Free Homeschooling Options

Budget conscious parents often seek after free homeschooling resources. Parents join online and community homeschooling groups to learn methods of locating, making, and trading resources to decrease the cost of homeschooling. Those seeking free resources can also find support from homeschooling bloggers and websites who understand the basic need to control costs in order to afford homeschooling.

One group of homeschoolers who have worked hard at helping parents understand how to reduce and control costs of homeschooling are unschoolers. Unschoolers have advocated child led learning and teaching from the child’s natural environment. This naturally reduces the cost of education. Those who explore the techniques of unschooling can find ways to incorporate new ideas for educational opportunities even if one decides not to adopt all of the philosophy.

The local library provides more resources than many people realize. The most obvious resources are of course books, DVD’s, and audio books. Some libraries offer specific curriculum materials in a variety of formats that parents and teachers can borrow. It is important to ask as often times only teachers are aware of the resources. Interlibrary loan can expand the resources available to homeschooling parents. Parents should ask about museum and other passes. Many offer free passes to visit historical or science exhibits. These visits can provide children with alternate learning methods to add to homeschooling units. Some of these places also offer free learning activities online. Parents should research their resources as well.

The Internet provides a variety of free homeschooling options for parents. Some school districts are providing free online charter schools to parents who want to enroll online. This option provides parents with free curriculum, but does tie parents to a public school curriculum. However, parents seeking free resources can find a wide range of subject and age level materials available online. Homeschooling blogs and websites provide parents with access to resources to use online or to print out and use with lessons. Parents can also get informed about local areas that offer educational opportunities.

Driver Education Videos

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death. Therefore, one of the most important programs a young person can participate in is driver’s education. While driving school education is extremely beneficial for students nothing compares to seeing real situations and watching the consequences of bad driving on video. It sends across a clear message to the students that reckless and irresponsible driving is dangerous. They can see for themselves and hear from people who have been through such bad experiences.

Driver education videos are visually engaging with lots of graphics and real life scenarios that can be graphic at times. Some videos show actual footage of vehicle fatalities and injured victims. These can be very shocking for the viewer. However, they do manage to demonstrate that driving mistakes can happen anytime, and that most accidents can be prevented. They show by example how accidents take place, what the consequences are and what proper techniques can be used to prevent such accidents.

There are a number of driver education videos available that cover specific driving related topics. Each video may be anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes in duration. These videos promote safe driving practices to students using re-enactments, demonstrations and real life tragic stories that convey a message and leave an impression. Some videos are specially created to encourage parents and students to work together learning essential driving skills and habits.

Some topics that are covered in these videos the basics of driving, recognizing traffic signs and symbols, driving in adverse weather conditions and the dangers of driving at night. Videos on vision and how this can affect driving, fatigue that is a major cause of many accidents, driving on the freeway and defensive driving are also addressed.

One of the most important topics is about young drivers who are more prone to driving accidents than anyone else. These videos have parents of young drivers who have died in crashes describe how the tragedy has affected them. These are a very profound and insightful and extremely important for young drivers to see.

Dangers of driving under the influence is another must see video. It helps students understand the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Students understand that drinking and driving can be devastating and that lives can be changed in a split second if they are not responsible drivers.

Teachers – Want a Private Education For Your Children But You Cannot Afford It?

You need to teach overseas! Pick a country, any country, and there will be at least one international school there. International Schools offer private education for expatriate’s children worldwide. And, while most of the parents have to pay school fees, one of the conditions nearly always included in the contracts of international teachers is free education for the teachers’ children. There are over 4000 international schools worldwide, all requiring teachers to staff them, many of them offering excellent quality private education.

Picking a school that suits both your children’s needs and yours can be challenging, but it is possible. In a recent interview I conducted with international teachers, Maggie Hos-McGrane, an international teacher of 19 years experience said that after she had completed her research she’d found only 30 of the more than 4000 international schools suited both her and her children. If you have children, here are some things you should consider when applying for teaching posts abroad in international schools.

Is the school a profit making enterprise?

There are a number of different kinds of international schools to choose from, some are run by a board and are not designed to make a profit, and others are run by an individual or company in order to make a profit.

As a teacher you will be concerned that the school’s educational philosophy matches your own. As a parent you want to insure that your children’s education is the priority of the school, rather than the amount of money spent on educational materials and the effect that will have on the school’s owner’s profit.

There are some directors or owners of international schools that may be more interested in the financial benefits of running a school than the education benefits to the students. Be aware, both as a prospective employee and as a parent.

Is the school accredited?

International schools can become accredited by an organization that sets educational and operational standards for international education institutions. One such organization is the Council of International Schools (CIS). In order for an international school to become accredited by CIS, they must go through a rigorous appraisal process which looks at the staff and management, the facilities and, the quality of teaching and learning in the school.

If an international school is accredited, then you can be confident that the quality of education provided by the school is high. Most schools that are accredited by an organization like CIS advertise their status on their webpage, brochures and stationery.

Other organizations that offer accreditation for international schools are NEASC, COBISEC, ISCIS and the Association of Christian Schools International, to name a few.

How many students are in the school?

This is particularly of concern for parents of high school aged children as the number of students in a school may affect the number of subject choices offered at higher levels. For example, if there are only 30 students in the graduating class, then the school will have to limit the number of subjects being offered to make it cost effective. This can often affect profit and non-profit making schools alike.

Additionally, the number of students in the school can affect the number and type of extra curricular activities offered, and therefore your child’s opportunities to experience team sports and other activities that are usually run after school.

When a school has a large number of students, this can also mean that the school is more likely to have a well-stocked library, well equipped laboratories, up-to-date computer equipment and outdoor activity areas. This is usually true of larger schools simply because there is a larger pot of money to fund these facilities from.

On the other hand a school that has thousands of students, while usually offering a wide variety of subjects and activities for students, can often be an anonymous place for children. It is up to you to decide what a good balance is for you and your family.

Which curricula do the schools subscribe to?

There are international schools abroad that offer what is essentially a national curriculum. In fact, in the case of many British schools abroad, it’s even called the National Curriculum.

You can find international schools that are running the national curriculum from America, the UK, Australia, Canada, France (usually taught in French), and so on. Securing a teaching contract in an international school that offers the national curriculum that you and your children are used to will help ease the transition. However, you are not limited by the curricula that you have taught in the past, international schools are generally looking for good teachers and realize that teachers can adapt and teach any curriculum.

When you are looking for a good school for your children, you may run up against some curricula that you haven’t come across before. For example, there is the school wide system offered by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO). The IBO offers the Primary Years Programme up to Year 6, the Middle Years Programme from Years 7 to 11, and the Diploma Years Programme for Years 12 and 13.

Which examinations will your children be working towards?

There are a number of examinations available for international school students, and you will need to understand the options before making any decisions about accepting an employment contract.

I mentioned the IBO previously as being a school wide programme. However many schools adopt bits and pieces of the programme. You may find that an international school offers the Diploma for the upper two years but offers the British IGCSE for Years 10 and 11. IGCSE is an examination based qualification, and the IBO Middle Years Programme has no formal examination assessment, students get a certificate and a record of achievement. Some international schools have a mix and match attitude to the curricula offered.

International schools that run national curricula tend to prepare students for the related national exams. American schools overseas run a mixture of state curricula and AP courses.

In this article I have listed just a few of the factors you’ll need to consider if you would like to get a private education for your children by teaching overseas. While I don’t have any children of my own, many of my colleagues do, and they believe that the education their children are receiving abroad is better than what they could get back home, wherever home may be.

Five Minute Tips for Avoiding Homeschool Burnout – Part 3

In the world of homeschooling, the balance between enthusiasm and fatigue, excitement and concern, and joy and despair is usually an issue of proactive planning, solid academic progress, and a few indulgences along the way. Avoiding burnout is in part, connected to the above issues, but even if you have planned well and rewarded your children accordingly when they’ve deserved it, you may still find yourself struggling to find the joy in your homeschool program. Five minutes here and there, though, can truly make a difference and help keep you fresh rather than burned out.

As discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, homeschooling burnout is often the result of feeling behind, overworked, and under rewarded for your efforts. Taking a few simple steps and spending only a few minutes in planning can significantly offset those feelings, however. But there is still more to this issue. Sometimes, the feeling of being burned out is a result of inward-focus, not outward-thinking. In simple terms, sometimes we homeschoolers spend too much time thinking about ourselves, our programs, our children, our day, our activities, and on and on and on. We spend far too little time thinking about others. The result is that we tend to lose friendships over time, we wonder where “we” went as parents, and we forget that we have a life outside of school.

There is no fault in pouring yourself into your family, and I will be the first to advocate for that. But, if you are only thinking of your own interests, then you will lose touch with the rest of the world around you. One of the primary reasons that most homeschoolers begin to homeschool is to effect change in the lives of their children, to equip them with the skills to be effective adults, and to teach them to interact with others with integrity, solid character, and leadership skills. However, if we fail to interact with others around us, then those skills will be untested.

Because of this, one of the most powerful ways to avoid homeschool burnout is to get involved outside of the home. This presumes the fact that your students are on track, making solid progress in their academic pursuits, and gaining the skills that they will use outside of the home, but once those things are well underway and incorporated into daily plans, then you can begin to plan for outward-thinking time.

The five-minute version of this is to send a card or note to someone just to encourage them. Make a call to a friend just to see how they’re doing. Think about others for a few minutes every day, those who are outside of your home, and teach your homeschool children to do the same. You would be surprised at what a difference it makes just to spend a few minutes thinking about someone else. For instance, you could undertake a letter-writing campaign to soldiers, and in five minutes, write one letter each day. The impact that your family could have on others in such a plan is tremendous, and all in only five minutes every day.

If you have more than five minutes, go visit a friend with a surprise package of cookies, hand-deliver a note, or take on a volunteer project as a family outside of the house. Homeschoolers are in a unique position to be able to plan for the unexpected by planning their time to suit their schedule. Perhaps your family would want to serve for a meal delivery through a community organization. Those things can be planned for, incorporated into your schedule, and thus create an outward focus as long as you are planning your time wisely.

The combination of proper planning, core subject progress, rewards for attainment of goals, and giving time to your community or others will help to keep the homeschooling parent and student from feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and frustrated. Avoiding burnout is about the combination of activities, and if you are feeling out of order in your homeschooling program, check the order and emphasis of the things you are doing each day. If things are askew, spend five minutes each day, working to reorder these aspects of your homeschool program. You’ll find more success, a sense of accomplishment, and all of your feelings of burnout will fade away.

(To see Part 2 of this series, click here.)

Rethinking High School

How we educate high school students in the U.S. needs to change. Our high schools are no longer relevant to the needs of 21st century learners and the system must be restructured. This restructuring will allow students to choose from a variety of new study options. The days of “one size fits all” for secondary education services are coming to a close – it is now about providing students with a “customized” course of study in their pursuit of a high school diploma. Students should have a choice among the traditional high school model, a community high-school model (a hybrid between traditional and online instruction), and an early-college model that will allow students to graduate with both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree by taking a fifth year of high school.

Central to all three high school study options, or combination of options, is an intensive focus on making each learner’s secondary school experience a successful one (particularly at the freshman level), and offering ubiquitous student access to the Internet both in school and at home (using a variety of mobile computing devices). A synopsis of each program option required in a restructured high school include:

Freshman Academy

Research has shown that the transition between middle and high school is one of the most difficult developmental challenges a person faces in life. Students who are not successful in 9th grade are six times more likely to drop out before completing high school compared to their peers. The reasons for such a high failure rate include a variety of student factors upon entering high school:

– Physically and emotionally changing;

– Different setting with different expectations and experiences;

– Moving from a school environment designed to nurture children to one that

is designed to produce independent young adults;

– Academics are more challenging;

– Young teenagers are immersed with older teens.

A Freshman Academy helps to ameliorate these potential problems and issues by creating a “school within a school” environment as part of the larger high school student population. This is done by clustering 9th grade teaching teams and classrooms together, and utilizing group of upper classmen that will provide peer support. The program ensures that teachers have adequate student-focused common planning time and engage in cross-curricular instruction. Parent involvement and peer mentoring are also key components of the Academy.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Technology plays a large role in our students’ lives today. Personal devices can enhance and enrich learning opportunities both at home and at school. High schools today must be committed to allowing responsible, learning-centered use of personal devices at school so as to provide as many pathways to understanding and learning as possible for students.

Access to robust wireless networks is vital to student success these days using a variety of mobile computing devices. These devices can be either school-provided or personal laptops, tablets, or smart phone; however access to the Internet must be filtered to be in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Access from a personal device should be primarily for Internet use, but students can be given access to their own email account and document folder on the school’s network server.

For purposes of allowing students ubiquitous access to the Internet for instructional purposes, “technology” means a privately-owned wireless and/or portable electronic hand-held equipment that includes, but is not limited to: existing and emerging mobile communication systems and smart technologies, portable Internet devices, hand-held entertainment systems or portable information technology systems that can be used for word processing, wireless Internet access, image capture/recording, sound recording, and information transmitting / receiving/storing.

Hybrid Community High School

The creation of a hybrid community high school, in addition to traditional high, merges traditional and online learning into one customizable secondary education program. This hybrid is particularly attractive to students who do not do well in the traditional high school setting, such students at-risk of academic failure, gifted students, or students who are just plain bored and need something different. This merger results in one, united flexible-program high school for “non-traditional” high school students who, for one reason or another, would prefer to complete many of their required credits online instead of in the classroom.

Every student attending the hybrid program receives a graduation plan during their enrollment period that best meets their individual needs. To ensure that students have the best opportunity for success with a program of this sort, a mandatory three-week (15 day) orientation is required of all new students designed to prepare them for independent online work using an online curriculum (such as e2020), while the faculty assesses each student’s strengths and weaknesses.

In my school district, students are required to complete a series of in-classroom courses that include: Career Cruising, Effective Note-Taking & Study Skills, and Strategies for Academic Success before being placed in one of three tiers that allow for independent work online anywhere, any place, and at any time. Each tier is designed to offer a customized blend of in-school support with a student-centered approach to providing educational services online on the student’s terms, not the staff’s terms. Students are assigned to an instructional track based on in-class performance, online attendance and activity, grades, and level of self-motivation after they complete orientation.

Students are reevaluated at the end of every session, at which time they may be assigned to a new instructional tier based on the above criteria. Tier 1 students are required to attend class five days per week, receiving the most in-class support and supervision. Tier 2 students receive in-school instruction 2 to 4 days per week. Tier 3 students need only attend school one day per week. In all three tiers, students are able to work an unlimited number of hours at home and have access to e2020 courses 24 hours per day. All students have access to teacher support via email or phone. Additionally, students in the hybrid community high school program must have access to the regular high school program and allowed to take courses there and participate in the full range of extracurricular programs alongside their traditional high-school peers.

Early College Program

It is widely accepted that a majority of today’s jobs, eight or nine of every 10, require education beyond a high-school diploma. It is also known from U.S. Census data that most adults in the U.S. have not yet completed a two or four year degree. Although nearly 70% of high-school graduates start some college classes, only about 20% actually complete a degree. One significant problem today is that many students find that completing a college degree is difficult because of the many conflicting financial and time commitment priorities they face in today’s economy. A successful pathway to a college degree now requires a coordinated collaboration among high school, college, family, and community partners.

In my school district in Michigan, we have developed an early college program for a cohort of 50 committed students who agree to a rigorous academic program beginning in the 11th grade and continuing in a dual-enrollment program with a local community college through a 13th year in order to obtain both a High School Diploma and an Associate’s Degree. The program also provides an occupational track for students who wish to pursue a one year Certificate or Associates degree in a skill based area of technology, health, or business.

The cost of tuition for obtaining the Associate’s degree is paid by the school district, which utilizes it’s per pupil state aid payments to fully fund the program. There are very little out-of-pocket costs to the students. The savings on two full years of college tuition alone is estimated to range from $8,000 to $50,000 and beyond. The early college program also reduces the amount of actual time it will take a student to complete a degree by one year, which could provide one extra year of potential income in their lifetime. This earning opportunity value could range anywhere from $25,000 to $80,000 or more, depending on the student’s degree. Although textbook expenses are covered, some personal transportation costs will be the obligation of the student; although bus service between our high school and the community college is provided free of charge.

Early college students are enrolled in both high school and college for grades 11, 12, and 13. These students will complete a traditional six-year college education (four years of high school and two years of community college) in only five years, thereby accelerating their baccalaureate and/or graduate degrees.

Students with the Associate’s Degree are eligible transfer to most colleges and universities throughout the country. Because the first two years of tuition will be paid for by the school district, the student eligibility for sports scholarships, academic scholarships, and/or Pell grants will be extended to the year following the 13th year. Students do not lose eligibility for opportunities for college scholarships or federal financial aid because of their participation in our early college program.

Students who may not wish to pursue a Bachelor’s degree program are eligible to enter into a career program that provides employable skills while earning credits toward an Associate’s Degree or completion of a Certificate in the field of technology, computer occupations, nursing, and health/medical areas. Those obtaining an Associate’s Degree in any the community college’s technical/career program are eligible to transfer to universities or colleges that have approved Bachelor degree agreements with the community college for their specific area of study.

Through a unique partnership, counselors from both our high school and the community college provide services to early college students that support them throughout high school and their 13th year.


By rethinking how high school instruction is delivered, American secondary education can begin offering a truly customizable to its students. In so doing, we can produce high school and Associate’s degree graduates with a comprehensive set of critical thinking and tech-savvy skills that will serve our country well as these students compete for the new jobs in our global economy.

Top 8 Popular iPhone Apps

There’s an App for that?!?

Ever heard the expression “There’s an App for that”? Well it’s true! I have an iPhone 3G and I promise I have downloaded at least 50 or more “Apps” since I purchased this phone in 2008. I once had 5 pages of “Apps”. Now I’m sure some of you more serious “Appers”,a term I created for App users, have all 8 pages full of applications, but I was astounded when I noticed I had accumulated 5 whole pages!

Even though I have many “Apps” I must say the following 8 are the ones I feel are essential to my life. No matter how many applications I delete these will be on my phone more than likely until I get a new phone, which will be never, so these are lifers.

– IM+ Lite – This is the free version of “IM+ Push for Twitter” which costs $9.99. This is an all time favorite since it allows iPhone users to chat with all of their friends whether they are on AIM, MSN, Yahoo, etc. So if you want to “IM” with everyone without switching from one “App” to the next this is the one to download.

– Facebook
Who isn’t on Fackbook now-a-days? I know I am and this “App” makes it easy to access my account quickly. With this app you can chat, post comments, update your status, view photo albums, and much more. One major drawback is that you cannot change your profile picture; otherwise, this app is the way to go!

– Mover – is a newer “App” and a great one if I might add. This app allows you to exchange information and photos with other iPhone users without emailing. Just slide the photo or video over to your friends phone with your finger. Cool or what?!

– Multiplayer Tiki Spades -1 know it’s a game, but it’s one of the better games on the iPhone if you’re a gamer. This is a free “App” and it allows you to play spades with other users or the computer. You play on teams and earn points.

– Indeed Jobs – This “App” really comes in handy when you’re sitting at your current job thinking “Gosh I need a new Job”. Well you can use this app to search for new jobs in your area. It works just like the regular website – you are able to view, save, and email jobs to yourself or others.

– Y’.Music – The best “App” ever if you want to be able to listen to talk radio, music, comedy shows, and more. I worked at a job where I was able to listen to music and soon became bored after I had listened to all of the music in my phone. I downloaded this application and my days at work suddenly became so much more interesting listening to stand-up comedy and talk show radio.

– Snap Words – Another great “App” for you gamers. I was out with my friends one day at a restaurant and one said ” I wish we had Outburst or Madgab” and I thought well maybe there’s an “App” like that, so I checked and sure enough “Snapwords” came up. It is just like Outburst. So get a team and start playing!

– Bible Stories -I love my Bible, but sometimes you want to just skip to the stories, right? Well this “App” features all of
the stories of the Bible. Great for reading to your children at night or refreshing your memory.

High School Does Not Go High Enough

At Santa Monica College, a 34,000-student, two-year community college in California, students sometimes sit on the floor to hear professors speak. This is not part of a New Age approach to learning; there aren’t enough seats.

Over the past few years, demand for classes has grown dramatically, while budget cuts have forced the college, along with others in the California system, to reduce course offerings. As a result, according to administrators, nearly every class offered is filled to capacity. Instructors sometimes waive class size limits to allow additional students to enroll, even when that means seating some pupils on the floor. Many other students, however, are turned away, forced to take the classes they need elsewhere or to wait and try again the following semester.

In response, the college devised an unusual solution. It will add more of the most in-demand classes – generally basic courses in English, writing, math and science that are necessary to fulfill graduation requirements or transfer to four-year schools – for an extra price. After state-funded classes fill up, students will have the option to enroll in additional sections only if they are able to pay the full price of what it costs the college to offer those classes. Currently, each class costs students $36 per credit hour. The new classes would be five times that – $180 per credit hour. The new program could start as soon as the upcoming summer and winter sessions, eventually to be expanded to the entire academic year, officials say.

There is something wrong here. Santa Monica should get some points for creativity and good intentions, but too few for the program to merit a passing grade. An institution that enrolls students in a particular course of study has an obligation to make the classes necessary to complete that program available in the standard amount of time, at the prices students have been told to expect to pay. Anything else is clearly a bait-and-switch.

On the surface, the problems facing Santa Monica College are budget cuts and the state’s refusal to raise tuition rates to cover a larger portion of costs. The true issue, however, runs deeper. In today’s economy, an associate’s degree, or maybe even a bachelor’s degree, is the new high school diploma – the minimum level of achievement necessary for most middle-class jobs. Yet community colleges are not equipped to be the new high schools.

Our current educational structure evolved in the early decades of the 20th century to meet that era’s requirements. Primary school taught the basic reading, math and civic skills that everyone needed in order to function in society. Secondary school then offered a path to a middle class that was expanding as American manufacturing did. Both were made available, for free, to all students, by local school districts. Meanwhile, states and private institutions created a university system for those students interested in the relatively few professions that required higher education.

Now a high school diploma alone is inadequate for most careers, but it is still the highest level of education guaranteed to students for free. The result is that many students who try to follow the path to middle-class financial stability that education offers find it clogged with their fellow students, as in the case of Santa Monica College, or prohibitively expensive. The goalposts have moved, yet we haven’t yet changed the rules of the game.

In order to continue to offer students the same opportunities as in the past, we need to reform our system to ensure that students can meet new standards. If an associate’s degree is now the equivalent of a high school diploma, then the public should pay for every willing and qualifying student to get that associate’s degree.

One way to achieve this would be to provide the necessary funding for community colleges to accommodate all interested students, sans tuition. But why have two separate systems to achieve the single objective of a suitable publicly paid education? Another approach, and one that could save a lot of public money and student time, would be to incorporate more higher education into what is now the high school curriculum.

Already, many high schools offer Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes, which allow qualified students to study at a college level without leaving high school campuses. In order to apply these classes toward college degrees, however, students must pass expensive exams and then enroll in colleges that offer credit in exchange for high exam scores. These courses, therefore, offer little benefit to those who aren’t college-bound. Furthermore, they generally replace traditional high school courses, rather than following them, meaning that they are available only to those in accelerated programs.

Why not enable students to walk away from graduation with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in hand? Some high schools already permit students to do this, through partnerships with community colleges. Wyoming Public Schools in Grand Rapids, Mich., for example, launched a program last month to allow students to dual-enroll at Grand Rapids Community College in order to earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in five years, with the public school system paying the community college tuition.

Other schools offer fully integrated four- to six-year programs that grant students both degrees. One such school, Bard High School Early College in New York City, allows highly motivated students, selected through an admissions process, to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in four years within the New York City public school system. The program is modeled after the private Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Massachusetts, which accepts students after 10th or 11th grade and grants an associate’s degree (but not a high school diploma) after four years, and a bachelor’s degree after two additional years.

Another New York City school, developed through a partnership between the public school system, the City University of New York and IBM, offers a six-year technology-focused program, which grants graduates a high school diploma, an associate’s degree and a position “‘first in line’ for a job with IBM and a ticket to the middle class,” as Mayor Michael Bloomberg put it. (1) Chicago recently announced that it too will partner with technology companies, including IBM, to open five new high schools based on the same model next fall. The schools will enroll roughly 1,090 freshmen. “We want to hire them all,” Stanley Litow, IBM’s vice-president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs, said of these soon-to-be graduates. “All they need to do is be able to successfully complete a curriculum through Grade 9 to 14 that’s gonna be their ticket to a good-paying job and to the middle class.” (2)

These schools offer a model that every district in the nation could follow. Of course, not every student needs high school through grade 14. Those headed for another four years of schooling in college, for example, likely have no need or desire to spend an additional two years in high school first. But there is no reason high schools cannot be structured to allow both four-year and five- or six-year courses of study, with four-year paths resulting in just a high school diploma and five- or six-year paths resulting in both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, or a newly defined credential that would be similar.

As grade 14 replaces grade 12 as the new “ticket to the middle class,” we will also have to address the needs of students for whom an on-campus education isn’t appropriate, particularly those who have already been in the workforce for a number of years. While these students can obtain a General Equivalency Diploma (GED), often quickly and inexpensively, to certify high school level education, there is currently no similar way to demonstrate knowledge equivalent to an associate’s degree. As we work on paving the main road through associate’s degree-level education, we also should build this new parallel route. Those who already have the skills an associate’s degree represents, or who are prepared to acquire those skills on their own, should have an effective means of communicating this to employers and four-year colleges.

There are a lot of obstacles to the system I envision, but they are purely man-made. Local high schools are financed through different mechanisms than are community and four-year colleges, though of course society ends up picking up the tab regardless. Different unions represent faculties at such institutions, different organizations accredit them, and we have established different requirements for credentials and certification of faculty.

All these obstacles can be overcome if we care enough about getting real value for our education dollars, by providing every able and willing student with a 21st century education and credentials to match 21st century life.

Students deserve to get the education they need for today’s world without having to pay an exorbitant price. And they deserve to get that education at desks, not on the floor.

1) P-Tech, “General Information”
2) The Chicago Sun-Times, “New six-year tech high schools in Chicago to offer associate degrees “

How To Learn English Grammar Through Pictures

Have you ever peeped into your mind? Do you see your mind as a dense jungle of words or as a huge album of pictures? In fact your mind is a wonderful universe of your own which nobody else can enter unless you invite. How can you invite one to enter your universe unless you have words? Words are the keys to open the doors of your mind. With each word you utter you open a door to your listener and he sees some part of your universe.

Have you ever thought that the words you use create pictures in other people’s minds? How do words come to you to express your thoughts if there were no pictures in your mind? First, you see a person, an animal or a thing, then, you learn the name. As soon as you learn the name, it hides itself behind the picture of the person, the animal or the thing you saw. Whenever you hear the word or see the word the picture appears in your mind’s eye and whenever you want to say something pictures followed by words emerge.

Once you understand this truth about learning languages, you can find the correct path to learn ENGLISH. Start learning English through pictures. Look at a picture and then learn to read it using words. Don’t try to memorize words. Just remember the picture and word together. Words cannot survive without pictures. The more words you have, the better you can express your thoughts. Then, you can open all the doors of your universe and invite others to come and see your own wonderful creations. That is what great writers do by creating master pieces with words. Learning English through pictures is the one and only method of successful Learning.

The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

In order to get an unbiased assessment about homeschooling, it is best to fairly weigh the benefits and advantages of homeschooling, as well the disadvantages and limitations of the said educational program.

Homeschool happens when the parent/s or guardian/s decided to pull the children out of their regular school environment and decided to become the children’s educator. The motivations of each parent or guardian may or may not be different from one another but all are aiming to give a more quality education to their children as they see fit.

Not different from any other issues, homeschool have its gains and losses. Below are the advantages of homeschooling:

a. It reestablishes the role of the family as the core of educational basis of each child;
b. The family becomes the central figure in the child’s life as the parents mold their children influencing them with their social, moral and educational growth.
c. Homeschool has community-based socialization as opposed to the school’s classroom-based one. This will help the children to interact with people of different ages and stature; not limiting their exposure to the issues and life of their same-aged classmates

It is also said that home school provide a more realistic view of what the world really is unlike being confined to a room with kids of the same age and behavior. It has been argued that the best way to mold a child is by the beauty of example.

d. Homeschool advocates are insistent that academic excellence is more achievable with homeschool than with the unfocused learning done in regular / public schools.
e. The parents also understand that each child has a pace, making the lessons learned appropriately without the need to hurry or delay the schedule because of the student’s different levels of comprehension
f. The curriculum is also designed to work with the child’s pace and learning style.
g. Homeschool also gives a chance for the family to bond together longer. It is a common sentiment that American families nowadays are drifting apart because of unshared interests and beliefs.

Now, the ones given are only a part of the many advantages of homeschooling. These are the ones that fulfill the four different aspects of parent’s motivation: religion, academics, socialization, and family.

On the other hand, with every advantage comes a disadvantage. No educational program is perfect, and imperfection means disadvantages. Below are some of the most commonly raised ones about homeschool:

a. One disadvantage is the lack or insufficient interaction of homeschoolers with the kids of their own age. It should be accepted that the kids need to know how a normal kid of his age react as to know how the social norms will assess him.
b. Another is the limited resources of homeschooling as compared to the state budgeted schools. Limited resources means limited educational materials that will greatly help the children achieve academic excellence.
c. And the third one is the parental limitations that in turn also limit the child’s learning potential.

All in all, a parent must properly weigh all the considerations before deciding for the next phase. Always keep in mind that in your hands is the future of your child.

International Schools – The Right Grounding Place For Your Child

Children are the building blocks of every society, and for every society to flourish and thrive, it is essential that its children receive the right guidance from their parents and education from its schools. This helps the children build a secure future for them along with strengthening the pillars of society. In today’s modern world, schools provide the initiative to provide decent education to children, and amongst the galaxy of schools with varied missions and goals, international schools are slowly stealing the limelight.

International Schools usually offer the IB/ICSE curriculum that was once the forte of the children of diplomats and ambassadors posted in different countries as part of their job. As international schools make their mark in India, they now offer the best possible educational programs that combine international methodologies along with a touch of localized essence.

With the advent of globalization and increased awareness of the world, children are now exposed to a world of myriad opportunities. The world boundaries are now shrinking and there are now distinct possibilities for younger children. International schools function on the maxim that children are the future of the world. As children experience the world of international education, international schools in India root their foundation in time tested core Indian values. The focus is on a world of knowledge, competence, and opportunity.

Today, most international schools in India imbibe an international approach with a global curriculum and an emphasis on skills and knowledge that have a worldwide appeal. Children today deserve the best of core values as well as international education as well as grounding in values and culture. For this reason, the schools are burdened with the task of igniting young minds as well as providing them with attention within as well as outside the classroom. With education in the right direction, children become courageous and develop their integrity as well as excellence. Parents can thus see their children evolve into a confident and mature child.

International schooling is centered on the belief that one goes to school to learn and simultaneously develop new relationships with their peers and faculty. The principal aim of the teachers and the rest of the staff are to develop a strong bond between the children and the institution of learning and mould them into responsible and global citizens. Most international schools in the country converge interactive teaching along with learning practices that covers a broad curriculum policy. This caters to a multifaceted development of all learners across the school. The result is an all round development of the child’s social, emotional, intellectual, as well as physical development.

Children get motivated to achieve higher academic standards, where they nurture the skills to become global citizens by imbibing a sense of national pride along with national understanding. With the aim of nurturing responsible citizens of the future, international schools of today pool in their experience and confidence to create a committed, responsible, and understanding child.