. We all learn by doing. The more you write and submit articles, the easier it gets. For the remainder of the semester, we will focus on the nuts and bolts of writing and publishing, drawing from my own experience publishing ten journal articles and two books and reading about academic publishing in venues such as Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, by Wendy Belcher. This post is dedicated to explaining how to find a home for your academic article. However, if you do not already have Wendy Belcher’s book, I suggest you order it now!

How to Choose an Academic Journal
If you do not yet have an article ready for submission, there is no need to worry. You can decide where you will submit your article before you begin to write it. However, if you are reading this blog, it is likely that you have at least one seminar paper, thesis draft, or dissertation chapter that you could transform into a publishable article. If not, with daily writing, you will have a draft in no time.

Look in your bibliography
The first place to look for an appropriate journal to publish your article is in your own bibliography. The works you have cited are the works with which you are engaging in conversation. If you are citing several articles from a particular journal, that is a good sign that journal may be an appropriate place to submit your article.

Find other journals in your area
After looking through your own citations, have a look at other journals in your field. You can do this online. However, it can also be a great experience to actually go into the library and have a look at the journals in person. You also can ask your librarian area specialist. Many colleges and universities have librarians whose job requires expertise in academic publications. They can be a great resource when considering where to submit your article.

Figure out the impact factor and journal rankings
Journal ratings are important. A journal’s rating is based on a variety of metrics, which are different ways of counting how many times the articles in the journal have been cited. Articles that have been cited more often are thought to have a greater impact in the field, and thereby bring prestige to the journal in which they were published.

Because journal ratings are important, you should take them into account before making a final decision about where to submit your article. Here are three ways to find out information on the relative quality of a journal.

You can use the software, Publish or Perish, to get data on the impact factor and citation rate of journals in your field.
You can access Web of Knowledge through your university’s library to get rankings of the journals in a particular area or discipline. For example, Web of Knowledge lists rankings within the discipline of Sociology, but also within the sub-field of Race and Ethnic Relations.
You can visit the journal’s website to find out information about the journal in question. When investigating a particular journal, you should try to figure out whether or not the articles in the journal are peer-reviewed, what percentage of submitted articles they accept, and whether or not the journal is accessible through major scholarly databases such as JSTOR, Elsevier, or Sage.
Once you have chosen a journal, you can begin to write or revise your article with an eye towards publication in that journal.

Caribbean medical schools: “second chance” or serving a real need?

Second chance med school, by Anemona Harticollis in the New York Times July 31, 2014, is the most recent treatment of the topic of for-profit Caribbean medical schools that train American students who, in most cases, were unable to gain admission to traditional US-based schools. This is not the first time Ms. Harticollis has covered the story they are also the subject of her article in the Times from December 22, 2010, Medical schools in region fight Caribbean flow, which focused on the fear of US schools that these Caribbean schools are willing to pay for the use of clinical teaching spots in hospitals that these US-based schools have been using for free. This most recent piece focuses on St. Georges University in Grenada, one of the more established and better-regarded Caribbean schools. It was briefly famous when protection of its students was one of the justifications for President Ronald Reagans invasion of that country in 1983. The article also mentions the other three schools that have been approved for US loans by the Department of Education. However, beyond this, and despite Harticollis efforts, the discussion gets murky on two counts: which Caribbean schools are under discussion, and what are the issues of concern.

Harticollis notes that
There are more than 70 medical schools across the Caribbean, about half of them catering to Americans. A handful including St. Georges, Saba University, Ross University in Dominica and American University of the Caribbean in St. Maarten, all of which are for-profit have qualified for federal financial aid programs by demonstrating that their standards are comparable to those in the United States. And they report that high numbers of their test-takers 95 percent or more pass the United States Medical Licensing Exam Step 1, a basic science test.
But quality is all over the map in the Caribbean. A 2008 study in the journal Academic Medicine looked at 14 schools and found that the first-time pass rate on the exam ranged from 19 percent to 84 percent. Countries whose schools performed lowest were the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Cuba, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda and, the lowest, St. Lucia, which hosted four medical schools at the time. High performers were in Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica and, the highest, Grenada.
It is irrelevant to the discussion of American medical students going to the Caribbean to look at the national medical schools in Caribbean (or any other) countries it is only relevant to look at those which were created to educate Americans, and for the purpose of this discussion to limit it to the four that have Department of Education approval. The next thing is to understand that what is good or bad about any of these schools, or whether they should exist altogether, depends on who is looking and what their interests are. From the point of view of the individuals or companies that own these schools, the motivation is profit, but having a high-quality product increases their enrollment. From the point of view of students enrolling, the motivation is a chance to become physicians and practice in the US. From the point of view of those who are responsible for the academics of the schools themselves, it is to support students, provide a good education, and help them to be successful. From the point of view of many American medical schools, it may be to limit competition, whether that is for clinical teaching spots in hospitals such as those of the New York City public hospitals or for good students.

Most US allopathic medical schools, and their trade association, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), disparage the Caribbean medical schools in terms of quality of the students that they accept, since the majority of those attending such schools have failed to gain admission to AAMC member schools. However, since most of these AAMC schools have recently or are in the process of expanding their own classes, they must believe that there are well-qualified students who are not currently being admitted, and many of these have ended up in Caribbean schools. When AAMC campaigns to disparage the Caribbean schools, they tend to lump them all together, rather than looking at individual schools or only the 4 listed above. Unquestionably, students even at these four schools have, on average, lower grade-point averages (GPAs) and Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) scores, and may, on average, not do as well on the USMLE exams as those from US allopathic schools, but there is great overlap. On the other hand, what is perhaps the most concerning part of education at the Caribbean schools is their clinical training where they learn clinical medicine in the last two years of school. Are the doctors teaching them and the institutions in which they practice of high quality? Is there a well-defined curriculum? Is there standardization of the curriculum so that they can be confident that students are learning what they need to whether they are doing, say, a surgery clerkship in a NYC public hospital or a community hospital in Michigan? However, when AAMC schools are fighting with them about whether they should be able to have spots at the same places US medical schools use say, NYC public hospitals this point is also moot.

The most important perspective, of course, is not that of the students, the owners or faculty of the Caribbean schools, or that of the US schools and the AAMC. It is that of the American people and whether they will have access to physicians who will provide excellent care for them. The measures that are usually used for assessing the quality of applicants and students MCAT and GPA and USMLE Step 1 scores are at best peripheral, since, as I have often argued, they are scarcely relevant to being a good doctor. Does it matter that a doctor didnt focus when they were a freshman in college and so got Cs, and so even after doing well for 3 years had a lower GPA than another? Should the chance to become a doctor be a reward for having your nose to the academic grindstone your whole life without surcease, or an opportunity for those with skill, passion, and commitment? I have often argued that the way to judge a medical school is by what its graduates do with their lives, and that the percent that enter primary care and practice in underserved areas is a major criterion. It is fine to have some of your graduates doing laboratory research or entering narrow subspecialties, but a school should be judged on its overall output and how well it provides for the needs of our nation.

There is some concern that because of recent agreements between the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which accredits allopathic (MD) residencies and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), which accredits DO residencies, that osteopathic graduates will be more welcome in allopathic residencies, tending to crowd out Caribbean graduates. I would doubt that this will be an issue in the Midwest, where osteopathy is strong and most residencies already tend to prefer DOs to Caribbean grads, but it might have an impact in the East, where osteopathy is less present, and where I hear that information pre-med students get from peers (and perhaps sometimes pre-med advisors) is that Caribbean schools are preferable to US-based osteopathic schools.

Like osteopathic schools, Caribbean medical schools, including the 4 DOE-certified schools, place a much higher percentage of their graduates into primary care than do US-based allopathic schools. Is this just a result of the fact that primary care residencies are less competitive than many other specialties, so easier for students from Caribbean schools to get into? Unquestionably, this is part of the explanation, but there is also more encouragement for primary care in these schools, which do not boast a huge research enterprise or maintain tertiary-care hospitals. It also doesnt change the fact that graduates of these schools, like many international graduates who were not US citizens, are serving the needs of our country because the US schools are not stepping up to the plate. US medical schools are very selective about taking students with high grades, and putting most of them into oversupplied specialties.

The education at Caribbean schools varies, and it would be a mistake to say that they are doing a better job than US allopathic schools. However, US schools are doing a poor job of training the doctors America needs, of ensuring that all people have equal access to quality health care, and the students graduating from Caribbean schools are often filling the holes that they leave.

Boarding Schools Pros and Cons

Parents that relocate often due to work have a problem with their children’s education continuity that’s the reason they opt for Boarding schools. But most of the parents are in dilemma whether they should or shouldn’t send their kids to boarding school. Boarding school has its pros and cons like any other school. Let’s have a glance on those factors.

Students of boarding school are very self-dependent, disciplined and well educated as student has to take care of himself other than just studies. Though boarding school can’t provide the love, nurturing, and watchful eye of a parent, still most of the parents prefer boarding school as they feel education is important.

Each child has different mentality and family background, and due to this they face compatibility problem resulting homesickness. Homesick is a word which all students are aware, as they go through that one or the other day.

Boarding school Cons
Lack of well-rounded social exposure
Inferiority complex from seeing others excel in academics and sports
Possibility of falling into destructive groups or cliques
Lack of well-rounded social exposure
Homesickness and less bonding with parents

Boarding School Pros
More self-reliance and time management
Teachers get to know and understand the students and teach them well
Lifelong friendships and traditionally stronger social networks
Better opportunity for self-assessment through extra-curricular activities
More opportunities for teamwork and to explore interests and potential

The boarding school debate is endless. Decision to send kid to boarding schools should be based on a thoughtful analysis of the kid in question with unique challenges associated with growing up away from home.

to private school or not to private school?

You guys have asked me tons of questions about this, and I keep putting it off because 1) its complicated, 2) I’m not qualified to provide an informed answer (I went to private high school for four years, and therefore by definition didn’t have a comparative public high school experience) and these are just my one-sided observations that no one should give a ^&$% about, and 3) I wanted to wait until college to see how my private school education actually served me. I think the best thing I can do is give you my take on some of the usual myths you hear about private school, and then tell you what I feel I personally got out of it.

NB: I realized after I wrote this that all of my answers have private prep school in mind. For those of you who are curious, I went to the Hopkins School in New Haven, CT. We didn’t affect British accents, our dress code only banned leggings and midriffs and beer logos, and nobody had a private fleet of yachts. I also want to emphasize the following obvious facts: there are brilliant kids in both public and private schools, there are public schools in many districts that offer top-notch education comparable to private schools, and a motivated student can thrive and succeed in any environment.

The Two Week Method of Writing Academic Articles


Academic Writing

Can you really write an article in two weeks? Of course you can, but you are pretty unlikely to be able to write a publishable article in that short of a time. Nevertheless, two weeks is a good amount of time to give yourself to work on a project before taking a break from it.

One strategy that has worked well for me is to write for two hours every day for two weeks on a single short project: a book chapter or an article. Working consistently for two weeks, I can come up with a very rough draft of an article. After working on it for two weeks, I put it aside. If it is in good enough shape to share with a trusted colleague, I will do so. If not, I put it aside and come back to it in a week or two.

How does this work? The 2-2-1 method: (Two weeks, two hours, one project)

Work on a single project for two weeks at a time. You can have other smaller projects, but one will be your top priority.
Work on your top-priority project for two hours a day. This work should mostly be writing, but also can include taking reading notes, revising, arranging the bibliography, etc.
At the end of two weeks, decide if it is ready for you to solicit feedback, send to an editor, submit for review, or just set aside.
Get it off your desk and wait at least one week before you give it another two weeks. This will allow you to approach your project with fresh eyes.

When I revisit my article or chapter after setting it aside, and, hopefully, with feedback from a colleague, I give myself another two weeks to work on it to create a better draft. I continue to do this until it is ready for submission. Once I have submitted an article to a journal, and I receive the feedback, I give myself two weeks to revise it. Depending on the number of revisions required, I may re-submit the article, set it aside, or ask a colleague to review it.

This method works for me only if I do two things: 1) Write every day for at least two hours Monday to Friday and 2) Have this article as my priority for the entire two weeks, meaning I work on it every day, first thing in the morning.

Depending on the project at hand, the level of complexity, my familiarity with the research, and the richness of the data, writing a complete, ready-to-submit draft of an article takes me between one and six two-week sessions.

Working on something for two weeks at a time allows me to approach the project with fresh eyes the next time I pick it up. It also forces me to stop and ask for feedback when I am having trouble moving forward.

The 2-2-1 method may or may not work for you. If it does, great! If it doesnt, it is still important to decide ahead of time how much time you will commit to a project before you begin. Without setting these internal deadlines, you risk creating a situation where you revise and revise an article without ever submitting it.

Beauty Schools-Why You Should Join in It

Are you interested to have a career that is related to beauty and fashion? If yes, then you have to join a beauty school that can provide you all the things about beauty. You have to know more about beauty schools and what they do then. All the studies that are related to beauty treatments are provided in beauty schools. If you join in a beauty school, you will join some classes and programs that are provided there.

You have to know that you will be taught about treatments that focus on hair, nail, and facial for example. Actually, you can find the best one of El Paso beauty schools and get more knowledge about the treatments. You have to know that there are differences courses there. You will be taught about techniques of hair removal. Of course, it is for you who are passion in the field of hair removal. Your skill will be trained well there. You will be able to use laser or electrolysis hair removal for example. You will be taught be some experts in beauty school.

Not only that, a beauty school will provide you the course classes of makeup design. You will be taught about the techniques from basic until expert. You will be taught about modern techniques of makeup design. There will use trend products with good quality so you will be able to do makeup that is a trend in society lately. Then, you will be graduated as an excellent employee that will be needed for resorts, high- class spas, and cruise lines for example.

You have to know that by joining a beauty school, you will get yourself certified that can make you easily find a proper job that specializes in beauty based on your skill. Then, you will never get so difficult to get a proper job for yourself. Joining a beauty school is the best way for you who are concerned to get a job that is related to beauty treatments.

Physical Therapy Continuing Education Today

Today, you can easily find physical therapy continuing education in your area. Now that the title of physical therapist has been earned, it is important that physical therapy continuing education is acquired so that you will have the latest techniques, education, and skills. And in this case, the demands of the occupation can be met.

Even though physical therapy continuing education is offered by many schools and colleges, there are many alternatives and complementary medicine schools that also give additional training in the healing arts. For instance, some physical therapists are surprised when they are looking for new ways and holistic approaches to physical therapy treatments such as Tai Chi, Qigong, and massage modalities as the alternatives to mainstream medicine therapies. There are also some physical therapy seminars at if you want to know more about physical therapy continuing education today.

Certification courses in lymphedema therapy, stroke rehabilitation, Trigger Point Therapy, connective tissue disorders, neuromuscular facilitation, functional orthopedics, neuromuscular rehabilitation, Craniosacral therapy, Myofascial Release are included in supplementary advanced physical therapy continuing education programs for the professional.

Course outlines are also typically included in physical therapy continuing education programs containing educational objectives, advanced training modules that professional occupational outreach and services can be improved. In many cases, pain management, basic instruction in epidemiology, biomechanics, anatomy, and hands-on training as well are included in the courses of physical therapy continuing education.

Healthcare management and marketing, chronic pain, infection control, soft tissue mobilization, fractures, Pilates, geriatrics, and functional maintenance programs are also several physical therapy continuing education programs geared toward business topics and specific health conditions.

Even though there are a few programs of physical therapy continuing education you can choose from, there are many training options available health seminars, workshops online seminars, short courses, and distance education/home-study. And therefore, it is not limited to practice physical therapists by attending local colleges or universities for additional training.

So, are you interested in finding physical therapy continuing education? And now, this is your time to explore career school programs in your area.

Learning Disabilities: A Brief Background


Learning Disorders

Learning Disorders

These series of posts is for my Masters class on Strategies for Teaching Mathematics to Elementary students. Although I am generally interested with the umbrella condition of Learning Disabilities, for this post I would be focusing more on Dyscalculia because it is the learning disability that focuses on difficulties in Math.

I. Brief Background on Learning Disabilities

“Learning disabilities are neurological differences in processing information that severely limit a person’s ability to learn in a specific skill area. Everyone has differences in learning abilities, but people with learning disabilities have severe problems that persist throughout their lives. Learning disabled people may have difficulty in school or on the job. These disabilities may also impact independent living and social relationships.

Different Types of Learning Disabilities

1. Learning Disabilities in Reading, Dyslexia
IDEA defines two main types of learning disabilities in reading.
a. Learning disabilities in basic reading skills involve the foundational skills required to understand the relationship between letters, sounds, and the words they represent.
b. Reading comprehension disabilities involve complex thinking skills such as understanding words, phrases and larger meanings of passages.

2. Dysgraphia and Learning Disabilities in Writing
Learning disabilities in basic writing skills include neurologically-based difficulty with producing written words and letters. Expressive writing disabilities may involve comprehending and organizing written thoughts on paper.

3. Learning Disabilities in Math, Dyscalculia
In the article \”Stimulating Math Skills by Massie Santos Ballon she described
dyscalculia as a condition that can affect the ability to calculate, visualize or otherwise use numbers when speaking or writing.

In 2005, Ms. Queenee Lee Chua wrote an article under Philippine Inquirer Education entitled \”Why is Math so Difficult?\” and she said that experts believe that 5 to 8 percent of US schoolchildren may have dyscalculia. However, there are no Philippine figures for the past decade. At that time, Ms. Chua has handled 20 children whom she suspected to have some form of math learning disability but she insists that this is still a small fraction of children she has diagnosed. Ms. Chua reiterates that most students do not have any disability. They may either have attention-deficit, math-phobia or just plain unmotivated.

According to the British Dyslexia Association, somewhere between 3 to 6% of the population is affected by dyscalculia only.

4. Learning Disabilities in Language, Communication

There are several types of learning disabilities in language. Students with language based learning disabilities may have difficulty with understanding or producing spoken language, or both. Receptive language disorder is a type of learning disability affecting the ability to understand spoken, and sometimes written, language.

Dysphasia is an impairment of language ability. This class of language disorder ranges from having difficulty remembering words to being completely unable to speak, read, or write.

5. Learning Disabilities in Motor Skills, Dyspraxia
Commonly known as the motor learning disability, A person with dyspraxia has problems with movement and coordination. It is also known as \”motor learning disability\”. Somebody with dyspraxia finds it hard to carry out smooth and coordinated movements. Dyspraxia often comes with language problems, and sometimes a degree of difficulty with perception and thought. Dyspraxia does not affect a person’s intelligence, but it can cause learning difficulties, especially for children.

6. Behavior Disorders with Learning Disabilities
Children with learning disabilities sometimes have behavioral problems. In some cases, problems with behavior may involve medical conditions such as attention deficit disorders. In other cases, behaviors may result from frustration with learning or learned because of environmental factors at school, home, or both.

White flight … from private schools?

Private school enrollment has been declining nationwide over the past decade, especially among white students, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau study.

The working paper concludes that that national downturn, which began earlier in the decade, isn’t likely to have been caused by the recession. Instead, it found a link between charter school growth and private school decline, suggesting that families who aren’t happy with traditional public schools may be switching to a tuition-free alternative.

The Census study inspired me to check North Carolina’s private-school reports. They show enrollment growing steadily in Mecklenburg County and statewide from 2000 to 2009, with both slumping in 2010.

But the numbers don’t show a dramatic decline. Mecklenburg’s private enrollment began ticking up again in 2011 and 2012. The latest report shows a total of 19,545 students in Mecklenburg’s private schools, accounting for just over 20 percent of all N.C. students in private schools. That’s just barely below the 2009 peak of 19,733. Statewide, the 2012 total of 96,096 in private schools is about 2.5 percent below the 2009 peak.

The future of gaming

Games based learning is one of the most important strategies for 21st Century education. We have enjoyed playing games since time immemorial, and video arcade games such as Asteroids and Space Invaders of the 1970’s were just the start of the emergence of digital games. Recently, with the development of handheld controls (such as the Nintendo Wii), 3D screens (Nintendo 3DS) and non touch gestural and voice controls (Microsoft’s XBox 360 Kinect) games have become increasingly captivating, and have an immersive quality. Games, whether digital or analogue, have the capability to motivate learners, challenge them to improve their dexterity, problem solving and reasoning skills, encourage teamwork and collaboration (Nemerow, 1996) – especially social games such as World of Warcraft or Call of Duty – and performance is under constant peer review. These match some of the key skills required to succeed in the world of work where digital technology is prevalent. Thiagarajan (1998) believes that games have five major characteristics that are important for learning, These are conflict, control, closure, contrivance, and competency. Clearly, digital games have a great deal to offer the future of learning. So what can we expect of games based learning in the future?

Innovative Way for Reading Struggles

Every child is unique. They were born with different ability or we can say it as strength and weaknesses. Some are quick learner and some are not, especially when the idea comes into teaching them spelling and reading. We do realize that some of them are struggling with reading and at this point, the parents will start thinking ways how to help their children to success in reading. Traditional parents might have done something wrong in the past by giving their children boring stuff in their process of learning the reading, the result is they get more frustrated and possibly giving up. Well, stop it! Because it won’t work and help them. You should start the new method and hope tips written below will help the children through their reading struggles.

As a parent, we all know that children love to play. One of million things that the children should love is toys. Toys mean everything for them. They love it as I guess you have experienced your children crying over the toys that they want. Then, why don’t you make a use of it? I mean the idea of teaching them something while they can play at the same time would be great and of course it should be designed not to be boring, learning by playing. Well, in this modern era, the parents should thank to the people who have given their time in developing the games or toys that are designed to help the children to learn something, especially about reading. Products like unifix cubes make learning about vowels and consonant easy, and can transform spelling lessons into puzzle games. This is of course a great idea that you should give a shot. And I am pretty sure that your children should enjoy every moment of transferring knowledge because it is done by playing. Well, it is worth trying.