Watch Them Grow!

It is that time of year again! Spring is just around the corner. For the serious gardener, plans have been drawn and seeds ordered. My sister already had her kids plant beans. Watching plants grow is an excellent way to teach basic science.

I loved using root exposing planters as a student. Your child or student will, too!

Learning How-to Study

Studying is an oft neglected pastime by the high school or college student.  This is not necessarily because the value of study is not known to them.  Nor is it necessarily because other interests come before school.  Sometimes, instead, study is placed second because the individual does not have good study habits.  

As a homeschool student, I had excellent study habits and awful test taking skills.  I ran out of time during my first college mathematics test because I checked and rechecked the questions, without moving on. I completed about two-thirds of the test, but suffered for not completing the whole.  This was an eye opener to me and I quickly learned how to take a test.  After I learned to take tests efficiently and because I enjoy school very much, I started to tutor.  I have tutored for free, in exchange for some other good or service, and for payment.  One thing I noticed as a consistent problem is that people do not know how to study.  Learning this, there is no wonder that many colleges require a course on “College Success” or “Information Literacy”.  These courses are necessary to take the average high school graduate and give him the skills so he can learn to be a scholar.

In order to study, many people listen to their music.  They must have their computers.  They may even decide to study in a public place.  Why do people purposely set themselves up to be distracted during study?  Music, internet, and people are all major distractions.  I would guess that it is because they do not know how to study efficiently, so they welcome those unruly distractions.  Do yourself a favor: turn off the music. Leave the computer alone.  Hide your cell phone or leave it at home. Find a quiet, distraction free area, such as a library. Most people cannot multitask as well as they think they can.  It is better that it is not attempted.

In order to study well, a person should study each subject for many small amounts of time every single day.  Now, studying is not the same as completing homework or writing papers.  These things can find their place in study time, but they should not replace study time.  

Plan: Using the course guide or syllabus as a reference, decide what you need to study and how much studying you need to complete per day.  Be reasonable here, because too little time and effort will be ineffective.  Too much time will become overwhelming.  Depending on the subject, it might be necessary to spend two fifteen minute blocks of time per day to study, as well as the necessarily length of time to complete homework in addition.  For other subjects, it may be necessary only to have one half an hour block of time per week.  Plan according to the subject and your personal needs. Try to break study and homework time into reasonable lengths of time.  Study for the allotted amount of time and move on to the next subject.  You may even want to set motivational goals to assist in this planning stage, that way you can measure how much you’ve learned.  

As a note, when studying languages, it is important to spend at least 10 minutes a day reviewing vocabulary in addition to normal study habits.

Supplies: Studying really involves the learner, the book, the notebook, and flashcards.  Remember a pen or pencil, otherwise the notebook and flashcards may prove useless.  There may be times that a computer might be a needed study aid, but when the internet can be avoided, it should be avoided.  The internet has a habit of trapping its victims for hours on social media, wikipedia, and entertainment websites without remorse.  

Environment: Study in a well-lit place that is open, comfortable, and quiet.  This can be outside, in your dorm, or in the library.  Study areas can also include coffee shops, trains or buses, or quiet corners of fast food restaurants. If you are a social butterfly who strikes up conversation with everyone you meet, public places may be places to avoid.  As long as you will not be too distracted by the surrounding area, you can study almost anywhere.  

The How-To:

Sit down in a comfortable, supportive position.  You can follow the principle of sitting at a desk: feet flat on the floor, good back support.

Look over class notes, reviewing important information as needed.

Open the book to the appropriate page and skim.  Take note of any keywords in your notebook.  Only skim 3-5 pages at a time, trying to break at natural points.  

Review all of the tables, captions, and text boxes, this information has been highlighted for a reason.  

Write definitions, equations, or tables as needed to help you remember.  In your notebook, try to write these in your own words to understand them.  

Copy the definitions, equations, and tables precisely onto flashcards and use these later when you have five minutes to review between classes, on your break at work, after meals, etc.

Read the full page of what you have just skimmed, understand the concepts in context.  Add important or helpful information to your notes.  

Use the flashcards whenever short times of five minutes appear for quick study sessions.  

Homework: If homework is needed to be completed, allot this time in addition to normal study time. Homework can be done after the chapter or lesson has been studied, but should not take place of this study.  Homework should also not take place of review time.  

Time: Only study the amount that is needed to understand the subject, then review often.  Trying to intensely study or memorize the book will not help, but hinder the goal of learning.  Try to study in blocks of fifteen to thirty minutes per subject, then move on.  Try to review daily, even if study is restricted to specific days.  Remember to come back to the subjects that not enough time was spent or the concepts are harder to understand.  

Review: Review the material learned often, sometimes going back to earlier material until you are familiar with all of the lessons.  Remember that repetition is the mother of learning, according to the Latin proverb (repetitio est mater studiorum).

Transgender Logic

This is one of those touchy topics. I am posting a video by Ben Shapiro which addresses the topic well.

My sister went through a time of MANY years when she “identified” as a boy. My parents allowed her to be a “tomboy” and only made her “act like a girl” at Church.  She dressed like a boy and wore hats to cover her hair.  My parents did not try to sway her one way or another.  They just loved her.  She grew out of it.

Today, my sister is the mother of three little boys.  She isn’t afraid of getting dirty, but she also loves being feminine.  She is a beautiful mother and a strong woman.

I am a biologist and I cannot see passed basic biology.  I also am big on the effect of hormone imbalances on the mental health.

Find a Way

“If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way.”
-Jane Goodall, Anthropologist


Image source:

Dear President Trump,
While I respect your endeavors to secure borders, I do ask that you do your best to continue to allow food imports without a hugely burdensome tax. I am particularly concerned for avocados and coffee. You see avocados provide high-caloric, nutrient dense first foods for babies. Coffee provides liquid strength for parents to work hard to #MAGA after being kept up all night by said babies. So, really, truly, it is in your best interest to keep these imports flowing.
Signed, A concerned citizen

Coping is Easier When You Journal

Journal! Journal to deal with challenges. Journal for your mental health.

Something that I have noticed, many people need to decompress after a long day.  They seek to do this by “talking it out”, but the listener may not have the interest or the background to be an active, helpful listener.  In these situations, the individual may be wound up more than before attempting to discuss the day.

My husband is a teacher, so I am able to easily relate to general teaching issues.  My husband teaches Social Studies in an English immersion school.  There are times that I cannot relate to his concerns or frustrations at all.  My experience is early childhood, elementary, and middle school.  I have only taught two students whose first language was not English, but I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t have to fill out that information on standardized testing.

My mother is the nursing director for a behavioral health department.  She frequently suggests that individuals journal. She says it is one of the most effective coping skills. It helps find trends. You can discover things about yourself through writing.

My husband was getting antsy for Christmas break.  He was beginning to feel dread when getting ready for school.  He felt like his kids weren’t learning anything. To me, the fact that they could converse in English was enough.  They can learn social studies later.  I was not helping make my husband feel better.

My husband started a journal in the style of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia. Basically he writes an entry everyday.  Some days have one sentence, other days have paragraphs.  All written short and to the point.  It is a chronology of his life as a teacher. Entries look like this:

December 19: Today was good day for traffic.

December 20: The children are ready for Christmas.  Christmas on a Sunday throw off school schedules.  I feel bad for these kids. The stress of finals, immediately followed by the stress of holidays.

December 21: It is unseasonably warm.

My own journal is not like this at all.  I tend to journal once every two or three days.  My entries are long and detailed. They are full of emotion, prayers, plans, lists, drawings.  I write in different colors and using different script depending on the day.

I would encourage anyone to journal.  Writing it down really does help.

Money Making as a Stay-at-home Mom

Stay-at-home moms need opportunities to make money from the comfort of their living rooms, bedrooms, nurseries, kitchen tables – wherever mom might be able to work.  For many families, two-income households are a must, yet childcare expenses keep one of the parents at home.

Childcare is expensive, plain and simple.  I know because prior to having my son, I was a full time early childhood educator. After my son was born, I thought about bringing him to the infant room of my school.  The childcare cost for my infant would have been $1200 a month.  Because state ratios are four infants to one teacher, in order to make labor costs and pay other cooperate dues, there are no discounts given for the infant room.  Depending on my hours that month, I could have been bringing home anywhere between $0-$150 a month after paying the childcare tuition.

Um. No. I was not about to pay most, if not all, my paycheck for my infant to be cared for by someone who didn’t love him like I do.  My infant had some growth issues when he was first born, so the idea of hearing him cry makes me cringe.  All the wasted calories and all the spit up milk.  No, thank you, I knew I had to find another way.

For the first several weeks of staying at home, I absent mindedly scrolled through search engines, like, trying to find a good part time job that I could work opposite of my husband.  As I searched, I became increasingly aware that my husband’s work hours might not allow such a plan to work.  My husband is a high school teacher.  There are some days he comes home at four o’clock and other times that he comes home around the baby’s bedtime of 8 o’clock.

I decided that I would spend most of my caring for my baby – after all, that’s my number one job.  When he was playing or sleeping, I would pursue other types of endeavors, some of which might make money.  Others are for personal edification.  For example, although this blog does host some advertisements, it is mostly for pleasure.  I do not market my own blog.  I write it because it is one of my passions.  It is not my work-at-home endeavor.

To make money, working at home, I decided to do it the hard way and the easy way.  I know, vague.  I have teaching experience, although I do not have state licensure to be a teacher where I live.  I got married last November and moved to a whole new state.  I didn’t sign a contract with a school last year because of my impending wedding and move.  I didn’t pursue the teaching license or a contract this year, because a month after I got married, I found out I was pregnant.  I knew the birth of my son would literally be when school started.

At first, I was looking for work from home opportunities from companies, like Amazon.  The companies have this annoying requirement of a “distraction free environment”.  Obviously, working from home with an infant is anything but distraction free.  My cousin is involved in one of those direct commissions companies, but I know that 1) I do not want to get involved in a pyramid scheme, even if it is “legal” and 2) there is no way on earth I know enough people interested in meal replacement shakes that I could sell those yucky things. Also, the idea is to make money, not spend money that I do not have. Ya know?

I did find one direct marketing company, SFI, which is an online and in-person marketing group.  It costs nothing to join and the “product” being sold isn’t a product so much as it is marketing to an online store which is similar to EBay and Amazon. The big thing about this is that it costs nothing, so if it ends up being a waste of time, at least it wasn’t a waste of money.  That being said, the training is provided for free and it is akin to other online marketing “how-to” guides.  So, if you are looking to sell something online and start a business, it might be worth looking into.  Also, if you want to take your home-based business and put it online, but you aren’t sure where, the online store might be worth looking at.  Anyways, I joined this endeavor because I can literally spend 15 minutes a day learning new things while maintaining my “active status”.  And, of course, it costs nothing to join.  It doesn’t pay unless you market, but like vacuum cleaner salesmen, I wouldn’t expect it to. Is it a pyramid scheme? Eh…it has the potential, but it doesn’t have membership costs.  Plus, there are trivia games that you can play for free twice a day.  I love, love, love trivia, so I will probably keep my active status just for that.

The actual ways I am making money, however, at the moment are tutoring and lesson plan writing. I am a generalist for elementary until about 7th grade, then I would be a Life Science teacher. My actual teaching experience is in 3rd grade, but I have tutored for just about every grade level and some college. My degree is in Biology, with minors in mathematics and chemistry, so I prefer science and mathematics, but I am proficient enough to at least look at other topics and subjects.  I also edit and proofread papers, at any level.  I am currently working on proofreading for the capstone project thesis for one of my friends who is a master-prepared nurse.

Currently, I am trying to find full-time students to tutor. Know someone? Contact me! I can tutor online or in person. I am willing to even home school students at a distance.  Of course, I am not accredited, but I am an excellent resource! I am also cheap.  I charge $5 per student per hour for up to four students.  Four or more students, I charge $20 for an hour group session with an additional $2.50 per student after eight students.  As I develop my blog, I plan on posting this information permanently.  I will have a testimonial page and pre-recorded lessons.  I also have my Teachers Pay Teachers store, which I opened last month (but really haven’t done much with since). I am still trying to decide on how I want to handle that.

So, yeah, I am not entirely sure why I decided to lay out my money making scheme, but here it is.  Luckily, my husband makes enough to cover our living expenses.  I just want to have my own money to spend.

Churchill on Americans

“Americans will always do the right thing, only after they have tried everything else.” -Quote attributed to Winston Churchill.

Children Should Be Encouraged to Write

Children should be encouraged to write down the musing from their vast imaginations.  A six-year-old child can create a work of art, similar to the works of adults.

These works might be smaller, but the attention spans of children are shorter.  By the time the story is written, the child will have thought of ten more stories.

Writing their own stories helps them to develop handwriting and penmanship techniques, which is so important.  It also helps them to put their imaginations into words.  This is difficult. It forces them to learn the rules of language.  It allows them to share their imaginations in a different way that simply telling a story.

Parents can now assist children by inspiring their learning through publishing their work on Kindle Books. One such book is The Little Birdie that Thought He Went to Heaven. This is a book available for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Side note: If you have children or you typically read a lot during the month (about one book a week or two), I suggest subscribing to Kindle Unlimited.  There is a lot of good stuff that you can get for a low monthly price.

Regardless, getting children to connect written language to spoken language is important. This endeavor can be achieved relatively simply by teaching children how to write their imaginations. Inspire brilliance!





Cannot Escape Logic

A child cannot escape a logical consequence, because it is logical. It is the mess (literal or metaphorical) that is caused by a poor choice and must be cleaned up before life can be gotten on with. Likewise, a child does not resent a logical consequence, because it is just.

-Gregory and Lisa Popcak, Parenting with Grace.

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