Eight Ways Parents Can Be Involved With the Education of Their Children

Thursday, 6 December 2012
1. Reading- Parents should spend quiet time with their children. Reading is one of the most effective ways to utilize that quiet time. Research has told us that reading is an important factor in the success of children. In addition to quiet time, parents should take their children to the bookstore or library on a regular schedule to try and motivate them to read. This process should begin at a very early age, but it is never too late.

2. Meeting with Teachers- Parents should become familiar with all the teachers who are responsible for their children's education. Teachers will be more involved with children if the parent's are involved with them. This can benefit the children by having someone who may make an extra effort to identify educational strengths and weaknesses. Parents who are involved will have a pipeline to the teacher, who can help them get assistance if their children are in need, or recommend special programs. Furthermore, children will be less likely to misbehave when they know their parents have a rapport with their teachers. Parent teacher conferences are a must for parents.
3. Provide Educational Environment- Parents should organize their home to be conducive to academic success for their children. The house should demonstrate that education is important. This can be done by having educational materials throughout the house, especially in the child's bedroom. This material can consist of computer, printer, books, magazines, plenty of of paper, pencils and notebooks. This environment should have something to read all over the house, as well as educational posters, art, and words on the child's wall in the bedroom.

4. Routines- When raising successful children, parents must develop routines that keep them on a schedule. These routines will give children a successful way to organize their life. Some of the routines that are important include: what time to get up in the morning, what time to go to bed at night, what time is set aside to study each night, limited television during the week, no video games during the week, reading every night, what time to do chores each day and what time to eat each day. Parents can develop the routines they think are important.

5. Extracurricular Activities- Parents can accelerate their children's education when they are exposed to extracurricular activities. For example, if five-year- old children began learning how to play the piano. Parents will notice how quickly they develop other skills. Reading, math, and listening skills will be enhanced. Furthermore, being involved in activities that require physical activities will also enhance educational capacity. The increase in heart rate from exercising will help improve the over-all fitness of children, thus making them more alert for school.

6. Educational Outings- Numerous educational benefits can be derived from taking children on educational trips throughout the country. Children who visit the zoo, parks, and aquarium can learn about animals. Museums can be exceptional for learning about history and art. During and after the trips parents should discuss what children observed from the outing. These benefits are very beneficial to the over-all education of the children.

7. Help with Homework- Parents should set up a specific time that children do homework each day. The schedule should be the same each day, so children can develop a routine. The location for the homework should have all necessary supplies such as; paper, pencil, dictionary, computer, printer, etc.; Parents should be available for assistance whenever needed and children should do some kind of homework every night.

8. Volunteering at School- Parents should try and be a part of their children overall education, which includes volunteering at school. Volunteering is something that will benefit the school and show your children that you are concerned about their education. Volunteering can be anything from going on a field trip with your child class or helping a teacher. It really doesn't matter what you do, as long as you do something periodically.

Research has told us repeatedly, when parents are involved in their children's education, children learn better, earn higher grades, and are more likely to attend college. In addition, the research states that reading is the best indicator of success. This information should be very valuable to parents.


How the Right To an Education Destroys Our Children's Education

One of the most common arguments that school authorities use to justify public schools is that all children have a "right" to an education. Public-school apologists claim that all children have a right to an education, and that only the existence of a massive, compulsory, government-controlled public-school system can "guarantee" that right.
As I will explain below, the claim that all children have a right to an education ends up hurting the very children it was intended to help. I will therefore ask a seemingly shocking question -- do all children have a right to an education? If they do, public-school apologists are correct in assuming that we need government to guarantee that right so no child gets left behind.
What is an economic "right" such as the alleged right to an education? A "right" means that a person has a claim on the rest of society (other Americans) to give him some product or service he wants, regardless of whether he can pay for it or not. For example, if we claimed that everyone has a right to a car, that would mean if someone couldn't afford a car, government would give that person the money to buy it (the payment might be called a car voucher).

Similarly, if we say that all children have a right to an education, regardless of their parent's ability to pay tuition, then only government can guarantee this alleged right. Government has to guarantee this right because no private, for-profit school will admit a student if the parents don't pay tuition (unless the student gets a scholarship). If a private school doesn't get paid for its services, it soon goes out of business.
Local or state governments can guarantee this alleged right in two basic ways. They can own and operate all the public schools and force all children to attend these schools, or they can give subsidies (vouchers) to parents to pay for tuition in the private school of their choice. Since most school authorities strongly oppose vouchers, that means they support only a government-controlled system of compulsory public schools and school taxes to guarantee children this alleged right to an education.
But government produces nothing by itself. Government gets its money by taxing us. To guarantee this alleged right to a product or service, government tax collectors must therefore take money from one person to give it to another. They must take from Peter to pay Paul, as the saying goes. So, in effect, a person who demands food, housing, or medical care as an alleged right, is really demanding that government tax agents steal money from his neighbor to give him an unearned benefit he didn't work for.
Education, like housing or medical care, does not grow free in nature. Just as someone must pay doctors, nurses, and hospitals for all the services they provide, someone must also pay for teachers' salaries, textbooks, janitorial services, and school upkeep. Other than air, nothing that we need is free.
The average public school now gets over $7,500 a year per student, paid from compulsory taxes. To guarantee education as a "right," local, state, and federal governments must tax all Americans to pay for public schools. All of us are taxed, whether or not we have school-age children or think these schools are worth paying for. So when some parents claim that their children have a right to an education, they are really demanding that their local or state government steal money from their neighbors to pay for their children's education.
Here's an analogy that might help clarify this issue. Imagine that your unemployed neighbor comes to you and asks you to lend him money to pay for his children's education. You reply that, though you sympathize with his problem, your answer is no. He responds by saying that he is poor, points out that you have a big house and a job, and insists that his children have a "right" to an education. You say, "Sorry, my answer is still no because I need my money for my own children's education." Suppose that your neighbor then gets real mad, pulls out a gun, puts it to your head, and says, "I asked you nicely. I told you my children need an education. You have a job, and I'm unemployed, so you have a moral duty to give me your money." Then he clicks back the hammer on the gun.
Does your neighbor have the right to put a gun to your head and steal your money because his children "need" an education? He has no such right. Nor does he, or any number of your neighbors, have the right to rob you by getting government to be their enforcer -- by pressuring local governments to take your money through school taxes. Any school system that uses compulsory taxes is a system based on the notion that theft is moral if it's for a good cause. No goal, not even educating children, justifies legalized theft.
It is only natural that all parents want the best education for their children, but do good intentions justify stealing from your neighbor? A mugger on the street who puts a knife to your throat and demands your money also has good intentions -- he wants to make his life better with your money. One of the Ten Commandments says, "Thou shalt not steal." It does not say, "Thou shalt not steal, except if you need tuition money to educate your child." Since no one has a right to steal from his neighbor, no one, including children, has a "right" to an education.
Some might argue that I may be correct on this issue when it comes to adults, but surely we can't punish innocent children for their parent's failures? Just because parents are poor or unemployed, why should innocent children suffer and be denied an education? The answer to that question is one that many people find hard to accept, yet it is true -- there are no guarantees in life, not for adults or for children. Good intentions to alleviate a problem do not justify hurting other people by stealing from them. Two wrongs do not make a right.
Moreover, if we agree that children have a right to an education because their parents are poor, then shouldn't they also have a right to food, a bicycle, a nice house in the suburbs, and designer clothes? If poor kids (and all children) have an alleged right to an education, don't they also have an alleged right to everything else that other kids have whose parents are well-off? Why not then say that anyone, poor, middle-class, or rich who has less money than his neighbor, has the "right" to steal from his neighbor? Where do we stop if some people can legally steal from others because they claim their kids need this or that?
The answer is, we don't stop, and we haven't stopped. That is why our country has turned into a devouring welfare state that is drowning in debt. When I use the word "welfare," I don't mean only for the poor. Rich, poor, and middle-class alike in America now claim the right to everything from corporate tax breaks and subsidies, to price supports for farmers, to Medicare, to rent subsidies for unwed mothers. When we let government steal money from taxpayers to give unearned benefits or subsidies to special-interest groups, we open up a Pandora's box. We become a nation of thieves stealing from each other. Is this what we want America to become?
It is true that a free market does not and can not guarantee that all children have enough to eat or live in a comfortable house. Likewise, a free-market education system in which all parents have to pay for their children's education obviously can't guarantee a quality education for every child.
However, government-controlled public schools also can't guarantee that every child gets a quality education. These failed schools can barely teach our children to read. Also, neither system can make guarantees because there are no guarantees in life, and because each child's abilities, personality, and family background are so different that such guarantees are impossible. The real question, then, is not which system is perfect, but which system is more likely to give the vast majority of children a quality education that most parents could afford?
Public schools fail and betray millions of children, year after year. The only "right" the public-school system gives to school children is the right to suffer through a mind-numbing, third-rate education for twelve years.
In contrast, the free-market, while not perfect, gives us all the wondrous goods and services we buy every day, such as cars, fresh food, computers, refrigerators, and televisions. The superbly efficient and competitive free market gives us all these marvelous products at prices that most people can afford. Even the poorest American families today have a car, refrigerator, and sometimes two televisions in their homes. If we want to discover which system would give the vast majority of children a quality education at reasonable prices, I think we have the answer -- the free market, hands down.
We therefore don't need a failed public-school system to enforce an alleged right to an education, when there is no such right in the first place. Each parent should be responsible for paying for their own children's education, just as they pay for their children's food or clothing.
Finally, public-school apologists use this alleged right to an education to justify keeping the public-school dinosaur alive, in spite of these schools' never-ending failure. Many public-school apologists who claim that children have a right to an education do so out of good intentions. They want to give all children a chance to get a decent education. But good intentions mean worse than nothing if they lead to dismal consequences. This alleged right to an education lets government bureaucrats have tyrannical control over our children's minds and future.
The "right" to an education requires a massive government-controlled public-school system to enforce that right. But it is this same public-school system that cripples the education and lives of millions of children. So, ironically, the alleged right to an education is the worst thing we can offer our children.
Most low-income families don't need government education handouts anymore in the form of allegedly "free" public schools. Parents today can buy quality, low-cost food in a competitive, free-market food industry full of grocery stores and supermarkets. In the same way, parents today can give their kids a quality education using low-cost Internet private schools and homeschooling.

College Funds - Saving For Your Children's Education

Wednesday, 5 December 2012
We all want the very best for our kids. We all want them to achieve their full potential, to be happy and most of all have what we did not have. Preparing for the future is something that you need to start thinking about now and with the world changing radically we never know what's around the corner. One thing that is for sure is he importance of a tertiary education. In many ways its the ultimate "gift" you can give your kids because its the gift that keeps on giving. Not only will it enable them to get ahead in life, it will afford them opportunities that 70% of their peers won't have.

A college education is not cheap and with governments all over the world struggling financially themselves, its conceivable that a tertiary education will become more and more expensive in the foreseeable future. A lot of the government funding is already being withdrawn as universities and colleges are left to fend for themselves.
Student loan can provide the financial aid needed to get an education, but its a huge problem that many graduates are faced with right now. Finished with their studies and set to hit the job market, there aren't any jobs. this leaves them with no income and a heavy loan to pay off. Student loans can put anyone on the back foot from day one. Fresh graduates can take years to start earning good money and with the burden of a loan it can really weight them down and set them up for a shaky start to life.

The secret to setting up a college fund for your kids is to start early. Even 1 extra year of savings can really add up over a 20 year period. You really don't have to save a fortune every month. All it takes is a small commitment monthly and the best time to start is the day your kids get born. Starting early and investing in a secure investment vehicle like government bonds or even a money market account can really help you achieve that goal of sending your kids to college - cost free. Its more than a gift. Its a head start in life that money cannot buy.



The Parents Should Take Some Control Over Their Children's Education

The education of children is so important nowadays that you shouldn't leave it up to the schools. Schools do their best but there is more to giving your children a head start in life than what is taught in schools. Schools can only do so much and if your child starts to get left behind in any subject it is time for you - the parents - to step up and do something about it. And that is not going to the school and throwing a tantrum.

It is time to start taking control of your child's future. In Asia the education of children is so important that most students do extra classes outside of school hours. And they nearly all try to learn English. Because they know if they can get ahead in English they will have a very good chance of getting a good job.
In the Western World there doesn't seem to be as much emphasis on education. Schools have gone from a place of learning to some place for kids to go during the day. Elementary children's education in the west is still very good but in high school it starts to fall down.

I think a lot has to do with attitude towards the future. Over the last 30 years we have had a good life and kids have never worried about the future. But that is about to change and I think that will affect the attitude of children towards to education. In China before the economic miracle children needed a good education to survive. But now over the last 10 to 15 years this generation has only seen magnificent cities grow out of the paddy fields. So the children's education standards are dropping dramatically. They are catching up to the west in more ways that one.



Promoting Basic Children's Education Programs

Basic academic programs provide for academic and welfare needs of children. These programs provide children, particularly those from low-income and socio-economic backgrounds, access to basic education, healthcare, and nutrition. Apart from funding, these programs also provide infrastructure, promote sponsorship, and facilitate legal support for children's welfare in crisis communities. Below are examples of established tutoring programs in the United States and around the World.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Learning Plus-The UNICEF Learning Plus is an initiative of our Basic Education and Gender Equality program. Learning Plus promotes child-friendly schools (CFS) that go far beyond their traditional mandate for education: They are one-stop centers for a broad range of essential services. Learning Plus schools feed children, whether through lunches or take-home meals. The program also provides immunizations, micronutrients, deworming treatment, hygiene, and health education programs for the prevention of disease. They also provide care and support for orphans and other vulnerable children-an especially urgent need in countries greatly affected by armed conflict, AIDS and poverty
.Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM)- The Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao, or BEAM project, is a Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) project aiming to improve the quality of and the access to basic education in Southern and Central Mindanao. It is funded by the Government of the Philippines (GoP) and the Government of Australia (GoA) through a AUD$36 million grant from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

Promoting these programs is essential in order to gain the support and sponsorship that they need. Apart from high-impact marketing campaigns, one effective but affordable alternative is printing small-scale promotional materials. Examples of these include flyers, brochures, pocket folders, stickers, bookmarks, postcards, catalogs, booklets, posters, and canvas prints. Printing companies offer wholesale orders of prints at low or even discounted rates. Online printing companies like Uprinting, even offer convenient discount coupons on printing posters, postcards and canvas prints online.



Parent's Participation in Children's Education

You cannot expect the school district to bear sole responsibility for the teaching of a child. Education is a process, so stick with your child each step along the way to ensure a smooth transition through the years.

Know your child
According to Betsy Combier, administrator for the parentadvocates.org website, knowing your child is the first step. Take an active role in recognizing what your child's strengths and weaknesses are and knowing how he learns best. If you know what excites and frustrates your child from a learning perspective, then that information can serve as a point of reference for his teacher. Combier recommends sharing these feelings along with him. "Get in there," she says. "Get excited right along with him."

Be active
To maximize your child's education, it is not enough just to have your voice heard during an annual parent-teacher conference. Teachers want your help in educating your child through his successes and failures. Reach out to your child's teacher with phone calls and e-mails. If you two maintain a cooperative relationship from the onset of the school year then if and when an issue arises you can face it together as a team. A joint understanding and clear communication are usually enough to help solve any problem.
Success benchmarks
No classroom environment is perfect. One teacher cannot address each student's needs. Furthermore, since education is not one-size-fits-all, a high grade does not necessarily mean that your child is being challenged. Parents should ask teachers about course benchmarks and their child 's achievements so they are updated.

Don't forget that other parents can provide a wealth of information as well. All of you have expertise in different areas so share what you know. Also, do your part to know what's expected of your child in each grade by researching educational resources online and reading the newspaper to stay current.

Curriculum check
If you are interested in checking out your child's curriculum, approach the situation from a curiosity perspective so you're not on the offensive when talking to your child's teacher. Do not be afraid to ask questions and know there is always more work that can be done at home. You can enhance your child's education by using library resources as well.

Communication tactics
Always act with integrity because your children are watching. Be respectful of the teacher's boundaries since it is his classroom. Set up appointments beforehand and keep careful notes of any communication you have. If any issues escalate that you and the teacher or the guidance counselor cannot resolve then consider reaching out to the principal or another administrator.




The Added Advantage in African American Children's Education - Computer Home Schooling Part 3

We've got spirit, yes we do! We've got spirit how 'bout you!

In our last article our subject was finding resources to homeschool African American children using the Internet and other avenues. In part 3 of 4 we will champion the use of computers to teach our African American children and prepare them for the future where computers will be involved in almost every aspect of our society.

Recent news came out that John Singleton, director of Boyz N the Hood has joined the ranks of other high profile directors in game design development. Video games these days, like the ones your children are probably playing are not only big business, but they also have small movies in them. These directors are becoming involved in video game design because it's a natural extension of their talents.
I'm mentioning this because if your child is playing video games now, with the proper development in the coming years they could be prepared for video game development. The first step is getting them used to using a computer and then adding other skills in software programs that will help them in the future. An example is a powerful graphics program Adobe Photoshop, getting them to dabble now while they are young (and my 9 year-old nephew is better at Photoshop than I am) and exposing them to a formal class later (he had the class) will put them on the road to careers that are way above the pay at your local burger place.

That is just one career example with computers in the industry, it would take a book to show you the ones available today. In the not too distant future computers will be part of our society even more as the computers become smaller and smaller and faster and faster. Not exposing your children to computers now will only harm them and make sure they are left behind with the digital divide growing each day.

A computer homeschool will develop children who are not only computer literate, but able to install software, learn new software, know how to use the Internet for research and communication, know how to keep a computer network secure and other numerous benefits.

Members of our staff support African American computer homeschooling in their area and we have a slight favor to see computer homeschooling everywhere benefit from the advantages of a wireless network. We even have minority friends that work at major retailers in several states that are homeschooled and already have experienced having a wireless home.

Daviyd Peterson: 12-year consultant, instructor, trainer of digital divide solutions for home and business. Helps African American and minority homeschools bridge the digital divide by becoming computer homeschools. Supporting homeschool moms and dads with resources to provide income for their homeschool...


Special Needs Children's Education

It's almost as though homeschooling was invented for a special needs children's education.  Kids afflicted with ADHD, autism, dyslexia or Asperger's among other learning difficulties can all benefit from being taught at home by their parents.  Some public school systems can afford to hire trained therapists for these fields, but the extra attention and time afforded a student at home by a loved one can make a big difference in a child's ability to learn.  It's just natural for a parent to be able to teach their own child more effectively.  They've been doing it for the student's whole life and know how to best approach new things with them.  They will likely be more patient than a public school teacher and offer the extra time it might take to learn.  A classroom would likely not be as able to offer the one-on-one time it might take until a student "gets it".
It's likely a parent would also know better than a public school instructor what manner of teaching would best suit their child.  Some learn better with visual aids, some by repetition and some by seeing it done for them and copying what they're taught.  It's very likely a parent would already know this from their own experience.  They'll also know what to look for when a special needs child is getting frustrated and ready to act up or quit, thereby avoiding a bad learning experience for the child.

If you're wondering what sort of curriculum would best suit your special needs children's education, there are several avenues to get started.

We would first look on the Internet.  Non-profit groups who support your child's disorder will likely have a presence there and should have good information about learning difficulties and how to overcome them.  They will likely make suggestions or direct you to other good sources.  They may even list case studies of various methods of learning and their success rates.

We would also try to find support groups on the Internet for your particular disease.  There will likely be several forums on the Web where you can read others' posts and ask questions directly.  Parents on these websites are often very willing to share their experiences and will offer help when they can.  Although your child is an individual, often there can be common practices that will help almost all children suffering from a common ailment.

There are also many books available about homeschooling your special needs children.  Some are written specifically for particular disorders and offer teaching suggestions as well as curriculum selection guides.  Most are written by people who have been homeschooling their own special needs children, so they speak with experience and write in every day language, rather than from theory with medical-babble-speak.

If you start with these suggestions, you should quickly be on the road to solving how to best get your special needs children educated.  It can be as rewarding for you as it will be for your child since you will have contributed directly to his education and well-being.

A J Adams has had a keen interest in home schooling for a number of years. With several public school teachers in his family, he has had many discussions regarding current school problems. He's heard many suggestions, one of which was the growing number of children being home schooled. After a thorough period of research, he decided to write an article about special needs children education [http://www.elementary-home-schools.com/special-needs-homeschooling.html]. He will be submitting more in future articles. Mr. Adams also owns and maintains a website with his wife at [http://www.elementary-home-schools.com] where you can get a free 10-part mini-course on homeschooling and watch a touching video made by a young man to thank his mother for her many years of homeschooling him.




Why You Should Use Children's Educational Books to Increase Your Child's Intellectual Capacity

Using children's educational books has become one of the most important facets of a child's intellectual growth. Parents are realizing the importance of stimulating their children mentally in order for them to become well developed later on in life. There is a great variety of children's educational books and coupled with the fact that they are affordable, most parents now can afford to use these books. The mental stimulation offered by these books is well worth their price and you won't regret using them.

A great variety of books
There is a great variety of educational books for children. Educational books cover the realm of the Alphabets, Numbers, Animals and books that focus on the right side of the brain and the left side of the brain. It is a great idea to buy all of the books at the same time so that you can expose your child to different things each day. It might become tedious and boring for them to use one book repeatedly each day.

Affordable
Another great reason for buying educational books for children online is because they have become very affordable. An ABC book costs around £6.99. You could buy two cups of coffee for this amount of money. Look online for a reputable educational book supplier that will help you pick out a few choice books for your child. If you're a savvy shopper you can even find dealers that offer book packages. A book package is a package of all of the books for a discounted price.
Great Mental Stimulation
Children's educational books are designed in such a way that they mentally stimulate your child with pictures, colour and imagination. Each page is carefully crafted so that your child experiences fun and interest while learning. Make sure that you engage your child in such a way that they will actually ask you to learn more about the books. Try to use them once a day for an hour. Don't overburden your child too quickly.

Children's learning books are a quick, easy, affordable way to introduce the alphabet, numbers and animals into their vocabulary. Use the right and left brain books to develop each side of their brains. Both sides of the brains are important for mental stimulation. Once

you've used children educational books for your children you can't help but see the remarkable difference in their development.

Melanie Thomas (CEO Melrose Kids Ltd) is a mother of two boys and lives in London, England. Melrose Kids Ltd are the official distributor of Brainy Baby products in the UK and Ireland.

For 15 years, The Brainy Baby Company has been a pioneer and leader in DVDs, Books, flashcards, Games and Toys for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. The award-winning line of videos, CDs, children's educational books, games, and toys introduce educational subjects such as letters, languages, shapes, animals, art and music. The site also has preschool games for toddlers.




Children's Education - Whose Job is It?

For the past three decades a battle has been growing in the USA that is taking its toll on children of all ages. Interestingly enough this battle is not against an incurable disease or sickness. It can not be stopped by governmental bureaucrats, nor can it be fought with conventional military weaponry. Even though the USA is the most powerful country in the world, has some of the greatest minds on earth and most of the world wealthiest people, this battle grows more intense and continues to disable many children. The battle that I am talking about is called illiteracy.

Today parents have been given various options when it comes to the education of their children. The four major choices are Public School, Private School, Cyber School and Home School. However, Private Schools and Home School require "out-of-pocket" funding from parents and Home School and Cyber School require a parent to stay-at-home. For most American families these three sources of education are not an option, their only option is Public School. Unfortunately it is the public school system where illiteracy runs rampant.
On February 25, 2008, ABC World News story entitled, Living in the Shadows: Illiteracy in America, reported that "7 million Americans are illiterate, 27 million are unable to read well enough to complete a job application and 30 million can't read a simple sentence." These are adult American's who at one time were children in the Public School system. So, what can be done to stop the avalanche of illiteracy in the USA?

The first thing we must do as a nation is stop putting hundreds of millions of dollars in to a public school system that is broken. Somehow we have adopted the mindset that throwing money at it will solve the problem. Who in their right mind would continue to put more money into an automobile that never seems to work right or run properly, no one would because we call them "Lemons?" Well, it's time to stop throwing money at the Public School "Lemon" and fix it!

Next parents must get involved with their local school districts. The lack of involvement by parents allows a small minority of so called educators to set the standard of what they think is best for our children. Hey, it's not working! Parents, please help your children by getting involved in your local school district!

The most important and most effective way to turn illiteracy around is parents must take the responsibility for training their children, especially from infancy to 6 years of age. Research reveals that a child's brain development is most affected from infancy - 6 years of age. There is nothing more powerful than the relationship between a parent and child and parenting is the most natural way to develop your child.

Children learn naturally through play and parents do not need to be educators to have a positive impact on their child's developmental skills, just a loving desire to interact with them is all that it takes. So who are the one's to take the lead in the education of America's children? You guessed it, parents!

APlusEducationalToys is committed to helping children have fun while they learn and grow. With over 30 years of experience in child development, early childhood education and over 25 years in children, youth, family and adult ministry, we offer you expert advice and guidance choosing age appropriate, creative educational toys for your child. For more information and to view our products, come visit us at...


Childrens's Education - Parents Have Homework Too!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Children's education is of a high priority in today's 21st century education. So much more is demanded of our students to complete a demanding curriculum on the way to college or university. When students are under the gun for higher marks, better attendance and other markers for success, then parents are also expected to be actively involved in the system.

Children's education is beginning at an earlier age when most youngsters are in school by the age of 3 and 1/2 or 4 years. It is not glorified daycare as some would deem it; education is easier when children are between the ages of 2-5 years. This is when they accomplish most of their learning and it sets the groundwork for their future in education. Parents must make sure that their children attend an accredited nursery or daycare centre, early kindergarten or other program which will ensure that their child attains the best beginning.
Once your child is older and gets involved in the higher grades, please ensure that your child attends school regularly. Other than a viral or other illness, all children should be at school every day. So many lessons are taught and programs are conducted that it is easy for children to fall behind if kept at home. Secondly, make sure that you are an active player in your children's education. Attend any Open House or Meet the Teacher events and interviews regarding your child's success in school. Both parents should attend, whether the family is intact or not, in order to stay on top of your children's education.

At home, a parent's job is to provide a quiet, well-lit area for their child to complete his or her homework and projects. It does not always work to send them to their room where they can go unnoticed for up to an hour. All of the children in the family should have a quiet homework period, without the distractions of television or video games, preferably in a room on the main floor. Parents should be in attendance to assist with reading out the assignment, clarifying any questions or problems, showing an example if necessary and then leave the child to do his own work.

Parents should never do the homework with the child in its entirety. Homework or projects need to showcase what the child knows, can perform or does not understand. Homework is only one component of a child's education and it should not be the final estimation of a final mark for the child's report card. If it becomes a problem, your child cannot complete the assignment or cannot understand a lesson, then write a short note saying that you spent considerable time and effort on this assignment but your child was unable to complete it. That does not mean that he wins the argument or problem but you have assured the teacher that you have tried.

Homework should not be a long, drawn-out crying session, with gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair. It is meant to be a review of the lesson taught at school or a book to read for a novel study. Parents cannot be expected to teach what is on the curriculum today, after work and after supper. Children's education should be a positive, happy experience with parental involvement.

Riko Kawasaki is a diet fanatic who also works in the professional fitness industry. She believes that health and fitness starts with what we put in our bodies.



Exposing Your Children To Educational Books

One cannot undermine the importance of reading in a child's education. That's why educational books are important as they help increase a child's vocabulary and awaken his interest to learn more. Reading is the first step and the basic foundation for a child to perform well in school. When a child develops love for reading, learning other things becomes a lot easier. It is, therefore, important for parents to get the children's interest to read at a very young age.

In order to capture your child's interest for educational books, develop the habit of reading aloud to them. They will find it interesting as you read to them different stories and imitate various characters. Set aside a specific time of day dedicated to reading alone. This will have the children something to look forward to every day. Once the children develop love for reading, they will also develop the initiative to read on their own as they grow old. Reading is especially good to unwind and relax that's why many parents prefer to read bedtime stories to their children.
Another good way to get your child exposed to the wonders of educational books is to take them to libraries. This will both teach them to develop appreciation for good books and learn the responsibility of returning them properly. If they're old enough to select their books and reading materials, you can encourage them to get their own library card so they can explore and borrow on their own. Show them the area in the library where children's educational books are found.

One important tip to get the attention of your children is to engage them every time you read stories. When you read with feelings and emotions and, at the same time, interact with children as you tell stories, they are challenged to use their imagination and listen intently. As you read educational books, include your children as part of the characters in the story. This will thrill them so much that they will want to participate in the story-telling until they learn to tell the story on their own. There are movies that were created based on best-selling books. It would help to buy these books and watch the movie with your kids. This will help them to relate the movie to the original story in the book. This will test their memory and understanding of what they watch and read.

Children should be able to associate reading with fun; as such, you should know how to create a good environment that's conducive to reading and learning. It's best to set up a separate area in your house or room that's dedicated to reading and studying. Provide the appropriate furniture such as study table, chair and book shelves for all the educational books that you will buy for your children. Do not force them to read when they're not in a good mood as this might make them develop negative notions about reading and studying.

There's no specific age set to introduce your child to reading; but the earlier you expose them to the beauty of books and the wonders of reading, the better it is for them.



5 Tips To Successful Children's Education

Being a modern day parent is so much different and more difficult than the past. Don't you agree? While working hard in the day and spending whatever time left with your kid, parents go through so much hardship for one of the most important reasons: to give their children a proper education which would open up avenues of success for them in the future. In a fast paced society where time is of the essence, we tend to assume that children will absorb and understand whatever we throw at them and make sure they learn as much as possible because we believe that it will be beneficial.

It is said that the brain of a child is like a sponge and it'll absorb anything, everything and this is why they tend to ask endless amount of questions and if we want our children to be well mannered and learn the right stuff, must we cater something different just for their curious minds? I believe we do.
I'm not a parent nor a child educator myself but I've been a kid once, well, in fact everyone was a kid once but as we age and mature, we lost touch with our kiddy behavior and mentality because it is not acceptable in the society and when we communicate or teach our young, we often lose our patience resulting in undesirable outcomes. Now, the below 5 tips are what I've observed, read, studied and gathered from child educators and I personally believe that if you teach yourself to have these qualities while educating your young, it will definitely lessen your burden and at the same time bring a whole lot of fun and joy to you and your kids! I understand that you're all grown up and mature now but let's all hear what the younger generation has to say, shall we?

Tip 1 - Always assess the ability of the child before proceeding to teach something new. It is important to understand the learning capabilities of the child (i.e. strengths, needs) before you begin to educate them. As every child is different and possesses different IQ levels, it is essential to find out what their pace of learning is especially for children with intellectual disabilities. Children with such disabilities will take a longer time to learn or pick up new skills as compared to a normal child. Therefore, it is very important to teach the child things that suit their cognitive level.

Tip 2 - Conducive learning areas. To enable a child to learn effectively, a child is best placed in an environment that allows them to fully concentrate on whatever they are supposed to learn. Set up areas for play and learning separately, this is also useful in letting them know that there is a different time for studying and playing.

Tip 3 - Create a safe environment for progressive learning. For instance, you can encourage inquisitiveness and allow them to make mistakes in order to learn. Allowing your children to learn from their mistakes is more effective than spoon-feeding them. Progressive learning also helps in building a solid foundation for the child and not giving too much information at one time which can result in them losing interest.

Tip 4 - Be consistent in setting your expectations. You have to expect that the child is able to learn and each time, set an expectation slightly above the child's ability so as to push them to achieve greater heights. However, this will only be effective by doing it consistently.

Tip 5 - Have care and patience towards the child. You have to be genuine in wanting the child to learn. Teach the child for the sake of his/her learning and not for the sake of teaching. One way will be to care for the child constantly, and this will gradually help you in building a bond with them, thus enable the child to respond effectively and readily to you.

Armed with the knowledge on how to deal with your child's education, you are now ready to provide them with the right amount of materials, in the right environment to achieve the results you desire! Remember that the child's learning must be consistent and always allow them to explore new stuffs through their five senses, of course with an adult's supervision. With that, I wish you all the best in educating the young.

Jerry Yang is the co-owner and managing director at Quickienomics.com where supplementary education for Introduction to Economics under the University of London programme is provided.



Saving For Children's Education

One of the most common financial goals that couples have is to save money for their children's education, whether that be at a private school or a tertiary institution. Saving for this purpose is no different than saving for any other goal in life, yet there is a common misperception that funds need to be set aside separately or even in the child's name for this purpose. That can lead to a lower rate of investment return in some cases.

If you are going to save for your children's education, then you're probably looking at saving tens of thousands of dollars and it will take a number of years to get to that target.
That means starting when the child is young - in fact, probably at the preschool age. Anybody with preschoolers most probably has a mortgage. With mortgage interest rates being so high, the best place to put your money is into your mortgage to keep the interest payments down. If, for example, you are paying say 7.0% interest on your mortgage you would need to earn at least 7.0% after tax on an investment to make it worthwhile investing and not paying your mortgage. So pay off your debt as fast as you can, and then remortgage later if your still really want to help your kids. If you have grandchildren that you wish to provide for, the situation may be a little different. You probably won't have a mortgage and you may wish to make funds available that are clearly earmarked for your grandchildren and clearly specified to be used only for education costs. A good way of achieving these objectives is to set up an education trust. This can be done through a solicitor or trustee company. There will be a fee involved to establish and maintain the trust, but there will be safeguards in place to ensure that the funds are used for the purpose you intend. An education trust can be particularly useful in certain situations, for example, where there is a relationship breakdown between parents and a parent or grandparent wishes to make funds available without the risk of the money being used for a different purpose. An education trust can also be used where funds might be at risk of a possible future claim by business creditors.

There are specialist funds available that offer educational scholarships. The idea is that you contribute a regular amount into the fund and, if your child attends a tertiary institution there is a scholarship payable. Such funds need to be looked at carefully in terms of the likelihood of your child attending a tertiary institution and, in the event they do, the value of the scholarship in relation to the funds invested.


Children's Education: On the Benefits of Games and Educational Toys

More than 93 per cent of parents want their children to have a post-secondary education. With the cost of tuition, books and living expenses rising by the month, planning years in advance for these inevitable years of school can alleviate the financial stress of leaving it to the last minute. There are many factors to consider as well when it comes to planning on these expenses, such as if your child will attend out of state, will live at home while in school or will be able to handle a part-time job while attending school. A four-year University program will certainly cost a pretty penny when factoring in the cost of books and supplies.

This cost can take many years to pay off if the fees are funded through student loans, leaving many young students in massive debt, and without a job, on graduation day. It is best to begin saving for your child's education as soon as you can.

According to Acumen Research, 60 per cent of potential University students do not discuss educational finances with their peers or parents until they are around the tenth grade. This is obviously too late to begin saving. Parents should begin by putting whatever they can away when they children are at a young age. Sean Junor, manager for the Educational Policy Institute suggests finding out what your child's interests are as they grow up. Keeping tabs on their interests can provide a bit of a guide when it comes to later schooling. If your child is interested in food, then a culinary school could be what you should be saving for.
Knowing this type of information early on allows you, as a parent, to realize if they will be more likely to attend a local college for two years or an international university studying specialized sciences for eight years, for instance. The cost from one option to the other is a staggering difference. Getting an idea of your child's academic goal will be a great start to knowing the amount of money that will be required.

If putting several hundred dollars a month into an educational account is not feasible, then put away what you can afford, when you can afford it. Junor says, "You've got to start somewhere. The key is to sit down and determine how much you have at your disposal to start saving right now."

Taking advantage of programs such as the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESPs) and the Canada Education Savings Grant early on can also have a significant impact in your end result. RESPs allow for (eventual) tax-free withdrawal. The money put into a Canada Educations Savings account by modest-income families is matched by the government and allows them to begin saving for a Canada Learning Bond. If you live in Alberta, additional programs such as the Alberta Centennial Educations Savings Plan is worth looking into.



Children's Education: On the Benefits of Games and Educational Toys

There are a lot of factors that can greatly affect the development of children. Some people might think that games and toys don't have anything to do with this but it actually has some purpose. There should always be a balance between study and play. Both should not be deprived to a child. Toys and games can be a way for kids to be developed and learn other than providing entertainment. Actually, letting kids play with the right type of toys and games can provide them with a foundation in their education. At their early age, you can give them a good start.

The values toys and games provide are almost similar with other. This is even though there are a lot of play things that are available for your child in the market. By nature many children are curious. When parents are able to provide them with the right toys to play with, the kids can keep their interest the whole day. If this is not done so, on the other hand, they may likely look for a way to amuse their self thus they may end up cluttering or even destroying some important things at home. They may even be subject to accidents, so it is always good to keep things that might cause this.
One of the best ways to keep children from doing this is to provide them with toys to play with. Educational toys are some of the items that can be given to children. Here are some of the benefits that can be acquired from it.

The common benefit is that kids can enjoy and have fun from playing. When a child enjoys a toy or a game, he will keep playing with it. As parents, you should remember that in choosing a toy for your child, the enjoyment the kid may get should be considered. Also, you might consider toys that get his interest.

Motor and cognitive skills are likely to be developed. Puzzles and number games are some of the toys that have the ability to provide this. A kid's cognitive skills can be developed because of the fact that he will find ways on how to complete a puzzle. As for the motor skills, it can be developed because the coordination of the eyes and hands will be needed in solving a jigsaw puzzle.

Kids can also develop their creativity through the right type of toys. Their reasoning and perception can likely be developed. Toys like LEGO can develop their creativity for they can be able to come up with a certain image in their mind. This is a good thing to provide kids at an early age. Because of this, they can be ready to face the common things to meet when they start to study.

Social and emotional development is also likely to be developed through toys and games. This is true especially for group games. Kids will be able to meet new people and as they interact with them, they can create new friends. When they win or lose, their emotional aspects are affected.

These are just some of the benefits that can be acquired from toys and games.



Are We Involved in Our Children's Education?

Monday, 1 October 2012
Recent studies have shown that parents that are more involved in their child's education as well as activities make a positive impact in their lives. This is reflected in the kids' grades, school attendance, attitude and behavior. Of course 'there is always an exception to every rule' but overall parents' involvement result in a happier, healthier and well-adjusted child.

How can we be more involved? With today's busy schedule between home, work and school, this seems like a no-answer question. However, with careful planning and dedication, we can make a positive experience for ourselves and our kids. We can take time to volunteer at school, my kids love to see me at their school helping out. Or be a great supporter of the sports they play. A lot of my friends who hold jobs don't miss a game their kids go to, bringing snacks and their happy faces to cheer them up! Or maybe you want to help in the community or run a marathon, no matter what it is, kids will always be proud of their parents involvement.
But what about at home? We should show our kids that our homes are an involved and active supporter of their learning. I created a private study area where they can concentrate and not been interrupted. Do they need help with homework? I'm there, even though I may not know everything they may be learning at school at any given time; but hey I just browse the web really quick, get updated and pretend I know it all... I even sometimes check the homework once is posted in the school website before given it to them so I'm ready. Any other day while I'm cooking or washing the dishes I will invite my kids to watch me or better yet help me and take that time to ask them about school, their friends and what they learned that day. When they have school projects I'm always available to help and we do it together. Also building a communication bridge with the teachers is very important. I want to know how they are doing and open for suggestions on how I can be of help. It is nice to always be there to encourage and support your child.

I personally try to balance my life every single day, it is funny how sometimes they ask me "Mom, how can you do everything, don't you get tired?" And yes, some days (actually most days) I go to bed late and wake up early, but it's worthy because at the end of the day I feel I am part of my kids' life and I know I'm making a difference!



The Need for Yoga in the Education of Children

Elementary teachers have advocated implementing programs into the curriculum that help children focus. That is why, despite some concerns about the connection of yoga to spiritual growth, yoga has become an accepted practice in physical education classrooms across the United States.

People practice yoga not just for its physical fitness value, but also because, simply put, it gives kids the time to enjoy being a child. Taking time to stretch, breathe deeply and focus not only gets the blood circulating, it also relaxes the body and stimulates the mind.
Yoga curriculum in children's education is important for one primary reason. Many children around the world, particularly those affected by attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorders, have trouble concentrating in class. And since yoga actively practices focus, studies like the one performed in 2003 by researchers at California State University, Los Angeles, indicate a positive correlation between grades, behavior and yoga practice. In other words, children who practice yoga are more likely to be better behaved and to earn higher grades than their peers who do not practice yoga.

Most schools that incorporate yoga into their curriculum do so after stripping it of any religious overtones; for example, meditation time in schools becomes imagination time. Since kids generally take yoga less seriously than adults do, it turns out children can still reap the benefits of focused relaxation from a session of stretches and poses that help train the mind to concentrate.

Another reason that children need yoga is that it is a physical activity where overt competition or athletic skills are not necessary. Even young kids who do not like gym or game time can appreciate an active yoga session they can excel in.

Another added benefit of incorporating yoga into the curriculum is that teachers can utilize the warm-up and stretching poses for story or learning time. For example, an elementary teacher could incorporate a history lesson by walking the kids through stretches while describing a day in the life of a Native American tribal chief or of a young girl in a covered wagon on the Oregon Trail. Combining physical activity with mental stimulation will keep kids engaged with the material even while they release energy and learn to slow down.

Clearly, adding yoga to children's education can help them stay on task, score higher on tests, and remember information longer. And since children need to do well in these areas to be successful in school, incorporating yoga into the curriculum is a no-brainer!

Focusing on Successful Education for Your Children

Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Focusing on your child's education has become more important now, than it was before. You not only have to ensure that your kids are going to the best schools you can find, but also ensure that their education is providing them with everything they will need for the future.

Many parents find it difficult to pay attention to their children's education, especially if both parents are working parents. But there are some sacrifices that every parent should be willing to make. Take a look at the few tips that will help you make sure that your child is receiving the right kind of education and is being taught properly.

Firstly, you should understand what your child is capable of. You need to understand their abilities before you start teaching them something new. Every child has different needs, abilities and strengths and it's important to understand your own child rather than compare him/her to what other children are doing. Some children may have a slower pace of learning as opposed to others, and as parents, you will need to identify that. Spend time with your child to understand his/her skills and assess how sharp he/she is at picking up new stuff. You will have to get down to their cognitive level if you really want them to learn.
Make sure that the environment that your child is studying in is a learning environment. The environment greatly affects the ability of a child to learn. The child needs an environment that allows him/her to concentrate. Playing and learning go hand in hand, so there should be some playful activities along with some educational activities.

Make sure that your child is safe. Don't push them around if they make mistakes, because mistakes are the first steps to rectify errors. Let the children learn from their mistakes. It helps them learn progressively and strengthens their educational foundation. Try to keep their interest by making the learning a fun filled process, when needed.

Help the child excel above their level by increasing your expectations from them. Make them learn to expect more from themselves each time. Push them to excel higher. But when we say push them, we don't mean that you should get too pushy! Keep the child's abilities in mind and then set realistic limits for them to reach.

If you genuinely want your child to learn, you will need to be very patient. Children's minds are still developing and you need to give them time. You will have to be consistent in your efforts and should be teaching them not for the sake of it, but to make sure that they are learning something. Build a positive bond with your child so that he/she feels comfortable learning with you.

If you're too busy or too negative, the child might get scared of you. This will hinder the learning process and the child might lose interest in his/her education.


Educational Toys And Games For Children

When you're purchasing toys for your children, you need to strike a good balance between toys that are fun and toys and are educational. But everything is not black and white and there is often lots of crossover between fun toys and toys that can help to expand your children's minds.

It's always a good idea to choose toys and games wisely. Be aware that certain toys are important at certain stages of child development. Educating yourself as a parent in terms of child development will always stand you in good stead to buy the right types of children's toys and games at the right times.


When Christmas time looms, you'll be eagar to get shopping out of the way before the big rush that inevitably comes in the lead up to this special time of year. The same goes for birthday - you will want to choose and purchase children's toys well in advance in order to:

    Make sure that you choose the right toys and/or games to purchase ahead of time.
    Give yourself time to go shopping.
    Ensure that the perfect toys and/or games that you want to buy for your children are in stock (this especially applies to Christmas time when stock levels of toys can fluctuate due to high demand for certain items).
    Give yourself time to wrapup presents well before your child's birthday.

Educational toys and games are designed to help to teach your children various aspects of the world including numbers, words, shapes and colours. It's always good to ensure that your choice of toys and games is varied enough to challenge your children in a plethora of different ways. Toys that your child will enjoy will tend to be both engaging and stimulating. Your children will find these types of toys exciting and they will stimulate their mind. This is the perfect balance and I would recommend that, as a parent, you take your time in choosing toys and games of this nature to ensure that your children continue to learn at the desired rate.

One of the most notable aspects of child development that I've found is that children tend to copy their parents and want to be like them. With this in mind, it's worth purchasing toys and games that aim to encourage children to emulate their parents. So choose wisely when you're looking into the different types of children's educational toys and games to purchase.

The Added Advantage In African American Children's Education - Computer Homeschooling (Part 4)

Thursday, 2 August 2012
Parents and friends in our third article we championed using computers to homeschool African American children and prepare them for a future where computers will have an impact on every part of our society. In the final part 4 article we will complete the series by stressing the importance of making sure your computers and broadband Internet connection is secure from the daily attack of hackers, viruses and thieves.. oh my!

Lions, tigers and bears in digital form are being unleashed on the Internet daily, if not almost hourly. Now most parents would get the idea that if it's that bad then why use the Internet at all. If you take a closer look at the educational environment today, there are lions, tigers and bears already out there in public and private schools waiting to take advantage of our African American children each and everyday. It's almost become a challenge to just stay alive, let alone avoid drugs, teen pregnancy and other ills.
The difference between the two learning arenas is that while they are at home learning you have more control protecting them and more tools to defend against whatever comes their way. It's far better to have a daily defense for your African American children's learning, then to wonder what's going on at their school.

Now, let's get to looking at viruses (lions), hackers (tigers) and thieves (bears) to keep out of your computer and your home. Virus software is as important to your computer and the network it's connected to as proper nutrition is to your children. Both help to defend against having a healthy computer/child becoming sick or worse.

Make sure your virus software is up-to-date and that your computer's operating system is updated constantly. Run your virus software daily, yes daily and check for updates daily to make sure the software has the latest tools to protect your computer. Viruses, worms and other bad software code is being released near hourly at times, so running your virus software everyday and keeping it updated is a must. Teach your children about viruses and what to do to keep your computers safe and virus free.

Remember this subject is worthy of more than just one article and therefore is covered in a 4 part series.

Parents take advantage of our 5-day email course on wireless technology - email us for more info...

Daviyd Peterson: 10-year consultant, instructor, trainer of digital divide solutions for home and business. He helps African American and minority homeschools bridge the digital divide by becoming computer homeschools. Supporting homeschool moms and dads with resources to provide income for their homeschool...


New Film Delves Into Children's Education In Steel Town

The topic of school education was spotlighted two years ago in a great documentary, "Waiting for Superman". Even before that, some great films about school and teachers came out, cases in point being "Stand And Deliver" and "Lean On Me", as well as "To Sir With Love" and "Blackboard Jungle". But a new film chronicles a school needing change badly.

Inspired by true events, "Won't Back Down" (PG), tells the tale of Adams Elementary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It seems that this school doesn't quite care enough about the students, but more about the teachers getting their benefits. One teacher though does care enough about educating kids better. Meet Nora Alberts (Viola Davis), who had shown passion for teaching until the system began to deprive her energy. She also has a young man who is having trouble with math skills, as well as a destroyed marriage.

Nora meets up with a single mother, Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal) whose daughter attends Adams and has a dyslexic problem that her teacher doesn't understand. Attempts to talk to the principal are to no avail, thus she and Nora team up to try to fix the problem.
But they have to battle with the other teachers as well as bureaucratic policies to turn the school towards the right direction. Nora and Jamie manage to collect signatures going door to door, making for one great sequence using visual effects as the pair go from one floor to another in their attempts to obtain votes to help out.

Meantime the other teachers, which include an energetic music teacher (Oscar Issac) who does fall for Jamie; Nora's fellow teacher and friend Breena (Rosie Perez); and a very snooty teacher named Deborah (Nancy Bach) who is only concerned with getting her tenure, are scared of losing their jobs and benefits.

Finally Jamie gets in contact with the head Union official, Evelyn Riske (Holly Hunter). Evelyn tells Jamie she is fighting a losing battle, yet believes the children should be educated better than they are. Nora then approaches Olivia Perez (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), an administrator who goes by the rules but does like Nora's ideas to help the school.

It comes down to the finale, taking place at the school board with the Union members pitting against Nora, Jamie and the concerned parents who want a change for the better..

Daniel Barnz co-wrote the script and directed the film which gets the viewer involved with the story and the two leads. It is an important issue we face today as we want to have children be better educated so they can go on to have fine lives. While it is intended well, I felt that there should have been a little more meat to the story and how it strongly affects the kids.

The film does concentrate heavily on Jamie and Nora who have a common goal and have good chemistry joining forces. But I wished that some of the supporting characters were better fleshed out and not shallow like they are portrayed.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is very good as the single mother of the dyslexic child, but she also has a secret of her own that is revealed during the board meeting. She comes off as a caring person trying to balance her life having two jobs and making sure that her kid gets the education she needs.

Viola Davis is so good, turning another worthy performance of a woman who have been beaten by the current system but is ready to fight back and make her workplace shine better. She really is an inspiration here, showing grace while being wounded in life.

While it was good to see Rosie Perez again, her role is one-dimensional but does make the best of it. Oscar Issac seems charming enough and does have good chemistry with Gyllenhall, but his character doesn't have enough to do. Holly Hunter and Marrianne Jean-Baptiste do journeyman work in their roles yet the script should gave them a little more to do.

The cinematography of Ronan Osin does get the essence of the Pittsburgh streets nicely while Marcos Zarvos' score is amiable. The editing should have been a little bit tighter but that one scene of Nora and Jamie going door to door was a marvel to view.
This movie took me back to my elementary school days and looking back at that I feel that most teachers were older and didn't want to retire. I had a very bad 5th grade teacher who always wanted to use me as a whipping post. I was mostly at the wrong place at the wrong time, thus I was unjustly punished. And yes she was old; I felt like she was just collecting her paycheck and not caring for any of the kids unlike my 4th and 6th grade teachers who were young at the time and concerned.

I felt strongly that if I had the chance to do it, I would either go to a private school or be homeschooled. It seems this day and age most kids have taken that road and for the most part are successful.

"Won't Back Down" is a likable try to make the viewer understand about how schools are operated today. But I wish the film would have been given a stronger case than it does. Nonetheless I do recommend it somewhat for the performances of Gyllenhall and Davis, as well as making a good conversation point after viewing.




Writing for Children - Step-By-Step Through Educational Publishing

Sunday, 1 July 2012
If you enjoy writing nonfiction and love to research topics in all sorts of different subject areas then educational publishing just might be right for you. Many educational publishers need writers. Surprisingly, though, these publishers generally don't advertise that fact to writer's magazines or market guides. So here's how to get started in this active market.

DEVELOP A FOCUS

There are basically two different areas of focus you can take in educational publishing. The first is on writing nonfiction (and some fiction, too) that will be used directly by children (sometimes with the help of a parent or teacher). This type of material includes reference books, early-readers, remedial readers, textbooks, educational games, workbooks, and even CDs.
The second focus available in the educational market is creating and developing materials that will be used with children by parents, librarians, and teachers. These materials include everything from books of language arts activities designed to help teachers in the classroom, to books of bulletin board ideas and finger puppet patterns.

It doesn't really matter which focus you choose. There are dozens of opportunities available for writers who want to develop educational materials directly for kids, as well as opportunities for those writers who wish to develop materials for teachers and parents to use with kids.

ASSESS YOUR SKILLS AND BACKGROUND

To develop a focus in educational publishing you will need to assess your skills and background. If you have experience as a preschool or elementary school teacher or librarian, for example, there are many educational publishers who might like to work with you.

Do you speak fluent Spanish, in addition to English? Then you might be able to freelance for educational publishers that produce books for children who are learning English as a second language.

Even if you don't speak Spanish (or any other foreign language for that matter) and you've never been a librarian or a teacher, you can still break into children's educational publishing. Many publishers don't require authors to have a background in education. They simply want good writers who know how to thoroughly research a topic and write about it in a way that children will find interesting and easy to understand. An excellent way to test your researching skills will be to research different educational publishers. Find out which ones do hire writers without teaching experience, and which ones do hire writers to develop projects they create in house (more about this later).

DEVELOP YOUR RESUME OR BIO

Once you develop a focus for the type of educational materials you want to create, you will need to let publishers know you're available and what you have to offer. For this you will need a brief bio or a resume. A bio (short for biography) consists of a few sentences or paragraphs that describe your background and publishing experience. The back inside cover of most books (both fiction and nonfiction) usually includes a short bio of the author. Read the bios of a few of your favorite authors until you get the hang of how a bio should be written. You probably won't have as much publishing experience as your favorite author, but you'll still be able to come up with a sentence or two that describes your work as a writer and/or educator. It might be something as simple as, "Mary Roberts is a former third grade teacher with over 20 years of experience in the classroom. While she was teaching, Ms. Roberts developed a wide variety of activities to use with her students."

A resume is longer than a bio. It should include a list of your publishing credits, any writing related experience, and a list of your teaching experience (if applicable), as well as your education.

In addition to a bio or resume, you'll need to get good at writing cover letters. A cover letter simply introduces you to the publisher and explains that you are either looking for assignments with this publisher or you wish to submit your own ideas for publication. If you hope to submit your own ideas for publication, you'll need to learn how to write a proposal or prospectus. Many publishers have guidelines for proposals at their website. In fact, some publishers even have a form you can complete online that will let you pitch your idea directly to an editor to see if there's any interest in your idea before you go to all the work of developing a full proposal.

Generally, a proposal should include an outline or a table of contents for the book you are proposing, an introduction or overview, and enough sample pages to give editors a clear idea of the book you are proposing, as well as your writing style. If you're proposing a book with illustrations, yet you're not an illustrator, don't worry about the illustrations. Simple drawings that make your ideas clear will be sufficient. Usually the publisher has artists on staff, or will hire an outside artist, to illustrate your book if it is accepted for publication.

STUDY THE MARKETS

Once you've developed a bio or resume, it's time to start studying the markets. Skim through the pages of a current children's book market guide to find listings for a wide array of educational book publishers that produce materials for children, parents, and educators. Many of these listings include the URL for each publisher's website. Go to publishers' websites that you are interested in writing for to see if manuscript submission guidelines, along with information about their current needs, are posted there. Search these websites carefully. Sometimes the manuscript submission guidelines are a bit difficult to find. Look under the "About Us" or "Contact Us" pages if you don't see a link directly to submission guidelines. Once you get to the guidelines, study them carefully. Also, study the kinds of books and other materials this publisher publishes by looking through their online catalog or list of products.

Also send off for publishers' catalogs, then look through them to see how much space is allocated to each subject. If most of the space in a catalog is allocated to products about science, for example, then you will have a better chance of selling science related products to this publisher than you would materials for other subject areas.

CONTACT PUBLISHERS

Once you've developed a bio and resume, and you've studied several educational publishers, you'll need to contact the publishers that interest you. If you don't have a manuscript you wish to submit, but would like to write for a particular educational publisher, send a cover letter asking if they hire writers to develop titles they create in house. Include your bio or resume, along with a few clips of articles you have published (if you have them) or some writing samples.

As you gain writing experience and acquire more writing credits, chances are you will also develop more contact with other writers. Learn to network with these people to find out about additional opportunities with educational publishers.

In the end, most educational publishers just want good writers and researchers. If that describes you, then educational publishing just might be what you've been looking for to get your writing career off the ground.


The Parents Should Take Some Control Over Their Children's Education

The education of children is so important nowadays that you shouldn't leave it up to the schools. Schools do their best but there is more to giving your children a head start in life than what is taught in schools. Schools can only do so much and if your child starts to get left behind in any subject it is time for you - the parents - to step up and do something about it. And that is not going to the school and throwing a tantrum.

It is time to start taking control of your child's future. In Asia the education of children is so important that most students do extra classes outside of school hours. And they nearly all try to learn English. Because they know if they can get ahead in English they will have a very good chance of getting a good job.
In the Western World there doesn't seem to be as much emphasis on education. Schools have gone from a place of learning to some place for kids to go during the day. Elementary children's education in the west is still very good but in high school it starts to fall down.

I think a lot has to do with attitude towards the future. Over the last 30 years we have had a good life and kids have never worried about the future. But that is about to change and I think that will affect the attitude of children towards to education. In China before the economic miracle children needed a good education to survive. But now over the last 10 to 15 years this generation has only seen magnificent cities grow out of the paddy fields. So the children's education standards are dropping dramatically. They are catching up to the west in more ways that one.



Parent's Involvement in Children's Education

Saturday, 2 June 2012
ABSTRACT

The importance of parental involvement as an accelerating and motivating factor in their children’s education is a worldwide-accepted fact. This research project provides an in depth explanation along with specific reasons, the importance of parents’ involvement in their children’s education. It also discusses the parenting techniques, their types and their consequences if neglected. It also describes the ways to measure the outcome of the positive parental involvement. Furthermore, it mentions the teachers involvement and the difficulties faced by the teachers in getting parents involved in their children’s (this is further supported by the examples of two teachers who with their deliberate efforts won the parents over to devote their maximum attention towards their children), single-parent involvement, children’s own efforts to improve their academic levels and joint home-school based interventions. A detailed analysis of the different main ideas is given, based on the findings from other research surveys and projects.

INTRODUCTION:

Parental involvement can be seen to fall into three types: 1) Behavioral, 2) Intellectual and 3) Personal. The research explores the effect of multi-dimensional participation of parents and the resulting progress of children in their studies when different parental resources were dedicated to them. Actively participating parents help their children in their academic development by going to schools and participating in open houses. By keenly observing the behavior of their children they can rightly judge the kind of behavior or the allocation of resources required by their children. Such caring parents can also motivate teachers to become more attentive towards a particular student, thus maintaining the cycle of parent-teacher involvement. Encourage Building up cognitive and perception abilities in a child is a major concern in the upbringing of the child. The way the parents involve their children in cognitive learning is by exposing them to different cognitively stimulating activities and materials such as books, electronic media and current events at home. This helps the child to practice all sorts of language comprehending skills at the school. The results show a remarkably positive behavior at the school and with peers.
Two parenting processes namely the Supportive Parenting (SP) and Harsh Parenting (HP) helped a lot in the research of parental involvement in their children’s education. By adjusting the levels of supportive parenting, different levels of successful outcomes were observed. Supportive parenting in even kindergarten students yielded positive results. Four measures of supportive parenting were used in the study, they were:

1. Proactive teaching.

2. Calm discussion in disciplinary encounters.

3. Warmth.

4. Interest and involvement in peer activities.

The assessments were conducted when children entered kindergarten and when they reached grade 6. There was a factor noted to hinder children’s development: family adversity. It was the result of a multipurpose negative process that included the risk of low socio-economic status, single-parenting and family stress. Child maladjustments were found to be more common in families with such adversities. No matter how much negative impacts were cast, SP was found to overcome the risks associated with family adversity. SP was strongly related to adjustment procedures in grade 6 children who had single parent family or experienced low socio-economic status (SES) in their early childhood.

In a way to socialize their children, parents adopted the techniques of calm discussion and proactive teaching. They helped lessen the behavioral problems by carrying long discussions with their children, cultivating in them a sense of respect, calmness and peace of mind. Mothers also participated actively in reducing the peer stress among their children. It is also a widely accepted fact that supportive parenting plays an important role in the children’s development of empathy, prosocial behavior and emotional competence. On the negative side, the absence of supportive parenting may be related to the development of internal problems such as anxiety and depression.

Lack of the necessary parental care and attention is the main factor for the subsequent rise in the percentage of juvenile delinquency (crime among children). The absence of parental instructions causes children to develop irreversible behavioral and emotional problems. They in order to seek attention, resort to crimes thinking that in this way they could fulfill their wishes. They may revert to uncontrolled violence if not kept an eye upon. Such criminal activities cannot be brought to a halt until their distressing symptoms of low self-esteem, depression, dysphonic mood, tension and worries, and other disturbances are relieved. And the importance of parents’ role in this regard cannot be over-emphasized.

In an effort to describe parental involvement, many researchers use a term “Transition”(Lombardi, Joan). “Transition” is used to describe the time period in which children move from home to school, from school to after school activities, from one activity to another within a pre-school, or from pre-school to kindergarten. The untiring endeavors of teachers in the phenomenon of transition cannot be ignored. They prepared the children and their parents to face the problems of adjusting to elementary school programs that had different psychology, teaching styles and structure than the programs offered at the kindergarten

level. In the elementary level schools the teachers had to face serious challenges in motivating the parents to take interest in their children’s activities. The teachers adopted different methods to involve the parents in day-to-day classroom and home activities. They used to send notes, invitation of parent-teacher meetings, invitation of parental guidance sessions and training sessions, continuously directing the parent’s attention towards their children. Patricia Brown Clark suggests that it is very important to keep the line of communication between teachers and parents open, so that the parents can interact with the teachers and get up to date information of their children’s school activities. One way to involve parents is to schedule school events and arranging classroom activities such as volunteering for libraries, acting as classroom aides or efficiently organizing lunch breaks. The teachers also opt for making phone calls at the children’s houses to keep in touch with the parents and getting to know the extent to which they are contributing towards the welfare of their children. Apart from the above activities, the teachers also assign home activities for both the parents and their children so that the parents remain indulged in their children and the children get to study at home. However, it was a bad and disappointing experience for the teachers when many of the parents failed to respond as expected. Many of the parents were so overwhelmed with their official work that they could hardly take out some time for their beloved children.

Moreover, for some parents their schoolings were not positive and character-boosting experiences, therefore they preferred to keep a distance from their children’s school as well. This made it really difficult and at times impossible for teachers to bring the parental involvement to the desired level. Nevertheless, the activities of two teachers proved greatly fruitful in making parents involved in their children. They were Carlos Valdez, an art teacher and 8th grade class sponsor, and Mike Hogan, the school’s band director. They did it by involving parents in music festivals and other school ceremonies. They proved to be great examples for the future teachers to come.

If the children’s academic development programs are to prove successful they must share two characteristics:

1) Developmentally appropriate practice:

A child’s academic progress is clearly reflected by the appropriate practice he/she administers while in school life. During transitions from pre-school to kindergarten, a child if given the exact developmentally appropriate practice tends to learn a great deal of language and playing skills. He develops a keen interest in exploring his environments and interacting (without hesitation) with his adults.

2) Supportive services:

These include the assistance that the school provides to low-income family students. The services include health care, childcare and community care. This strengthens the relation between school and children and creates a sense of security and confidence among the children. They get to learn that their communities are a part of their school since the school’s supportive services strive to help community development.

It is commonly believed that children are good self-teachers. Their self-initiated strategies help improve their expression, creativity, intellectual capabilities and extra-curricular skills. This idea is proved by the documentation of young children’s work provided by Reggio Emilia :

“The Reggio Emilia educators highlight young children’s amazing capabilities and indicate that it is through the unity of thinking and feeling that young children can explore their world, represent their ideas, and communicate with others at their highest level.”(Edwards, Pope. C, Springate, Wright.K)

The climax rests in the fact that how the parents would know that their sincere involvements are really proving worthwhile for their children. The answer lies in the attitude of the children. The degree of parental involvement can be judged by a child’s attitude towards his school subjects, his academic desires and achievements. There is a direct relationship between academic achievements and the attitude towards school. Schunk in 1981 had the following idea of aspiration or academic desires:

“Level of aspiration is defined as one’s subjective probability that he or she will reach a certain level of education.”(Abu, H. & Maher, M)

As a result children who received adequate parental concern were found to be much more confident in their academic desires and achievements than those who could not get the right amount of parental concern.
The individual involvement of mothers and fathers also plays a vital role in the behavioral development of a child. Students from one-parent household were observed to show less positive attitude towards schools and studies as compared to students from two-parent households. One study aimed at investigating parental concern showed that despite mothers’ sincere endeavors, the role of fathers could not be ignored and both served as an important foundation for the future progress of the child. This can be proved from the following fact:

According to a recent report from the National Center for Educational Statistics (1997), compared to their counterparts, children with involved fathers are more likely to have participated in educational activities with their parents (e.g., to have visited a museum or a historical site with their parents in the past month), and are more likely to have access to multiple types of resources at home as well (as measured by the proportion of parents who belong to community or professional organizations, or regularly volunteer in the community). (Flouri, E. And Buchanan, A, Pg.142)

Also, the parental involvement has been discussed and implemented in terms of interventions or prevention programs, which are nothing but safety measures taken to assure healthy and perfect upbringing of the child. The study uses school-based and home-only intervention programs to find out the extent of intellectual capabilities found in children from different family backgrounds. The success of one school-based interventions can be proved from the following fact, which was a part of “Education Service Improvement Plan 2001-2005” of Edinburgh:

----The Scottish Executive Discipline Task Force, which studied the causes of poor behavior among pupils in schools produced a report of 'Better Behavior - Better Learning' in June 2001. The report included 36 recommendations for action, which were then turned into an Action Plan in 2002. Many of these have implications for the Education Authority. (Craig Millar Instep Project)