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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Deaf Awareness Week

Signing with C

As part of Deaf Awareness Week, we welcome GLD team member and blogger, Mary Elizabeth. Here is a guest post originally published on 3 Times Blessed.

Deaf Awareness Week

It is Deaf Awareness Week this week! The point of this week is to raise awareness for signs of hearing loss and also Deaf Culture. I thought I would share a bit about our family’s journey with…

Sign Language

Between words and signs C has over 30 words to communicate with our family at under 15 months old. It has been incredible to watch her and quite often strangers will comment on it. She also doesn’t get frustrated the way that I remember A and E getting at this age. She can tell us she wants to eat, or that she wants water. The frustration really begins when she doesn’t get whatever it is that she wants, because she is the princess and has requested said item… Why would we not provide it?

How we started

In July, after we started with her hearing aids, we began to be set up with several programs in our state for children who are Hard of Hearing or Deaf. One program covered the cost of having a therapist come into our home once a week and help us with our signing. We had a few individuals but finally settled in with Miss M. She is fantastic! She has helped instruct me in ASL and incorporate it into my daily life. More than that, the therapist is able to recognize when C isn’t hitting a milestone that she needs to, or when her molds are getting too small for her ears.

We started by signing Mom, Dad and the name signs we had created for A and E. We also signed “dog” a lot, because we have two pups – Daisy and Simon. From there, we have expanded to signing books that C likes (Brown Bear, Brown Bear was our first book to sign) and routines. However, kids only learn what is modeled. That is how they pick up words when they are Hearing and how they pick up ASL at any hearing level. If we don’t use it, they will not.

Our family started signing when C was about 3 months old. It’s not like she started signing immediately, but she was familiarized with what we were doing and when we did it. So, we sign all the time. As I learned sign with the rest of the family, we tried to communicate via sign with each other. We would play games at dinner like picking a category and continuing to use a sign that fit in that category until we ran out. It was fun and we were busy learning a language! Now, we sign in the morning to C as we dress her. We sign at meal times and as we dress in the morning. We talk about the weather and sign about bathing rituals. The more I learn, the more often we sign.

The more that we sign, the more we retain and the more that C learns. It is fantastic that she can now let me know that she is ready to eat or is thirsty. C has never been a fussy baby but her ability to reach out and tell us what she needs reduces the fussiness even more. It has been a huge blessing to communicate with my one year old!

As I said above, we started signing with C when she was about 3 months old. When she was six months old, her first sign was Mom. About a month later she began signing dog insistently. Almost 8 months later, her favorite sign is most definitely dog. She signs dog for any animal, really. Now, she says “dog, dog” as she signs “dog”. By her first birthday, she had over a dozen signs including “more, nurse and all-done”.

Now

Now, C has a ton of signs. Some of these she uses daily, others she will use and then decide she doesn’t really require it. Either way, it is pretty neat! Every morning she wakes up and signs and says “dog, dog”. I sign to her that we are going to go change her diaper and then I ask her verbally and with sign if she would like to eat. She signs “eat” back to me. As we prep breakfast, I show her the fruits or other breakfast items that we are having and she will typically sign “more” or “all done” or “please” if she wants them.

I am shocked with how easy it is to communicate with her. She still fusses but nowhere near the children I have observed in her peer group or as much as her siblings have. We are convinced that signing will happen with all future children because of what a positive experience this has been!

Yesterday, we went to the zoo. Every single animal was a “dog”. That makes sense because this is what she has experienced. There is a beautiful bird exhibit where birds are flying all around you. C very quickly picked up the sign for “bird”. I have found that at this age, signing is very experiential.

My Tips

If you want to start signing with your little one, this link provides several useful signs and instructions on how to do them!

  • Don’t become discouraged if it takes your little one a while to start signing. They are learning so much about the world around them and we didn’t see our first signs until 6 months even though we started signing at 3 months!
  • Teach signs that you will use. If you never see fish, it might not be a useful sign.
  • As your child masters a sign, start a new one. You don’t want “more” to become a child’s universal sign for every need.
  • Have fun with your new communication tool!

Have you used baby sign? What were your thoughts about it?

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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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Five Fabulous Youtube Channels for Lifelong Learning

Learning is a journey that never ends and the Internet is a treasure trove of information. So, it is exciting to live in an age of such easy access to information. Youtube has become synonymous with funny cat videos and death defying stunts, however it also packs a mean collection of tutorials, informative videos, and documentaries. One of the true gems on Youtube is the collection of educational channels teaching everything from quantum physics to DIY home improvement.

5 youtube channels you must watch

Here is a list of five channels that will upgrade your entertainment hours into brain building workouts!

Crash Course

Crash Course is  channel offering micro learning bites of deep education. Topics range from science and history to life hacks and “adulting,” and are presented in easy to follow, entertaining videos. There’s even a Crash Course Kids playlist. With over 7 million subscribers, Crash Course is one of the most popular free learning channels on Youtube.

Numberphile

Think you don’t like Math, think again! Perhaps you just haven’t learned from the right teacher. Numberphile teaches complex math concepts in a way that everyone wants to learn. It’s tagline says it all, “Videos about numbers, it’s that simple.” Find out how simple and amazing math can be.

Yousician

Have you always wanted to play the guitar? Yousician offers free, world class guitar lessons that will have you rocking in no time. Yousician teaches both acoustic and electric guitar through the efficient tab system. It is the most popular guitar learning app in 30 countries, so of course it is our favorite, too!

 It’s History!

You know what they say about those who do not learn from history! You need to know history before you can learn from it, though. It’s History takes you on a journey through time to experience up close through the most important, but often unknown bits of history. It’s like your own personal time machine!

 Life Hacks

Not all learning needs to be serious, book learning! Life Hacks is a premier DIY channel that not only teaches you something new but, how to better do what you already know! From crafts and STEM projects to umpteen uses for toothpaste, Life Hacks keeps life interesting. Life Hacks is like the MacGyver of the digital age. (Seriously, check out all the uses for toothpaste!)

What are you watching on Youtube? Have any educational entertainment channels to add? Comment below!

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language learning

5 Ways to Learn A Language in Your Spare Time

Knowing a second language is a great asset. It can lead to better career opportunities and improve your brain function. However, learning to speak a new language can seem overwhelming. Most people do not have days or even hours to spend learning their target language.

 

The good news is that you can learn a new language without quitting your day job. By integrating some easy strategies into your spare time, you will become bilingual in no time. Do you have 20 minutes a day, or even just five? If the answer is yes, you have exactly what you need to reach you language learning goals.

 

1

Duolingo

There’s an app for everything today. Language learning is no different. While many promise results, few are as comprehensive and accessible as Duolingo.

 

Duolingo covers all the bases of language learning–reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This gamified platform keeps you motivated and engaged. Set a daily goal and track your progress.

 

This is microlearning at its finest and it really works!

 

2

Watch videos in target language

Watching your favorite television show may be the way you unwind at the end of a long day. Television and movies is an excellent way to learn a language because you will learn by immersion, the same way babies learn language.

 

Video streaming services such as Amazon offer a variety of movies and television series in many languages. (Listening to radio or a podcast is also a great way to learn, however having the visuals of a show really helps in the learning process) Find one you enjoy and start to learn without trying.

 

3

Join a Facebook group

Love it or hate it, Facebook is a resource for connecting people around the world. Aside from learning the latest news and marketing your business, Facebook can be a way to learn new skills, like a new language. Many groups exist for language learners to interact with each other and practice.

 

This method takes only minutes a day, but give you real world experience for free, without leaving your home. Simply search for a conversation group in your target language, for instance “French learners conversation group.”

 

4

Play a game

Learning should be fun! Playing a game, whether virtual or a good old fashioned board game is a perfect way to practice language skills and pick up new vocabulary. Try playing a classic, like Uno, but use your new color and number vocabulary. Or, find a game produced in the target language and play your way to your learning goal.

 

5

Read in the target language

It may seem that reading is something that comes late in language learning, however reading in the target language is the best way to learn vocabulary in context and also develop an understanding of grammar.

 

Start small, as in kids books, and work your way up from there. Reading for just a short time each day will really boost your learning efforts and give you greater confidence in conducting conversation. It will also teach you everyday language and cultural norms.

 

Do you have a goal of learning a new language in 2018? Have any tips to share?

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and purchase through these links, a small compensation will go toward supporting Global Learn Day!

 

 


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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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why everyone needs a pen pal

Why Everyone Should Have a Penpal!

Did you ever have a pen pal as a kid?  Maybe it was a school project. Do you remember your pen pal’s name?

Having a pen pal is a powerful experience. Long before the Internet, pens and paper connected people and cultures that would never cross paths otherwise.

Why Everyone Should Have a Pen pal

Having a pen pal is not just for kids anymore. Access to the Internet does not make pen pals obsolete. Here are some of the benefits.

Learn Something New

One of the best reasons for connecting with someone far away is to learn something new.  By writing letters and asking questions, you will learn first hand information.

Learning is a never ending process. Pen pals give you the opportunity to learn more about your own interests. Who knows what other interests and information you will discover from your pen pal!

The More You Know, the More You Grow

Learning something new isn’t the only benefit. As you learn, your brain grows and changes. These changes improve the physical makeup of your brain.

It’s not just your brain, your mind changes, too. Learning and exploring open your mind to new ideas. It sparks curiosity, which leads to more learning.

Letter Writing Is a Dying Art

What was once common practice is now a dying art. Writing letters has been replaced with email, Skype, and texting. These are all efficient and helpful in many ways. However, modern technology is lacking the human touch of a hand written letter.

While pen pals do not have strictly use a pen, it is a nice touch.  The bonus is your handwriting will improve with practice. Writing by hand also stimulates brain connections that make your brain better.

Start a Global Collection

Pen pals are a great way to start or add to a collection. The easiest collection to create is stamps. Stamps are essential to get mail from one place to another. They also tell the story of their country of origin. Celebrities, common plants and animals, geographic features, holidays, and historical events are all featured on stamps.

If you are looking for something a little different, you could try a tea exchange. Tea bags are light and easy to enclose in a letter. Now that is a delicious project!

Get Some Real Mail

Seems like there is continually more mail in the mailbox. However most of it is not anything you really want. Bills, advertisements, and catalogs make up the bulk of each delivery.

Having a pen pal can put excitement back into getting the mail. Now when you open an envelope, it will have pages you actually want to read and savor.

The Human Connection

Pen pals can grow into great friends. Even if you never meet face to face, lifelong friendships are possible.  We are more familar with this type of friendship because of social media. However, letter writing pen pals enjoy a privacy that cannot be found online.

Cross culture friendships build understanding.  Understanding each other leads to a new peace. It also encourages cooperation.

Northern Ireland has been torn apart with misunderstanding and conflict for generations. To help end the strife, programs have been developed to bring young people from both sides, Catholic and Protestant, together in a neutral location to just get to know each other.

Knowing leads to accepting.  Once you can see your similarities, it is harder to focus on your difference. Globally minded people see what unites us.

How to Find a Pen Pal

Finding a pen pal may sound difficult in a world that is so interconnected yet very isolating. There are still many ways to get yourself involved in a pen pal project.

It’s All about Who You Know

Start thinking of friends or family who have connections in another part of the world. Perhaps they are business contacts or college friends. However they know each other, this is an easy way to find a pen pal.

Missionaries are also a great resource. They can serve as pen pals wherever they are stationed. They can also find locals from their mission field who are interested in being a pen pal.

Websites to Use

If you have exhausted your personal connections and still haven’t found a pen pal, there are website that can help. Here are a couple to try. Each of these offers a slightly different pen pal experience.

  • Snail mail Penpals: This site will match you with a pen pal that has similar interest. It’s a traditional pen and paper pen pal set up with a twist. Participants craft and send creative mail for pen pals to enjoy.
  • Postcrossing: This is not a pen pal service but you could find a pen pal here. Postcrossings allows you to send postcards around the world to random people. In return, you receive postcards back. Talk about global mail!
  • Global Penfriends: This website will match snail mail and internet based pen pals. It is free to join. Global Penfriends is open to all ages. It allows you to search by interest and age group.

There are many more pen pal sites on the web. For more information. Visit our Pinterest Pen Pal board.

Have you ever had a pen pal?

 

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