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Does music really help you concentrate?

The Guardian – Dean Burnett

“Many people listen to music while they’re carrying out a task, whether they’re studying for an exam, driving a vehicle or even reading a book. Many of these people argue that background music helps them focus. Why, though? When you think about it, that doesn’t make much sense. Why would having two things to concentrate on make you more focused, not less? Some people even go so far as to say that not having music on is more distracting. So what’s going on there? It’s not clear why the brain likes music so much in the first place, although it clearly does. Interestingly, there’s a specific spectrum of musical properties that the brain prefers. Experiments by Maria Witek and colleagues reveal that there needs to be a medium level of syncopation in music to elicit a pleasure response and associated body movement in individuals. What this means in plain English is: music needs to be funky, but not too funky, for people to like it enough to make them want to dance.”(more)

Homeschooling is an outstanding choice for some, poor choice for others

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


With US K-12 academic performance in international testing lagging behind most developed countries, many parents are looking for ways to improve the quality of education their children receive.


Homeschooling is one option. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 3% of the school aged children (1.5 million children) in the US are schooled at home – a number that increased 75% between 1999 and 2012 (Education News).


With this growth and the number of participating students, the homeschool market is big business. As a result, it is important for parents to ask questions before they select homeschooling as the educational option for their children.


Parent’s personality  
Home schooling requires a parent to spend an additional six to seven hours with his/her child each day. Do you want (are you able) to spend this much time with your child?


Child’s motivation  
Does your child learn for the love of learning or does he/she need competition with other students to apply him/herself? If he/she needs competition, one-on-one instruction is generally not a good option.


Parent’s background  
It is impossible to teach a subject you do not understand. Do you feel comfortable enough with the material that you can explain it clearly to your child?


Organization and Discipline 
Do you have the skills to create detailed lesson plans and to make adjustments to make sure your child completes the required material? Then, do you have the discipline to teach or require your child to pay attention to online lessons 180 days per year?


Ability to Teach 
Brilliant people do not always make good teachers. Can you present material in a way your child can understand? Do you have the ability to set academic expectations and also encourage your child? Do you mind doing the same thing over and over again to help your child build confidence and understanding?


Effective home education requires financial resources. Do you have the money to pay for tutors or have a parent stay at home without generating income?


Homeschooled children can be as well socialized. However, socializing children schooled at home takes extra effort and often requires additional expenditures for activities. Does your family have the additional money required for sports, arts, community service, and leadership activities?


Home schooling can be a terrific option for the right parents and students, but can also lead to poor outcomes if the environment is not a good fit for the child or the parents.

German Homeschooling Family Finally Granted Asylum in US

Education News – Grace Smith

“The Romeike family, formerly of Germany, now calls Morristown, Tennessee, home. Ben Waldon of ABC News writes that the Romeikes were forced to flee Germany in 2008 because of their desire to home-school their seven children.”(more)

‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Talks STEM

U.S. News – Kelsey Sheehy

“The actress teaches science to home-schooled students, and just wrapped up a month-long stint as the face of National HerWorld Month, an initiative designed to educate high school girls about opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.”(more)

Why we’re getting the homework question wrong

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“Two recent studies have fueled a growing debate over how much homework is too much, and whether it has any benefit at all. They reached different conclusions”(more)

Private School: The Future of Education, for Good and Ill

Forbes – James Poulos

“Want a glimpse of the future of education, like it or not? Set your news filter to “private school.” Online and home schooling may well take on a huge new importance, but for many of us, the quest to educate our children the way we like is set to include more of the transactions that are defining life in the twenty-first century: loans, consultant’s fees, algorithms, and data mining. The quality of America’s public school system — not just in terms of how well students are taught to excel at subjects taught in college — has driven parents toward private schools even as parents of all tax brackets struggle to find their way beyond public schools.”(more)