News Herald – Juliann Talkington
There never seems to be enough time in the day, especially when you have a job and kids. After a long day of work the last thing most of us want to do when we get home is worry about preparing a meal. As a result, many of us stop for take-out, pop TV dinners in the microwave, or go through the drive-through on the way home.
While fast, pre-prepared, and restaurant food is quick, convenient, and satisfying it is often low in nutrients, fiber, and phytonutrients; high in refined carbohydrates; and full of artificial colors and flavors. In addition, these foods are generally easy to digest and high in trans-fats or processed vegetable oils. Worst of all, many prepared foods are designed for “sensory-specific satiety” which makes it easy for us to eat more than we need and to become addicted to the product.
Sadly, the impact of consuming these foods is not usually immediately apparent. In many cases, it takes years or decades for symptoms to develop. As a result, it is easy for parents to overlook the impact food may be having on the long-term health and welfare of their children.
More information on the hazards of poor food choices has reached the mainstream press recently. Dr. Eva Selhub wrote about the connection between food choices, brain structure and function, and mood in the Harvard Medical School Health Blog. “If your brain is deprived of good-quality nutrition, or if free radicals or damaging inflammatory cells are circulating within the brain’s enclosed space, further contributing to brain tissue injury, consequences are to be expected. What’s interesting is that for many years, the medical field did not fully acknowledge the connection between mood and food.”
Also, according to research conducted by Sanjay Basu M.D., Ph.D. at the Stanford University Medical Center, “increased sugar in a population’s food supply was (is) linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.”
Although it might seem overwhelming, ditching processed foods is possible even if you have a super busy schedule. The key is advanced planning, selecting healthy items when you get to the supermarket, and cooking enough extra food that you can have leftovers on days when there is no time to cook.
Once you adjust to the new approach to food, you will likely notice that everyone is less cranky and feels better, there are less sick days, and that you have more energy and patience.
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
“Learning to read, write, solve mathematics problems, apply scientific principles to real world situations, and speak a foreign language are not the only skills children need to acquire before they leave home.” ~Confucius
Many experts argue that time management abilities are equally important. Academically gifted people cannot survive in modern society if they are not able to deliver a high quality product, on time.
Most K-12 schools are struggling to teach time management skills, because parents are constantly pressuring them about grades. Many teachers are under so much pressure to issue high marks that they create extra opportunities for students to improve their final course grade.
Although “second chances” give the parents what they want, they have the unintended consequence of teaching kids that planning is irrelevant because there are always other opportunities to change the result.
When young people get to college and/or enter the workforce “second chances” are rare. Most college professors do not offer extra papers or problem sets at the end of the semester and employers take a dim view of late arrivals, shoddy work, and missed deadlines.
Since it has become impossible for most K-12 teachers to teach time management, parents must handle the task at home.
As a first step, kids need to learn how to plan ahead. There are many free computer-based scheduling applications that help in this area. Kids generally find it easy to enter homework day by day, but often need coaching on how to break future activities, like preparing for a test that is two weeks away, into daily tasks.
Then children need to learn how to make productive use of time. For example, it takes “forever” to finish math homework when kids chat online between problems. Learning to stay off social media during homework time can go a long way to improving efficiency.
Sleep is also important for time management. It takes less time to learn material and complete homework tasks when the brain is rested, so it is important to make sure your kids get enough sleep each night.
Multi-taking is not efficient. Teach your childred to finish one task before they begins another one.
Procrastination never pays. If something is due today, make sure it is finished. Otherwise, the next day will be overwhelming.
Prioritize homework first. This prevents late nights and productivity problems.
Learning to manage time is challenging. Start teaching your child early and reward progress often!
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
With all the changes in the workplace, the adage that a university degree always provides the best employment options is no longer true.
Sometimes a college education is the answer and other times a trade career makes more sense.
If you like math and/or science and have an interest in accounting, engineering, or nursing a university education is an excellent option. There is so much demand for graduates in these fields that you do not need to attend a high profile private university to have job offers. Also, the salaries are such that students can pay off loans quickly.
If you excel in math and/or science, but you can’t imagine a career in accounting, engineering, or nursing a university education could still be wise decision if you are willing to double major. In this case, the accounting, engineering, or nursing degree would serve as an insurance policy in the case you are unable to find employment in the field you want to pursue.
If science or math is not your cup of tea, college may not be the best financial option. While some subjects are fascinating, employment realities make them poor degree choices. In sociology, for example, there are only 2400 jobs, so employers can demand graduate degrees from the most prestigious (high cost) universities. Other majors, like elementary education, have plenty of job openings, but offer low pay.
As a result, it is wise to ask some questions. What is the median pay for graduates in the field? How many jobs are available? Do I have the financial means to cover the cost of the education? If I cannot get a job in the field I study, what will I do? If I take out a loan and am not able to get a job, how will you make the payments?
If the pay is low or you do not have a way of supporting yourself or if you cannot get a job in the field, a trade career may be a better option. Electricians, plumbers, and aviation mechanics make very good salaries – much better than many college graduates. These careers require no post-secondary education and allow early entry into the workforce which means there is more long-term earning potential.
As a result, it is important to approach post secondary education in a rational way. Think critically about your interests and abilities and remember a college education only makes sense when it gives you financial freedom.
China Daily- XINHUA
“BEIJING — China cuts more than 300 billion yuan ($46.15 billion) of taxes in 2015 to boost mass entrepreneurship and innovation, according to official data.
Among this, tax exemptions and breaks on small enterprises reached 100 billion yuan and tax cuts designed to encourage high technology development totaled 140 billion yuan, according to the State Administration of Taxation.”(more)
The Helsinki Times – Jussi Niemeläinen
“IN the future, universities and other higher education institutions must reserve study places for applicants who have not accepted a study place in a degree programme or completed a degree in a Finnish higher education institution.
The obligation is set forth in a proposal presented for parliamentary consideration on 14 November by the Government as part of its structural policy programme.
The objective of the proposal is to increase the share of first-time applicants who receive a study place and, thereby, to expedite the transition of young people from secondary to tertiary education, says Immo Aakkula, a counsellor at the Ministry of Science and Education. Higher education institutions will also be obliged to accept transfer students – that is, students transferring from one institution or degree programme to another – and to grant them credits for their previous studies. Transfer students, in turn, will be obliged to forgo their previous study place upon their transfer to another institution or degree programme.”(more)
HK Edition- oseph Li in Hong Kong
“The recurrent government expenditure for kindergarten education will rise from HK$4.1 billion to HK$6.7 billion, after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying pledged in the latest Policy Address to offer quality, free kindergarten education to children aged 3 to 6 from school year 2017-18 – with a view to lifting the overall quality of pre-school education.
The government hopes to deliver quality kindergarten education through a new curriculum, better teacher quality and improved governance of schools, following implementation of free education.
Subsidies to kindergartens will increase significantly, Education Bureau (EDB) sources said. For a long whole-day kindergarten with 90 students, the annual subsidy will increase from HK$2 million under the existing education voucher system to HK$4.9 million. For a whole-day kindergarten with 90 students, the annual subsidy will increase to HK$4 million from HK$2 million now. And for a half-day kindergarten with 200 students, the annual subsidy will rise to HK$6.6 million from the current HK$4.5 million.”(more)