Monthly Archives: December 2009

Kindergarten Curriculum

Maybe you have a child that is about to enter the world of kindergarten and you are curious to know what they will be learning. Perhaps you are teaching kindergarten curriculum at home or maybe just want to make sure your child is prepared. Regardless of the reason, it isn’t a bad idea to know what kindergarten is all about. There is a curriculum for those youngsters that involves more than coloring pictures, playing with toys, and learning to cut and paste. Kindergarten teachers are responsible for teaching 5 and 6 year old kids some important principles.

States seem to vary greatly on what kindergarten children are required to learn. Some have more requirements than others. However, the national guidelines have set standards for teaching kindergarten Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and History. There are various websites that outline the principles and lesson plans that can be used to teach these subjects. If your child in enrolled in compulsory education, you can check with their teacher to stay involved in their learning process.

In kindergarten, children become familiar with animals, colors, parts of the body, letters and numbers. They learn nursery rhymes, days of the week, important holidays, and how to rhyme simple words. Preparing your child for kindergarten by teaching a lot of these things at home really help to give them a head start. Kindergarten children should also learn their address, phone number, and the location of their home and school. By the end of kindergarten, they need to be able to write their name, read simple words, compute simple addition problems, identify letters and sounds, and make observations about the world. When you think about it, this is really a lot to teach in such a short period of time.

Kindergarten is a lot different than it used to be. It demands much more from these young children. In order to be ready for kindergarten a child must be able to manage their bathroom needs, pay attention for short periods of time, and follow simple directions. Any prior knowledge they receive regarding numbers, letters, sharing with others, or tracing basic steps will help them be well on their way to a positive learning experience. Be sure to check with your school prior to enrollment to learn of any additional requirements they might have for your child.

Student Support

As a young adult, there are many things to consider while pursuing an education. You must figure out how to fit the expensive bill of attending an educational institution. Plus, you will need to plan for creating a class schedule and finding the right resources that you need to succeed. Many young students fail to be prepared for important things like health care. Fortunately, student support is offered for all of these items and more. There are many people and resources that are available to help you reach your educational goals. The most important thing is to know what services are offered and how to find them.

Finance is a word that sparks anxiety in many college students. However, the cost of tuition and books should not defer anyone from pursuing an education. School is an investment in your future. For this reason there are multiple organizations that can help you get by. Every educational institution should have a financial aid department. Financial assistance my be available through the school in the form of a scholarship. Also, the federal government, state agencies, and private organizations or individuals may be able to provide for you. Most financial aid departments will have you begin your search for aid with a FAFSA application. This is a lengthy government form that requires your financial information, as well as that of your parents. The application is usually done online and you will want to be prepared with your most current income tax return, as it will ask for some detailed information. However, if you have questions about completing the application, the office of financial assistance is there to help.

When the time comes to select the appropriate classes, you should probably seek the advise of your schools academic adviser. They are a great resource and can help you stay in line for a timely graduation. You will find out exactly what courses are required for your field of study and be instructed on the number of classes you should be able to handle each semester. However, schedule an appointment in advance. Academic advisers become very busy at the start of a new semester.

If you struggle academically because of a learning disability or any other reason, you will want to seek the appropriate organization for assistance. Each state requires student support services for those who are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning. You may be eligible for free tutoring, class room accommodations, or some extra help learning study and organizational skills. Ask your school counselor if you think you may be a candidate for these resources.

Due to the fact that attending an educational institute can be very stressful, young students often find themselves feeling under the weather. Some of them may be far from home or lack appropriate health care coverage. Many schools offer their own health care center. You should contact the Student Insurance office on your campus and look into a policy that ensures you will receive the proper care in the event of an illness or accident. It is required of some schools that you have medical coverage prior to attending.

Get familiar with your campus and know where to go to find help when you need it. Although attending a new educational institution can be an exciting and intimidating experience, help is available if you look around. Student support is offered in a variety of forms and is there for almost any problem you may encounter.

School Lunch Programs

The National School Lunch Program makes it possible for every child in the United States to have a nutritional and balanced meal on every school day. The school lunch programs that they implement reimburse all participating schools in efforts to safeguard the health of the Nation’s children. Children are provided with more than 1/3 of their Recommended Daily Allowance of key nutrients.

More than 99,800 schools participate in assisting children in need by offering a school lunch program. They can be a public school, a non profit private school, or a residential child care facility in order to qualify for the nationally funded benefits. On a typical school day, more than 18 million children receive a free or reduced price lunches.

Eligibility for receiving the benefits of a free or reduced lunch program are determined by the parent’s income. Household income must fall below 130% of the national poverty level to receive free meals or between 130% and 185% of poverty to receive reduced price lunches. However, aside from showing proof of income, there are several other ways that a family can become eligible. If the family is receiving food stamps or some other forms of financial assistance, they often automatically qualify. Also, children who are homeless, migrant, or runaways can be placed in the program by a professional judgment, without having to compete an application.

Even the idea of a starving child is hard for most people to think about. Fortunately, our government has established the National School Lunch Program to help. In addition to providing kids with a nutritional lunch, our government also supports programs for free breakfast and free after school snack to those who qualify in participating schools.

Home Education Programs

Home education (also called homeschool) is a widely growing form of education. There are currently well over one million students homeschooled in the United States. The reason that families choose this option vary but they include issues such as: school safety, negative socialization, concern about academics, and largely the ability to add morals and values into the educational foundation of the student. These are just to name a few of the reasons.

There are many thoughts or “programs” where homeschooling is concerned. Here we will talk about each one briefly.
  1. Unschooling – This is where a student does not receive information or education in general in the format presented in most schools. Text books or workbooks are rarely used and the thought that children are naturally inquisitive and love to explore and be creative. These ideas are fostered in unschooling and the child never has to be held back by the structure of typical schooling.
  2. Box Curriculum – Many homeschool families choose to purchase a full set of curriculum from a publisher or school. Some schools offer record keeping and teacher assistance. These programs can be very pricey but there are a few that are now publicly funded. It must be mentioned here that those that take part in the publicly funded box curriculum methods are usually enrolled in the school district that they live in and most often they are required to do state standardized testing. There is much debate among homeschoolers about whether this is truly homeschooling or not because it is basically public education done at home but within the framework of the state or district. Regardless of how one puts it, the child is educated at home and the parent is responsible for seeing that the student accomplishes what is needed.
  3. Build your own – Many parents like to build their own curriculum. They truly like the involvement of making thematic units and other learning tools that are tailor made for their children. While this may seem like the ideal thing for children it is very time consuming and requires a lot of organization.
  4. Homeschool for free – Homeschool can get expensive. It isn’t just the box curriculum that add up, you still have to buy every school supply including the ones that typical public schools and private schools just keep on hand. Every paper is your responsibility so it is important to know that you can find ways to get information and curriculum for free when possible or do science projects with normal household items.
There are many homeschool philosophies but that will be another post at another time. For now we just wanted to touch on the different reason families homeschool and the different options there are to homeschooling programs.

Free Web Hosting For School Websites

We all know how great websites for schools can be. They be used to post your calendar, staff contacts and bios, your school philosophy, school updates and important notices. And if you have hosting that provides you with email accounts your teachers and staff can all have official and professional school email addresses. This is a great tool for teachers as well as parents. Parents should have a way to look online to see what is going on in a student’s school and they should have a way to reach the teacher with their concerns and questions. Even some students email their teachers for homework help or other questions. While this is entirely up to the teacher and/or school we just wanted to show the great features that a website and dedicated email addresses could have for your school.

While a website and email accounts can be a great asset to any school there are always costs involved or compromises to be made. We realize that schools are tight on funding in this time and we know that this should not mean that students, teachers and parents don’t have what they need because money is an issue. There are many free web hosting companies that can help your school accomplish their goals.

It is important to notice that all many sites will claim to have the best free web hosting but they are not created equal and you need to know what you are looking for. Here are a few things you may want to consider when looking at free web hosting.

  • Make sure you have enough web space. You may want to decide how you want to display and break up your information and then see how many web pages you want. If you want a separate page for each class then account for that. If you want a separate page for the school lunch calendar then you should account for that as well. You get the idea. Just don’t short change yourself right off. You may not need much but you don’t want to be caught paying for overages.
  • Do you want email accounts and if so does the host you are looking at provide them and how many?
  • How much traffic are you expecting? Are you expecting all parents to have access and if so how many and how many times do you think the average student or faculty member will look? If you can get a pretty good idea of the amount of traffic you will have you will avoid fees or problems.
  • Do you want ads displayed on your free web pages and if not, are you willing to pay a little extra to have ad free hosting?
  • If you do upgrade to paid hosting what is your budget?
  • Do you need a site with free website templates and website building software or are you having someone else design your web page?
These are all things to take into consideration. It is important to remember that with most free web hosting you will run into advertising on your pages. It isn’t that this is something that the host is doing wrong but it is why they can offer you free web hosting to begin with. You should look for a company with longevity and substance because many hosts go under and leave you stranded in a sense. Just make sure that the host you choose will be there next week and that you have options to upgrade your account when the time comes so that you don’t have to switch hosts.
Our top picks for free web hosting are:

Financial Aid – Student Loans

Most college students need some sort of assistance. Very few students go into college with all the cash needed to support the whole education process to the end result. Most students have to work during college and/or get financial aid of some sort. Here we will talk about the different types of aid that can be possible solutions.

Federal Aid Grants – These grants are determined by a number of factors. Grants are funds that you receive that you DO NOT have to pay back. These are much better than loans and should be the first resource that a student turns to just to keep their future debt load to a minimum if at all possible. Keep in mind that you can do an Internet search for non-federal aid and you may be surprised. There are many offers out there and many people/organizations willing to fund education. For federal aid (Pell Grant) here are a few of the qualifiers:
  • You must be a US Citizen
  • You must have a GED, high school diploma or take an exam approved by the the Federal Aid Office
  • If you are male, you must be registered with Selective Service
  • Have a valid Social Security card
  • Must be accepted to a college
  • Must not have had a drug conviction
  • Give financial documents to prove need and to see how much you qualify for
Student Loans – Many financial institutions offer student loans at low interest rates for the use of education. Student loan payments are usually deferred until the student is done taking classes. After you have been out of school for a certain length of time then the payment begin. The payment amount naturally depends on the loan amount. Most institutions also offer deferment plans if you find that you can’t make the payment for some reason. Ultimately though, you will end up paying it all back with interest.
Scholarships – Scholarships are like grants in that you do not have to pay them back. The difference is that scholarships have different requirements and each one is unique. There are scholarships based on academic status, some on sports activity, some on theatre, music, or other arts. Thousands of scholarships go unused each year so it is worth finding scholarships that you qualify for, even if they are small, every bit helps. You should not have to pay fees to apply for scholarships so don’t get caught up in a scam.

Teaching Morals in School -Character Education

Teaching values and morals in our schools can also be called “character education”. This is much debated on one hand and then much needed on the other. Education is generally focused on three things: knowledge, skills, and character.

Knowledge naturally covers the learning that is actually assimilated and usable in the future. It is also general knowledge that creates a well rounded mind and ultimately a well rounded person. This knowledge base allows students to experience a wide variety of subjects and therein find their particular interest and specialty. This is probably why in continuing education they require two years minimum of “general education”.
Skills refers to what the student can do or perform with the knowledge they have been given. It isn’t good enough to just give the information back on tests, students should come out with skills that they can use in the work place.
Character refers to the type of people that the school produces. If we do not teach character building values and morals in the schools we could be missing a great chance to better society. The debate comes in when parents believe that there is not place for anything but scholastic knowledge in the public schools.
Teachers and administrators will most likely argue the point that values and morals such as honesty and integrity are always okay and that there are no religious conflicts with such teachings. It isn’t that they are “God based” or “Christian” values and morals but that we need more upstanding and honest men and women in the world who are willing to do the right thing and stand up for what they know to be right.
Another attribute of character education is fostering pro-social traits. For example, an elementary school student may mistreat another student and the teacher may have to give a lesson on empathy and/or sympathy. These traits ultimately benefit the individuals, our families and then a society as a whole.
Character education can be taught in a wide variety of ways but it usually is not a specific topic in the curriculum. Rather it is a whole school focus that intertwines with scholastic education. That you are kind, you do take care of your neighbors, you treat the world and all those in it with the respect you want shown to you. Schools can do specific things such as focus on good role models and employ good role models, talk about heroes worth of being called heroes and what a hero really is, and then there needs to be reinforcement to see the kudos for what has been accomplished or shown. All students (young and old alike) like to see the fruits of their efforts.
Other things that can be brought about are critical thinking and problem solving skills, how they apply to the world and how to solve social problems. Helping students see as many sides to a situation as possible is a great thing and helps them in years to come with all of the interpersonal relationships. Students can also be taught how to break a situation down to make the best of a bad situation. For example, you can present a problem that there is no ideal answer to (like the welfare issues in the government). It can be taught that while there is no ideal answer other than to not have that issue you can choose from the options that you have wisely and try to foresee the pros and cons of each answer.