The Tenure Debate: Pros and Cons

Across the nation, teacher tenure is becoming a major flash point in many states. Florida and New Jersey are considering ending tenure altogether. Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania are also considering significant changes. Teacher tenure is the increasingly controversial form of job protection that public school teachers and university professors in all states receive after one to seven years on the job. As you’ll learn in the pros and cons about tenure in this article, tenure isn’t a guarantee that teachers will retain their jobs for life. And, considering all the other threats to teachers’ positions — including being falsely accused of a variety of matters — teachers may find that their teaching performances are more important than ever. Continue reading →

The Education Hall of Fame: 10 Teachers Who Made History

You don’t have to be in the middle of a Master’s in Teaching degree, to have been influenced by one or several teachers in your education. These unsung heroes have more impact on their students than even they are aware of. Whether interested in becoming a teacher or just want to learn from one, there are many ways students can learn from them even if they have never set foot in one of their classrooms.

Below, we have gathered 10 teachers who made history, and many of them have published works, lectures, and even videos still roaming the web to be viewed at a click. From the dawn of educational time to teachers who are still going strong, you might find a few of your favorites, as well as a few lesser known ones on the list. Continue reading →

The 5 Oldest Universities in Europe and the USA

Did you know that the oldest university was a mosque founded way back in 859 AD in Fes, Morocco and that it was established by a woman? The institution still exists, and as of 1957, it has added all the mainstream subjects to its curriculum to remain the oldest continuously operating degree-granting university in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

The oldest institutions of learning that were not mosques or madrasas were established in Europe, starting with:

    1. University of Bologna: This institution is not only the oldest university in Europe; having been established in 1088 in Bologna, Italy, it still remains one of the top 50 universities in the world. It started out teaching canon and civil law before branching out to offer other subjects as well.
    2. University of Paris: Established in 1150, this institution focused on providing an education in the fields of arts, medicine, law and theology. In 1970, the university was reorganized into 13 autonomous colleges under the University of Paris.
    3. University of Oxford: This famous university was established in 1167 in Oxford, England; currently ranked among the top 10 universities in the world, Oxford governs 38 independent colleges.
    4. University of Cambridge: Founded in 1209 in Cambridge, England, the University of Cambridge is currently ranked among the top 5 universities in the world. It has produced many academic geniuses, 80 of whom went on to win the Nobel Prize in various categories.
    5. University of Salamanca: Established in 1218 in the town of Salamanca in Madrid, Spain, this educational institution still remains a famed center for studies in humanities and languages.

Coming to the US of A, the five oldest universities are collectively known as the Colonial Colleges and date only as far back as 1636. We kick off this list with the most prestigious of them all:

    1. Harvard University: Initially known as New College when it was started in 1636, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is renowned for its high standard of education. It is also one of the most expensive universities in the world; it has produced 7 American presidents and over 40 Nobel laureates.
    2. The College of William and Mary: This is the only college in the oldest top-five list that is not an Ivy League institution. It’s a small college in Williamsburg, Virginia with less than 8,000 students; it was set up in 1693 and it holds the distinction of having established the country’s first college honor code and the first academic Greek society, the Phi Beta Kappa in 1776. It also houses the nation’s oldest college building in continuous use since 1700.
    3. Yale University: Another Ivy League college, this institution was established in 1701 in New Haven, Connecticut. It is now divided into 12 colleges. Yale was originally known as the Collegiate School. It is a popular choice with international students, with over 16 percent of its student body having overseas roots.
    4. Princeton University: Coming into the picture much later in 1976, Princeton today can claim credit for the highest per-student endowment of any university in the world. It is set Princeton, New Jersey, and was formerly known as the College of New Jersey.
    5. Columbia University: Originally established as King’s College in New York City in 1754, it has a diverse student body, over half of which is non-Caucasian. It moved campus in 1897, and now takes up six blocks of the Morningside Heights area of New York City.

5 Game-Changing Technologies That Will Help Shape 2011

There’s no doubting the fact that technology is moving forward at breakneck speed, so much so that you’re bound to miss something significant if you so much as blink or close your eyes for a short catnap. What’s in today could so easily be obsolete tomorrow, that’s how fast the world of gadgets and gizmos is growing. That’s why it makes perfect sense to look ahead and be aware of the game-changing technologies that are going to shape the year that has just begun; some of them are reality and some are just in the pipeline, but they’re all sure to give you bang for your buck and so much more. So here they are – five game-changing technologies that will help shape 2011:

  • Quad core processors for mobile phones: It wasn’t that long ago that I was bragging about my dual core notebook, now it’s amazing to think that this power has been multiplied and brought to the confines of a tiny mobile phone. Hot on the heels of its runaway success dual core processor Tegra 2, NVIDIA has come out with Kal-El, a quad-core processor with gargantuan power. It leaves behind the dual core race and is well on the way to creating faster chips with its roadmap for Logan, Wayne and Stark – all chips with nearly 100 times the processing power of the current Tegra 2 phones and expected to become a reality well within 2014.
  • Lapdocks and webtops: If you’ve heard about Motorola’s Atrix smartphone, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Imagine carrying around your laptop in your pocket – with Atrix and the Lapdock (which is a docking station with a screen and a keyboard with a trackpad), you can use your mobile phone as the processor for your laptop. The innovative webtop application allows you to run your Android applications within a window, and browse the web with a full version of Mozilla Firefox. And with remote desktop software like Citrix, you can even connect to your desktop computer at home to access files and programs remotely.
  • Internet connected television: From browsing the net on your desktop to being able to connect on the go on your notebook to being able to stay always connected on your mobile, our browsing habits have come a long way since the dawn of the web. Now stay connected using your television set – you can use a cable, but that means you’re going to miss out on the new WiFi television sets that can hook up to your home’s wireless network just like your notebook. The latest come with high definition screens that offer good resolution and sharp pictures. Now you can download movies and any form of entertainment from the web, directly onto your TV, and make your desktop computer almost obsolete.
  • Mobile banking: We’re already getting used to the fact that we don’t really have to visit the bank at all, unless it is to open a new account or close an existing one. We can do pretty much everything else through the Internet, from wherever we are. Now banking moves to the mobile phone sector, and with the advent and popularity of smartphones, you can pay bills, check your accounts, move your money, check for stock updates, and even trade in stocks, all through the myriad apps that have been written for these purposes. The environment is secure, and as mobile banking gains in popularity, we can soon expect contactless payments where you just have to wave your mobile phone in front of a sensor and have the necessary amount deducted from your bank account for access to services and goods.
  • Gamification: We’re already seeing it being implemented through social networks like Foursquare and Facebook’s “Place” application – in simple English, gamification involves the use of gaming techniques in applications that are not games. Websites could get users to participate in surveys or visit their pages by making a game out of it, with visitors collecting rewards for each level that they climb. Virtual money can be amassed and used at other partner sites as payment for goods and services, and the competitive spirit can be egged on by getting visitors to play against each other for a prize or reward. We’ve only seen the start of gamification, and 2011 holds much more in store for this new technique.

Kid-Friendly and Mom-Approved: Simple and Sassy Easter Projects

You can tell Easter is fast approaching when you start seeing egg and bunny-shaped candy, cards and gifts start popping up in stores. This is a holiday that Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate, whether in a religious sense or just taking part in the traditional Easter egg hunt.

This is a very exciting holiday for kids. They look forward to the Easter Bunny hiding eggs for them to seek, the decorative baskets and candy, and the enjoyment of the festivities. As busy parents, we know that you don’t always have adequate time to sit down and plan these things out, so we thought we’d help you out. We’ve compiled a list of simple decorating tips and ideas for eggs, Easter baskets and crafts as well as ideas for themed games, food, desserts and more—that won’t use up all of your time or patience. Most of these items can be found around your house, so that will save you time, money and stress!

However your family decides to celebrate, with these tips you’ll be sure to find some simple and enjoyable activities for your kids to enjoy.

source: flickr.com

1. First things first – Egg decorating: There are endless, creative and age-appropriate ways for you and your kids to enjoy decorating Easter eggs.

These are just a few examples of what you can use:

-Dye, crayons, food coloring, watercolors and paint are great basic ideas for adding color to those ordinary eggs.

If you want to add a little oomph, may we also suggest:

-Embellishing them with lace. You can find some great examples shown here: Martha Stewart

-Cutting and pasting magazine or newspapers strips to add creative messages

-Bedazzling them with beads and jewels

If you have younger children, safe and easy ideas for them can be using stickers to add character and personality or giving them a glue stick and letting them spruce them up with cotton balls, shapes cut out of paper, glitter or any other household items you have laying around that could work for these crafts.

If you want to go even further with your Easter eggs, check out these sites for some amazing ideas to turn your eggs into works of art: All Recipes or Family Fun

2. To properly hunt these newly decorated treasures, you’ve got to have the proper basket: Now these can be as minimal or as fancy as your budget or patience allow.

-Wicker baskets: Ribbon and lace work great for wrapping around the handle or tying bows around the body. You can even personalize the ribbon with their name for a special, added touch.

-If you want something a little more affordable , you can buy Easter-themed plastic buckets from any dollar store or party store. If you’d rather decorate your own, buy a solid plastic bucket and use paint or markers to decorate with your child’s name or a personalized message.

source: crafts.kaboose.com

3. If Easter is a time for you and your to give back to the community, try some of these volunteer ideas that can be both helpful to others and rewarding to you. These ideas can give a sense of value and involvement with the world around them:

-Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter

-Donate any old or unused clothes, shoes and toys to those less fortunate

-Plant a tree

-Bring books to a hospital and read to the kids

-Visit a nursing home

4. Crafts: If your kids are busy bees, and you need more activities to keep them entertained, try out some of these crafty ideas:

-Using cut up paper, paper from your paper shredder, spray-painted packer peanuts, fake Easter grass, moss twig or grass, let your little ones build their own nests to put their Easter eggs in.

-Use construction paper, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, stir sticks or any other items around your house to let your kids build and decorate their own crosses.

-Cut bunny shapes out of construction paper and let them glue cotton balls on them to bring their Easter bunnies to life.

source : food-easy-recipes.com

5. Easter-Themed Food and Desserts: Eating can be a fun activity when food is shaped into festive objects. There are several foods that can easily be shaped into bunnies or eggs or whatever fun shapes you desire. Turn mealtime into a creative activity.

-Pancakes

-Sandwiches

-Cookies

-Biscuits or croissants

-Or if you want to be daring, make cupcakes or a cake and let your kids go crazy decorating their own with frosting, sprinkles, candy or whatever your imagination can come up with.

It can also be a sneaky way to get kids to eat vegetables. “Well, the Easter Bunny eats carrots and celery. Don’t you want to try some?” (Don’t worry, we won’t give up your secrets)

We don’t want holidays to add any stress to your lives, so we hope you find some of these ideas to be easy and inventive ways to keep your kids entertained and to enjoy this time with your family. The more involved they get to be in the projects, the more fun they’ll have and the more excited they’ll be.

Have a very Happy Easter!

5 Ways for Older Teachers to Cope with Technology

It’s everywhere these days, and there’s no escaping it; and while some people swear by technology, there are others who abhor it and want nothing to do with it. However, there are certain professions where you must embrace technology if you wish to remain relevant, hold on to your job and do it successfully, and teaching is one of them. Technology has made massive inroads into the classroom and is now an integral part of education. So if you’re an older teacher who is a technophobe and wishes lessons would go back to being all about books and papers, the bad news is that you must find ways to cope with the change. However, the good news is that it’s easy to do so once you set your mind to it. Begin by:

  • Accepting it: Fighting any kind of change only makes it harder to cope; it’s like trying to swim against the tide. But when you embrace change, you find that it envelops you in return and that it’s not such a bad thing after all. Technology starts to look much better once you accept it as a part of your life and start looking for ways to master it.
  • Realizing the value of technology: Once you stop looking at technology like it’s the enemy, you soon begin to realize how much of a friend it can be. You can achieve so much more when you start to use technology in and out of the classroom, and with this realization, you start to become more enthusiastic about learning technology and picking up skills that will help you improve as an educator.
  • Starting out slowly: Learn the basics of technology first before you jump to the more sophisticated aspects – this way, you don’t get discouraged at the outset if you’re not able to grasp concepts and skills. Get someone who’s a patient teacher to show you the ropes, and don’t hesitate to ask questions when you’re in doubt – as a teacher, you know that this is an integral rule of any learning process.
  • Practicing your skills regularly: Nothing comes to you without practice, so make time each day to practice your new skills and become familiar with them. The going may be slow initially, but you’ll soon get the hang of it as the days go by. The key to becoming an expert in any field is to practice, practice and practice some more.
  • Using it whenever possible: So now that you’ve gained some confidence in your technological skills, start to use technology wherever applicable. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes – when you let your fear stop you, you become a slave to it. Just remember that the more mistakes you make, the more you add to your experience and the more skilled you become.

Technology tends to grow on you, and once you master one form of it, conquering the rest is just a mere formality.

When Does Your Degree Really Count?

There’s an unspoken and unwritten rule that insists you go on to college after you’ve graduated from high school; the general perception in the job market is that if you want to make something of yourself, you need a college degree backing you up. However, not all college degrees are equal; some of them have higher standing and are more widely accepted than others, so if you’re making the effort and raising the necessary funds to go to college, you must ensure that the degree you’re going to earn counts for something in the world you’re going to inhabit in the near future. So how do you go about doing this?

  • Know what you want to do in life – having an aim and setting personal and professional goals is the first step towards choosing the right degree.
  • Find out what qualifications you need to achieve your goal.
  • Make a list of colleges that offer the degree you need to break into the profession of your dreams.
  • Assess your potential and the viability of gaining admission to these colleges; based on this evaluation, choose ten (or more if you prefer) colleges where you stand a reasonable chance of admission.
  • If your school grades are low, focus on getting good scores on your SAT/ACT – this could help you gain entrance to a better college.
  • Apply to the list of colleges and hope to be selected by one or more.
  • Don’t take out a student loan if you can help it; look for scholarships and grants that can pay for college, and start your search early, when you’re still in high school. Ask your parents, friends and relatives for assistance, and if all else fails, take out a loan at a low interest.
  • Once you start college, start working on your grades right from your freshman year instead of slogging it out in your senior year to make the required grade when you’re desperate for a job.
  • Find a job that allows you to earn money for everyday expenses and if possible, set aside some money towards repaying your student loan.
  • Also focus on boosting your extracurricular profile by getting involved in sports and other non-academic activities. This helps develop your overall personality and helps differentiate you from the hundreds of thousands of people who hold the same degree and have better grades than you.
  • Try and improve your communication skills, especially those that come in handy during job interviews and when dealing with clients and customers (employers are on the lookout for people who come with more than just a degree).
  • Build a network of people who can help you in looking for a job, providing recommendations, and helping you out of tough situations; start with your professors, they’re more valuable than you think they are.
  • Start looking for jobs even before you graduate – attend job fairs, prepare your resume, and apply for jobs through online and offline channels.
  • Once you get a job, focus on repaying your student debt at the earliest.

If your degree helps you do all of the above, then it’s really, really worth every penny, every minute and every drop of sweat you’ve put into it.

Top 50 Hair Blogs and Articles

Getting gorgeous hair is the goal for many people. Washing, conditioning and styling can wreak havoc on your locks, so it’s important to use the right products for your hair’s texture and treat it right in order to get it in its most healthy state. These hair blogs and articles will guide you through accessing your hair’s damage, finding the right products to bring it back to life and get the trendy hairstyles seen on celebrities and supermodels.

Top Hair Blogs

Learn what will whip your hair into shape, see you through a dry winter and keep your color lasting.

    1. Hair Style Talk This blog has everything you want to know about hair, including tips on how to prolong your highlights and color and how to care for African American hair.

    2. Fashionising It’s all of the latest celebrity hairstyles and how to get the looks you see supermodels rocking on the runway without the fuss of going to the salon.

    3. Babes in Hairland If your little girl feel she’s stuck in a hair rut (courtesy of mom’s ponytails), look to this hair blog for countless fresh hairstyle ideas for little girls.

    4. Girly Do Hairstyles Learn interesting hairstyles that are easy to pull off without tons of accessories or products. This site is aimed at moms who need new hairstyles for their daughters.

    5. Princess Hairstyles If you need new ideas for how to style your daughters hair, this is your blog. There are also plenty of options for pageant darlings or those who have a special occasion and want something unique.

    6. The Wright Hair This mom shares her tips and ideas for styling your little ones’ hair without putting her through pain. One daughter has thin, flat hair, making this a great blog for those who struggle with a similar texture.

    7. Cute Girl Hairstyles Whether your daughter loves pigtails, ponytails or super simple ‘dos, this site has awesome ideas for those stuck in a hair rut.

    8. Chic Clips Hair This mom doesn’t claim to be a professional, but she’s devoted to making her kids hair stand out in the crowd. This site is a must-read for moms who want to learn to work with various textures of hair (after all, one kid can have super curly locks while the other has stick straight hair).

    9. Curly Hairdo Ideas This site is all about embracing your child’s natural curls instead of trying to fight them with products and hot tools, which is damaging for the hair follicle.

    10. Tweens Teens and Moms Hairstyles The whole family can grab hair ideas from this site that incorporates tips for teaching kids how to style their own hair once they’re around 8 or 9 years old.

    11. Glossy Family This entire family gets in on the hair action with reviews and hairstyles that almost anyone can do. The products featured are often all-natural and organic, so you know what’s going on your family’s heads.

    12. How To Hairdos Dads who have to do their daughters’ hair will appreciate this hair blog because it has simple, but cute styles that are easy to create in a couple of minutes.

    13. Hair Style Blog This site no longer updates, but it has great info over managing straight hair, curly hair and what to do when your hair is so damaged it seems beyond repair.

    14. Latest Hairstyles If you’re at a loss for what to do with your hair next, this site has plenty of ideas, from the latest ‘dos that celebrities are wearing to classic styles suitable for the mature woman.

    15. Balding Blog If you have questions on balding or thinning hair, this is the site that will show you the actions you can take now to prevent further hair loss.

Top African American Hair Blogs

Whether you wear your hair natural or regularly relax your hair, these top hair blogs show African American women how to manage their hair with ease.

    16. Happy Girl Hair Learn how to manage African American hair with natural products that won’t weigh it down and allow you to embrace its natural texture. It has real stories from moms telling how they work with their daughters hair to avoid harsh relaxers.

    17. Beads Braids Beyond This site focuses on curly and wavy hair with emphasis on working with African American hair. It is a godsend for those who need real product reviews that will make taming waves and tight curls easier.

    18. Natural Hair Beauty This site has plenty of inspiration and tips for those hoping to go natural with their hair. It isn’t impossible to manage, but the transition can be difficult for those attached to relaxers.

    19. Keep Me Curly Stop fighting with your daughters’ hair and learn how to keep it neat so she can play the day away. This is a great site for those who have their first baby and want to learn the tricks of the trade.

    20. Black Girl with Long Hair This is the ultimate natural hair blog for African American women. It shows you how to make the healthy transition to natural hair, while still moisturizing and conditioning your hair so it grows back in the best possible shape.

    21. Honeysmoke This mommy blogger shows you how to treat your little girl’s hair so she learns to love it and also reviews the must-have products for making the job easier.

    22. Le Coil Get inspiration for your natural hair with this Tumblr that’s full of amazing images that will make you put down the harsh chemicals and work with what nature gave you.

    23. Afrobella Get tons of tips for working with your natural hair at this African American beauty blog. It’s a must-read for those looking for products that will enhance curly hair’s natural texture versus weighing it down.

    24. Hair Milk Read blog posts from real women who are going the distance to grow out their natural hair and get product recommendations for affordable items you can grab at your local drugstore.

    25. Grow Black Hair Get product reviews, learn how to care for your scalp, how to deal with knots and more at this fabulous African American hair blog.

    26. About Black Hair This About site shows you the ins-and-outs of styling black hair, whether you’re all natural or use a relaxer and loads of products.

    27. The Coarse Hair Diary This site doesn’t update as often as it used to, but it has profiles of real women who’ve chosen to go natural with their hair and offers their hair story of how the transition went.

    28. Long Hair Don’t Care No matter what your hair’s texture is, you can have long locks that shine like there’s no tomorrow. This site shows you how to get there and style your hair so you aren’t tempted to chop it off.

    29. Black Hair Care Blog This blog shows you how to care for African American hair, ensuring the scalp doesn’t get too oily but the ends stay moisturized enough.

Top Blog Posts and Articles on Dying Your Hair at Home

Going blond? Looking to cover up grays? Look no further than these articles which walk you through getting that stellar from-the-salon look right in your own bathroom.

    30. Oprah – At Home Haircoloring Tips Learn how to choose the right shade that won’t wash you out or look too stark.

    31. Makeup Files – Home Hair Dying 101 Check out this step-by-step tutorial to making your hair look fabulous with the help of a box of dye from the grocery store.

    32. Beauty Tips – Dye Your Hair at Home Here are at-home haircoloring tips from a gal who dyes her hair dark and another who goes blond without the help of a professional.

    33. Haircuts Hairstyles – How to Dye Your Hair at Home Learn the buzz words to look for to ensure your color comes out close to the swatch shown on the top of the dye’s box.

    34. Beyond Jane – How to Lighten Your Hair Using Hydrogen Peroxide Everyone knows hydrogen peroxide lifts color, but do you know how to wield the chemical so your hair comes out looking presentable? Learn how with this article.

    35. Lovelyish – Tips for Dying Your Hair at Home Choosing the right hue and having the right tools will making dying your hair at home an easy process that will save you major money in the long run. Learn how to do it right.

    36. Instructables – Dye Your Hair a Strange Color You might want to pull a Rihanna or Katy Perry and go for a completely wild hair color. This tutorial shows you how to get intense color that makes a statement without staining your bathroom floor.

    37. Blonde Ambition From going blond at home to keeping the color ultra vibrant without any brassiness, this site has plenty of content over blond hair.

    38. Pregnancy Hair Color and Your Pregnancy If you regularly color your hair, but need new options now that you’re pregnant, this article is the go-to for learning everything you need to know about how to treat your hair when with child.

    39. Style Tips 101 – Dying Your Hair This site has tips for dying your hair on your own and also talks about limiting how often you use dye to three to four times a year to avoid damage.

Special Occasion Hairstyle Blogs, Blog Posts and Articles

If you have prom, a wedding or other special occasion on your social calendar, look to these blog posts and articles for getting ultra glam hair that fits the shindig.

    40. Wedding Hair Updos This site has special occasion hairstyles for every length and texture of hair. It’s a great resource for those who have very short hair or are unsure of how to style difficult to manage hair for a special party.

    41. Prom Hairstyles Learn how to make your hairstyle fall in line with the neckline of your dress and any earrings or a necklace you might be wearing.

    42. Updo Princess Whether you want something soft and romantic or super chic, this site has plenty of special occasion hairstyles to choose from.

    43. Total Hair Learn how to work with your hair’s natural texture when creating the ultimate special occasion hairstyle. There’s also a celeb photo gallery to get inspiration from red carpet looks.

    44. Sally Beauty – Special Occasions The blog of this beauty superstore give you ideas for special occasion hairdos that will work on women young and old and gives suggestions for products that will help you achieve the look.

    45. Real Beauty – Holiday Hairstyles for Your Twenties The younger you are, the more you can get away with when it comes to experimenting with your hair for a formal event. Learn how to get the looks starlets are wearing and make the appropriate for real life.

    46. Become Gorgeous – Special Occasion Hairstyles If you’re going classic or ultra trendy with your special occasion hairstyle, this site has options that will make want to try out many styles for your big events.

    47. Short Hair Style – Wedding Hair Styles This site is great because it focuses on short hairstyles, which can be especially tough to style for a special event. Learn what products to use and how to make your ‘do stand out without looking overdone.

    48. Just Hairstyles If a big event is right around the corner and you aren’t sure how you want to wear your hair, check out this site for plenty of images that will inspire you.

    49. Elegant Hairstyles This blog is all about the most chic and polished updos that will work with ultra fancy makeup and a gorgeous gown.

    50. Hair Finder – Special Occasion Learn how to communicate with a hair stylist for getting that perfect prom ‘do and how to create cool styles on your own that are fit for the most upscale occasion.

Caring for your hair doesn’t have to be a chore once you have the right products and know what to do with them. Remember to regularly condition hair and use a heat protector if you’re a fan of the blow dryer or flat iron. Small steps like these will improve your hair’s overall condition and ensure you’re showing off those luscious locks for years to come.

How to Teach Your Child to Cook

It’s a skill that’s an asset at any point of your life; no matter your age, no matter your sex, and no matter your station in life, knowing how to cook is always a big advantage. And although it’s never too late to pick up cooking skills, it helps if you start early.

  • Get your child interested in cooking by allowing them to help you around the kitchen. Instead of shooing them out, allow them to watch what you do before they graduate to washing veggies, fetching ingredients for you, cutting out shapes with cookie cutters, and icing cakes.
  • Once they’re old enough to understand what safety means and why they should try to stay safe in the kitchen, teach them how to operate the stove and oven correctly. Show them how to protect themselves from fire accidents and what to do in case of accidental spills and mishaps.
  • If they’re able to handle a knife, teach them how to cut vegetables safely without nicking themselves. Also show them the right way to store knifes that are not being used and the safe way to clean sharp objects like knives and blender blades.
  • Teach them how to maintain a clean kitchen – this means clearing the countertop of clutter, keeping out only the things that are necessary, washing dishes as soon as you’re done with them, and wiping down surfaces to keep them hygienic and sparkling clean.
  • Once these peripheral aspects have been taken care of, get down to the nitty-gritty of cooking with a few lessons in the basics of the craft – how to make scrambled eggs and toast, how to put together a quick and nutritious salad, how to make wholesome meals from canned goods, how to use what’s on hand to make a filling sandwich, and so on. These are the skills that will come in handy when your child goes camping or goes off to college.
  • Encourage them to try out their newfound skills by following recipes to make one dish for dinner or any other meal – supervise them but let them do their own thing. And no matter how the dish turns out, support them in their efforts to learn cooking.
  • Once your kids get this far, their natural interest in cooking should take over and they start to experiment with their own recipes or make their own meals even when you’re not around. And even if they’re not really too keen on cooking every day, at least they’ve learned the basics needed to survive in the kitchen.

When you teach your children how to cook, you teach them self-sufficiency and responsibility – they’re able to live on a budget because they can make their own food; their health does not suffer because they’re forced to eat greasy and unhealthy junk food while in college or living alone and working a job; and they don’t have to rely on anyone else for delicious, wholesome and nutritious home-cooked meals.

The Importance of Religion in Childhood

There are many virtues that parents can teach their children, but when they teach them religion, they teach them all the virtues at once. Religion is an important part of who we are and what we will become, because its tenets and principles guide us at every stage of our lives. A child who grows up around religious parents and loved ones is often more religious as an adult. But beyond this, religion is important in and must play a leading role in childhood because:

  • It defines character: There’s no doubt about it; religion makes us better people. When we follow the teachings of the Lord and listen to what the Bible tells us to do, we become more selfless, kinder and more generous. We learn how to distinguish right from wrong and do the right thing all the time. Our morals are well defined and we find it easy to stay on the path of righteousness and truth. When character is built in childhood, it stays with you through life. So the influence of religion on children has a positive effect on them throughout their lives.
  • It boosts self control: Children face enormous pressure in their teen and preteen years as they struggle to deal with their changing bodies, raging hormones and the need to fit in with their peers. This sometimes drives them to experiment with alcohol, sex and other illicit activities. When they’re basically religious by nature, they are able to find the strength to avoid such activities, no matter how much they’re pressured to do so. They learn to trust in God and to avoid all that is immoral and illegal.
  • It reduces stress: It’s hard enough for adults to deal with stress, so when it comes to a child or a teenager, you can understand how difficult it is for them to cope with the tension of day to day life. Children who have faith in their religion and their God are able to seek support and solace in the Church and so are able to deal with their stress in healthy ways. They don’t go looking for trouble or causing it because they know they can turn to religion for an outlet.

When children are exposed to religion and its positive influences at an early age, they are able to deal with life more effectively and easily as adults.