How to Work in Groups in Online Study

A lot of students now opt to study online because of the sheer convenience that this medium of education offers. However, studying online has its own challenges. You have to be a motivated individual who is dedicated and keeps up with the online classes and assignments, and collaborates with other individuals to form study groups for better understanding of the subject. Now you’re probably aware that study groups are one of the many ways that enhance the process of learning and assignment completion. However, how does this process function online? How can you ensure that you find like-minded individuals who are as dedicated as you? Here, we provide you with a few tips that tell you how to work in groups in online study successfully.

Tips for Online Group Work

An online study group allows students from all over the world to conduct virtual meetings. More often than not, it is the online university website that offers students the opportunity to develop forums for various subjects. A group is created and moderated by one student who then monitors who can be a part of the group, and the different discussions that are occurring in the forum. This medium is extremely advantageous for students who are bound by time and cannot spend too much traveling and meeting everyone personally. But can virtual group study be as effective as real group study? Yes it can, if the following tips are adhered to.

Be Proactive
As mentioned earlier, in order to benefit from online group study, you have to be an active member of any forum you join or create. Not only will you be exposed to a multitude of perspectives of different people from different parts of the world, you will also be able to offer your opinion and point of view on a subject. This will make the entire study session more interactive and thorough.

Seek other Proactive Students
Again, not only you, the other students who join the study group should be as proactive as you are. There are a lot of individuals who join study groups just to benefit from what is being discussed, but do not participate in any way. Such individuals should not be allowed to be parts of such groups because it is unfair to those who are really putting in an effort to make the process of combined study work.

Keep Discussion Groups Small
When a discussion group is overcrowded it becomes difficult to monitor ongoing discussions and dissuades students from participating in the group. As such, these groups should be limited to 4-6 committed individuals who regularly update discussions and keep the group active.

Meet Online Regularly
All group members should decide a specific time (considering all time zones) to meet online on specific days. This is so that discussions can occur simultaneously and time isn’t wasted waiting for an answer from the others. A lot of groups tend to meet on Skype or such messengers where conference calls can be easily made. Moreover, Facebook pages are also created to make this process simpler. Just ensure that every member is comfortable with whatever medium of communication you choose.

Define Member Roles in Group Meetings
Before you meet online ensure that every group member has been given specific material to prepare and provide inputs on so that you can have active and meaningful discussions. They should also be given a role to play. For instance, there should be one individual who will initiate group discussion, while another one will ensure that the discussion remains on track. Another individual should be responsible for keeping a record of the chat or the discussion and for recapping the discussion in the next online meeting.

These are some great tips that will ease the process of working in groups in online study. Remember that it is definitely more challenging to collaborate such a group and work effectively; but to be able to bring together different people from different parts of the world to communicate and study together at their convenience is also one of the biggest advantages of online learning. Use this medium well to make the most of it. Be prepared to meet people of all kinds. You will find that this is a highly enriching process.

How Important Is Ongoing Training for Engineers?

This is certainly true of engineers, who can find themselves wondering how ongoing professional training is relevant to them and what specifically it can help them achieve. Considering this, here are some of the main reasons why ongoing training can help engineers and where it also cannot.

Firstly, as mentioned above, ongoing trading is essentially needed to stay relevant in the world today. The truth is that things are evolving all the time, and this is especially true in all aspects of engineering. By this we mean there are new updates to AutoCAD and Inventor programs, new technologies being developed and new techniques being honed.

The truth is, if engineers say stuck with what they know, they will find themselves quickly outdated, whilst the superseding generations of young engineers will know all the latest, most relevant and innovative things that they do not, putting the former group at a disadvantage on the job market.

Some of the courses that engineers can take include training on new techniques and technologies, Inventor training, AutoCAD training and much more. It would be unfair nonetheless to overstate the importance of training as the only way to stay relevant however; in fact, many engineers again value on the job experience, which also advances skills and knowledge.

Another reason why this kind of ongoing professional training is important is that is acts as employment insurance, a point lightly touched upon above. Whereas it is true that having up to date knowledge will help you perform better at your job and not be outshone by your colleagues, it will also benefit your resume so that you present far better to future employers.

This could be excellent insurance in an economic crisis where there are more people competing for fewer jobs, and it equally could be a great way to springboard forward in your career. This latter point is especially true of younger engineers who are seeking difficult entry into the job market.

Although many may have studied at university level and understand AutoCAD, the truth is that an Inventor training certificate or some soft skills training looks fantastic on a resume and can differentiate you from a host of the other excellent candidates who have an equal basic qualification to you.

It is definitely worth considering that not only will ongoing training help established engineers stay up to date and relevant, but it can also boost the younger ones and help them take that often difficult first step into the working world.

The final point to make is that professional training is often a boon for engineers as they can perform better with the new technologies and tools that are learned. To give an example, AutoCAD and Inventor training were new once, yet now dominate a certain sector of the industry for the simple reason that they make life a great deal easier.

Regular training can equip employees with the skills that they need in order to work better at the job and even remove some of the hassles of day to day working life as an engineer. This alone can be a convincing reason why an engineer might choose to pursue this kind of training.

Although it is very beneficial to continue training, often it is a question of time and money as well as need to learn new things and stay relevant. For this reason, no one should feel forced to constantly push themselves to spend more and more on this endeavour. Better instead to assess your needs in regards to your career path, and follow only training that you have chosen strategically.

Homeschooling Statistics

What is a Homeschool Education?
A well-rounded education helps children become responsible citizens of society, fulfill their duties towards their families and live happy and productive lives. A relatively less common method of education in the US, besides public and private schools, is homeschooling. A traditional definition would simply be – education imparted in the home environment by a guardian or parent. However there are certain guidelines to be followed for homeschoolers and they vary from state to state. Many states specify which subjects and material needs to be covered, while others require a yearly evaluation to be done to gauge progress. Implementing such regulations is a different matter altogether, as it is difficult for the state to know if parents are being fair in imparting knowledge on complex subjects. Issues such as these have made homeschooling a controversial aspect of the educational system.

Homeschooling Facts and Statistics

According to a research by National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) in 2010, homeschooling is growing at a rate of 2-8% every year making it the fastest among different forms of education.
2010 data from the NHERI indicates that there are about 2.04 million homeschooled students in the United States.
An approximate 1.75 to 2.35 million students were homeschooled during the early months of 2010.
$16 billion of the taxpayer money was saved due to homeschooling programs in the country. Homeschooled children do not have to depend on government funds for their education.
Nearly 15% of the Hispanic community home-schools their children.
Homeschooling is a diverse demographic, drawing families from minority communities as well as the mainstream population.
College students who were homeschooled as children, graduated at a higher rate of 67%, than students from the institutional mode of education. They were behind at 55%.
Income demographics for homeschooled students are also widely distributed, from $34000 to $70000.
Almost 74% of homeschooled children have gone to colleges as compared to 44% of the general population.
71% of homeschooled children have been found to be involved in at least one community service as compared to 37% of the general population.
Homeschooled children score 15 to 30 percentile points more than their public or private school counterparts.
Recent research has shown homeschooled students socialize well in college and in fact take part in a greater number of sports and social activities than students already in the system.

*2010 data from the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI).
Benefits of Homeschooling

Customizing education: Parents can plan education for their children according to the child’s abilities. A homeschooled child has an advantage of having his best evaluators with him. Moreover, the flexibility that homeschooling allows in the matter of choosing subjects and the way in which a parent or guardian can go about teaching it, makes homeschooling a better option for many parents who want the best for their children.

Better academics: Even the data speaks for this aspect of homeschooling. Homeschooled kids do better at studies than children in the traditional education system mainly because they have the advantage of asking questions and exploring their interests from a much younger age. They develop skills in things they like and pursue them later, picking up the same subjects in college and doing well in them.

A safer environment: This is possibly the greatest cause of the yearly increase in parents and guardians deciding to home-school their kids and not put them through the system. Public schools in many states have become havens of violence and drug abuse, not counting the lack of discipline and moral safeguards which should be ingrained in any educational institution. Many parents opt to keep their kids at home and preserve their childhood while also imparting worldly education.

Imparting values and world views: A homeschooled child is not exposed to commercialism and consumerism in the same way a child going to a public school is. The values and rationale in him can be cultivated in a positive manner under the guidance of his parents or guardians. Homeschooled children have a greater sense of responsibility towards family and society and take active part in social programs in college and work life.

Focus on the child: The purpose of education is to impart knowledge and values to children, the focal point of the learning process. In the confused and often cluttered syllabus and extra-curricular activities made compulsory in public schools, somewhere the focus on the primary subject – the child, is lost. Homeschooling makes children the center of the process. The teacher can devote his entire time and attention to one or two children and make strategies to improve their reading, writing and numerical abilities. It has been seen that public schools are neglecting the fundamentals such as reading and writing in favor of fancy subjects and unnecessary social activities. This can be avoided in a homeschool environment.

Travel and education: Many parents in the US have to travel extensively due to work or business commitments. Children are often left alone or with guardians who sometimes neglect studies and regular schooling. The child begins to lose interest in academics and is plagued by distractions. A homeschooled child can travel with his parents when they move or go to different cities for work. The parent being the teacher can manage the children’s educational schedules along with his own and doesn’t have to worry about leaving them with guardians or in boarding schools.

Homeschooling vs. Public schooling
There is no hard data which conclusively proves that homeschooling is better than public or private forms of education, but research is on. It will include new types of controls and variables and make definite measurements regarding this type of education. Brian D. Ray, Ph. D published a paper on the NHERI website commenting on the research done by Martin-Chang, Gould, and Meuse which supports the theory that in some specific forms of homeschooling, the benefits do outweigh those from public institutions. However, the debate between this so-called ‘radical’ and ‘back to nature’ form of education and the more formal, regularized approach towards learning rages on. Critics argue that homeschooling results in neglect of the child and apathy towards learning. They say that the parents’ sense of responsibility cannot be counted upon as every shift in their circumstance has a direct impact on the education of the child. If the parent or guardian cannot hold a job or is frequently in and out of relationships, it will cause a retrograde movement in the learning curve of the children dependent on him or her.

Whatever the case may be, homeschooling is fast becoming an acceptable and a better approach towards learning, and will continue to attract parents who want to give their children a holistic education to help them realize their potential.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Disability is something a lot of people learn to live with. However a lot many are unable to take proper education with a disability. There are a substantial number of ailments, diseases, problems and in general, several different disabilities which make a person quiet handicapped, preventing him or her from taking education as normal student. Learning disability, mental and even physical disability needs to be addressed with sufficient measures as it can potentially be substantially harmful for the person, especially preventing him/her from learning properly. The chief motive of this act is to remove the barriers of disability that hinder the children from enjoying the joy of learning.

Now the following provisions have been explained in a kind of summarized manner, and leads and procedures with regards to this law have been included in appropriate places.

The provisions of the act start with the definition of student who qualifies to benefit from protection and services as under this act. The jurisdiction of the act extends to almost all the schools and educational institutes, and to any student who is in between the ages 3-21. An interpretation of the act states that any student whose disability prevents him/her from taking education in a proper manner or a person who needs additional, different, specialized services or any sort of help to do so, qualifies to receive benefits under the provisions of the act. Now of course, the disability would include, physical disability such as hearing ailments, psychological disability such as autism and learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

1. Individualized Education Program
The basic and also probably the best provision of the act is the Individualized Education Program (IEP). As per the act, public schools are to design an independent Individualized Education Program, which is to be implemented in the Least Restrictive Environment for the benefit of the child. The program in itself is unique and is written down so as to provide qualifying children/students with the services that they would need to overcome hindrances while learning. The program is a very detailed one and it consists of a substantial number of provisions, services and learning aids and in short, all possible help that the student would need to learn. In order to design and oversee the proper execution of the entire program, an IEP team is put together upon the detection of the disability in a student. This team consists of several people who include, the parents of the student, teachers, school counselors and psychologists, administrator or a representative of the CSE (Committee of Special Education) and any other person or expert who would be able to help the student.

The act provides a detailed definition of the term services, it would conventionally include anything such as help, therapy, counseling, technological aid and health services.

2. Free Appropriate Public Education
Proving to be a highly useful provision of the act, the Free Appropriate Public Education is chiefly a right of a qualifying student, which is granted by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This right and empowerment has ensured that the qualifying student not only gets the IEP, but the services, help and aids as specified in the IEP. As per the act, the right also extends to the point that a student or parents can ensure whether the said program is proving to be beneficial for the student.

3. Imposition of Discipline and Rules and Regulations
A school or educational institution functions in accordance with some discipline to ensure successful educational procedural. The act instructs public schools and said educational institutes to dispense discipline and impose rules that ensure that the disability is accommodated within it. This ensures that no disable child falls victim to rules which may intrude upon his/her disability.

4. Find Child
The Child Find is a part of the program where in the public schools of the districts maintain records of the all children and students qualifying for the provisions of the program.

There are of course a lot of different administrative, appeal and appellate provisions as under the program. However it must noted that any child who depicts any sort qualifying disability, becomes a protected and qualified beneficiary as under the act. The parents also have a lot of rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, in accordance of which they can demand services and benefits and also act within their capacity and rights as parents, which may also include the power to veto certain changes or procedures.

 

Difference Between Online Classes and Traditional Classes

Difference between online classes and traditional classes

Progressing and climbing the career ladder demands value addition to your skills in the form of acquiring or upgrading your knowledge. However, as a full-time working adult, taking a course or choosing a college that gives you enough time to juggle both work and education has become increasingly difficult. Here is where the dilemma of choosing between online classes and traditional classes arises. It then boils down to a simple question, are you willing to trade your handsomely paying job for a college degree that could give you an even better pay?. But, coming to an objective answer to this question is easier said than done.

A lot of factors have to be considered before you invest time, effort, and money in gaining education. In the following article, we take a look at some of the very important aspects of online classes and traditional classes, and what each setup has to offer.

Online Classes Vs. Traditional Classes
Classrooms

Virtual or online classrooms give you the freedom to attend or access them from any place. You can simply login to your classroom from your home, from a coffee shop, or while commuting to work. This arrangement ensures optimum utilization of time as it allows you to work during the demanding office hours, and study at your leisure. The only drawback of this situation is that it is a solitary activity unlike a traditional classroom. This reduces your chances of meeting new people and being exposed to a certain environment that could have been.

The first important point to be noted about traditional classes is that they are bound by geography. They are always conducted within the confines of a classroom, putting a limitation on the number of seats, and thus reducing its reach to aspiring students. This may also demand staying on a campus, as classes conducted by visiting faculty could be scheduled at odd hours. On the plus side, conventional classes allow one-on-one interaction with professors and fellow students, fostering long-term relationships and building networks.

Commute
Online classrooms do not require students to commute, as they can be attended from anywhere. The expense these classes demand is that of good Internet speed. Given this, virtual classrooms can be attended without any disturbance from the comforts of your own home.

Unless you are staying on campus, pursuing a conventional type of education demands that you compulsorily commute everyday. This means you have to commute at a given hour and for a given time period. This means that one has to incur an additional expense for the necessary commute.

Scheduling
The best part about virtual classes is that you can attend these classes anytime you want. On days when a guest faculty/teacher will be hosting a class, you can record the same and listen to it at your convenience. The freedom in scheduling classes works in favor of every student as it gives one enough leeway in making time to study in a tight schedule.
A traditional class setup demands that you attend classes and be present for each lecture at a designated time. This may push you to quit your job, hire a babysitter, or simply make attending impossible if the given time seems too inconvenient. The greater drawback of this arrangement is that the classes cannot be rescheduled either. This means that once you miss out on a class, the only way of catching up with the curriculum is through other students’ notes.
Cost
Online classes only charge a tuition fee. This makes the cost of studying extremely affordable. Sometimes, the fees can be covered over a couple of months paycheck. This is beneficial for those who do not have the option of quitting a job and taking up a full-time course. It also works in favor of those who cannot spend too much but are seeking a worthy opportunity to study.
Student Loan
Without a shadow of a doubt, traditional classes are an expensive choice. The costs can be massively high, which means, sometimes aspiring students have to borrow a loan and then repay it along with interest. The fees charged by traditional schools and colleges includes their recovery of infrastructure, electricity, building rent, maintenance, besides the tuition fees.
Despite these differences what should remain the same is the quality of education both the methods of classes provide. The option that provides the best education should be the logical choice, as a small compromise can truly work in your favor for a long-term goal. While many would prefer one of the two options, there are a few students who opt for both to get better perspectives on subjects and to invest their full-time in learning the subjects, its techniques and applications thoroughly. Thus, picking the right method of learning will absolutely depend on your priorities and circumstances.

How to Start Homeschooling Your Child

The popularity of homeschooling has seen a phenomenal rise in the last decade or two. There are plenty of attributes that have contributed to this rise. Parents prefer to home-school their kids to keep them away from the peer pressure and stressed atmosphere of the school. Moreover, in a home-school, your child gets single-minded attention, unlike in a public school, where there are at least twenty students in a class. With this form of education, you can keep the child under your supervision and also get to spend more time with him/her. But it also has its own set of drawbacks, that cannot be ignored. The most obvious one being – the child missing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the institution called “school”! The school atmosphere is completely different from the atmosphere at home, and in a school there is more focus on discipline, schedule and team work.

The choice to opt for homeschooling kids depends entirely on the parents. Keep in mind the following – to make the idea work, you will have to compromise your career and completely devote yourself in educating your child/children. Alternatively, you can hire a home-school teacher to educate your kids, but still, you have to be around to make sure that the teacher is doing the job well.

Getting Started with Homeschooling

It is an old concept, that has been popular since a long time. It is a legally approved concept in the United States (the state regulations may differ). As it gained popularity in the United States, the universities also started accepting students from such educational backgrounds. Thus the parents need not worry about the future education of their child and should focus more on designing the study technique and curriculum. To make the program a success, the atmosphere in the house should also be calm and conducive to study. Design the room using various charts and posters and create a fun atmosphere, for the child to study. Make it a point that you use a table and chair for studying, as the posture you keep while studying is also important.

#Step 1: Check the Regulations
Though the process is legal, the state regulations may differ. So, as the first step, do some research and understand the rules and regulations about homeschooling, in your state. Some states are quite liberal and do not even require you to notify the concerned authorities about the decision taken. Semi-Liberal states require you to notify them about the decision they make. The third category is the slightly strict states. The regulations in these states require you to periodically submit, the progress and evaluation report of the kid. And in the states that have the most strict regulations, the parents need to get the designed syllabus approved before they proceed with their decision. Some states that are strict regarding homeschooling require you to get certified for the teaching process, or allow you to keep only certified people as home teachers. The regulations also have mention of the number of days per year you need to teach the kids. Thus, you need to determine under which category your state belongs to and understand the rules thoroughly.

#Step 2: Design the Curriculum
Once you have complied with all the rules, the next important step is designing the syllabus. This is the most crucial step. You have many options to design the homeschooling curriculum. Think and determine what kind of education you want to give your child, and what you want to focus on. For example, for those who want to focus on arts, the arts related subjects should be the major crux of the syllabus. But to develop the all round intelligence of the kid, the curriculum should be a mix of all the subjects. For stricter states, the curriculum needs to be in conjunction with the state education curriculum. There are plenty of choices available for you to choose the right syllabus for your kid. In addition, there are many online packages and books based on grades available.

#Step 3: Plan a Schedule
To instill discipline in your kid from a young age, a balanced routine is very important. Plan your hours fruitfully, allotting appropriate hours to each subject. Monthly and yearly tests are also mandatory and should be a part of the schedule. But to avoid monotony in the process, you have to take efforts. One advantage of homeschooling is, you can be innovative in your way of teaching your kids. You have the freedom to incorporate your own ideas and techniques in the teaching method. You can also change the location of the ‘homeroom’ at your own will, and plan some trip to the park to make learning an interesting process for the kid.

#Step 4: Make it Easy for the Kid
Kids who have been to school and are now home tutored may find it hard to adjust to the new method of teaching. So, as parents you need to make sure that the child is comfortable with the new teaching method. The child might miss his friends – to avoid this make him join a library or a play club. This way the child will be able to socialize, and wouldn’t feel lonely.

Educationalists do not approve of this form of schooling, and believe that it deprives the children from their social life. They are also of the view that parents cannot give their hundred percent as teachers. But, if it is the only option you have, make sure you do it with perfection and dedication. With efforts from both the parents homeschooling can turn out to be a rewarding experience. Good Luck!

Assistive Technology in the Classroom

What is assistive technology and what are the devices that are used in the classroom? This technology, in the simplest of terms, consists of those tools, devices, and strategies that help lower and break down the barriers that can be created by disabilities. The use of this technology can help liberate students with disabilities and compensate for their learning problems. In most public schools, this form of technology is used in order to better physical, social, and communicative abilities of the student. Educational reforms have brought about a change in the way classrooms function. In order to make the classroom more inclusive, it is important that children who are challenged physically be provided with assistance to make the learning process simpler.

Assistive Technology in Classrooms

This is one of those technologies that are known by several different names which include rehabilitation devices, adaptive materials, assistive devices, and adaptive technologies. As mentioned earlier, it is used to help children with disabilities cope with the technologies and materials that are an integral part of the classroom today. Assistive technologies are used for different purposes. There are specific devices that are designed for students who are either visually impaired or have a vision problem. There are also devices for the hearing impaired and for those children who have learning disabilities and find it difficult to learn things. For such students, assistive technologies help by improving their learning, behavioral, and cognitive abilities. There are some students who may have a problem in communication or in understanding the information that is being supplied. There are specific devices for such students as well.

While using assistive technologies one uses both access technologies and adaptive technologies. When one talks about access technologies, the reference is to those technologies that are used in order to provide students with technologies better access to the instructional and educational material that they need to use. With such technologies, you try and adapt those technologies that students use normally. Access technologies help by making up for the limitations that are faced by those students who are disabled. Adaptive technologies help students with disabilities to move about and communicate better with others in the classroom. These technologies are specifically developed for people with disabilities. They may not have been created only for educational purposes and can be used outside of the classroom as well.

For children who have learning problems, the use of computer devices for the physically challenged and tools such as bigger pencils, foot pedals instead of the mouse for a computer, voice recognition software, large pad keyboards are all an integral part of this type of technological devices. For children who have a problem communicating due to limited verbal abilities or skills, there are devices such as voice output devices, text to voice translation software, and pictorial software that are used. With assistive technology, as is true for any other type of technology proper training is important. In order to make the use of this type of technology a success, it is important that the children and the teachers both learn how to use the devices properly and effectively. Without proper training, these devices could end up being a waste of time and energy.

Virtual Office Hours for Students

When you teach students in junior high or high school, you often have to assign work to be done outside school. Unfortunately, more often than not, the work has gotten to a level with which the students’ parents are no longer comfortable in offering help. If this is the case, your students will more than likely have many questions for you outside school hours. To avoid answering all the questions during class time, and therefore having to extend deadlines for assignments, you can set up virtual office hours for students when you are available to answer questions.

What are Virtual Office Hours?

When you go to college, professors have office hours that are times that they are available in their offices to answer student questions. You can usually stop by or email them during this time and they are able to answer your questions and address your concerns. They do this because university students only spend three to four hours in class each week, and do most of their work outside class. If you teach younger students, however, you see them every day and you often teach longer hours than professors do. Students also have to take busses home or have other obligations outside their full-time school day. In order to answer their questions, you have to get a little creative. This is where virtual office hours come in. If you and your students have access to the internet, you can tell them you will be available during certain hours of the evening. During that time, they can contact you virtually and expect a quick response.

Email

Email is one of the most obvious ways to allow your students to contact you, and it has many benefits. First, there is a written record of your contact with your students, which is very helpful if there is ever a question about your professionalism. Second, you are able to respond whenever you can, which means you don’t have to sit in front of your computer waiting for emails. However, email is sometimes slower than some other forms of communication, and if you do not set times during which you will respond via email, you can find yourself responding to students during all hours of the night. Furthermore, you may find yourself stuck to your computer if you do not have your professional email setup on your smartphone, or if you do not have a smartphone at all.

Chat

Chat programs are wonderful, and they provide all the same benefits as email in keeping a written record of conversations. If your students have Gmail or Live.com accounts, they have a built-in chat program that signs on as soon as they start their email. All you need is an account on the same server as theirs and they can add you to their chat contacts, which allows them to see when you are online and chat with you. There are also several chat programs that allow you to use many accounts all at once, such as Nimbuzz or IM+. These programs are also available for most smartphones, so you can be on the go and answer questions at the same time.

Google Voice

If your students do not have access to the internet, it may be worth looking into having a Google Voice account. Google Voice gives you a phone number that is not your true number. Therefore, when you give it to students, they are not calling your personal phone. Students can text it or call it, and you can get messages either at your computer or your cell phone. This is a great way to help students when they need it.

Reasons Why Homeschooling is Bad

Homeschooling refers to the concept of educating children at home instead of sending them to public or private schools. The concept is not new. Earlier, most children were educated at home because not everyone could afford to send their children to schools. Nowadays, homeschooling has become popular in many countries for various reasons.

Reasons for Homeschooling
One of the prime reasons why some prefer homeschooling is the questionable quality of education in public schools. Also, many prefer educating their children at home due to the costs involved in traditional schooling. Some parents believe that they know their child’s strengths and weaknesses best and hence, are in a better position to teach him. Some prefer it so as to keep their child away from bad company. There are people who opt to educate their children at home because they want them to absorb the morals and values of their family, and follow their religious beliefs. Some parents think that homeschooling helps build stronger family bonds.

It has been observed that homeschooling, when undertaken meticulously has benefited many. However, every coin has two sides and even homeschooling has its share of demerits. Let us look at its negative impact on parents and students.

Parents

Absence of Certified Educational Professionals
A parent may have good educational qualifications, but that does not make him or her a good teacher. Teaching is an art, which requires the ability to understand children’s needs. Parents may find it difficult to adjust to the curriculum. Unlike professional teachers, parents may not be trained to teach, thus making homeschooling difficult for them.

Special Needs May Not be Met
Some children require special learning aids and tutors, and cannot be home-schooled. Lack of proper guidance might impact their education. Similarly, certain subjects require different methods of teaching or certain specialized teaching aids. Homeschooling may not be able to meet these needs of education.

Homeschool Burnout
Many parents may eventually become tired and stressed due to teaching for long hours at a stretch. Parents having to manage work and household responsibilities while also devoting time to the education of their children, may have to follow a very hectic schedule. This may take a toll on their health or hamper their efficiency as teachers. This may lead to a homeschool burnout and cause the parents to temporarily lose interest in teaching.

Shifting Priorities
Parents have to sacrifice a lot in terms of other priorities. Home-schooling children is a full-time job and may not be suitable for parents who want to concentrate on their careers. On choosing to teach children at home, career aspirations of parents might have to take a backseat. It takes a lot of time and dedication from the parents’ side to make homeschooling successful.

High Costs
Though homeschooling may cost less than $1000 per year for parents, inevitable expenses like textbooks, basic stationery, a computer, Internet, educational software, seating arrangement, field and educational trips, audio-visual aids, hobby classes, sports classes, library, legal fees, memberships and newsletters of support groups may also have to be added to the budget. In many states, homeschooling does not receive any kind of financial aid other than making the cost of school supplies tax-deductible.

Social Pressure
Parents who home-school their children may have to face social pressure from proponents of traditional education.
This might lead the parents of homeschoolers to feel discouraged and diffident about their decision. They are oftentimes ridiculed by others for their decision and deemed incapable of educating their children at home. They have to face social flak for preferring homeschooling.

Children

Isolation
Children who are home-schooled may feel lonely, friendless and isolated, especially so if they don’t have siblings. Friendships in school help them learn the importance of sharing and being there for one another. Often, homeschoolers become increasingly dependent on their parents. Being schooled at home, they are isolated from the exposure traditional education gives.

Hindered Development
One of the most critical impacts of homeschooling on children is limited social interaction. In a traditional school, students are exposed to children coming from diverse cultural backgrounds. Homeschooling lacks this aspect, and hence may prove to be detrimental to the development of children’s interpersonal skills. Schools give children, the opportunity to participate in debates, sports and other competitions. They expose children to the real world. In homeschooling, school remains confined to the home, thus limiting the social, emotional and psychological development of children.

Assessment Pressure
Homeschoolers have to take an annual assessment test before proceeding to the next level. In traditional schools, children are given periodic tests, which prepare them for the next level. This may not be the case with homeschooling, thus leading to tremendous mental pressure on children when appearing for the annual assessment exams.

Lack of Competition
Schools prepare children to face the fierce competition that one is exposed to, in real life. However, homeschooling does not give them a chance to compete with other kids. They are also unaware of where they stand among their peers. The competitive spirit that is developed in traditional schooling is more or less absent in a homeschooling environment. This may affect the future lives and careers of children.

Though homeschooling has its benefits, it does not match up to the positive influence of schools on the overall development of children.

Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities

I totally agreed with Scott Hamilton when he said that the only disability in life is a wrong attitude. I strongly believe that disability is not a curse or punishment from God for some wrongdoings. No, I feel these people can live a normal life just like any normal person. In fact, people with disabilities are more determined to overcome this barrier and do not want to gain sympathy from people. I remember watching a video clip of a differently abled person who didn’t have hands but was writing with the pen held in his mouth. These people really inspire us to work harder and convert the weaknesses into strengths.

While choosing a college there are certain points which a differently abled person should evaluate before applying to the desired college.

Easily accessible campus and 24×7 buses available with special needs.
Offices having full-time staff for answering the queries of differently abled persons.
Help available in form of attendants or nurses for people with severe disabilities.
Course curriculum and extra tutoring for those who lag behind in class.
Extra curricular activities designed for people with disabilities and coaching for these people who are capable of entering into paralympic Olympics.

After considering these factors the next step is choosing from the list of best colleges which have great programs for differently abled persons.

University of Arizona,Tucson

The Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center popularly known as SALT has been the oldest in rendering best programs for people suffering from ADHD and other learning disabilities. This institute offers world-class workshops with well equipped computer labs. The tutors in this program are well experienced and many hold doctorates in their respective fields. The tutors are CRLA (college reading and learning association) certified and render expert services in Maths, Science and other courses. The fee structure for undergraduate lower division and upper division varies from $1000 to $2500 per semester. The tutoring fees is extra $20-25 per hour.

Wayne State University, Detroit

This University located at Detroit offers best facilities in off campus programs, pre – enrollment counseling, ASL interpretors and volunteer note takers. The average tuition fee for undergraduate lower and upper division ranges from $450 to $6000. Known programs like business administration and fine arts are rendered through the campus. The institute also offers excellent placement opportunities and has efficient staff in tutoring and career counseling.

University of Connecticut, Storrs

One of the top ranked public university this institute offers world-class program B.O.L.D (Building Opportunities for students with Learning Disabilities). This program is specifically designed for psychiatric, ADHD and LD disabled students. Through this program students are encouraged to improve their skills in order to gain employment. The average tuition fees for first semester is $1600 and for rest of semesters it is around $1100. The tutoring fees are extra $45 to $51 for a course. The college also provides SEAD program specially designed for autistic students. Through this program the student is encouraged to make transition to college level courses and instill positive attitude among students to achieve their goals.

Curry College, Massachusetts

Located in Milton, a 135 acre campus which is seven miles from Boston offers a suburban setting. The course is designed for students suffering from learning disabilities. The tutors prepare students to participate in group level discussions and provides $10,000 worth of scholarship to a high school senior student who has been successful in overcoming the disability barrier. The average tuition fees for first year per semester is approximately $3300. The curriculum includes using strategies to develop the thinking, reading, writing and listening abilities in students.

Augsburg College, Minneapolis

The CLASS (Center for learning and adaptive student services) provides normal classes and also helps the students by assisting them with scanned exams,extended time exams and recorded textbooks. Assistive technology caters to the students’ needs and the tutors encourage students to excel in their field with working on the underlying weaknesses. The tuition fees are nominal and students are accepted with a grade point average of 2.6. The institute has full-time staff assisting students with disabilities to learn. Individual tutoring is being promoted by the CLASS program.

University of Iowa, Iowa City

This university offers two year program for students suffering from multiple cognitive disabilities. The program termed as REACH (realizing educational and career hopes) helps students to be independent and educate them to fulfill their future dreams. It has community based internships, accessible campus and prepare students for employment. The average tuition fees for one year is approximately $14,100 and need based scholarships are available to the students.

Florida State University, Tallahassee

The Student Disability Resource Center has programs designed for ADHD students. It also helps these students’ transition to college level courses and provides services such as extra exam time, specially designed Math and Reading programs.

Beacon College, Florida

The courses are specially offered for learning disabilities, gifted LD and ADHD students. The average tuition fee for a year is around $14,500 and it also offers full student support in form of extra curricular activities. It also has Travel Abroad Program where students can experience rich cultural diversity.

Landmark College, Vermont

Located in Putney this college is voted the best in offering programs catering to students with learning disabilities. The courses are language intensive and focused on developing intellectual abilities in students. The attractive point about this college is it considers students as partners in learning and strives to achieve excellence through technology based curriculum. The average tuition fees is around $48,000 for the academic year and financial aid is available for need-based students. The college also offers a full-time disability resource office with best career counseling activities.

Northeastern University, Marino Center

This University has been voted as having the best learning disability programs. The college has intensive programs in reading and writing specifically catering to attention deficit disorder. The average costs range from $1200 to $2600 per semester for the program. The USP of this college is individual attention by experienced tutors.

Most of these colleges prepare students to live independently and instill workplace skills. Many colleges also offer many services like mentoring, providing transportation services within campus and providing tutoring services. These institutes with help of the families of students encourage them to be self motivated to achieve their career goals. Disability has not and will never be a hindrance, this motto is what these best institutes endorse.