Graduate Degree Options

Graduate Degree photo

Many people find that in the courses of their careers they wish they had the ability to go back to school for even further education. Unfortunately, not everyone has the good fortune to live in the vicinity of a university that offers graduate level studies in the career they have chosen. Chances are that a good percentage of the population does not and if they do chances are even better that they have very busy personal and professional lives that make intensive graduate studies difficult to pursue at best.

If you are one of the many people that feel you have made your choice and are stuck with your undergraduate degree or that a post graduate degree is simply out of your reach, I hope you will read this article with great interest and learn that there options available to you no matter how far away from a university you live or how little time you have to devote to your graduate studies.

A graduate education is a very intensive course of study that is very narrow and specific. In other words, many students find that their graduate coursework is their favorite by far as it gets into the meat of the subject matter of their interest rather than merely hitting the highlights. Only a small percentage of the population at this point in time has a graduate education. Though this does not necessarily guarantee you any employability it can provide you with very specialized knowledge or skills that will help you perform your job better and qualify you for more interesting and specialized positions in your field of study.

If you would like to pursue a graduate education but feel you are too far from the nearest university that offers a comprehensive graduate education in your field, you might be surprised to find that the nearest graduate level curriculum is as far away as your living room or your favorite Internet caf


Socialization In Homeschooling

When we consign our children to public schools, we feel satisfied that they are receiving ‘quality education’. But, are we really getting our money’s worth? More importantly, are the children gaining anything from this kind of a learning procedure?

Socialization is hailed as one of the greatest advantage of schools. This is the place where the child picks up the rudiments of social skills that help him survive. But in truth, a regular school-going child can interact only with his peers. He may bully younger children or fear older ones. He does not know how to behave with an adult. This is because in the school environment he interacts only with his peers. A homeschooling environment brings in a more natural social environment.

A regular school going child cannot read literature. He cannotkeep silent or think in depth about any one thing. The artificial ‘busy’ness imposed upon him by the school disallows quiet contemplation. Rowdy and destructive behavior, as seen among peers, is more noticeable in school-goers.

There is little long-standing knowledge among regular school goers because most things are learnt for the exam. There is no correlation of facts with life. The child may know a lot, but understands very little. This is where the homeschoolers beat theregular school goers. Ultimately, homeschoolers emerge more adept at facing the outside world.

Social skills is an area of deep concern when it comes to homeschooling. Many critics point out that since man needs to hone his social skills, a homeschooling environment where social interaction is limited is detrimental to his growth and development. But studies have proved this wrong.

Children put into the fiercely competitive school environments lack the confidence to hold a conversation. Such children show little genuine interest in the topic of conversation and don’t know how to interact with people of various age groups, especially their elders.

Children who learn at home are more aware of the implications and the purpose of their learning. They will ask intelligent questions and make accurate observations. Children begin their life by imitating their parents. Homeschooled children therefore pickup the sterling qualities they see in their parents. On the other hand, they are protected from the detrimental influences of their peers.

These children are thus better equipped with the tools necessary to face the world. The positive reinforcement that takes place in the homeschooling environment as opposed to being abandoned, embarrassed or ignored in a normal school environment strengthens their self-esteem. Children turn out to be better balanced and well-rounded as they progress into adulthood.

The most common reason today’s parents have for not sending their children to public school is that they feel that public school is no longer a place where children can obtain a quality education. 48.9% of parents in a survey stated that their reason for wanting an alternative to public school was that they could give their child a better education at home. Another 25% gave the reason that public school offered a poor learning environment and another 11% say that public school did not challenge their child (Bielick).

That study just cannot be ignored.

The homeschooling population in the United States has grown from some 10,000 to 15,000 children in the late 1960s to over one million children in 2001 (Bielick). Homeschooling is currently growing at about 11% a year. This obviously says something about the state of public education and theopinion of parents concerning the education of their children.

Homeschooled children appear to perform better on tests, as well. According to Brian Ray, Ph.D., “Home educated students generally score at the 65th to 80th percentile on achievement tests, 15 to 30 percentile points higher than those in public schools.

Parents who homeschool do have some notable differences from the mainstream population though. In a study by L. M. Rudner homeschool parents had more formal education than parents in the general population; 88% continued their education beyond high school compared to 50% for the nation as a whole. The median income for home school families ($52,000) was significantly higher than that of all families with children ($36,000) in the United States. Almost all home school students (98%) were in married couple families. Most home school mothers (77%) did not participate in the labor force; almost all home school fathers (98%) did work (Rudner). This may explain why homeschooled students outperform the public schools students on standardized tests and academic competitions like the National Spelling Bee.

In 1997, the winner of the National Spelling Bee was a homeschooled student. Every year since then, the winner has been a homeschooled student. This year, the first and second runners up were also homeschoolers.

Homeschooling can be the best option for a child if the following conditions exist: the home provides a suitable learning atmosphere, the parent is capable, the child is receptive and the option to homeschool exists. These factors include the enabling of parents, the emotional health of the child, interest and curiosity, the socialization of the child and the teachability of the child.

Developing A Quality Homeschooling Lesson Plan Does Not Have To Be Hard

For the novice homeschooling parent, one of the most intimidating steps in the whole process is the idea of developing a lesson plan that is both effective and manageable. Fortunately, this does not have to be hard. The important thing to remember is that your child should be the main focus and you should do what is in the best interest of the child. For those choosing to do it on their own, this article will briefly outline nine steps to developing a quality lesson plan.

Step 1 The first thing that you will have to consider, obviously, is what you will be teaching. This, in large part, should be based upon your state or local school standards. In addition, you will also need to be aware of what grade level you are developing the lesson plan for and record a reasonable time estimate for your lesson plan.

Step 2 You will need to develop clear and specific objectives for the lesson plan from the beginning. However, you must note that these objectives should not be activities used in the lesson plan. Instead, they should be the specific learning outcomes of those activities.

For example, if you wanted to teach your child how to add 1 + 3, your defined objective may be that “the student will learn to demonstrate how to add 1 + 3.”

Your objectives should also be measurable. What this means is that you need to make sure that you will be able to tell specifically whether the defined objectives were met or not. Keep in mind that you can certainly have more than one objective for a lesson plan if you feel that this would be more beneficial.

Step 3 You should show, as early as possible in your lesson plan, what materials you are going to use. Be specific in this case so that you can make sure another teacher will have everything that they could possibly need in the event that you, the parent, choose not to teach yourself.

Step 4 It is highly suggested that you write out an anticipatory activity as a way to lead into the main lesson plan. This will help develop the student’s interest in learning what you are getting ready to teach.

Step 5 At this point you need to write the step-by-step procedures that will be performed to reach each of the above-mentioned objectives. These don’t have to involve every little thing that the teacher will say and do but, they should list the relevant actions that the teacher needs in order to perform them.

Step 6 After all of the outlined procedures have been completed, you may want to provide your students with time for independent practice. This step will help to reinforce the main concepts and lessons learned. In addition, it will help the students determine for themselves what additional information they may need to fully comprehend the material.

Step 7 Before you start moving to the assessment phase of your homeschooling lesson plan, you should be prepared to create some sort of closure for the lesson plan. A good idea for this part of the process is to return to your anticipatory set discussed earlier. It is at this point that your children can ask for additional information or clarification on the main lesson points. After having gone through the lesson, you can return to the introduction exercise and ask how things may have changed given what they have just learned.

Step 8 For this step, it is a good idea to include a “connection” section, which clearly shows how the lesson plan could be integrated with other subjects. This builds on step 7 and by putting a lot of work into it, you can really help to develop complete thematic units that help integrate related topics into many different subjects.

Step 9 In this step, you will want to write your assessment and evaluation. In reality, many lesson plans don’t really need them. However, they are helpful and most of them should have some sort of evaluation as to whether or not the objectives were met.

The key to doing this is to make sure that the assessment specifically measures whether the objectives were reached or not. As a result of this step, there should be a direct correlation between the defined objectives and the evaluation assessments.

That’s really all there is to creating a lesson plan! If you follow the steps as outlined here, you are on your way to writing a very thorough lesson plan that will be useful for you regardless of the subject that you may be teaching.

Words And Phrases To Use When Homeschooling

Homeschooling gives parents a unique opportunity with their children in many ways. To make the most out of a homeschooling experience, regardless of philosophy or curriculum, good parent to child communication is a must.

While good parent communications skills are learned, here are some easy to follow tips and phrases for any great homeschool experience. You can use these everyday phrases to instill confidence, self-respect, and thoughtfulness in your children.

1. Thank you.
It’s important to acknowledge your child’s efforts to help you or others. You might say: “Thanks for helping me look for that missing sock” or “Thanks for setting the table; I got the salad made while you were doing that.”

2. Tell me more.
Words like these show your child that you are listening and that you would like to hear more about what’s on her mind. “Tell me more” encourages conversation without passing judgment or giving immediate advice, two responses that discourage further communication from your child.

3. You can do it.
Your expression of confidence in your child’s ability to do many things without your help is important. As your child grows older, there will be many times when your encouragement will mean the difference between his giving up on a challenging task or seeing it through.

4. How can I help?
Let your child know you are willing and available to help her accomplish a particular task that may be difficult for her to manage on her own. You might say: “I think you can read that story by yourself now. Let me know if you need help with a new word.” As your child takes on projects in school, encourage her to think of specific steps that are necessary to complete a project. You both can decide which tasks your child can handle on her own and which ones she’ll need help with.

5. Let’s all pitch in.
A child is never too young to learn that cooperation and team effort make many jobs easier and speedier and often more fun: “Let’s all pitch in and finish raking the leaves so we can go in and bake cookies,” or “Let’s all pitch in and clean up the kitchen or we’ll miss the movie.” Family activities and group chores can develop into pleasant rituals that enrich a child’s life and create fond memories.

6. How about a hug?
Don’t just tell your child you love him, show him. Research indicates that young children deprived of physical touch and displays of affection often fail to thrive. As children grow older, they vary in the ways they like us to show affection. Some love to be cuddled, while others prefer a quick hug or pat on the shoulder. It’s important to be aware of what your child enjoys most at a particular age.

7. Please.
After all these years, “please” is still a classic. When you ask a favor of anyone, including children, this “magic word” acknowledges that you are asking for a behavior that will help you and/or make you happy. (P.S.: Don’t forget to say “thank you” when the job is done.)

8. Good job!
Good for you. Self respect and self confidence grow when your child’s efforts and performance are rewarded. Whenever possible, give your child lots of praise. Be sure your praise is honest and specific. Focus on your child’s efforts and progress, and help her identify her strengths.

9. It’s time to…
“It’s time to get ready for bed,” or “do homework,” or “turn off the TV.” Young children need structure in their daily lives to provide a measure of security in an often insecure world. It is up to you as a parent to establish and maintain a workable schedule of activities, always remembering that children benefit from regular mealtimes and bedtimes.

10. I love you.
Everyone needs love and affection and a feeling of acceptance and belonging. We can’t assume that children know and understand our love for them unless we tell them. Letting your child know that you love him (and showing him with countless hugs) is important not only in toddlerhood, but also as he gets older.

As a parent your response to problems that arise in daily life, at home, or at work provides a model of behavior for your child. Your homeschool experience will multiply if the communication channels are open and positive.

Common Attendance Methods For Returning Students

Are you one of many Americans that dreams of returning to college but fears that option ended for your many years ago? If this is you, then you are in luck. There is no time like the present to go back and pursue your educational dreams. In fact, there has been no better time throughout history than today for those who wish to return to school but cannot give up their careers in order to do so.

Educational opportunities abound today in America and only show evidence of increasing and improving with time and technological advances. There are many options available for the returning students of today that would have been summarily designed to those hoping to further their educational goals in the past. If you are hoping to go back to school consider the options below very carefully before deciding which will be best for you.

The All or Nothing Approach

This endeavor is a giant leap of faith. It involves quitting your job, packing up your life and going back to college with every hope for a better future hinging on your performance. This is a high-risk endeavor for many professionals who have families and careers to consider. However, the rewards will be much quicker with this approach than most of the other available options. You should consider carefully whether this is an appropriate plan of action for your specific needs or if the risk would be too high for your family to endure.

Night School

Most community colleges and universities offer a wide assortment of night classes to those students who have daytime careers but are hoping to further their educations. You will find that despite common preconceived notions there is a wide mixture of students in night classes. There are first time college students who simply prefer night classes to early morning classes, retirees hoping to learn something new, and professionals hoping to grab a few more credit hours towards their degree. You never know whom you will find in your night classes but chances are you will find that there is a special sense of community among night school students that you won’t find in traditional day classes.

Techno Wizards for Internet Courses

Believe it or not you do not need to have spectacular technical skills in order to take the average online or Internet course. The truth of the matter is that the most technical skill most of these classes require is the ability to visit websites, open email, and download an occasional file. Internet classes offer extreme flexibility for those with busy family and work schedules. This is the option of choice for many returning schools. The good news is that more and more universities and community colleges are offering these sorts of classes in many different fields and majors. The more demand grows for these classes the more classes will be offered.

The fact is that as consumers we have the right to ask for what we want or need. College students are consumers who are paying a hefty price for the product they hope to receive-a solid educational experience. Do not be afraid to request that the university you are attending offer more options for working students if you find that you are in need of a class that isn’t offered in a flexible manner. Chances are if you need the course, there are others like you who will as well. If there is enough demand, most universities will oblige the demands of their students.


Homeschooling – The Age Factor

Home schooling is a trend that few people can ignore. There has been a consistent increase in the number of children who have left the formal education system in exchange for home schooling. If you’re interested in home schooling your child, you must be wondering what it takes to begin. Many parents like you often wonder if there’s a particular age range that is most viable for home schooling, or if most local education agencies impose a compulsory age at which you can take your child out of the formal system for home schooling. More generally, perhaps you are simply wondering how age factors into home schooling.

However, you’ll be pleased to know that when it comes to the question of age viability or minimum age for home schooling, there is actually no such requirement. When you find it appropriate to home school your child, his or her age will determine what you have to do in order to complete the transition into home schooling. Moreover, age matters very little when it comes to home schooling. This has perhaps been one of its most esteemed and valued characteristics.

Most parents who opt for home schooling are those parents who have children already enrolled in an educational institution of sorts. Regardless of what educational level or age your child is, he or she is good to go. However, because of the fact that your child has gone through some sort of schooling, you have to first consult with the educational institution. Once there, you must get your child’s records assessing clearly the educational level and subsequent attainment achieved while in the school.

If your child is not yet within schooling age but you’ve already planning on home schooling him or her, then there’s no other consultation you have to go through. All you have to do is follow the required procedure in your state for home schooling. That is, if your state requires being informed of the intention to home school your child, you must follow this and whatever other requirements they have set before you can go about home schooling. Otherwise, you’re free to start home schooling your child anytime.

The fact that home schooling your child is not reliant on age surprises many individuals, and this may include you. While some parents move their children out of the formal learning environment to give them a more age-appropriate curriculum, home schooling in fact (and at times unknowingly) steps away from age-appropriateness to intellectual-appropriateness. While children in schools may be required to follow one standardized curriculum, you may opt to either give your child more time on the required materials you wish to teach, or advance to more complex materials if your child is more than qualified to take on harder materials. As such, the system is based more on merit than on age. Moreover, it allows you to create a curriculum designed to address your child as a growing individual, instead of a statistical age group recommended to take a particular group of lessons from a generalized spectrum of disciplines.

Another issue that home schooling addresses in a far more effective way is socialization. In schools, students are more or less encouraged to be in the company of peers within the same age group, give or take a year or two. This has resulted in age-based socialization. Some parents contend that this sort of limit on the social environment most accessible to their children actually hampers a more enriched interpersonal growth. While this sort of socialization is greatly emphasized with the various year levels in schools, the fact that age-based socialization is something seemingly arbitrary is quite evident. Comparing this to the home school environment with a child able to interact freely with people in his or her community without the pressures of a formal educational system, you can already see an inherent comparative advantage. It gives children greater experience and opportunities to grow at a pace dictated only by their intellectual and emotional maturity.

Home schooling is perhaps not the easiest decision you have to make, but it’s certainly one worth considering. After all, a little work in the beginning can go a long way, especially if you want your child to learn of values and other pertinent academic matter that you wish the school discussed but didn’t. The best part is, age is no obstacle.

University Disadvantages

We have discussed some of the wonderful advantages that university life and educations present. However, we must in turn discuss some of the other disadvantages that are associated with university learning as well. While we discuss these you should keep in mind that they do not by any means indicate that you should give up on your higher education goals, only that you should view your educational process with realistic expectations.

When compared with the community college system the very first and most distinctive disadvantage that comes to mind is the high cost of upper education on the university level. Community colleges are simply more cost effective all around than universities. The costs go well beyond that money that would be spent on room and board making the tuition alone cost prohibitive in many cases. While there are many types of financial aid available to students the vast majority of college students in this country make ends meet through the use of student loans, which must be repaid at quite a hefty interest rate, in order to cover the costs associated with university educations.

Beyond the one obvious disadvantage there are a few other disadvantages that bear mentioning in this particular circumstance. First of all, universities do not have the small intimate classroom settings that literally set community colleges apart. In fact, for lower level course, most universities offer large auditorium classes that are taught by graduate students rather than professors and more often than not the students never get to know those who are charged with their education on more than a nod and smile while passing in the halls basis. This method for learning is considered by many to be exceptionally inferior and the statistics prove that students who go straight into a four-year college environment rather than going through a community college first are far less likely to complete their degrees.

If that isn’t enough of a disadvantage, many people find that the impersonal atmosphere of most universities is quite limiting when it comes to interaction with other students. The smaller classroom environments of community colleges invite interaction between the students in the class. An open line of communication within the classroom is greatly preferred to having so many students that no one gets a voice or the ability to voice their opinions or personal experiences when it comes to certain topics.

Another disadvantage to university life is the sheer size of university campuses. Community colleges tend to be much more compact. This means that students have a fairly decent chance of making it to all classes on time and without the worry of walking 2 miles in ten minutes. While this is great for physical fitness, missing the first ten minutes of class each week can limit the educational process that your university experience should be providing. It seems like such a small thing on one hand but when you are hauling around a day’s worth of textbooks and a laptop–that hike can be the thing that marines seem dubious about accomplishing.

While there are a few distinctive disadvantages to university life, the fact remains that graduation from a university is the single biggest way to increase your earning potential over the course of your lifetime. The amounts are by no means insignificant. I highly recommend whenever possibly that you attend community college for the first two years of your college education. Beyond that, I strongly urge you to consider the value that completing your education and getting a four-year degree can provide.

If you wish to build self-confidence, earning potential, and job security, there is no way of doing so that is superior to getting a four-year degree. It doesn’t matter where you are in life or your career; it is never too late to begin getting your education. There are so many things in the world that a good education will open your eyes to in addition to the doors of opportunity a four-year degree will open.