Does My Child Need Special Education?

Are you thinking this is a real no-brainer? When your child is old enough to attend school, you simply enroll him. Professional educators are better equipped to teach and make educational decisions for all children, including those with disabilities.

Wrong! Would you allow a teacher or school administrator to decide what your child is capable or incapable of learning?

Based upon their personal opinion of your child’s abilities, would you then let these folks decide what your child will and will not be taught or who their school friends will be? Would you also allow them to choose whether your child will go on to college, or a technical school or even receive a regular high school diploma?

Of course not!  Suppose school administrators were to tell you, “It is our opinion that reading and writing might be too difficult for your child to master. We’re going to focus instead on teaching those skills that will enable your child to eventually work at a job we feel is more appropriate, like for instance, janitorial work or slinging hash in some fast food place.” You would be justifiably outraged.

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Is A Charter School The Right School For Your Child?

In one of my earlier posts “What, Exactly, Is a Charter School?”, I stated that charter schools are an extremely complex and controversial topic, then went on to explain why they are complex. In this post, we will explore why they are controversial, and how to decide if a charter school is right for your child.

Before we get into the controversy, here is a summary of what we have discussed so far:

* Charter schools are independent from a school district and are run like a private business.
* Charter schools all have a special curriculum and/or teaching techniques that differentiate them from a regular public school. Every charter school is unique.
* Charter school formats are experimental, so some schools provide excellent education, and some do not.
* Charter schools are not necessarily local to you, and your child may have to commute.
* Charter schools choose students based on a lottery, not admission criteria, so some children will have an easier time getting into a charter than a magnet (or vice versa).

There are four aspects of charters that garner controversy. The first is that charter schools are allowed to be for profit. The second is that the people who found charter schools are not required to have to have an educational background. The third is that charter school teachers are rarely part of a union. And, last but not least, in some states charter school teachers do not have to be credentialed.

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Alternative Education: The Home School Program

Years ago, parents would react and commented on alternative education or otherwise known as homeschooling. Parents’ concern then was homeschool children lacked socialization. However, some corrected this notion and testified how their home-schooled children were doing just fine, thank you! In fact, their children were doing better academically than some children enrolled in customary schools.

As a rule, children who are involved in alternative education are generally confident, independent and responsible. These are just some of the excellent benefits of homeschooling. Many of the most renowned personalities of previous centuries were involved in alternative education.

Some of these enlightened individuals included Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Edison. In fact, prior to the 19th century Industrial Revolution, alternative education was the standard form of education.

Homeschool students are gradually increasing in numbers. In most countries, the numbers are rising rapidly. In today’s educational environment, parents opt for alternative education for their children mainly because what they see in the typical school setting is not what they deem of value when it comes to their children’s future.

As a result, education at home provides specific direction for children and parents alike since the child’s education is then directed and controlled to reflect both the parent and child’s expectations.

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Martial Arts Could Help Your Child Cope With Bullies

For children to help prevent and cope with bullying, learning and participating in martial arts can be incredibly beneficial. Martial arts, such as taekwondo, karate, kickboxing, and Muay Thai offer a variety of skills that can contribute to children’s overall well-being. Mentally and physically, participation in martial arts can improve children’s coping methods and help them not only to deal with bullies but may also help stop them from being bullies themselves.

First and foremost, martial arts instill respect. Kids learn deference to their instructors and to the masters of the practice in class. In addition, kids learn to be respectful to teachers, their parents, and other elders. They also learn to respect other students and to treat them the way they would want to be treated. Children who practice MMA learn to respect themselves, as well.

Secondly, participating in martial arts builds confidence and helps improve self-esteem for many children. Many martial arts schools utilize the belt system for progressing to the highest level of the practice, such as the black belt. On the way to the top, however, are several steps and other colors of belts.

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E-Learning Platforms And Support – A Solution For Left Behind Children?

Did you know that the city of London uses e-learning platforms and support for all of its schools? The LGfL, or London Grid for Learning, is an e-learning platform used by all students and teaching staff in the city. Here’s another one. Did you know that every university in Switzerland is linked to the Swiss Virtual Campus? That is an e-learning platform that links all of the colleges together. Students can take online classes from any school in the country through SVC.

E-learning platforms and support make education more accessible, more individualized and at the same time more standardized for all of the learners who use it. There are administrative advantages to e-learning platforms, but the learner reaps the most benefit.

More Accessible Education

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Let the kids play

Coaching for Life

In today’s competitive world, success is often synonymous with winning, be it on the playing field, in the classroom or in the workplace. In order to achieve a competitive edge, many are turning to fee-based professional coaching. And what was once a field limited to a handful of sports, now has a reach in all areas of personal and professional accomplishment. But is buying your way through a coach the best way to attain personal growth? This case study will examine the expansion of the coaching industry, its applications in a wide range of disciplines and its successes and pitfalls.

Parents hire skills coaches for budding stars, but can they teach leadership, fun, passion for sport?
In Washington, parents pay pro soccer players up to $150 an hour and non-pros $75 to instruct children in the sport.
In the San Francisco Bay area, baseball players as young as 8 are on waiting lists for $50-an-hour pitching lessons.
In Knoxville, Tenn., personal trainers can fetch up to $70 an hour working with pre-college athletes.

This is the latest twist in youth and high school team sports: private lessons for specialized skills or strength and conditioning.

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Essentials an Educator Should Purchase at the Teacher Supply Store

For any teacher, surviving the school year and keeping students both educated and entertained can be a challenge. Having all the right supplies on hand from September onwards can be of great help. Here are some suggestions for what any educator should be looking for on their next trip to a teacher supply store, whether that teacher supply store is located online or off:

The Basics – Even though most schools send a school supply list home to parents every summer and students should report for their first day of a new semester with a backpack full of new school supplies that are not always the case, especially at a time when some parents simply do not have the money to purchase everything on those lists at one time.

Kids, and not just the younger ones, are also often very forgetful creatures and their brand new pencils and crayons are often left on the counter at home in the rush to get out of the door. Finding a good teacher supply store that offers discount school supplies to teachers who buy things like pencils, crayons, and notebooks in bulk can mean that teachers can keep an “emergency supplies drawer” and pay just a few cents for each item in it.

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Getting a ‘Read’ in Five Minutes

Think about standing in front of a bookstore rack teeming with titles on a topic about which you want more information. Or scanning through possible sources in the electronic card catalog that might be appropriate to your needs.

Or perusing the stacks of professional resources on display at a educators’ conference or convention. How do you decide what to pick up? How do you determine what is worth reading?

Often, our dilemma is not that there are no resources available. Instead, we are more likely to feel inundated by possible materials that could meet our needs. You may be forced, perhaps within a limited time period, to make a choice, and in some cases spend money.

Students experience a similar challenge when they undertake research projects. They may confidently sally forth to the library, only to discover a few minutes later that there are more potential sources related to their topic than they can possibly handle.

Overwhelmed, many adopt a default strategy to make their choices, settling for the source that appears to be the easiest. The rest are relegated back to the shelf, even though some of them might have been better suited for what the student was looking for.

Teaching/Learning Activities

How can you get a “read” on a book before you actually have to read it? Helping students size up a possible resource is a critical component of the research process. Take a look:

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International Collaboration in Education

Following on from the success of the “Working Without Walls” project I have done with previous classes, the second half of last year saw skills being shared with colleagues throughout school in shared planning/shared teaching sessions – CPD that I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed being involved in and which has seen the learning platform being increasingly used for learning throughout the school.

So it’s time to look at some ways in which we can move the project forward as a whole school – and so starts a year which I think is going to be enormously exciting for us! If you’ve been following my tweets recently, you will know that I am getting very excited about this weekend because I am off for an e-twinning workshop.

e-twinning is a great opportunity to work with other schools from around Europe in collaborative projects and one reason I am particularly looking forward to the trip is the opportunity to establish lasting relationships with other teachers which will lead to sustainable, planned collaborations.
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Is your kid not learning anything?

Do you ever have the feeling that you are not making any progress with your child´s education? It´s like you’ve been trying some etiquette rules (could be as simple as saying please and thank you) or make her clean her room, for instance.

Well, let me tell you one thing: there is no such thing as not making any progress with a child.

Do you know why? Because children are always learning and they are always picking up on things, so even if you feel stagnated, they are not.  And we also tend to let simple achievements pass by when in fact they are tremendous in the long run.

Let me give you a practical example. My daughter is 3 years old, I’ve been telling her to go and help herself with water for months (years, I can barely tell), I let the water easily accessible for her. Well, one day she just helped herself and from then on she´s been quite independent in that field.

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