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Working with children

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boy_walking_to_school

Did you notice how excited first graders are to attend school? How they take great pride in their new notebooks? How they make certain that their pencils are sharpened to perfection? How particular they are about their back-packs, their clothes, and how anxious they are to arrive at school on time?

What happened to all that excitement? Why don’t they want to do any school-work now, or even go to school? Where did all that excitement go, and what immediate actions should you take to rekindle it?

Get your questions answered – contact the registrar today at (951) 789-0224 or email us at registrar@appliedscholasticsonline.com.

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Education – Serious or Not?

little cowboy

The best way to approach school so children can get somewhere in life is to keep it unserious and keep it a game!

“You want to know what sensation about living you ought to have: It’s the same sensation with which you used to play cowboy and Indian. You also know that it isn’t real when you’re playing cowboys and Indians.’

“That, by the way, is on the upper strata of ecstasy. It really becomes ecstasy when you know you have to pretend that it’s real so that it can be real. You’re really in command of the situation then, and you can have a good time! It’s fun. One of the biggest control mechanisms there are is: You’ve got to take this seriously. You’ve really got to be serious about this. If you’re serious enough about this hm-hm-hm! you’ll get somewhere in life.’

“The surest way to get nowhere in life is to be serious about it!”

– L. Ron Hubbard, Educator and Humanitarian

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Education: Whose Shoulders Carry the Weight?
by Carlynn McCormick


When it comes to a child’s education, who is the responsible party? Is it the federal government, state government, teachers’ union, school board, school officials, teachers, parents? Whose shoulders carry the burden? Certainly in one form or another, at one time or another, all of the above have been blamed when students go wrong. But what good comes from pointing fingers and demanding accountability?

In truth, education belongs to the child. What he learns, what he accomplishes, how well he succeeds is ultimately up to him. The responsibility is his.

Teachers, parents and anyone else involved in education have the duty of letting children know schooling is for them; not something done to them. When a child starts kindergarten, it is expected that he would be told why he is going to school. Believe it or not, this can be overlooked: I have talked with children who say, “School is somewhere to go so Mom and Dad can work.”

So the first step in assigning responsibility to a child is for the adults in that child’s life to take him into their confidence and let him know the plan. This is very easy to do. Why? Because the reason for going to school aligns with every child’s inherent need to make the unknown, known. If this is gotten across to a child, he will automatically have a purpose for learning to read, write, research and reason. He will know for himself that it is important to master the basics and he will muster up the courage to do it.

When children embrace the idea of conquering the unknown and the mysteries of life, they view time spent in school as interesting, exciting, a time of discovery, never as dull, monotonous drudgery. With such enthusiasm for learning, the child comes to think of school, his teacher, his readers and workbooks as all belonging to him.

This is the opposite of what is normally done in school where teachers give and students accept. In such a process, the teacher gives the lessons; the teacher corrects the students’ work; the teacher gives grades and makes the criticisms; the class belongs to the teacher. This may be dandy for the teacher, but this is not education.

To be educated, children must be taught that it requires personal participation and personal responsibility for one’s own work and conduct. A student will always, for example, work diligently on the step-by-step procedure for learning to read if he has set his own goal to be a good reader. Likewise, he will be eager to observe and research his surroundings if he has the goal of understanding his world better.

It is the teacher’s job to show students how to discover things for themselves. The teacher is not a task master; the teacher is a leader and a guide. She should clue children in that it is up to them to discover their own talents and their own purposes for learning each subject in school. The responsibility rests on their thin shoulders.

How often should this lesson be taught? From before the first day of school, repeated and reviewed throughout every school year, then again and again, from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

When a child knows with 100% certainty it is up to him to create his own education, his aspirations will soar like a rocket taking off for the stars!

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happiness and study

“As long as children and young men and women find pleasure in study, they will continue studying throughout life — and upon that depends their happiness.”

– L. Ron Hubbard, Ron Magazine on Education

Applied Scholastics Online Academy prepares educational programs exceeding state requirements based on the educational philosophy of L. Ron Hubbard.

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Family xmas tree

With the holidays upon us, we look for that perfect gift to give our children. What special present will bring squeals of delight on Christmas morning an American Girl doll, Legos, a drum set, an iPad Pro?

Giving gifts can be great fun for both child and parent, but we must never lose sight of what children need more than anything else in the world. And that has virtually nothing to do with materialism; little to do with toys; and money just isn’t that important.

More than anything, children need the love and affection of the adults around them. It has been proven that babies, left in their cribs without being held, hugged or cuddled, do not do well physically. When someone picks them up and gives them love, their health improves almost instantly. When one says, Love heals, it is far from being hype.

Love is a cure for loneliness, sorrow or grief and carries no negativity whatsoever. Educator and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard stated it beautifully when he said, Affection could no more spoil a child than the sun could be put out by a bucket of gasoline.

Indeed, love may be the greatest gift on earth. And you show that love to a child by talking with him, listening to him (really listening to him) and understanding his viewpoint. Children need all the love and understanding they can get.

The more you love a child, the more he will love you back. We’re talking about an every day of the year commitment. The perfect gift, the one that stands above all others, is a show of great affection day after day after day.

Wishing “The Perfect Gift” to parents and children worldwide!

With love,
Executives and Staff,
Applied Scholastics Online Academy

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Playing piano

When we consider education, it is best to know something of the word’s history. By knowing it derives from Latin, meaning to bring out; to draw forth we better understand the method of teaching offered by Greek philosopher Socrates1.

He believed true knowledge resides within each of us and with proper teaching we can realize or recall it.

Socrates deemed the primary job of a teacher was to ask questions that would bring out or draw forth a student’s natural ability to think, to reason and to participate.

What a beautiful philosophy; with it students were encouraged to look, observe, ponder, research and apply to life what they discovered.

Oh, what a far cry from today’s dreary educational system that forces students to memorize vast amounts of information. Insistence that data be crammed in a student’s skull and spit back out on an exam paper is detrimental to reasoning power and one’s ability to consider and extrapolate. This method often leaves children hating school; it leaves them unable to think with the subjects they study, unprepared for the inconsistencies of life. What a swindle!

But education can once again have the status it deserves. It can be elevated, simply by posing questions that intrigue, excite and stretch the imagination: What can I invent to make this idea happen? Is there a way to triumph over that barrier? How can I align this new idea to what I already know?

Present challenging problems and ask students to think up solutions. Invite them to dream, to imagine, to think outside the box — let them know that with enough creativeness anything is possible.

For education to regain its original roots, students must also be allowed to question what is “known” or written in books. Teachers should give examples from history that show what is “true” today may be false tomorrow.

Students must be given an opportunity to explore their own passions — for passion and desire are vital components of education. And, students should always be encouraged to tap into their own ingenuity. This is the way to awaken or keep alive that love of learning that resides deep within us.

One new idea — no matter how small or seemingly insignificant — can become massive and brilliant; it might even take a whole planet from ignorance to truth. Such possibilities, after all, are the rightful legacy of education!

1. Socrates: ancient Greek philosopher (470-399 BC). Socrates was the teacher of Plato (who in turn became the teacher of Aristotle) and Xenophon (Greek general and historian).
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Child with binoculars

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.
— Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, author of The Scientist Speculates

In our high tech society the ability to research is vital to success. Yet many schools never teach it and even when they do, they usually overlook the simplest and most primary undercut: something a child must be able to do before he can research. What is it? He needs to be able to observe (see, view) what is in front of him.

The way to teach observation is to allow the child to observe things for himself. To accomplish this goal, we must be willing to ignore his wrong answers. Don’t take this to mean you are supposed to give or leave children with misconceptions. This is not what is being talked about. It should not be confused with reading where we teach children that words have precise definitions. It should not be confused with math where we teach that problems often have precise answers. Nor should it be confused with spelling where we teach that letters are written in a particular order that allows readers to duplicate what is being written.

Rather, what is being addressed here is a child’s unique ability to see what he sees. It goes like this: we ask a child to tell us what he or she perceives (sees, views, observes) at a given moment. And the only “right” (correct, true) answer is exactly and precisely what the child perceives.

The concept is so elementary, it is often too basic and therefore, overlooked. By comparing it to how a baby discovers the world, however, it comes to light. Here is an example: when my grandson Corbin was about 18 months old, like most babies, he loved the game of “hide-and-seek.” He would hide his head under a blanket and since he couldn’t see me, he assumed I couldn’t see him. I would go along with his idea and search and search for him all the while asking, “Oh where oh where is Corbin hiding?” When I finally raised the blanket and said “I found you,” he would squeal in delight. Within a number of weeks, he discovered on his own (without anyone saying anything to him) to hide his whole body.

It is easy to enhance the art of discovery: if your child says the spider he is looking at has four legs and one eye, merely thank him for telling you. Don’t try to correct his observation. He will soon discover an additional eye and legs on his own, if he is given the opportunity.

When we tell a child, “No, no, no, it’s not like that, it’s like this,” “It’s crooked, it’s not straight,” “It is navy blue, not black,” “You’re wrong on this account and you’re wrong on that account,” we end up with a child who stops looking at things for himself.

We must be willing to ignore a young child’s inaccuracy of observation and let him straighten it out. When we encourage children to observe for themselves we allow them to experience the magic of discovery.

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Boy in library

Students must be given an opportunity to explore their own passions — for passion and desire are vital components of education. And students should always be encouraged to tap into their own ingenuity. This is the way to awaken or keep alive that love of learning that resides deep within us.

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Young student with text books

What value do students get from doing homework?

According to Kathy Seal, co-author of Motivated Minds: Raising Children to Love Learning, most homework does not advance the education of elementary school children. On the contrary, stuffing a great deal of information into their heads makes it harder to retain the data and can even damage their eagerness and joy of learning.

She claims, “Research has shown decisively that when children study because they enjoy it, their learning is deeper, richer and longer-lasting.”

Rather than giving students mounds of tedious homework, teachers would do better to formulate a common-sense approach that incorporates Seal’s findings. If homework is to be given it should be creative and intriguing, such as asking students to figure out a puzzle, or giving them an assignment to go outside and discover some science at work and write up their findings.

As educators and parents we should search out and use ideas that capture our children’s interests and ignite their imaginations.

Great success usually comes when we realize that children will easily learn those things they like and have great difficulty with those things they dislike. The graduate who truly enjoys learning is actually better prepared and in a far better position than one who has memorized the whole of his textbooks.

With this in mind, the goal of education should always be in the direction of helping children develop a deep love of learning. Any homework or teaching method that contributes to a love of learning is appropriate and acceptable.

To determine whether a particular piece of homework is “beneficial” or “dangerous,” try running it through this list of questions to see how it plays out:

  • Is it interesting?
  • Will students approach it with enthusiasm?
  • Will it stretch their imagination?
  • Will it get their creativity flowing?
  • Is it something they will happily do?

If it answers up “no”, it is counter-productive to give it to students. If it answers up “yes” you have a winner!

There is no doubt that if every child went through school filled with wide-eyed wonder for the things he or she studies, we would have a world of geniuses.

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Child with microscope

His little hand squeezes mine
As we venture into the darkness
To gaze up at the sliver of a moon
And try to count a zillion stars
Feeling gone “forever” reappears
Awe and wonder for that night
When first I counted heavenly
Stars with my own dear father
By Carlynn McCormick

Home education(1) can have a profound effect on a parent, just as surely as it can affect a child. Sharing a piece of life with your child often brings back memories of your own youth, be they good or bad.

What was your school experience like? Was it fun and challenging? Were you filled with an eagerness to learn? Was it one of the best times of your life?

Or did it sometimes make you feel stupid? Was it scary, embarrassing, or just plain mediocre?

If school brought us happiness, we want the same for our children; if we found it unbearable, we don’t want our children suffering the same fate.

Most parents look for ways to better guarantee that their children’s school experience is a pleasant one. Parents who themselves did well in public school might send their children to public school.

Parents who disliked public education might send their children to private schools that offer personalized attention. When this is not an option, they might set aside a specific time outside of school to interact with their children.

More and more parents choose to home study so they can be at the helm, ensuring their children’s education is both effective and pleasurable.

Secret Revealed

But no matter which path a parent turns to, the question often remains—is there a secret to making subjects effective and pleasurable for my child?

The answer: most certainly!

It has long been an axiom(2) that the children who get the most out of school are the ones taught by parents and teachers who are so passionate about a subject they endow it with life.

And being such a teacher is the “secret.”

Tribute to Life

Perhaps the best way to generate passion for any subject is to embrace it as a “tribute to life.” For example, if you want to teach about biology, take your child on a nature hike. Enchant him by pointing out the beauty of a flower and take the time to feel the softness of its petals. Find delight in spotting a squirrel scampering across your path and in stopping to watch a line of ants busy at work.

Expect your child to ask lots and lots of questions about the wonders of life. Tell him what you know and together research the unknown.

Your Child’s Curiosity

Camaraderie(3) such as this not only creates and instills a love of learning in your child it enhances that same quality in you. Then too, by finding ways to tap into your child’s natural curiosity, you often rehabilitate your own inherent questions about life (all too frequently dimmed by the responsibilities of adulthood).

By revisiting the wonders of the past, celebrating the wonders of the day, or imagining new wonders for the future, you and your child just might set in motion an unparalleled(4) eagerness for knowledge!

1. Home Education: the things parents, grandparents and other family members teach a child; the attitudes the adults display around a child. Attitudes, ideas, leaning experiences a child is exposed to at home as distinct from those he is exposed to at school.
2. Axiom: A saying that is widely accepted on its own merits.
3. Camaraderie: The quality of affording easy familiarity and sociability.
4. Unparalleled: Radically distinctive and without equal.
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