Sunday, August 26, 2012

Educational Toys - Preparing Your Children For What Lies Ahead

Pick "Any public School USA", walk into a classroom and listen to what the teacher has to say. It seems as though they all read from the same script, "too many children in the classroom, not enough supplies, student's do not sit quietly and focus on learning, too many unruly students and of course, not enough pay".
Like you I have read many articles from newspapers to magazines and have heard the reporters from TV news to radio talk shows and it all sounds the same, "Spending more money on a broken system will not fix the problem, it will make it bigger". So what can be done? If money can't fix the problem that what can? Parents...
U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that the number of stay-at-home moms is increasing each year. However, stay-at-home moms aren't the only ones concerned. According to a 2002 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, "stay-at-home" dads numbered 189,000. Although this number does not compare to the approximate 11 million "stay-at-home moms" the trend of one parent staying at home and raising their children is on the increase. Many parents like yourself are genuinely concerned and are taking control of their children's future.
Because there is nothing that can replace the bond between parent and child, parents need to know that a child's brain development is most affected from infancy - 6 years of age. It is also the ages in which parents will learn and understand their child's individual abilities and capacity for learning. As parents make crucial investments of quality bonding time with their children especially in this age group, they will be preparing their children for what lies ahead.
The most natural way for children to learn is simply by playing. As children play, their young minds are stimulated which encourages them to interact and explore the world around them. Their play is actually preparing them for future tasks and adulthood. Research as well as news reports have found that educational toys increases a child's ability to learn by challenging their thinking, expanding their imagination, stimulation their creativity and developing their physical abilities while having fun.
As more parents grasp the idea of educational play as well as increased personal interaction with their children, we will all enjoy the benefits. It is much wiser and cost effective to invest into a child's life today than to address the problems later in life that could have possibly been avoided. Parenting is a process that begins at infancy, it may not always be easy but it certainly can be fun. So parents, it's time to take control of your children's future, turn off the TV spend time with them, interact with them and train them. This is the only way that the public school crisis can be fixed.
APlusEducationalToys is committed to helping children have fun while they learn and grow. With over 30 years of experience in child development, early childhood education and over 25 years in children, youth, family and adult ministry, we offer you expert advice and guidance choosing age appropriate, creative educational toys for your child. For more information and to view our products, come visit us at...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Technology and Education

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who is struggling to get her son to read. It got me thinking. The truth is that hardly anyone, adults or children, has time to sit down and read these days. Of course people do MAKE time to watch American Idol, or Lost or CSI or whatever other empty TV show. Yes, sorry, I mean this. These are 3 examples but there are many more. I am talking about TV programs that either show the worst possible side of human beings or that give people a completely distorted version of reality. If I watched the local news, I would never come out of the house. People overseas have called me to ask if I was OK after hearing some news on their local TV... Across an ocean, thousands of miles away. What is the point of that?
So yes, it is a shame that people don't read much because I do believe that there are a lot less mediocre books than mediocre TV shows. But here we are, that's the reality and there is no doubt that children respond a lot better to TV and iPods than a good old bunch of pages. Note that it might have to do with the fact that most parents who want peace and quiet at home have a tendency to just sit their kids in front of the box from a very early age... You can't blame the little darlings.
So let's make the most of this situation. Ultimately, why do we want kids to read? Just for the skill or for the content of what they read? Past a certain age, it has to be for the content. The actual skill should be drilled early on and if you have teenagers who can't read, that's another problem and not the topic of this article.
A couple of years ago, I was given an iPod. I had never wanted one because I don't listen to music much and I couldn't imagine myself walking around with my earphones jamming to my songs. But then I was introduced around the same time to audio books. Wow! What a discovery! My iPod follows me everywhere. I hardly ever watch TV and whenever I am doing something that doesn't require a high level of concentration, like cooking, ironing, cleaning the house, sorting out mail, etc, I just put the iPod on and I just "read". I mean I am listening really, but as I am not prepared to make the time to actually sit and read. I just kill two birds with one stone. I have "read" dozens of books in the last couple of years and have learnt so much! It has been the best education of my life. I have grown in ways I didn't think were possible.
Now I am sure that your kids have an MP3 player of some description. Have you thought about looking into audio books for them. Or simply some audio files that they can have in their iPod and that they would listen to. Have a mix of some music and some educational stuff. Do the same yourself: when you are driving somewhere, let the whole family listen to your favorite audio books, have a discussion about what is said. Get your kids into it from an early age.
The same applies to TV. Yes, there are a lot of useless programs on TV in my opinion, but there are also good ones, that actually bring knowledge. Some kids' programs are very educational and then you have the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, etc. Instead of quietening your kids with mindless cartoons, try a Discovery program on sea life. Don't get me wrong, I love cartoons too, every now and then. Some are better than others. But there has to be variety. Children, like all people, respond to what they are given. If you feed them violence from an early age, they'll enjoy it because it will have become the norm for them and they will want more. If you feed them knowledge, instruction, education from an early age, they will want more of that.
Games consoles are the same. They have games that require some thinking and others that consist of shooting, or racing or pretending you are playing sport. If the weather is good enough to go outside and you like soccer or football or baseball, go and play it, do the real thing. If it is too cold or rainy and you are stuck inside, pick a game that will teach you something, about finances for instance or managing your future, or building a business. There are games like that.
Computer use also needs to be taught to kids early. Mastering Microsoft office is a must. Get them to write their journal on the computer for instance, get them to play around with PowerPoint when they have school projects, show them Publisher, etc. All these are essential skills. The Internet is also a great source of good or bad and you have to pick and choose. There are a lot of interactive sites for kids that can be great. All the communities are good too if they are used for a reasonable amount of time per day. It is very easy to get carried away on the net and spend hours literally wasting time. But there are also a lot of things to be learned. even just the technical aspects of using a computer. Teach your kids to be wise on the net: for instance, make sure they select what pictures they put in their profile and teach them about the kind of image they want to project. They can also learn about advertising themselves or an event on one of those communities. It can teach them about marketing at an early age.
Technology is full of riches. It has to be used wisely and kids have to be shown - ASAP - the positive, educational ways they can use it so that they will ask for more. Don't blame violent TV or games, worthless TV shows etc for children's lack of interest in school. Take your part of responsibility: you are the ones to decide what your kids do or don't. Then work with what you have got and use this great tool that we call technology to your advantage.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Online Education - Is It Worth Anything?

The online education market is increasing by "33% a year" according to . This expansion is due to the many opportunities that the Internet affords. Earning a degree was once a pipe dream for the stay at home mom with 3 kids or the rural farm worker, but a degree is now available to anyone with an Internet connection. With this increased access also comes increased risk, with so many colleges offering online degree programs there are also just as many crooks offering you quick and easy programs that take your money and leave you with nothing of value. Choosing the right degree program can open new doors, increase your income or just allow you to fulfill a lifelong dream. How do you avoid the crooks and what will an online degree be worth when you have completed it?
If it seems to good to be true it probably is. Most of the scams can be broken in to two categories; the "Degree Mills" and "This is way to easy to be college". The Degree Mill is very simple, you send them some exorbitant amount of money and they mail you a very nice official looking piece of paper with your name on it that say you have a degree. Degree mills are worthless. You receive no education from them. Do not go looking to just buy a degree, you need to earn it. The other scam is what I call "This is way to easy to be college". You may have seen spam email from these so called colleges. They generally advertise earning a degree in some radically quick time frame (6 months) or only taking a small number of classes. If you were to go to one of these schools they still require some exorbitant fee for what you learn and the classes require little or no work/study. In the end your degree may still be worthless. So how do you choose a degree program that will be worth something?
When choosing an online degree program make sure it is accredited by a sanctioned agency. Accreditation helps ensure that the curriculum and the instructors are of high caliber and afford you the best learning opportunity. Accreditation also add more vale to your degree in the eyes of employers and if you wanted to use that degree as a stepping stone you next degree. You still need to be cautious all Accreditations are not equal you should make sure accreditation agency is recognized. Who are the recognizers? "Washington, D.C.-based Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a private nonprofit national organization, and the U.S. Department of Education (USDE)" From
When researching about an online program U.S News & World Report suggest the following :
Don't limit your research to classified ads or survey the Web in search of the right course or program.
See if the online school is accredited and by whom. Check to see if the accrediting agency is officially sanctioned. Lists are available from several accrediting organizations.
Check with licensing boards and professional associations to see if the program delivers an acceptable level of training.
Call or write the Better Business Bureau and the attorney general's office to make sure the school is operating legally in a state and to see if anyone has filed a complaint.
Find out if the school is connected to an established, reputable parent company.
If you intend to transfer any online credits earned to another college or university, early on check with that institution to see if they accept those credits.
Ask about the faculty? Who teaches the courses? What degrees do they have? What is their area of expertise?
Refer to the published guides of online, correspondence and other distance delivered courses.
What value will your online degree have? The value of an online degree depends on a person's particular situation. The greatest value will depends on how you will use the degree. According to industries like Internet/New Media, Technology, and High Tech are the highest supporters of an online degree. While an online degree holds the least value in Medicine, Law, and Health Care/Bio Tech industries. Even tho "Thomas L. Russell of North Carolina State University, did studies that revealed that there is little if any difference in the quality of education received through online distance learning versus traditional classrooms." -
With this mixed result; an online degree is still a great option for those that have little other choices or those who just don't like traditional classrooms.
For example: "The cost benefit of online programs lies mainly in the opportunity costs saved, as most students are able to keep their jobs while taking online classes." -
"Tonya Gordon ended up with her dream job, doubled her salary, and feels challenged and fulfilled every day. This all happened within a few months of receiving her MBA online through Texas Woman's University (Denton, Texas)" -
Without a doubt the popularity of online degrees is exploding. The mass adoption of this form of learning will cause the less accepting industries to value the online degree equal to a traditional degree. The online degree requires the student to be more aware of the school and degree they choose to ensure that it will have value to them. Online accredited degrees have value and will improve your marketability in the job market and can increase your salary range.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Key Lessons From Education Grants That Get Rejected

If your proposal seeking education grants gets rejected, what do you do? How are you going to cope with and move on from such heart-breaking news that can possibly linger in you for a few days?
In one way or another, we all experience rejection. Moreover, it is really painful that after all your hard work and dedication in brainstorming, researching, and writing your proposal, your application gets rejected in the end. You wonder what went wrong and how did this thing ever happened.
You are Not Alone
After feeling bad about the news, you begin to think of how you are going to break the news to your supporters who helped you in every step of the way to get your application done on time.
You're not alone in this predicament. Many have tried to apply for education grants but failed due to one issue or another. All your efforts didn't really go out to the drain because, in the process, you have definitely learned something especially in the writing process. Moreover, your supporters may have seen your hard work as you take an extra mile to reach your target to improve the quality of education of school children in your city or county.
Don't Take it Personally
Generally speaking, both public and private grant-giving organizations review a specific application for eligibility, funding interest, relevance to the community, and technical merits. This process takes place within a month or a quarter.
Reasons why grant proposals are rejected varies. It may range from serious issues such as fraud in documents and information to petty matters like incorrect document format submission and failure to follow directions. Even simple grammatical inaccuracies can sabotage your chances of obtaining favorable results from your application.
If your proposal gets rejected, you don't need to worry yourself over it. Instead of throwing your proposal away, take the opportunity to politely ask for feedback from the funding source. It will be helpful if you get to know the things that should be improved in your proposal. Find out the mistakes and weaknesses in your document and try to further improve the areas you did exceptionally.
Be Hopeful
Read the funding organization's letter again, but this time read it carefully. Does it say your proposed educational program matches their criteria, but their funds have already been allocated? Does it say your non-profit organization is fit for funding, but the itemized budget plan looks confusing?
Like any other ordinary people, funding sources, too, experience crisis and downturn. Under these conditions, donations and other means to raise funds are affected. The key to stay on top is to diversify your fundraising options and strategies.
Even if you don't get funded, your increased knowledge of the grant-making process will prepare you for future battles that lie ahead of you. At the same time, it would help you develop a new game plan for your next grant application.