Education Tips

Read these 25 Education Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Single Parent tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Should I let everyone else take care of me?

Squeeze Those Lemons

In dealing with life's lemons, be careful not to develop a victim mentality and expect everyone to take care of you. It is your mess, regardless of where the fault lies, and you ultimately are the one that has to live in it. It is your responsibility to squeeze the lemons (work at finding something good and useful in each lemon), add the right amount of sugar (love, kindness, and appreciation to other people), and add water (your time and energy). Don't sit back and expect someone to fix the lemonade for you and bring it to you on a silver platter. Get in the kitchen and fix it yourself (assume the responsibility).

   
How can I provide encouragement to my child?

Celebrate Successes

Celebrate all gains, not just high marks, whether with high fives for an improved mark in spelling, or an ice cream sundae for finishing a major book report. Sometimes you may have to look for successes, but they are there. Focus on your child's strengths.

   
How can I help my children get ready to go back to school?

Back-to-School Clothes

In helping your child get ready to return to school, be sure to check your child's wardrobe to see if any, or all, clothing articles need replenishing. It may surprise you just how much your child may have grown over the summer months. You do not want to be caught by surprise when cooler weather hits and the jeans your child wore last year are 2-3 sizes too small this year and your child is forced to wear short pants because that is all that fits.

   
I already have a college degree, why do I need to go back to school?

Education for the fun of it

If you already have all the education you need, why not take a fun class to learn something about a topic you have always found interesting. Like to take pictures? You may want to consider taking a class in photography. When my children were younger I took cake decorating classes so I could make special birthday and holiday cakes for them. Like gardening? Take a class in horticulture or landscaping. The list is endless. Check out area vocational schools. Many hardware stores also offer special workshops on home projects you may want to check out. Learn how to have some fun!

   
How can I help my children get ready to go back to school?

Morning Checklist

It might help younger children in getting everything ready for school in the mornings by preparing and posting a morning checklist in their room. Let your kids help prepare the checklist by cutting out pictures from magazines depicting the various activities that need to be done such as brushing teeth, eating breakfast, checking backpack for completed homework assignments, securing lunch money or packing lunch, etc. Having a visual reminder will help keep them on track, especially the one that easily gets neglected, brushing their teeth!

   
What can I do to encourage good study habits for my child?

Homework Station

To help out at homework time, set up a centralized homework station stocked with paper, glue, crayons, etc. You may need to buy extra supplies, but you will no longer need to make the last minute trips to the mall or school. For older kids, you may wish to add a dictionary, thesaurus, or other items on their school list. Also, if there is more than one student in your home, you may want to make the station moveable by buying a cart on wheels.

   
How can I get my family to cooperate with my educational goals?

Setting Educational Goals

When you decide to further your education, you are setting a goal for yourself. Now you need to get your kids in agreement with your goals and decide how you are going to accomplish it. It will help if you talk about your goals with your children, and encourage them to set some goals that they themselves would like to do or accomplish. Give them time to think about some goals and write them down. Then discuss steps they can take to accomplish their goals. This will help them understand how important goals are and the steps necessary to attain them. If their goal is to be the star player on the soccer or basketball team, then they will see how hard they must practice and train to become that star. This will help them see that they need to be supportive of you in reaching your goals just as you support them in reaching their goals. Ask for their help and understanding and attaining your goal will be much easier.

   
How do I find out about financial assistance for education?

Student Financial Assistance

The Department administers several major student aid programs, including Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, which provide over $42 billion a year to help millions of students pay for the costs of college. Whether you are ready to apply for financial aid or just interested in more information about the federal student aid programs, the starting point is here:
US Department of Education

   
What´s a fun way to teach my child about colors?

Color of the Day

For a fun game to teach colors to young kids, try setting a timer for two minutes and then see how many items of that color you can find. When the time is up, count them together to practice counting skills too.

   
How can I help my children get ready to go back to school?

Designated Homework Area

Select a quiet spot with plenty of lighting and designate it as a homework area. It can be a corner of your child's room, or a quiet spot in the living or dining room, preferably not within viewing or hearing distance of a television or other distractions. Equip this area with an appropriate sized desk or table and chair, as well as a place for basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, pencil sharpener, dictionary, etc. Use letter trays or small storage boxes to hold basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, pencil sharpener, dictionary, etc., as well as projects in process, upcoming assignments, etc.

   
How can I help my children get ready to go back to school?

Backpack Station

It is a good idea to have a designated spot for kids to stash their backpacks when they come in from school, as well as for when they have finished their homework. Having a designated area close to an entry door will save those early morning hassles of searching frantically through the house trying to find their homework. Get your kids in the habit of always placing their backpack in the designated spot. This spot might be a basket in the coat closet or foyer, or just inside the door to a child's room, or whatever would work best in your home.

   
How can I stay involved in my child´s education?

Special Parent Folder

In your child's backpack or school bag, place a brightly colored plastic folder and instruct your child that all notices or messages from the teacher or school to you are to be placed in this special folder. Be sure to check the folder each night for needed information. This will help prevent those important messages from getting lost or buried among the other school work.

   
How can I help my children get ready to go back to school?

Organize the Night Before

Get your children in the habit of setting out clothes the night before school, including their shoes. It will make mornings go much smoother if time is not spent trying to locate a favorite shirt that is in the laundry, or searching for an errant shoe. Teach your kids to organize for the next day before they go to bed. It will make all of your lives less stressful.

   
How can I go to school, work, and raise a family at the same time?

The Hare and the Tortoise

Slow down the education process if needed. Keep your priorities in order. Make sure you are still a part of their lives. I spent 11 years getting my college degree, taking many classes on my lunch hour and at night. Try not to miss those important school activities such as PTA meetings, teacher conferences, school carnivals, play days, etc. You have the rest of your life to get an education, but you only have your children for a few short years. Remember the tortoise won the race as the hare expended himself too quickly.

   
How can I encourage better spelling in my child?

Spelling Dictionary

To help young kids who are learning to spell, try creating a "dictionary" for your child. Use a spiral notebook, and designate two pages for each letter of the alphabet. Whenever your child asks you to spell something, write it on the appropriate page of the dictionary. The next time he needs that word, he can look it up in his dictionary. Not only does this reinforce spelling skills and keep frequently used words readily available, but it encourages sight-reading as well.

   
How can I help my children get ready to go back to school?

Back-to-School Supplies

Plan ahead for that all-important first day of school. Whether your child is entering school for the first time, or this is one of many first days in returning school, it is important to be prepared. Take advantage of the sales on school supplies and stock up. Buy extras on some basic items, as half-way through the school year, you may find yourself paying much higher prices to replenish notebooks, pencils, and crayons. Be sure to remember facial tissues! They are just as basic as notebook paper for the inevitable runny nose.

   
How can I help my children get ready to go back to school?

Celebrate End-of-Summer

Before your children head back to school in the fall, treat them to a fun end-of-summer fling. It can be as simple as a trip to a favorite ice cream shop, or an all-day event to an amusement or water park. Let your kids help decide what they want their last summer fling to be. It will help them begin to make the transition back to school.

   
What is a fun way to teach my child the alphabet?

ABC's by Touch

Practice the alphabet in a fun and tactile way. Take shaving cream and spray it on a cookie sheet. Kids love to practice writing with their fingers and it develops fine motor skills. Another fun way is to pour Jell-O powder on a plate. Have your child lick their finger and write the letters of the alphabet on the plate. Kids love an excuse to try this!

   
I already have a college degree, why do I need to go back to school?

Learning can be Fun

Taking a workshop or class in an area you are interested in will benefit you in many ways. It will give you some much needed time for yourself to do something that you want to do rather than always doing what everyone else wants. You'll feel happier and more content knowing you had some fun too. It is so easy to get burdened down with the responsibilities of life and raising children, that we forget that we are people too. Keep yourself nourished and you will be better able to nourish your family. Learning can be fun too!

   
How can I check on my kids after school?

Family Email

If you have a home computer, you may want to consider setting up a family email system whereby your children can post a quick note to you at work, letting you know they are home safe, and asking any crucial questions that just cannot seem to wait until you get home. This is usually less intrusive at the work place than a seemingly endless phone call when you are busy trying to wind up an important project. Another alternative would be using some type of instant messenger program such as Yahoo Messenger or MSN messenger.

   
How can I go to school, work, and raise a family at the same time?

Don't Get in a Hurry

When considering going back to school, don't get into such a rush that you schedule yourself too thin. Make sure you allow plenty of time for relaxation and to spend time with your children. Don't make the mistake of being gone every night to attend class and leave your children. They need a parent to talk to at the end of the day to share their life with. Your children shouldn't be sacrificed for your education. Make sure you are there for them.

   
How can I keep track of all the after-school activities?

After-School Activity Calendar

It will be very helpful to set up and post a weekly after-school activity calendar. All dance or tennis lessons, soccer practices, piano lessons, scout meetings, club meetings, etc. should be posted on the appropriate day with the time. This will let everyone know what is already planned for upcoming days and where individual family members are scheduled to be at specific times.

   
How can I make a better life for me and the kids?

Get Going

Use this time in your life to grow and develop along with your children. What can you do to make life better for you and your children? You might consider enrolling in some night classes to learn a new skill or finishing your education that got interrupted. Going back to school to learn a new skill, or to finish a degree should ultimately lead to a better paying job. Don't look backwards, but forwards. Check it out. A little sacrifice now will reap greater rewards later.

   
How can I help my child with reading skills?

Magnetized Flash Cards

Paste small magnets on the back of word flashcards and place them on the fridge to encourage kids who are learning to read. Kids can make up silly sentences and will want to learn new words to use. Use family and friends names, and funny words. The more interesting you make it, the more interested they will be in learning to read.

   
What if I can´t afford a babysitter to go to school?

No Excuses Allowed

Need a babysitter for your children for you to take classes or study? Many grandparents or close friends will be more than happy to help you embark on your new road to success. Do your children have weekly scouting meetings, dance classes, sporting practice? If so, take a class offered at that time and you won't need a babysitter. Decide where you want to go career-wise and steps to take to get there. No excuses, no regrets.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Sherril Steele-Carlin