Educating Our Youth

June 10th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

At a recent meeting of the Future Business Leaders of America Advisory Council, I heard some interesting, or should I say, disturbing comments. At least they were to me. We were discussing the need for a new program in high school education titled “Business Operations Support and Assistant Services. This program focused specifically on office support staff (or, using their words, telephone operator, order clerks, file clerks and receptionists). Now I ask you, when did you last hear of a job title Telephone Operator?

As the discussion progressed, it became evident that this proposed new program was almost identical to one currently titled “Business Management and Administrative Services.” When asked about the redundancy, we were told that this was what the business community perceived as a need. Further discussion led me to believe that this new program would be lowering, not raising, the bar set for support staff. Is this just another method of justifying lower wages, or is it honestly meeting the needs of the business community?

We went on to discuss what incentives could be given to encourage students to take this proposed new educational program. My question (along with several others in the room) was this: Since when do we feel the need to incentivize learning? Should that not be a goal unto itself? Should our students of today not aspire to graduate being job ready? Post-secondary education has become financially out of reach to an increasing number of families, and graduating students in the near future will face an ever-increasing need to find employment.

The challenge of parents

Parents of today face the challenge of actually being parents to their children. A good portion of the youth of today are placed in K-12 schools with the expectation that the faculty will become not only teachers, but parents, career counselors, and yes, even babysitters. If we placed more importance on the parents teaching basic principles and values to their children, would they not have a better chance of success once they enter the real world? The world of earning a living; of being productive members of society; of acceptance of responsibility.

Incentivized learning is somewhat disturbing (at least to me), when pondering the future of our country and our world. Aspiration to greater heights should be ingrained into our children from the day they are born. Those aspired-to heights are attainable only through education and hard work – not incentives. Therefore, the goal is to learn as much as possible to prepare themselves for the road ahead. Our new president is a perfect example of what can be accomplished. Not once have I heard President Obama speak of being offered incentives to continue his education; to reach his goals.

When did we become a nation of entitlements? A nation of people who firmly believe that someone else will take care of us if we can’t or won’t. I am self-employed, and that role has not been an easy one. It has come with adversity, challenges and a lot of many, many hours of work. I neither expect, nor will I ask, someone else to bail me out. It is my responsibility to either make it or not, and the blame rests only with me if I am not successful.

Time to get back to basics

Did that idea of work ethic come to me through osmosis? Absolutely not! My parents started out as poor, hard-working Kansas farmers. They knew the value of a dollar and the work it took to make that dollar. And, they were not ever shy when teaching me those same principles.

Let’s get back to the basic principles that made this nation great. Let’s accept responsibility not only for ourselves, but for our children. Teach them that they are being given the opportunity for an education that many on this planet can only dream of. It is up to them to make the most of it. And no, they won’t get a gold star if they don’t live up to expectations. There will be no incentives, awards, or pats on the back for accepting the challenge to be all you that can be.

Linda S. Thompson is founder and president of Life Path Solutions, who specializes in helping you understand, work, and live with those around you. She is the author of Every Generation Needs a New Revol

Selecting the Right Educational Computer Games for Your Child

March 10th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

There are many great educational computer games on the market today, both online and in toy stores. Experts and parents have especially found some educational games to be both fun and instructive:

Dora the Explorer: This computer games helps children learn geography skills while playing an adventure game. As players accompany Dora on adventures and try to help her solve problems and mysteries, they learn science concepts, math concepts, pattern recognition, language skills and critical thinking skills. This series of games tends to be aimed at younger children, generally at the Kindergarten level.
Kutoka Software: Mia’s Adventures. Titles like “Mia’s Science Adventure” and “Mia’s Math Adventure” allow children to follow the story of a small mouse named Mia. Computer players need to help Mia solve problems by using math and science skills. Titles are also available in French and the games are appropriate for children from pre-school age to about eleven years.
I Spy games. Scholastic has developed a line of “I Spy” games that let children engage in exciting adventures in order to find missing treasures. This series of games builds reading, problem solving, and creativity skills because it combines photos of familiar objects with word play and riddles.
Jump Start. Jump Start computer games allow players to solve puzzles and solve crimes in “whodunit” style. As children play, they learn Science, History, Art, Geography, Vocabulary, and more. Jump Start titles are arranged by grade, with different games available for children at different grade levels.
Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge. Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge is intended for children from ages 18 months to seven years and older. It is a computer game which offers pictures, animations, and audio clips each time a player presses a button on the screen. According to Dynacomp, the computer game builds vocabulary, reading, math, and memory skills. Many teachers and parents have praised Dynacomp’s Hodge Podge as an educational game that children actually enjoy playing.
Rocky Boots from The Learning Company. This computer game allows players to learn computer logic by creating simple digital logic circuits and logic machines using the computer and Rocky, an animated raccoon. This computer game has won many awards and is appropriate for most grade-school children.
Dinopark Tycoon. This game lets children set up and run businesses, learning entrepreneurship skills and math skills along the way. This game is intended for players ages 8 and up. Players set up a dinosaur theme park and have to make it profitable by building the park, hiring employees, borrowing money, managing money, and buying and selling dinosaurs. Players can learn graphing skills, dinosaur facts, math skills, business management skills, economic concepts such as supply and demand, entrepreneurship, money management, and much more as they try to make their theme park successful.
This list will suggest some computer game titles that you may like to try. In general, when shopping for educational titles, you will want to try games before you buy. Ideally, you will want to ask your children’s opinions about which games to choose. That way, your children will be able to select games that they will actually enjoy playing. You will also want to select games that will build a variety of skills. You may want to buy several titles that build several skill sets and give your children some variety as well.

If you are trying to improve a specific skills set, look for games that really build one skill:

If your child is just learning how to read, try: RocketReader Kids by RocketReader

To build keyboard and mouse skills, try: Meavis Beacon Typing Tutor

To build memory skills, try: I Spy games from Scholastic

To build problem solving skills, try: Putt putt games, Dinopark Tycoon, Sim City, RollerCoaster Tycoon, and Spinnaker’s Snooper Troops.

For language and reading skills, try: Jump Start. For older children, try Ghostwriter and Adventure Author.

To build math skills, try: Transition Math Grades K-1, Math Missions Grades K-2, Math Missions Grades 3-5: The Amazing Arcade Adventure, Mia’s Math Adventure, and Jump Start titles

To build science skills, try: Mia’s Science Adventure, and Jump Start titles

To build geography and cultural skills, try: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiago, Dora the Explorer titles