How to start a business

How to Start a Business at Any Age: Business Education for Children

Summer Lovin’

School is out and summer is here in the northern hemisphere! What are your plans for these too few glorious weeks? Some children will relive the age old rite of passage by opening their own lemonade stand. All they need for this iconic business is water, a pitcher, some lemons, sugar, and a whole lot of hope. Or is there more to it?

The Business of Running a Business

Learning how to run a successful business will serve children when they grow into adulthood no matter what field of work they pursue. From lemonade to the latest invention, here are some steps to support your children’s entrepreneurial adventure. Here is a step by step guide to teach even the youngest entrepreneurs business lessons to last a lifetime!

business basics for kids

 

Brainstorm Ideas

When my oldest daughter wanted to take skating lessons on top of all her other activities, we really had to think about it. We weren’t opposed to her doing so, but the extra funds to finance it were a problem.

She decided she needed to start her own business.  I let her run with it, and we sat down to think about what kind of business she would like to have.  At seven, she started a horse treat and cookie business that paid for her lessons for four years.

When deciding what business to start, it is important to brainstorm ideas of what business your child would enjoy running, what they know a lot about, and where they will have opportunities to sell their products.

My daughter is horse crazy, has been since she was a toddler.  The choice to make horse treats was easy because her second favorite activity is baking.  She knows numerous horse loving people as well, and regularly visits barns. Hence her business, aptly named Horse Crazy Treats, was born.

 

Make A Business Plan

A business plan is essential. If you don’t have a blueprint, it is nearly impossible to build a house.  Same is true for a business. Take some time with your child to create a solid plan to give his business it’s best shot.

I recently did this with my son.  He had started making crafts to sell and had done quite well, but was not very focused.  Now that he was eight and had experience selling a few crafts, I wanted him to really think about what he was doing and how he planned to succeed at the annual craft fair.   So, we took out a notebook and answered the following questions:

  • What products do you hope to sell?
  • Why do you think these products would appeal to your customers?
  • What supplies do you need to make each product?
  • What kind of packaging is needed?
  • Does your product have a shelf life?
  • Do you need any special equipment or skills to produce this product?
  • If you do, do you have these already?  If not, how will you get them?

lemonade stand

 

Find Your Market Share

Now that you have a great product and a plan of how to create it, you need a place to sell it.  If you have carefully thought out step one and two, it should be easy to find a venue.

Does a local store carry consignment items?  Could dad or mom get orders through work? Is your product something that friends in your activities would be interested to buy?  Is there a local craft fair or flea market where you could rent a table? Do you have a friend or family member with a business that could sell your product?

My children have found markets at craft fairs, their old preschool, their co-op, and through email and Facebook.  Just remember to add any of the costs or commissions to your budget.

 

Get Your Pitch Ready

If you think of any product that you buy, there is probably a tag line, packaging feature, commercial, or publicized benefit that leads you to purchase it.  Help your child come up with their own jingle and packaging. Make sure that the she can answer questions about the product and state why a customer should want to purchase it.

My son is a born salesman, he can engage anyone and get them on board with whatever he is selling.  He is convincing, personable, and savvy about what people want to know before they buy. My daughter is more timid and prefers to have the product speak for her.  Both of them have been successful because they have used their talents to market their product.

My daughter is very visual and can design beautiful displays that catch customers’ eyes and entice them to buy.  My son uses his wit, interpersonal skills, and engaging personality to draw in his customers. Together they would make quite a team!  However, we have been really working on honing their gifts, while striving to improve the side of marketing that is more of a struggle for each.

Marketing is important.  Don’t short change this step!  No matter what field your child moves into as an adult, being able to sell their ideas will serve them well.

 

Build a Financial Plan

Before jumping full on into a business venture, it is crucial to make sure it is financially sound. Learning to “pencil out” ideas and judge their financial merit is something that will serve every person for the rest of their lives!

This is where the cold, hard truth comes into play.  Even the best product will fail if the company can’t afford to produce it.  Also, most businesses flounder not for lack of customers, but because of poor financial decisions.  Know your limitations and your potential before spending any money.

 

  • How much money do you have to invest in your business?
  • How much will the supplies for each product cost?
  • For how much could you reasonably sell the product?
  • How many do you need to sell of each product to break even?
  • How much profit do you hope to make?
  • What will you do with your profit?
  • What percentage of the profits will I donate/tithe?
  • What percentage of profit will you reinvest into the business?

 

Assess Your Assets And Make Adjustments

Once your child’s business begins, remember to regularly take a step back and see how it is doing?  Are costs being met? Is a profit being made? Which products are selling best? Is there anything that could be done to improve the product, sales venue, or marketing?  What goals does your child have for the future of the business? Is your child still enjoying the business she created?

My daughter’s horse treat business served her well for a few years, but then her sales started to drop.  Since the treats were perishable, there was a sharp increase in loss due to spoilage because of the slow down.  Also, her time commitments changed and she found it challenging to fit in the baking time the business required.

She still wanted to have a business and enjoyed making her own money.  After a bit more brainstorming, she decided to create hair clips instead.  This business has been going well for three years. After each major sales campaign, she calculates which styles sold best and which weren’t very popular.  In this way, she has grown her little business and manages to stay afloat instead of continuing to produce items that aren’t likely to sell. Monitoring progress and trends is an important business habit to develop.

 

Has your child started a business?  What has he learned from the experience?

 

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Adventures and Learning

Summer

There is something that just excites me about summer. The long days, warm sun and opportunities for childhood adventure seem endless. As a teen, I had the opportunity to go on an adventure exploring the Western United States with my family. Four people, a conversion mini van, no particular schedule and the great open road. I drug my feet and complained mightily about being away from my friends, but that trip was one of the most amazing experiences of my young life.

This summer, my husband and I have the opportunity to recreate this but in the Eastern United States. There will be five of us aged 15 months to 34 years, along with all of our luggage and a tent packed into a mini van with few hard dates and a month of open road. I’m, of course, worried that my tweens will bicker but I am more excited about the Adventure and Educational Opportunities that we are opening the doors to.

 

Budget

A month on the road will cost some money, of course. However, we have a few cards up our sleeves to reduce the costs that we are paying for our experiences. Stop one happens to be with a dear friend who is Active Duty Military, so we will be taking advantage of Blue Star Museums every chance we get. What are Blue Star Museums? These are museums who offer free admission to Active Duty Military and up to five guests all summer long. There are museums across the United States who participate and it is an excellent opportunity to learn, even if you aren’t straying far from home!

As a Disabled Veteran, my husband also has a pass to the National Parks System. This allows us to enter National Monuments, Parks, Battlefields and Museums free of charge. It is an excellent opportunity for our kids to take advantage of learning about our National Treasures, Ecology, Geology and History. We just need the gas to get there! If you have a 4th grader, there is a special program that allows you to also take advantage of free admission!

Finally, we will be spending sometime in Washington DC. The Smithsonian Institute, National Museums and National Zoo all have free admission. Parking can be an issue, so we will park and take mass transit into the city. This will be another learning experience for our kids as we don’t use this type of transportation at home.

That leaves us with food, lodging and gas. Food – well, we have to eat anywhere we go, so I don’t really factor too heavily into my calculations. Besides, we are happy with homemade sandwiches from an icebox. We drink lots of water, although there is definitely a coffee budget. Lodging – we will stay with family and friends at some points. Otherwise, we have a tent and will be teaching the kids how to properly set it up and break it down. You can camp at many State and National Parks for less than $20 per night! Gas – this will be our biggest expense outside of our normal budget. The gas to get from our home Out West to the East Coast will be a few hundred dollars but once on the East coast, everything is fairly close.

Goal Based Adventures

We have set goals for this adventure. These are educational objectives that we want to meet prior to our return trip home. Some of ours include:

  • being able to put up and break down a tent
  • calculating mileage and cost per mile
  • learning how to navigate public transportation
  • identifying key battles of the American Civil War, including where it began and ended
  • learning states and their capitals – we will do this by playing a car game where the state is named from a license plate and the car occupants then name the capital city
  • being able to identify different types of bodies of water and land masses
  • Using Car time to study for our Amateur Radio Licenses

We are so excited about this trip and sharing experiential learning with our children. Along the way, we will be updating Global Learn Day of our travels and experiences as part of our “Summer Break” series!

This was a guest  blog post from Mary Elizabeth over at 3TimesBlessed.

 

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Meet Our Presenters: FAITH Center for the Arts

The World of Fine Arts

“All the world is a stage…” William Shakespeare certainly viewed the world through the lens of his craft, theater, but it is true that the arts have always been one of the chief hallmarks of civilization and advancement.

In modern times, the arts are often under valued, cast aside for the seemingly more important STEM related disciplines–science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. While we definitely live in an age of massive growth in technology and innovation, the arts still form the base of all culture.

The Need for Creativity and a Dream Realized

It’s creativity that still fuels dreams and artistic expression that makes even the most high tech gadget beautiful and appealing.

Over twenty years ago, one man had a dream to sow the seeds of creativity, harmony, and beauty in his homeschool community. His dream has blossomed into an outstanding program that is teaching the homeschool world to sing–and dance, play, paint, act, and more!

Bill and Lori Briggs met in college, both music majors, they fell in love with each other and continued to fall in love with their craft. Years later, as homeschool parents, Bill had a vision of creating a program to bring fine arts opportunities to his family and other homeschooling families in his area. Thus FAITH Center for the Arts was founded by the Briggs family.

“I thought if I could just get 50 families involved, ” Bill reminisces, “I would be very happy and this program would be a success.”

Over Two Decades of Fine Arts Education

Nearly 25 years later, the tiny idea with big plans now serves hundreds of families at five campuses, several service schools, and a plethora of summer camps. Bill’s vision has taken flight and he hopes to soon use the power of the digital age to reach beyond his NJ roots to the world at large.

Over the past hundred years of education, the once highly regarded arts have fallen from glory and been heaved out amid education budget cuts and teacher shortages. So, what was once just for homeschool families has opened it’s door to after school programs, private lessons, studio classes, and serving the needs of private and charter schools without an arts education staff.

Lori and Bill continue to oversee and grow this pet project of theirs, staying active in both advisory and teaching capacities. FAITH Center for the Arts thrives beneath the principal of “developing the heart of the artist.” Courses are not just rote teaching, but spring boards to what could be. With professional, accredited and highly accomplished teachers in every discipline, FAITH Center is a one of a kind venture that Global Learn Day is proud to share with the global community.

Current offerings include for students aged 5-18:

  • Piano
  • Guitar
  • Strings
  • Brass
  • Woodwind
  • Percussion
  • Drama
  • Photography
  • Dance
  • Digital Design
  • Voice/Choir
  • Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Orchestra
  • Preschool Music and Art
  • Visual Art
  • General Music
  • Handbells
  • and more!

Presenters for Global Learn Day 2018

Welcome aboard, FAITH Center, we can’t wait to visit your port of call this October!

What would you teach the world if you could? Global Learn Day is your opportunity to share one great lesson with countless people from all around the world. If you would like to learn more about Global Learn Day, or sign up to be a partner or presenter, please visit Join the Voyage and help us Unite the World through Education!

**FAITH Center for the Arts is a 503c organization that relies on the generous support of donors to blossom and grow. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to FAITH Center please visit their donors page.

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Stretch your budget

Stretching Your Student Budget To The Max

Student debt in the US has skyrocketed to over $1.3 trillion in the past few years, with average student fees amounting to around $25,620 per year and top-tiered universities often setting individuals back around $60,000 a year. Education is a secure investment; as noted by U.S. News’ Deirdre Connelly, “…you don’t drop your most promising product simply to cut costs; which is essentially what we as a nation would be doing if we fail to provide the educational opportunities needed to secure a prosperous economic future.” Although it is a big challenge to make it through your college years without succumbing to financial stress, there are many seemingly small steps to take that can make a big difference in terms of providing relief.

stretch your student budget

Picking the right financial institution

A recent publication from Quartz, relying on information provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, found that one of the most common complaints on behalf of student borrowers is a lack of flexibility when it comes to repayment options. From the time you decide to take out a loan, it is vital to conduct research into different payment options and possible refinancing or consolidation options for students should the need arise. You can also look into other options to pay off debts in a more convenient way. If the topic of finance is not one you are comfortable navigating, consider enlisting the help of family members who specialize in areas such as loans and similar transactions or think about hiring a financial advisor for this specific purpose.

Stretch your student budget to the max

Technological help

There’s an app for that… including your student loan. In fact, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to budgeting for everything from entertainment to groceries, and college supplies. Some commonly downloaded apps for this purpose include Mint (which collects to your bank account and allows you to set many different budgets), Check (which ensures you remember to pay all your bills) and TextbookMe (which compares prices of textbooks so you can pay less for the same thing).

Keeping credit low and income high

Repaying your student loan is challenging but doable; it is still possible to have all you dreamed of: a home, a car, stability… whenever your loan isn’t inflated by unnecessary expenses. Try to rely on a debit card alone and if you do have credit cards, take a good look at the interest charged by each, ensuring those with higher interest rates are paid off first.

Research indicates that roughly a quarter of college students work full-time and study full-time, while around 40% of undergraduate students and 76% of graduate students work at least 30 hours a week. This can be tough, particularly if you are a parent and are struggling to get ahead. Still, the pay gap between college graduates and others are at a record high, which is inspiration enough to keep forging ahead.

Making the most of your student job involves cutting on luxuries, keeping a firm eye on your budget with the help of student apps, and trying your best to work while you study, as hard as it may be. If the need arises, consider part-time study; paying the bills and refraining from sliding further in debt should always be a top priority.

Guest posted by Jane West

This post contains affiliate links. Shopping through these links provides vital support for the Global Learn Day project. Thank you!
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Education will unite the world

How Education Will Unite The World–Part II

As a`method of preservation, humans have a natural trepidation or down right fear of the unknown. We seek to stick with what is easy, familiar, and safe. Stepping beyond the confines of our tiny sphere of familiarity takes initiative, determination, and gumption.

 

 

Jumping out of a plane only takes one step, but it is an insurmountable step for most. The leap, the fear, the rush of adrenaline, then the freedom of flying. Soaring peacefully above the earth, experiencing a one of a kind feeling of release.

 

The same can be said of taking a leap into another culture, language, or society. There is uneasiness and the fight against a will that would rather stand back, retreat and hide in the comfort of home. Then in a sudden leap of determination, all holds are thrown off and the explorer plunges into the unforeseen depths of a new life.

 

Exhale and drift, there is new freedom in the gentle decent.

 

Education Opens Doors

 

Education cannot take the leap for you, however through learning doors are open. Learning a new language leaves the fledgling polyglot changed forever. He not only can now speak to an entire segment of the world’s population that where closed off from him before; the nuances of culture, history, and lifestyle are revealed as he lives the language.

How Education Will Unite The World

 

However, language is not the only learning that opens doors.Coding opens the door of technology. Literary analysis opens the doors of literature and language. Science opens the door to the natural world. Handwriting opens the door to records for the future and communication in the present.

 

Commitment to lifelong learning, swings wide door after door, making the learner not just a more capable person, but a citizen of ever increasing spheres of influence and change.

 

Education Breaks Down Walls

Winding between two neighborhoods in Belfast and other Northern Ireland cities are peace lines. Up to 25 feet tall in spots, these “lines” are actually looming walls. Separating communities of people that over generations have maintained separate lives, despite their similarities.

 

The Peace Lines prevent “trouble.” They signify at clear indicator of where to stay to avoid the menacing other side. Within the walls there is safety to go about everyday life. But what is it about the stone houses on the other side of the wall that makes their inhabitants so terrifying?

Over 400 years of occupation and resistance has left it scars on the beautiful island. The inhabitants, generations upon generations away from the original conflict, have a deep seated fear and anger toward each other, yet they have more in common with every passing year!

Education is the inroad that can bring these groups together. Whether the political standings ever change, the next generation can be raised knowing more about the other side and fostered in a spirit of cooperation and peace.

Building Bridges

It is not just physical walls that education can topple. There are numerous divisions of class, race, ability, geography, religion, and ideology that with enlightenment can be leveled. The world is shrinking before our eyes, intercontinental connections have never been so readily available, and the reach of communication technology is growing every day.

 

Learning about history, culture, language, and leadership have never been more vital. Our technological age points us to a future that is more than we could have imagined even 10 years ago. However, we must also look back. We must learn our past to effectively live our future as one planet, one people.

Projects like Global Learn Day open the door, knock down the wall, and build the bridge so that we may all learn from each other. As we learn, our differences decrease and our interconnectedness solidifies.

Would you like to teach the world and be a part of uniting the world through education? Please join our voyage today! We are seeking partners, presenters, and participants for our next grand voyage across the globe on an expedition of education and unity!

Will you join us on our mission?

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How To Host Your Own Family Summer Book Club in 5 Easy Steps

Does your library sponsor a summer reading club? Some do and some don’t. At some libraries the book clubs are restricted to a certain age group or a short period of time.

Either way, summer is the perfect time to get in extra reading and keep the learning going. So, here is a guide to establish your own summer reading club within your family (or even your neighborhood) in five easy steps!

1. Choose a Time Frame

A family reading club can last just a week or the entire summer. Be sure to set a start and finish date, though, from the beginning. This gives everyone a fair chance to plan their reading out.

Pick a reasonable amount of time. A few weeks is ideal. If the club goes too long, it loses momentum. If it is too short, there’s not enough time to really get immersed in the world of reading.

In my family, we are having our reading club from July 1st-29th. We have done as short as ten days, though, and it was still worth the while. A short term reading club is a great change of pace, especially for homeschoolers, in the winter months, or if life gets busy with a new baby or move. (The kids will still be learning, but you don’t have to be teaching.) It’s like a mini getaway without having to pack!

2. Set Up a Point System

Determine how you will award points. With a large age span, it is difficult to just award a point per book. So, give points based on one short book or twenty pages of a longer book, for example. This allows the older children and adults to delve into great literature without feeling like they have short changed themselves as younger siblings zoom ahead.

It is also a good idea to assign different point values for different types of reading.

Here is a sample points plan:

  • Two points per book or twenty pages read independently
  • Two points per picture book read to a younger sibling
  • Three points per audiobook completed
  • One point per chapter of family read-alouds

3. Make a List of Rewards

Rewards do not have to be expensive to be meaningful and enticing.

One of our family’s favorite rewards is a living room camp-out. We set up air mattresses in the living room, read stories by flashlight, and watch a movie. It costs nothing, but it is always at the top of the request list, so I make that worth forty-five points.

Here are some other ideas:

  • Get to watch an extra thirty minutes of educational television
  • Have a picnic at the beach
  • Invite a friend over to play
  • Take a friend ice skating
  • Pick what’s for dinner
  • Have a family movie night including popcorn
  • Earn a new book worth $10 or less
  • Get a day off of chores
  • Spend the afternoon at the park
  • Have a make your own pizza party
  • Go out for an ice cream cone
  • Get a $5 gift card to the Dollar Tree
  • Eat whatever you want for breakfast–yes, cookies count!

As you can see, most of these rewards cost very little, if anything. The children are working more for experiences than physical prizes. This makes running the reading club easy on the pocket book and prevents extra clutter. Both are wins for any family.

4. Remember Family Reading

Pick a book or two to use as a family read aloud. It will be fun to all experience the same book, and it also levels the playing field since everyone is reading together. Knowing that everyone is reading will encourage the reluctant readers, as well.

Note that this is a FAMILY reading club. So, mom, dad, even grandma and grandpa, need to pull out their books and start saving up the points! Add a few prizes for parents to the list!

Experiencing this as a family emphasizes the importance and joy of reading. It’s also a good excuse to catch up on that novel you have been wanting to pick up, but couldn’t because of work, school, or housework.

5. Tally the Points

At the end of the reading club, have everyone submit their tally sheets. Give each participant his grand total and see who earned the most points.

As a family, celebrate completing the club together. Again, pick something simple but meaningful. The best part is spending time together and relishing your accomplishments.

Just as for the actual reading, set a time frame for redemption of prizes. This may seem legalistic, but it prevents mom or dad from losing track of which prizes have been awarded.

Nothing is worse than a child claiming a year later that he never got his prize, and you can’t remember if he did or not. A time frame keeps up the excitement and allows for a completion of the project, which makes for a better transition back to everyday life.

How are you getting your family reading this summer?

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Meet Our Presenter: Anne Marie Sohler-Snoddy

It is only six months plus one day until Global Learn Day 2018 sets sail. Have you signed up for our voyage?

We have some amazing speakers lined up and can’t wait to tell you about all of them. Today we will introduce a presenter who lives where Global Learn Day begins its journey, New Zealand.

Anne Marie Sohler-Snoddy is an American ex-pat studying and raising her family in beautiful New Zealand. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Otago in the Department of Anatomy under Hallie R. Buckley

Anne Marie graduated from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio in 2009 where she studied Biology and Anthropology. In 2009, she was also awarded the Professor Jack R. Boyd Award for Distinguished Study in Anthropology and Archaeology.

In 2012, Anne Marie graduated from Durham University in Durham, United Kingdom. She earned a Master of Science degree in the study of Paleopathology. This is where Anne Marie’s true interest lies.

Her presentation entitled, “Bioarcheology: What bones tell us about life in the past” is one we can’t wait to hear. Bioarcheology is a fascinating field that we are proud to highlight in Global Learn day 2018. It is based on the research she is conducting for her doctoral thesis.

Anne Marie states, “My research is primarily concerned with using skeletal markers of disease to explore the synergistic relationship between subsistence strategy (nutrition) and resistance to infectious disease (immunity) in the ancient human groups. Using my background in human biology and ecology, I draw heavily from clinical research to create and apply theoretical models to the study of environmental factors in disease in the past”

We look forward to learning more from you, Anne Marie!

How to get involved with Global Learn Day 2018

Do you have something amazing and fascinating to share? Have a learning obsession that you love to discuss? We want to invite you to share with the world on Global Learn Day 2018.

Please visit our Join the Voyage page to learn more and sign up. Together we can Unite the World through Education!

 

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Education will unite the world

How Education Will Unite the World

Everywhere we look there is division and strife. The evening news is full of chaos and heartache. How can we make it better? Will we make it better?

There is a simple solution to this complex problem and like the tide will raise all ships. Our solution to strife and discord is education!

At Global Learn Day, we seek to promote education in all areas of the world and all phases of life. Education is the great equalizer, it’s a language we can all understand.

This post is a kick off to a three part series examining how education is bring unity and peace, and what each of us can do to support this effort.

This may not be a quick fix, however it has lasting ripple effects that span generations and lead to a cleaner, brighter, and more peaceful tomorrow.

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”

Thomas Paine, A Letter Addressed to the Abbe Raynal on the Affairs of North America

The enlightening of a mind does not come from any other source than the gift of learning. A classic example of a mind made bright is that of Helen Keller. Little Helen lived in a dark, silent world. A high fever had robbed her of all connections to the life going on around her. She had no language, she had no stimulation, she had no hope!

However, hope is never truly lost. Her second chance came in the form of a dedicated tutor who worked tirelessly to release Helen from her prison. Through Annie Sullivan’s efforts, a spark did ignite and that spark became an all consuming fire!

Helen great to be an avid reader with a penchant to devour all the information she could get her hands on. It was her hands that connected her to an amazing wealth of information and ever increasing circles of interesting people.

As an adult, Helen became the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, an impressive achievement for anyone in her time period! With a gift to language and prose, Helen became a published author of several article and 12 books! Twelve books!!

Her key to the world was the same as each of us, a guiding hand that unlocks the potential of endless learning. No matter how humble the beginnings of education, the zenith is immeasurable.

As our patron, the good Ben Franklin, once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

This is our reason for this grand project that spans the global and the bandwidth of human history. It is not an investment in temporary gain, but an investment in the future of our world.

Our theme this year is “Uniting the World through Education” and that is our mission each day!

Please join our voyage of discovery and light your own little spark. This is our moment to make an impact. Won’t you join our educational mission?

If you know of an individual or organization passing the torch of education, please let us know so we can shed a spotlight on their worthy efforts. Thank you.

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strategies for keeping your brain active

How To Keep Your Brain Active After College

by guest blogger Kastle Huffaker

The real world is a tough world. Jobs aren’t easy to find, and you keep struggling to be as qualified as your competitors. Where do you go from here? How do you keep your head up above the rest? Here are a few ways that I’ve discovered to help keep my mind active and strong.

 

1. Pocket That Knowledge.

“Pocket” is this amazingly handy tool that lets you save articles, videos, and images you find as you are scrolling online. A lot of us come across something we want to read, but we don’t have the time. This is where you can “Pocket” that interesting article, or video you know you want to watch, and it saves it all. Then, you can come back later and checkmark it off your list. I use Pocket almost every day. I’ll pull up an article I want to read on my phone, and it will voice the article out loud to me as I’m doing other things.

Pocket comes in all shapes and sizes.

The best part – you can access your “Pocket” anywhere. I have the app on my phone. I use the Google Chrome extension on two different computers so I can save stuff continually throughout the day not just on my work desktop, but on my personal laptop. Building this archive of knowledge is like a mini extension of your brain, and it helps you stay aware and constantly learning. Or saving urls, and links to the places you know you want to learn more about.

 

2. Less TV, More Reading.

The average person spends over 5 hours A DAY watching television and/or Netflix according to a recent study from the NY Times. That is just crazy. Do you know how much you could accomplish in 5 hours? You could do yoga for an hour, cook up a nice homemade meal, spend a couple hours talking and reaching out to your friends, and even have time left over to read a book. The point is, TV wastes so much of your life and your time.

Don’t be what everyone else is.

If the majority of the world is spending 35+ hours on the couch watching a show, do something different. Like, when was the last time you read a book? For me, the last time I had read an actual book was from my Nicholas Sparks collection THREE YEARS AGO. That blew my mind. I wanted to change that. So, I decided to join the Online Book Club. Not only did I get to be a part of a bigger community, I also got to make a little extra cash reading and reviewing as many books as I would like. I used an hour of the time I spent watching TV into reading a book. Since I’ve done that, my brain has been more focused and my vocabulary has expanded. This is just one example of what can put you one more step ahead of everyone else.

3. Keep Connecting.

The biggest mistake I made was not keeping connections after college. I found myself lost in a world where I didn’t really know anyone who knew someone who could push me in the right direction of a great job. So connect! Connect with like minded people who work in the same industry or job as you. Collaborate and share ideas. If you are a software engineer, connect with more engineers. If you are a web designer, find other web designers. But if you hate where you work, search out what your dream job is. Then find the people who are already living that dream, and just talk with them. Figure out how they got to where they are now, and start learning what they have learned!

Leverage yourself.

The brightest and best resource that everyone keeps talking about is LinkedIn. This is your go-to online world to network and speak with people you can’t meet in person. Join groups, comment on posts, start discussions. The more you put yourself out there, the better feedback you will get. Plus, LinkedIn is your online profile and resume. Once you start continually showing value in what you say, and who you talk to, people will start to notice. Recruiters are on LinkedIn for that very reason, to find someone like you. What do you have to lose?

 

Keep your brain alert and alive by learning and growing. Be a better version of who you want to be.

Kastle Huffaker is a 25 year old cancer survivor who loves blue and is all about positivity. She runs a small photography business and does graphics & website management for a local tractor company. She is also starting up her new business Virtual Kastle.

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Did curiosity kill the cat?

The Curious Case for Curiosity

The old saying that “curiosity killed the cat” has been used as a cautionary tale for generations. The take away being, go with the flow and follow the rules if you want to survive. In an age that prizes digital data and measurable outcomes, curiosity seems to be an enigma relegated to mad scientists and those prone to daydreaming. However, curiosity is essential to true education.

What makes an education true?

Is it the ranking of grades and scores, the completion of levels and requirements, or the meeting of standards and accomplishments? Actually none of the above are education. Each is a way to measure a finite amount of learning in a prescribed program, they are the framework for justifying the completion of a degree or attainment of an award–in a word, school. School may be where an education begins, but it is never where it ends.

The goal of a true education is not just to impart facts but to ignite the spark of learning that builds a habit of lifelong learning in the ever growing passion to know and understand more. This is why true education begins and ends with curiosity, because curiosity is infinite in nature.

What Does Curiosity in Action Look Like?

The Wright brothers are the picture of ingenuity and achievement.  When they finally made their successful flight, a friend remarked to Orville that he and his brother would go on to be shining examples of what can be achieved even without and special advantages. Orville reproofed his friend by responding, “to say we had no special advantages … the greatest thing in our favor was growing up in a family where there was always much encouragement to intellectual curiosity.”

The encouragement of curiosity, especially in the realm of intellectual pursuits, must be the first aim of all education because curiosity not only prepares the brain for learning, but makes all subsequent learning more enjoyable. Enjoyable learning leads to a lifelong love of learning something new which is not only good for the brain but essential to a successful career, especially in the 21st Century.

How Do We Encourage Curiosity in Education

The encouragement of curiosity must always be accomplished apart from assessment. This is more difficult in our current educational system, but not impossible. Giving students, and ourselves, freedom to be bored and also to potentially fail opens to door to a curiosity driven endeavor.

Here are some practical ways that curiosity can be encouraged in the classroom, homeschool, or personal learning environment:

  1. Allot unstructured time with no expectation of what gets completed
  2. Create a makers space with a wide array of materials and no instructions
  3. Allow the pursuit of personal interests
  4. Practice self-directed education
  5. Use open ended projects
  6. Try something new, turn a routine on it’s head
  7. Explore the world of cultures, foods, traditions, and societies
  8. Encourage questions to be asked
  9. Question the answers

 

Are you a curious learner? How do you encourage curiosity in your home or classroom?

*Please join the discussion in our Friends of Global Learn Day Facebook Group!

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