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Education

In Search of a Unit Study for Children

My unit studies are a way to combine education plus fun. They start with an interesting topic, and then as the child learns more about the topic they will also learn aspects of English, Art, Math, Geography, Science, and more. The idea is to get kids interested in learning by making learning fun.

I started writing unit studies when homeschooling my youngest son. He was not the type of child who likes to sit and read. It was a bit more of a challenge teaching him as his attention span was not long. So at first, I created a unit study about Pirates.

He was thrilled to learn about pirates, to read about Blackbeard, figure out weights according to cannonball size, draw a wanted poster, and even learns map and compass skills. And so, we continued with Soldiers through Time which was a seven module unit study that ranged in history from Ancient Roman Soldiers to Soldiers of World War II.

After helping my son get interested in learning I thought maybe the unit studies could help others enjoy learning too! And so come a unit study on Spies, one on Cowboys and Superheroes as well as a three-part unit study on Forts across Canada. These unit studies became known as Education with a Bang series to help add excitement to education, specifically for boys.

Fashion through Textiles, a four-part unit study featuring wool, silk, cotton, and linen as well as the unit study on Herbology is part of the new line of unit studies that would be more appealing to girls but equally combine fun with education.

I continue to create unit studies and have many ideas in my head for new ones but sometimes I am not sure which one to start next. Constellations and the Mythology behind them sound very interesting. What about the History of Pets and how they became domesticated? Or what about Biomimicry – technology inspired by nature?

I just love to research the various topics and put them into a fun and interesting unit study that will help inspire children to learn. One 11-year-old boy who was reviewing Science Inspired by Superheroes was blown away by the fact that you could learn science from superheroes and chose to do the unit study instead of play on the Wii! What a great reward!

And so I continue, finding interesting topics to put into the fun and educational unit studies – always on the lookout for new ideas!

Sandra Wilson is an experienced home educator that is dedicated to putting the fun back into education!

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Education

The Northgate to Consider Elementary Alignment in Education

The Northgate School District is investigating the possibility of reorganizing its two elementary schools so that one building is used for K-3 students while the other would be used to teach students in grades 4-6. This Monday, January 26th, at 7:00 there will be a meeting at the high school to discuss the feasibility of such an idea. I would like to briefly discuss my thoughts on the matter.

First, it seems to me that moving to a K-3, 4-6 model makes a lot of educational sense. Some teachers and administrators have noted that having all teachers of a particular grade teaching together in the same building would enable more collaboration and help with curriculum alignment.

Some people have also mentioned that such a move could bring greater unity as a district. Another educational benefit would be the possibility of having smaller class sizes due to being able to evenly distribute students in each grade level.

I think this is not only the greatest benefit, but for me, it is the reason why the district needs to continue to pursue this option. For the past two years, elementary class sizes of been considerately higher than many would prefer, and in both years, the district made the decision to hire additional elementary school teachers months into the school year.

Several students have had to move back and forth between elementary schools, on occasion more than once, so that class sizes could be made somewhat manageable. I feel that it is imperative that we stop moving children back and forth between elementary schools in such fashion.

Some people have also noted some cons to such a move. The biggest one that comes to mind is that some students that walk to school may now have to walk a greater distance. Families with multiple elementary school-aged children could have added complexity in getting there kids to school if they attend two different schools.

Safety patrols are comprised of fifth and sixth-grade students so they would only exist at one school. Also, there would likely be some cost in preparing the buildings for such a transition. I think these issues are significantly outweighed by the education benefits previously discussed. I also think many of them can be solved or worked around.

It is possible that there are other benefits\problems that I did not discuss. If you would like to learn more or would like to add to the conversation, please consider attending the meeting this Monday. As I have said, it is my belief that reorganizing the schools would be very beneficial.

I would take that a step further and would say the district MUST proceed with such a move unless doing so presents a far greater problem that has not yet been discovered. It is imperative that we stop shuffling students between schools and do what is best for all the elementary school students.

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Education

The Importance of Education Home or School and a Book

Educational importance before the industrial revolution was tied to:

1:- Learning.

2:- Preparation for wise leadership and personal achievement.

3:- Opening your mind to new ideas.

These are the requirements we can assume from all education. If these steps are not being achieved than a change in how children are taught is required.

When a child does not want a particular food then we suggest they just try a bit to taste it before they decide. So can be said for educational subjects Instead of assuming a child won’t like a subject or need a subject, we should let them try it – he/she may just like it.

I have always wondered how we can determine the career that will carry us through our life with only a few courses of introduction. I was very excited about studying Archaeology, then I took the first course and found that the preliminary work, gridding and such was not something I would enjoy doing endlessly. But I went in with an open mind and learned that that was not the path for me.

I am not a fan of the variety of requirements needed in order to receive enough credits for a high school diploma. Something from this group, two from that group, etc. Although it offers the choice to the student, it also limits choices and opportunities for them to excel at the subjects they enjoy the most.

Often, courses that are not suited to the student, but are required for a diploma can discourage learning and create avoidance of that class, or school altogether. As a homeschooler, I have been able to offer my children a variety of lessons, determined the ones that are not suitable, and finish them up early so as not to prolong the agony of an unwanted subject.

Students with choice, variety, and the ability to switch out of a lesson that is not working for them are learning, opening their minds to new ideas, and preparing the best base for personal achievement. Fulfilling all steps in the importance of education helps fulfill the student as well!

DiDi LeMay offers a heartwarming story of a little girl who sets out on a journey to feed the winter animals, and possibly see one or two while she walks in the woods. After exploring the forest for a little while she experiences a talking encounter with a squirrel. Although she tries to leave the forest she discovers that she is lost. She stumbles across a meeting of forest animals, some, not so friendly.

The little girl finds herself amidst an argument about humans and their disrespect for the environment, the animals, and the world around them. Then the girl begins an adventure that proves to the animals that not all humans disrespect nature, and she can help them. While rooting on this little girl on her quest it is a celebration between animals and humans that should be emulated around the world!

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Education

You Should Know About Childbirth Education and Education Fun

Strong Sexy Birth (formerly known as Biodynamic Childbirth), is a wellness-based and holistic approach to labor and birth that focuses on using the least amount of intervention necessary to maintain the well-being of both mother and baby. This modality of childbirth preparation encourages the birthing woman to be in the driver’s seat of her own birth experience.

Mamas and their partners learn and create their own “birth toolkit” of comfort techniques and coping strategies to naturally encourage the production of the hormones that will enhance the labor process and result in a more comfortable, positive, and empowering birth experience.

I believe that every woman should have the birth she desires, whether it be at home, in a birth center, or in the hospital, and Strong Sexy Birth techniques and philosophies can be used in any setting. When empowered, informed, and prepared, it is possible to have a confident and empowering birth anywhere, even if medical intervention is necessary.  It is important for you to feel safe and confident in your birthing environment and with the people surrounding and supporting you.

It is also very important for birth partners to feel well-prepared and confident in their abilities to support their birthing mamas both physically and emotionally throughout the birthing time. My goal is to help women and their partners to have the most satisfying birth experience possible by sharing the knowledge and tools I have gained through my life experiences and formal training. Giving birth is a normal, natural, challenging, and magical life event that will have a profound effect on your family.

Childbirth education empowers you with information to make informed choices regarding your care during this important time and increases your trust in your body’s own primal and innate ability to bring your baby into this world in the way you desire. My childbirth and postpartum classes will reduce your fear and anxiety surrounding birth and increase your confidence as you approach parenthood.

The big thinkers in education emphasize customized or individualized learning as the wave of the future

This is not a new concept to homeschoolers who teach individualized learning every day. One of the great methods to customize this individual learning is through unit studies. With a unit study, the concepts of English, Maths, Science, Geography, History, and Art can be reinforced, while the student is learning about a subject they really enjoy.

If the subject is interesting and enjoyable, it will be easier to learn and the student will be more willing to learn. Unit studies focus on a specific topic; they can create an introduction to that topic and inspire further study.

They can supplement other educational resources to provide a bit of learning on their own, or even on the go. Unit studies are adaptable to a child; you can use only the activities/lessons that fit your child’s learning level or interest level rather than using everything and possibly causing a student to not have fun while learning.

You can create your own unit study about a topic that interests that child right now. Maybe your son wants a pirate birthday party – why not spend the week before on a pirate unit study that teaches as well as adds some fun. In the spring you can start a garden, keep a garden journal, learn about plants, etc. in a unit study based on the wonders of the garden.

There are so many unit studies available for download or in magazines and books that you could find one for almost any topic of interest to your child. Why not try your hand at putting one together. Search for worksheets, reading comprehension, crafts, and science experiments that fit into that theme.

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Education

The Love of Learning and Children is Different So It Should Be How We Teach Them

Recently I just read about a charity that is helping to supply books to homeless shelters, battered women’s shelters, etc. in order to give the kids there something to read. Imagine the gift these books will be to allow kids to soar away with their imagination and leave behind the cruel world around them.

“I met a child who loved to read but didn’t own a book. I found a lot more like her when I took a closer look.

I rallied troops to help me and we sought books by the heap. And now we find the kids in need and give them books for keeps!”

This is the motto for Books for Keeps which I think is worth all of us adopting.

Another great way to help give books to others is through Book Mooch. This is a book swap site in which you post books you wish to give thereby earning points. You can then use your earned points to choose books you would like to mooch from others.

Your only cost is the shipping cost of the books that are mooched from you! I often have people ask if I have a certain book, and if I can find it on there for free I will pass it along to them! You can also donate your points to a charity that can then acquire the books they need.

This month Usborne books are offering to donate one dollar in books to Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada for every dollar of books purchased Usborne Books at Home.

Our online educational thrift store is also sharing the love, and with every $10.00 order, a book will be donated to a local charity that gives books to kids in shelters at Christmastime.

Many local libraries also collect new books in order to give the gift of reading to those less fortunate. Books are such an integral part of learning, and learning is an important part of life. So giving the gift of reading is necessary so that there is at least one book for all!

Anyone with more than one child can compare and contrast their children. They may have similar mannerisms yet opposing interests and sometimes you may wonder how two could have sprung from the same womb! Children are different; they have different interests, different focuses, and different learning styles. So too, must the teaching style for them be different.

My first child was pretty easy to homeschool. He was a book kid, loved worksheets, and would sit for hours working on a project. My second child is not as keen of a reader, would prefer not to have to write, and won’t sit for hours to do anything. These differences are not a variance in intelligence, just in how and what they learn.

With both children, one of the main things I did was teach what interested them. My eldest son studied Medieval history at least five times. Each time had a different focus, an increased measure of learning and new projects to work on. The younger son enjoyed Medieval History as long as he was reading about knights, catapults, and the siege of a castle, but really only wanted to study it once.

And so, while one child created graphs about the plague, the other crafted medieval weapons from cardboard, tinfoil and duct tape. Since each activity was premised with a discussion or reading about the time period the history lesson was still being taught, just in different styles.

The older child struggled a bit with math, but when lessons involved money, things made sense! And so, many math lessons allowed counting, converting, and problem-solving with money. The youngest struggled with geography but enjoyed cooking. So, we traveled the world learning about common foods and recipes found in various countries.

Free yourself from the “typical” school regime, especially with a more active, reluctant student. Create lessons through field trips, music, crafts, athletics, and unit studies that fill the needs of each student. This encourages them to learn because they enjoy the subject and the manner with which it is taught!

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Business

The Resolving Conflicts Work Business and Home

Conflict resolution skills are one of the most important skills that you can gain and learn in your lifetime. Learning and developing your ability to resolve issues that brought one or several parties in the conflict can be very helpful in everyday life and business.

People always develop conflicts between each other and most of the time when the conflict is developed they tend to turn away without solving it. In many cases small conflicts bring more issues than expected; eventually, they grow and develop into a bigger argument and lead to the end of relationships and/or partnerships.

Conflict resolution skills can be used in everyday life whether it is work, business, or personal issues. The skills are fully transferable and can be used in different situations. This post will briefly outline the main solutions to conflict resolutions.

Stay relaxed and calm

Try not to tense up and oppose the other party or parties. The more you try to go against or tense up the more complicated the situation gets, you will only be bringing more issues to the table. Brining more issues without resolving the previous once will get you into a worth position because then you would have to talk about more topics and everything is going to get mixed. By staying relaxed and calm you can actually filter your thoughts and words without saying them before you think.

Don’t be afraid to speak out

You will only be able to resolve the issues by participating in the conversation. Your thoughts must be clear, short, and relevant. They should outline the problem straight forward and deliver the solution or the idea that you are proposing. Your message must be clear and detailed. Avoid complex or vague messages as they tend to complex the situation by delivering an incorrect message to the listener and breaking the channel of communications.

Accepting your fault 

If you are the faultier make sure you admit it! It is not a matter of being right even if you are wrong; it’s a matter of establishing a good channel of communication. Admit your fault with an apology and your opponent will be glad to accept it and continue talking to you.

In addition, the majority of people do not expect opposing parties to apologize in the conflict and usually think that you’ll be trying to prove your point regardless of anything. You can use this trick to gain an unconscious advantage over your opponent.

Never use abusive language

Never and never use any abusive language that can potentially harm someone and make someone very uncomfortable and unwilling to talk to you. The last thing you want to do is to make the opposing party withdraw from the conversation with you. By implying the abusive language you will be definitely making your opposing party very uncomfortable and either giving a green light to use the same type of conversational style as you use or simply refusing to speak with you and willing to get out.

Consider other points of view

Be open-minded and open yourself to the other party’s thoughts. You cannot rely solely on your own thoughts and will, you might be wrong. You should always listen to the message that someone is trying to direct to you, because avoiding it, is probably what brought you to the issue in the first place.

Involve the third party

If you have a chance and the right person tries to involve him/her into the conflict. The person should have the role of the judge without being bias towards a specific party. The third-party should distance itself from both parties but allocate itself to the actual conflict trying to understand what had appended.

Conflict resolution is one of the amazing skills that one can develop and use. There are many conflict resolution consultants that make living out of providing their help to the corporate environment helping to resolve employee conflicts, business conflicts, and partner conflicts. Conflict resolution skills are good to have as they will be helping you to develop your personal skill set and use them in every environment, whether it is home, business, or work.

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Business

Should Know All About Employee Motivation in Business

Every successful company owns a part of its success to employee engagement and motivation. Motivators are the biggest factors in making employees willing to work with passion and true belief in your company. As an owner, executive, or management personal it is your job to keep your employees focused and willing to input their knowledge and skill to achieve higher results.

Motivation is a key factor when it comes to engaging your workforce. It is well known that people are willing to work for you if you can offer a great work atmosphere. In addition, employees are willing to give up a certain amount of wage to have a good, friendly environment at work as found in “Understanding Employee Motivation” research.

What do you need to do to motivate?

First of all, you have to trust your employees. The work atmosphere has to be easy going but with everybody knowing what they have to do. Your leadership has to be always visible and proven to the employees so that they understand that you are a success. There are many different motivation theories with strategies, techniques, and tips. However, there are basic things that every employee needs in order to be motivated to work for you:

·         Good work environment
·         Ability to communicate with management
·         Ability to generate and provide ideas
·         Freedom of choice
·         Ability to participate in the company’s decision
·         Wage

These are the most common things that employees look at when they looking for a firm to work for.

It is a well-known fact that engaged employees willing to produce more for the company than it actually cost to employ them. Motivation is the key to the success of the company as people work in teams for the same goals and willing to achieve higher results. We can compare families with work teams.

As in family we have different hierarchies and goals and can see one family unite working together to achieve that goal, the workforce is the same thing if compiled properly into a team and given a task. Employees should know their clearly defined roles and must have a belief that in the case they are stacked on something there will be help from their peers and management.

Trust is one of the biggest sources to engage the team and individual employees in the process of attaining the needed goals. Motivation is the best source of energy to fuel employees’ belief that they are being noticed and that they work for the best result in the best company with the best team. It is management’s task to portray and truly hold the respect and will to show employees that they are valuable not only to the company but also as a personal friendship.

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Business

The Brand Building More Than Just a Brand in Business

The brand is a very important aspect of your daily business life. The brand defines everything you want your business to be. The brand can be associated with the feel and vision customers get after being in contact with your company.

You can make it almost anything you want. For example, think about Disney! What is the first thing that comes to your mind? Most likely it is fun, childhood, toys, ice cream, and great time! Then think about Nike, it is sport, action, move, running and anything related to sports activities.

Your brand has to have the same kind of message. Although your brand is not as known as those mentioned above, when you’ll be getting more customers and referrals you’ll notice that people do differentiate you by your brands, mission statement, and vision.

Building a brand is one of the most important marketing strategies. Many successful brands are successful because customers can differentiate them by just looking at the logo or colors. In order to make your brand stand out, you have to create a unique logo and brand yourself with something memorable and easily recognizable. Usually, a good graphic designer will be able to create a unique logo for you.

Use catchy colors for the website and brochure design. Make them all look in the loop and close to each other, so that is makes sense for the customer who saw your flyer, brochure, or business card and your website to recognize you as the same brand.

Small tip: don’t go on too many colors, the more colors you include on the print material the more it’ll cost you to print. Usually anywhere from 2 to 3 is the most optimal color range.

However, don’t be afraid to use a little bit more colors on your website. For example, you can have a header in the blue, menu bar in light blue, the main body in white, and footer in blue or something that would resonate with the color range.

Successful branding has to be spread across all marketing channels going from the most cost-effective and reliable to the next affordable level. One thing to keep in mind is you have to experiment with your marketing push across all different marketing channel platforms.

In some time you’ll find out that some work better than others and others bring more profit. It is always a trial and fails with some marketing strategies. You have to do regular things that bring constant steady results while experimenting with new techniques and strategies.

As mentioned previously marketing push has to be done through the means of different marketing strategies, here are several examples: internet marketing, press release, news and other types of press marketing, advertising, lead generation, and peer groups, etc.

One of the most cost-effective and result-driven marketing strategies is internet marketing. With its ability to be spread out in a short amount of time to a large number of users, it brings a good return on investment while being relatively at the low cost if compared with traditional forms of marketing.

Google and Bing both offer a PPC (pay-per-click) advertising that can be placed in search. In addition, search engine optimization is a good source of defining a landscape for your website in competitive web space.

Brand building is one of the most challenging and most rewarding marketing practice’s, it offers many benefits to those who are willing to invest time and resources into it.

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Business

How to Start Your Business for Future

If you are thinking about starting a business, you are on the right track to freedom from the regular day to day job. Although opening a business doesn’t mean you won’t place yourself back to the office, rather it’s going to make you the main person in it.

Business is a job, however, it is more of your own venture which you are responsible for and interested in growing. You’ll be spending many hours on development, generating new connections, finding better deals, resolving issues to enhance business productivity, and many other activities dealing with your business growth and stability.

Everything starts with your idea. You have an idea to sell or produce a specific product. You view your office, store, or ways to distribute your products or services. The main thing that should help you determine your steps has to be a business plan.

The business plan should clearly define your vision, including many aspects such as competition, product/service description, design and manufacturing, target audience, distribution channels, and many other things.

Developing a business from a ground-up is a very intense practice, it requires the individual to have specific skills and set of mind. The person has to be almost cold-blooded to work out best deals, see the next step, and not to stress over failures.

Even though many small businesses fail within their first year, their owners learn from the made mistakes and do their best to succeed in their next business. Life without failure is not possible. Every businessman knows that with failure comes success. Every new lesson has to be learned and applied to the situation. Here are several main steps to follow for business opening:

· Idea Generation:

Generate an Idea

Speculate on the Idea

Consult and talk to people you trust

Brush out all unnecessary things

Have a solid view of your idea

Generate a solid Business Plan

Find a financing

Find investors

Select physical or online space for your business

Market your business

Invest in Marketing

Launch

The business idea doesn’t have to be one of its kind; you can successfully sell and earn a good profit from the products or services that are offered by your competition. What is more important is that you have to find a unique aspect of yourself to be differentiated from the competition.

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Business

You Should Know All About Business Planning

Business planning is an official declaration of a particular set of business goals and reasons why they are believed to be achievable. In addition, the business plan outlines all possible means of achieving planned goals in order to succeed. It also contains background materials about the organization, team, and culture attempting to reach those goals.

Every business plan should be answering those questions

1. What to achieve?
2. When to achieve it by?
3. Why achieve it (what is the purpose)?
4. Where to operate or where to develop a market?
5. How to achieve all the above?

All those questions should help you to identify the main means of the business plan and why you should be working on achieving your targets. It is critical to developing all the answers at the early stage so that it is easier for you to follow the plan instead of creating it on the go.

Here are several main sections that should be included and developed in the Business Plan.

Goals

Products and Services

Marketplace

Employees

Competition

Business Culture

Goals

Goals should outline all possible and achievable targets that you set for yourself, for your team and for the organization overall. Do not make dreams out of goals! Goals should be reasonable and achievable.

If you are a small business and have just started don’t set your goal to profiting $1 million in the first year, unless you have a brilliant idea and honestly feel that your business/start-up will achieve the target.

· Classify business goals early in development.

· Set deadlines and timeframe to complete them.

· If you have employees, allocate duties for completing goals.

· Develop business ideas and make sure it is possible to make them into a profitable business model.

Products and Services

Identify your products and services at an early stage. You probably already know what you want to sell, however, think if it is what is going to bring you the expected profit. For example, selling a thousand pens will be accounted for selling just one car. Think about how much energy and time you’ll be spending on selling items or delivering your service.

In the best-case scenario what you do have to bring you more profit then you spend your energy on. However, keep in mind that first couple of years while you develop your business you’ll be probably spending more energy than actually getting the profit. It is totally normal as you are trying to create everything from nothing.

· Keep your product and supply inventories limited but enough for doing business.

· Never allow pushy vendors to overstock your shelves, remember that they want to make their sales too.

· Stay ahead of your competition with the best product!

· Supply chain management

Marketplace

Develop your own market. You have to analyze who is your target market and target customer. You have to identify the strategy that you will need to acquire the prospect and make them into customers.

In addition, you have to be thinking about how you’ll convert your current customers into long term customers who’ll be coming back for more. Remember it is 20% of your customers who do 80% of business with you.

Employees

Employees are very important! It is what runs the blood in your business. Selecting the right employees will have a huge impact on your business. Remember that the company with good employees, good culture, and a friendly atmosphere creates better business as people want to work and achieve the goals you ask them to achieve.

Competition

Always stay on top of what your competition does. Bring the best ideas into your house from everyone and make your own! Competition is a good thing as it makes you willing to move and achieve better and higher results.

In addition, it is very beneficial as it can get you many new ideas and thoughts for your business. Researching what the competition does is beneficial as you can predict what to expect in the near future.

Business Culture

Beyond your business, products, or services, there is always your business culture. You have to realize that people do business with those they like, and there is a reason why your customers want to do business with you. Researching those and making them stronger will help you develop a strong healthy business culture. At the end of the day, it all comes down to:

Creating a culture of trust, people do business with those they trust.

Make business ethics an element of your day-to-day operations.

Management leadership

As mentioned previously business plan is essential and critical in achieving business goals. It helps you to focus or prioritize and deal with things that tight your business. Develop a good strong business plan and succeed with it!