Thursday, September 17, 2009

Secrets of Straight A Students

Readers Digest has a great set of articles on back-to-school (, but the one that I found really interesting was on ideas for how to help set up your student for success. I personally struggled for years in school until my junior year of high school, and wish I’d had some of these tips to help me along the way! Some of the top tips include things like getting organized, which is an absolute must. Today’s students have to juggle so many tasks, and if they’re not organized it can become completely overwhelming. Work with your student to find a system for keeping track of their homework, their reading, extracurricular activities, chores, and so on. While it can seem like work setting something like this up, it will definitely pay dividends during the school year and beyond. If your student is a techie, there are applications for many mobile phones (including the iPhone) that can keep track of homework and tasks.

Another great idea, one which I’d wish I’d discovered earlier in life, is to take a speed-reading course. I was skeptical of speed-reading for years, but once I actually took a seminar on it, I was sold. I was under the impression that by speed reading, I’d miss lots of things because I’d be skimming everything, but in reality this was not the case. Instead, my reading speed and my comprehension increased dramatically. Being able to quickly read, understand, and absorb lots of information can be super-helpful when a student has many things they need to read for a class. And I have to say, I love reading, and speed reading for me didn’t take away the joy of reading at all. This is actually something that both parents and their kids can learn together – it’s a skill everyone can benefit from.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to School Time!

Back to school can also be looked at as a time to remind ourselves how important continuing education is. I know for many people once they are done with school, they are DONE and kind of give up on learning after that, which I think is kind of a shame. It’s so nice to find a topic that you’re interested in and then rediscover the joy of learning that way, rather than when topics were forced on you or required for a degree. There are a ton of low-cost resources to help you re-ignite the passion for learning. One of my favorites is to take classes at your local community college. These are fantastic resources for classes on just about any topic you can think of, and for very, very little money. One year I took a semester-length healthy cooking class for $20 – including the cost of food. What a deal! Another way to learn is to find free webcasts from top universities. For instance, Berkeley offers videos of many classes, completely free.

If you’re looking to learn something a little more practical and less scholarly, the website eHow has how-to guides on thousands of different topics, on everything from how to make your PC perform better, to how to get the smoke odor out of clothes. It’s definitely worth checking out!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Top Home-based Businesses

Making more money is on a lot of people’s minds right now, and if you have some free time it might be a good idea to look at home-based businesses you can start.

Entrepreneur Magazine has just put together a fantastic list of the 55 best businesses you can start from home for under $5000. Included in their list are professions like consulting, writing, editing, professional organizing, and some unexpected ones, like eBay Assistant, home energy auditor, and event planner.

If you are thinking about starting a home based business, it’s a great idea to check out your local Small Business Administration office – which is a government agency that helps small businesses by providing education and access to resources.