The Abc S Of Home School Deciding To Study At Home Part 4 Learning Parrot Fashion Or Learning Spanish Grammar How To Pay For Your Online Degree T Stem Initiative A Boost For Texas Schools Students

“There’s no place like home,” says the lovely Dorothy to get out of the wonderful Land of Oz Indeed, for many people, home is the place to be. It is where one sleeps, eats, relaxes and lives. But now, it can also be the place where one can study.

This is not just about doing homework or reviewing lessons learned from school, but real, full-time education at home.

Before, studying at home was a luxury available only to the elite and aristocratic families who believed it best for their children to stay in their large mansions rather than mingle with common people in school houses. Today, practically anyone can gain education from a home school with more standardized systems of instruction and more advanced technology.

However, deciding to study at home is not an easy matter. Making a school out of a home is not at all a simple task. There are many things to consider before one embarks on home education. Deciding to study at home could affect one’s entire life.

For the part of the student:

A home school requires strict commitment. It takes a lot of time in a learner’s day, perhaps as much time as one would spend on a regular school, if not more. This commitment is very difficult to keep since one would be staying at home, where many distractions are present – television, the bed, the fridge, and so on.

A home school would also limit a child’s interaction with other people; this could greatly affect one’s social development, though it might be beneficial for those who would want to monitor children’s contact with others.

There is also a great danger of being bored when a student is confined to a certain place, a child might even get tired of seeing his or her own parents, thus it is highly important to know how to make things exciting for the home school student.

For the part of the parent:

A home school entails a lot of sacrifice. Most home schools operate nowadays with at least a parent staying at home acting as the teacher since the services of full-time private teachers are quite expensive. This means that the home school parent might have to give up a job or even personal time. Leaving a job might also pose a financial strain in the family since only one parent would be earning even if the costs of having a home school are not that high. While a lot of families can thrive with just one parent working, a great number of families depend on two sources of incomes.

Having school at home can also make it difficult for parents to accomplish housework. Since more time is spent educating the child, there is a tendency for one to leave usual chores behind. Moreover, a home school can even add more to the messes that a regular home would already have.

Deciding to Have School at Home

When choosing between a home school and a regular school it is very essential for both parents to make the decision. A home school would be quite unsuccessful if the household on which it stands is not united. A home school requires the support of everyone involved.

This brings into question the willingness of the child who is to study in the home school. While the ultimate decision to study at home is made by the parents, the choice would be useless if the child does not cooperate. Thus it is important to discuss everything with the prospective home student before making the final decision.

There are many options regarding home schools. To learn more about them, simply search for home schooling websites in the internet, or contact your local education board. Education at home can be effective and if done well, can truly make home the place to be.

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In my last article I started to write about some of the first steps I took when I decided to learn the Spanish language. In this article I want to talk about two different approaches to learning a new language that you may want to think about before you dive head long into a text book or start trying to memorise hundreds of Spanish words.

The way that people best absorb and retain information differs from person to person but generally speaking our brains work better if the information we are trying to absorb is presented to us in a way that is informative and interesting. If the human brain attempts to learn by being continuously presented with factual information it will very quickly suffer from Neural System Fatigue; that is, our ability to remain interested in what we are trying to learn will quickly be lost.

New information is best absorbed by the human brain if it triggers our human emotions. Learning facts anecdotally is one method of achieving this. The key is to provide the brain with stimuli. It is far more likely that the brain will absorb new Spanish words for example if those words can be related to something else or if they forms part of a small list of other similar words. Trying to learn hundreds of unconnected words at once is likely to be less effective. I will talk more about learning vocabulary in later articles.

So what stimulus works best? How does the human brain react to different types of stimuli? Well, this of course is what differs from person to person. We are all different. Something that interests me might be the most boring thing in the world to somebody else!

Often you will see teachers and text books trying to teach Spanish by following two different general approaches. The first approach is what I like to call, teaching “parrot fashion”. This involves the student processing and remembering new Spanish words and phrases and then simply repeating them our loud. Certain words and phrases can be associated with different topics. The student can simply learn a particular word and remember that that word is only used in particular situations without necessarily understanding why.

The second approach to learning is more methodical. It requires the student to learn a new word or phrase and then to understand why that word or phrase is being used in the way that it is. What we are really saying here is that the grammar of a language is important. We can learn Spanish by trying to understand some fundamental points about the structure of the language.

So which method works best? The truth is that you are unlikely to be able to learn Spanish effectively without having some understanding of Spanish grammar. In reality it will probably take you far longer to learn Spanish if you simply rely on trying to remember when certain words and phrases are used in speech.

A good example of how useful learning Spanish grammar can be is when trying to learn different verb tenses. The way verbs are formed in Spanish is very different to the way they are formed in English. I will talk more about this in later articles. The great thing is that if we learn certain rules about how one particular verb should be formed in one particular tense in Spanish then quite often we can apply this rule to hundreds of other verbs too.

By learning Spanish grammar we can form words and sentences without necessarily having to learn hundreds of words individually. Following grammatical guidelines and applying rules will ultimately allow us to learn new words more quickly.

The problem is that learning Spanish grammar for many is quite boring! It essentially requires that the human brain absorbs technical and factual information. Without varied stimuli learning Spanish grammar might take a very long time.

To avoid losing concentration and becoming board it is probably best to mix both approaches to learning Spanish. This is especially true at the early stages of the learning process. By learning Spanish words and phrases “parrot fashion” at least the student feels immediate satisfaction by being able to communicate. Learning the basics using this method is probably best. It doesn’t take much for anyone to learn how to say hello and introduce themselves!

I mentioned in my last article that when first learning Spanish you shouldn’t get too bogged down with how different words and phrases are formed. The point is that you want to feel enthused about learning. However, if you are serious about learning Spanish then at some point you will need to learn Spanish grammar. Don’t rush it and make sure you provide your brain with the stimuli that it needs. In the next article I intend to talk more about different types of stimuli and how I managed to keep myself enthused when I first started to learn Spanish.

College can be expensive. Just because your degree is completed online does not make it cost any less. Education can be a budget busting proposition so here’s what I found can help!

Apply for student loans. Head to your schools’ counseling office or to your local bank. Look for low interest and long duration payment plans.

The government offers several loans to students going to school. The cap of the loan is generally set by the school you are attending. These are great low interest long term loans that you should seriously consider. Here’s the online info link: loans must be paid back. However, the terms are very reasonable. The government agencies will determine the type of loan you are offered through several factors, including your income level. Some students are offered subsidized loans, in which the government actually pays the interest of the loan for them. Others are offered unsubsidized loans. Their interest accrues while they are going to school. Generally speaking, government loans are the best type of loan to take out because they are designed to benefit the student and usually offer the most reasonable rates and terms.

There are also grants available. Apply for as many as you can. A grant is a gift of money. You do not need to pay it back. The government offers grants of money to students who fall in the lower brackets of income level. Usually students must maintain a minimum gpa in order to qualify for the grant. The required gpa depends upon how much money a student (or, more often, a student’s family) has. The minimum gpa varies, but is generally in the 2.0-3.0 range. Grants do not have to be paid back. Check out some info as the same site for loans: students don’t qualify for government loans. Those who are not United States citizens, men who fail to register for the draft, and students enrolling in unapproved schools are not able to receive funding from government agencies. These students have the option of taking out private loans from individual banks. Bank loans require that the student has established sufficient creditor is co-signing with someone who has. These loans generally have a higher interest rate and less negotiable terms.

Make sure you also check out scholarships. A scholarship is an award based on academic performance, talent, or other factors. It may have certain requirements, but you do not need to pay it back. Students can learn about individual scholarships from their schools’ counseling office (or web site) or from online scholarship databases.

Apply for everything you can in order to see what you qualify for. There is not a grant or scholarship program you should overlook interms of pursuing financing for your education.

The T-STEM initiative was launched in December 2005 by the Governor Perry’s office in partnership with the Texas schools, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, National Instruments, and the Communities Foundation of Texas.

The Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (T-STEM) initiative is a $71 million dollar project to better prepare Texas schools students for success in college and the workplace. With the undeniable forward movement towards a global technology-based economy, secondary Texas schools are placing more emphasis on science and mathematics.

Though many Texas schools already are doing an excellent job in these educational areas, the most common reason many Texas schools are graded academically unacceptable by the state is poor science performance. The second most common reason is poor mathematics performance.

In 2005, only 72 percent of the students passed the mathematics portion and only 71 percent passed the science portion of the state’s required exit-level Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exam. The passing rate among the Texas schools major ethnic groups was significantly lower. Only 54 percent of African-American students passed the math portion and only 55 percent passed the science portion. Hispanics did slightly better with 61 percent passing the math and 57 percent the science.

The hopes are that the new T-STEM project will improve current Texas schools student performance in both areas by providing innovative science and mathematics instruction, as well as innovative demonstration sites.

T-STEM will establish 35 small schools or academies, located in high need areas across the state of Texas. These Texas schools will focus on science, mathematics, engineering and technology instruction. From five to six STEM demonstration centers will be developed to transform current teaching methods for the Texas schools educators, as well as train and prepare teachers for these specialized Texas schools. Additionally, the project will establish a statewide network to promote a broad dissemination of practices throughout the Texas schools.

Each new T-STEM Texas schools will include grades 6-12 or will be a high school academy that works with feeder middle schools. Each grade will have about 100 Texas schools students. The focus will be to create personalized, engaging and relevant learning environments.

The enrolled Texas schools students will be required to take four years of mathematics and science with participation in related extra-curricular activities. An internship or project in areas related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics also will be required.

Educators in these Texas schools will be required to work with institutions of higher education to foster partnerships, dual credit classes, and teacher training opportunities.

Funding for the Texas schools T-STEM initiative is $30 million from the state of Texas, $20 million each from the Gates and Dell Foundations, $1 million from National Instruments, and $10 million from the Communities Foundation of Texas, which include leading businesses, foundations and individuals who underscore the significance of these academic areas to the future of our global economy.

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