Home Schooling For Your Children

Home Schooling is the wave of the future; it is how America will survive, or fail.

To understanding how important it is for you to home school your child one need merely look at the way children are taught today. For the purposes of this article I will choose one, and only one item. Believe me, there are dozens of items like this one. The item I will discuss is how cheap your child’s work is, and how this makes your child view his work, and therefore himself, as unimportant.

Your child is given a task. Maybe it is to write a report, maybe it is a page of math. Halfway through the task the bell rings, and the child is made to go play.

Yes, made to go play. The intent here is not to complete the work, but to order the child about, and make him/her amenable to social control and behavior modification.

If you were at work, had an important job to do, would your boss make you go play? And, more important, would you let yourself be made to go play? Negative. You would put your nose to the grindstone and pound away at that job for one simple reason: it is important.

But day after day your child is interrupted, made to go be ‘frivolous,’ and this tells him/her that the job is not important.

And, most interesting, the teacher says it is important.

So what is the solution? Well, here is an interesting alternative. You put work before you child, and you say, ‘You can take a food break if you wish, but you don’t get to play until it is done.

Now, how many of us, if the boss said, “You can work till five, but if the job is done early you can take off for the day,” would work our fingers to the bone?

Every last one of us. The job suddenly becomes extra important, and our lives literally hang upon it.

When I did this at my school the result was instant. Children ignored breaks, told other kids to be quiet, and became work maniacs.

Yes, sometimes I had to check the work, at least in the beginning, to make sure it wasn’t slipshod. But doing this at times during the day forestalls any nasty confrontations with one big checking at the end.

Yes, sometimes they wouldn’t get their school work done, and I would commiserate with them, and let them go. But if you plan the work out (with their input is helpful), then you can usually come up with a target that will get them an extra hour of play, and get you an extra hour’s worth of their work.

Most important, through this type of home schooling approach your child will develop a sense of self worth, and a very valuable work ethic.

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SAT Just Got A Facelift

Things are about to get weird.

Spring is here, time can travel, and the SAT is undergoing its biggest change in 10 years!

What’s Different?

At this point, it may be easier to explain what isn’t different. Arguably the most beneficial change is students will no longer be penalized for guessing. This change alone is a common reason why many students opt to take the ACT over the SAT, so this could very well increase the amount of students who sign up for the exam. However, the biggest change according to testing professional and educators is that this will be a more “text-based” test. Even though the vocabulary section is getting left in 2015, the math and reading sections are expected to be much more dense with text and the essay is now optional. Furthermore, questions now only have four answer options compared to five, and calculators can even be used during some parts of the math section. And for the kicker, the test will now be scored on the old 1600 point scale instead of 2400.

Pros and Cons

The change that is anticipated to have the most significant impact on scores is that guessing is no longer penalized. Now, when students are reminded that they have 1 minute left to finish their section, instead of scratching their head trying to remember the Pythagorean Theorem, they can hastily bubble in the remaining unanswered questions without having to worry how much it’ll hurt their score. This runs into the issue of students getting “lucky” with guessing, and they could end up with a higher score than they would have if guessing was still penalized. There is also the very important change of losing the dreaded vocabulary section. Students will no longer have to stress for months memorizing the meaning flashcard definitions that no one knows the meaning of except the people who write the SAT, so they can now focus their studies on more relevant sections.

If we’re speaking strictly numbers, students have a much better chance of getting higher scores. Now that they have less answer choices and aren’t getting penalized for an incorrect answer, it seems like these kids are set to get into Princeton! Except, for not. The SAT is changing because the college admissions process is changing. Admissions officers aren’t just solely looking at SAT scores anymore when they choose to admit a student into their university. The SAT is adapting to the changing field of education, and universities are doing the same. On the bright side, you’ll get to avoid more questions like this: When I was 2 years old, my brother was half my age. Now I am 100 years old, how old is my brother?

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Teacher’s Role in Innovation

What does the trampoline, popsicles, braille, the Oink-a-Saurus App, and wristies have in common? Well, they were all invented by kids (Perman). Regardless of age, race, disability, or economic status the ability to become an innovator lies within. As educators we have the responsibility to educate and prepare students, all students, for their future, which can be the ultimate challenge when no one knows what the future will hold. The only consistency is knowing that each student will have a different future and this world, as we know it, will be drastically different in 20 years. While studying innovation, through an educator’s perspective, I’ve realized there are several roles we can play in order to inspire innovation but two really stand out: we can encourage and teach professional skills.

The initial role as an educator is to inspire and encourage innovation by never underestimating the creative intuition of anyone, especially a child. Teachers have the opportunity to boost a child’s confidence or destroy it. By merely saying “oh, that’s awesome” or giving a disbelieving look, the actions of a teacher can permanently influence a child. Self-confidence is initially learned through others’ positive motivation, and a teacher’s voice can be that initial motivation to keep the student believing in their self and in their goals. As a high school student, Philo T. Farnsworth (a.k.a. The Father of Television) presented his teacher with a better television system; his teacher replied “go for it” and continued to support and follow Farnsworth through the process (Flawtow,94). I cannot imagine what could have happened if Farnsworth’s teacher would have reacted in a non-supportive manner.

Not only can teachers encourage students’ verbally but also in the way they allow students to ask questions. Although the question of “why?” can generally get on everyone’s nerves (eventually) it is important to encourage curiosity and divergent thinking when it comes to innovation. Norris Sanders, author of Classroom Questions-what kinds?, provides readers with a new perspective that questions can be the key to student interest and engagement which encourages learning and should not be ignored. One way to help capture those interest is by creating a Wonder Wall for the classrooms. A wonder wall provides teachers and students with an opportunity to allow their curiosity to run. If a student asks an off-topic question, the teacher can say “that’s interesting, why don’t you put it on the wonder wall” and continue the lesson. Then, during a down time students address theirs or someone else’s wondering question.

Another role teachers have in innovation is teaching students how to be a professional, including the skill of problem solving. Every invention or business is initially created to solve some type of problem (medical issues, processing speed, even boredom). It’s time to teach our students that a problem is only a question that has not been answered, and it is their job to answer it. Teaching in-depth problem solving techniques is not a top priority in many curriculum standards and could easily fall through the cracks. However if teachers took a unique approach to teaching by implementation the DISCOVER (Discovering Intellectual Strengths and Capabilities while Observing Varied Ethnic Responses) curriculum model, they would be able to set the foundation for future innovators as well as prepare all students in being resourceful at problem solving (Maker, Schiever, p165-194). The DISCOVER curriculum model allows students opportunity to identify a problem (that they are passionate about), research the previously attempted solutions, and look at the problem through various perspectives. In doing so, students will be prepared to investigate and hypothesize possible new solutions and, depending on ability level and time, could implement. This model provides all ability levels and diverse learners with the opportunity to discover a new way of approaching life problems. Through the implementation of the DISCOVER model, students will strengthen their professional skills by learning how to identify problems, use higher level questioning techniques, research using various resources, identify different perspectives, and work collaboratively with others.

Educators have the opportunity to positively influence and provide students with the skills to be successes in life, if they have the desire and autonomy to do so. Teaching students to succeed and change the world are two reasons why many teachers get into the profession. Think about how many students teachers interact with on a daily basis; when you calculate that total over the course of an entire working career it is astonishing the number of developing minds teachers can influence. A teacher’s role in innovation can be tiresome, but in the end, it is an exciting and rewarding experience.

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