Surefire Ways to Prepare For the ISEE

The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is attempted by thousands of pupils each year hoping to gain entry to an independent school. The test scores the child achieves will be a key factor on whether they are admitted. So what can be done to prepare your child for this exam?

The exam is made up of 5 sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, mathematics achievement and an essay. The exam will take about 2 hours with time for 2 breaks. The essay section on its own will take about 30 minutes.

In the verbal reasoning section your child will be expect to select the correct ending for the sentence. They will also be asked to select the correct synonym (words that have the same meaning) for the word in the question.

In the reading comprehension section there will be 5 to 6 passages varying in topics. There will be questions asked about each of the passages. To prepare for this section make sure your child is able to handle a variety of different reading material – fiction, non-fiction and newspaper articles for example.

In the mathematics achievement section problem solving and mathematical knowledge will be tested. In the upper level geometry and algebra will also be examined. No calculators are allowed in the exam so your child’s mental arithmetic must be good.

I highly recommend that your purchase practice questions. You can find them in both books and websites. Not only will allow your child to see the type of questions asked in the exam but they will also become familiar with the format of the exam. Therefore they know what to expect on the day of the exam.

A Teenager in NZ

Some days are wacky, and teenagers just want to have fun. Every week, I get a chance to sample an international fare prepared by other foreign students at the hostel. Of course, there are chores to do everyday – cleaning up, throwing rubbish, laundry and cooking on weekends – aside from classes. This is my life at the boarding school, at Marlborough Girls’ College in Blenheim, located in the South Island of New Zealand.

At 16, I am the only Filipino in my high school (Year 11) class; the other Asians are mostly from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand or Korea. Together with the Kiwis (New Zealanders) and Europeans, we celebrated Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s national day where international students dress up in their native costume and perform a dance or song number. They all wanted to see me dance “with candles in my hands and on my head,” but I didn’t know how to dance the Pandanggo sa Ilaw. I did try to make pastilles de leche, though, but I must have overcooked it because it turned brownish and tasted different!

In our English literature class, I usually finish ahead of the others, and soon became the teacher’s assistant, helping my other Asian classmates, and earning “stars.” A star is equivalent to one NZ dollar. After earning 10 stars, I would go to the cafeteria to exchange the starts for something I wanted – a muffin or ice cream. For English literature, we have to speak in front of the class, one by one, in order to build our self-confidence and communication skills. We also have to learn English the way the British speak it.

The standards are high, and subjects are tackled in depth, with analysis, research, and discussions. No memorization. We freely expressed our opinions about everything we discussed, even in science. Art class is interesting, and very exacting. We have to draw a 100 times, using different materials and subjects, and our works are sent to a cultural office in Wellington for grading! Of the school facilities, I liked the gymnasiums best, because we can play sports for PE like rugby, cricket, soccer, catch or basketball.

There is a work day, when a student can volunteer to work, like in a grocery store, restaurant, or boarding school, and receive payment which must be given back to the school.

I change class with every subject, like in a university. Under the NZ education system, Year 11 students begin to specialize in other areas of study such as Art, Commerce (e.g. Accounting), technology or Languages according to one’s interest. Mathematics, English literature and Science remain the key subjects.

Next year, in Year 12, I will transfer to Rangi Ruru Girls’ School in Christchurch. Year 12 students in NZ are able to specialize in up to six subjects, and I will have Accounting, Economics, Mathematics (Statistics), Photography, English and Art subjects. In my new school, I will have to learn how to play an instrument and be a member of a sports team.

Filipino students enjoy a good reputation here in New Zealand – they are perceived as well-mannered, adaptable, friendly and independent. One of my unforgettable moments in New Zealand is the home stay during our break. I spent four days in the mountains of Marlborough Sounds with a Kiwi family.

Marlborough Sounds area is made up of three main bodies of water – the Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru, and Pelorus Sounds. This collection of drowned river valleys is a natural wonder in New Zealand. Surrounded by the gentle sounds of birds and sea life, the fragrant scent of the forests and pure mountain air, the lodge had no electricity but it was fun! I did a lot of kayaking, and fed lambs with milk.

Marlborough is also New Zealand’s largest grape growing and wine making region with 65 wineries, 290 grape growers and 4,054 hectares in grape production. Sauvignon Blanc is the region’s specialty. Aside from grapes, they produce wines out of coffee beans, oranges, Kiwifruits, or just about any fruit!

Blenheim, the main town of Marlborough where my school is located, is a friendly and secure community especially for young visitors to develop their confidence in a new country and school. Like most of New Zealand, it is very clean, and green. One day, I saw some mussels in a nearby stream, but my Kiwi friends ignored it because it was of a lower grade, not good enough to eat! New Zealanders are spoilt for their choice of fresh seafood.

Living and studying away from home made me appreciate my life, and I learned how to live responsibly with the freedom I had. I am by nature outspoken and friendly, and this greatly helped in befriending the Kiwis. There are cultural differences, and one must adjust to the Kiwis, and be tolerant of the differences.

I’m looking forward to completing my final year in NZ which is Year 13, where I will sit for university entrance and Bursaries examination. I’m aiming to achieve a B pass or higher in the examinations so I can apply for a university degree program in NZ.

I dream of becoming an accountant and I believe my New Zealand education will provide the best foundation I need to succeed someday.

(based on the life of Candy Enriquez as told to the author)

Teaching and Learning Modern Foreign Languages in the United Kingdom Part 1

I.1. Modern Foreign Languages within the curriculum: 1900 – 1988

I.1.a. A curriculum?

Between the1880s and 1904, many pupils had the opportunity of learning a Modern Foreign Language. The main language taught was French; however, German was also taught occasionally. This was the case in most schools existing at the time, although schooling was less compulsory, with compulsory education targeting only a range of students from six to twelve.

In 1904, the Board of Education suppressed Modern Foreign Languages from the curriculum. This lasted for almost 60 years. This had an impact on generations of British pupils, in so far that languages did not appear to be important; and therefore, for years, the British have argued that they were no good at learning them.

The 1944 Education Act was a turning point for the United Kingdom’s educational system. It made school compulsory between the ages of 5 and 15. The Ministry of Education, which had become the Department for Education and Science, introduced the “tripartite system”. Secondary schools were converted into ‘Grammar schools’ for the most able students, the senior schools turned into ‘Secondary Modern Schools’ and had the majority of the students on their roll, and ‘Secondary Technical Schools’ for those with a technical/scientific aptitude were created. The age at which the transition between primary and secondary schools was to be made became more definite in the 1980s, when the different age groups were divided into five Key Stages. Students had to start secondary school at the end of Key Stage 2.

In 1944, the Local Education Authorities provided the facilities and equipment for schools. They also acquired the resources needed and paid teachers. They were to make sure that there was enough space to accommodate all the students between the age of 5 and 15 within the catchment area. They also determined the length of the school day. They had an overview of the curriculum, but no control as such. Over time, the way Local Education Authorities administered their area was very different and the emphasis placed on certain types of school had a tremendous impact on the wider community.

The Secretary of State did not have the legal right to determine the contents of the curriculum. The Department for Education and Sciences’ requests, as far as the curriculum was concerned, were extremely limited except for Religious Studies (daily worship and religious education became statutory). The subjects taught, and the methods and contents, were left to the teaching profession and head teachers. This was the case until the 1980s, though Her Majesty’s Inspectorate and the Office for Standards in Education were inspecting and reporting about schools. No major change happened until 1988.

Therefore between 1904 and 1964, the teaching of languages as we perceive it in 2005 was very limited, in the few schools that offered this option. These were mainly grammar schools or public schools. Indeed, often students were taught only Greek or Latin. Where Modern Foreign Languages were made available, the main skills developed were reading and writing. The emphasis was on grammar, literacy and the communicative aspects of languages were completely overlooked. The emphasis was placed on developing intellectual skills, and the teaching methods were the ones employed for classical languages. Modern Foreign Languages were not seen as a means to an end; the ability to communicate with a native speaker of the target language seemed to be of very little importance. The purpose of learning a language was to elevate yourself to higher academic standards and to be part of an elite.

I.1.b 1960s-1970s: ambiguous positions

Until 1965, universities in the United Kingdom required prospective students to have a basic knowledge of a foreign language in order to process their applications. The decision made at the Standing Conference on University Entrance in 1966 ended a hundred year old requirement which gave access to higher education. This can be considered as undermining the status of languages. Monolingualism from then on became acceptable even from the people who were at the time believed to be the ‘creme de la creme’ of the nation.

Some highly regarded universities such as Cambridge tried to carry on with the Modern Language prerequisite in order to be more selective, and to have on their rolls candidates of very high academic competences. However, they were prevented from doing so, as it was stated in the Cambridge University Reporter, issue 335/109, 17 January 1979: “The University concludes that no university in isolation could afford to impose entrance requirement designed to encourage breadth of study in the sixth form…they would have to be imposed by the Department for Education and Science”. It is interesting to note that ironically the decision to suppress the language prerequisite was made the same year when the Centre for Information on Language Teaching was created.

However, the suppression of a basic competence requirement in languages can also be interpreted as a way of democratising the entrance to university and making it accessible to more candidates. Indeed, as languages before the 1960s were mainly taught in Grammar Schools and Public Schools, which used selective entry processes and necessitated parents’ funding, this decision enabled students who attended Secondary Modern Schools to apply for university course.

The government tried to take some steps to improve the situation. A feasibility study was carried out in 1962, for an early start at learning a Modern Foreign Language in primary schools. Sir Edward Boyle launched a “French from 8″ pilot programme, and the Nuffield foundation produced the necessary teaching material. In 1970, an interim report was written by Dr Clare Burstall from the National Foundation for Educational Research, which reveals a consistent “linear correlation” between pupils’ performances and parental occupations. The National Foundation for Educational Research published a final report about the “French from 8″ programme in 1974, which concluded in the Government deciding to withdraw their support in funding the scheme…

I.1.c. The birth of new comprehensive schools

In the 1960s, the educational system moved towards a more child-centred system, focusing on children as individuals and on kinaesthetic teaching methods. This appears to be in direct link with the introduction of comprehensive schools, a new generation of schools where the eleven-plus exam had no longer to be taken to gain entry.

The developments that happened in the 1960s are due to many factors that were affecting British society. It was a time of relative prosperity. There were no unemployment difficulties and this had a very positive impact on the community’s perception and their eagerness for fast progress in many fields. Local Education Authorities were encouraging innovations within schools.

The idea of comprehensive education, which implies that all students attend a common school rather than having to sit the eleven-plus exam, which was a selective process to determine whether the child could enter a secondary modern, a grammar or a specialist school, came rather late to the United Kingdom. Other European countries had already adapted their education system to the changing society generated by World War II and its aftermath. Between 1945 and the beginning of the 1950s, some Local Education Authorities suggested the creation of comprehensive schools but the Government was extremely reluctant to this idea and decided to even strengthen the system in favour of Grammar Schools.

By the early 1960s, the Labour government changed its plans and became favourable to comprehensive schools and started to suggest the abolition of the eleven plus exam. As society was prosperous and the middle class expanding, public opinion was approved of a new generation of schools. The current system was seen as very unequal, benefiting boys more than girls, and the middle-class more than the working-class.

The 1964 Labour manifesto for the General election put great emphasis on abolishing the eleven plus exam and on developing comprehensive schools; however, after winning the elections the Government did not require Local Education Authorities to go comprehensive. Therefore, comprehensive schools started to exist alongside Grammar Schools. The Government tried to further develop their action plan, but it never managed to pass an Act, as Labour lost the General Elections in 1970.

Although the project did not completely reach its initial target, many secondary schools decided to become non selective. Some of the Grammar schools having a direct grant from the Government went comprehensive, as they only had one other alternative which was to turn into fully private schools.

In 1969, the Department for Education issued Circular 18/69, compelling teachers of Modern Foreign Languages to complete a course of professional training to teach in maintained schools. It was seen as vital to address the lack of competence in the classroom, particularly, since the first General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level in Modern Foreign Languages had been introduced in 1964. The Department for Education had also published a circular the same year (2/64) stressing the importance of developing the teaching and learning of languages, considering the economic and political context, and the need to be competitive in international and European business. Indeed, the United Kingdom was trying to become a member of the Common Market and efforts had to be made in all areas to try to obtain a positive answer, which they eventually gained in 1973, when Britain entered the European Economic Community.

In 1977, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI) published the report “11-16: the Red Book”, suggesting to include a Modern Foreign Language within the core curriculum. They advised to teach a language four periods a week in a forty-period week. The same year, HMI carried out a survey, “Modern Languages in Comprehensive Schools”, which reached alarming conclusions: two out of three students starting a language at the age of 11 were dropping it at the age of 14. Only one out of ten pupils reached the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level pass grade after five years of studying the language.

The report also mentioned the lack of professional competence of teachers who did not plan their lessons adequately, the absence of schemes of work, the fact that class objectives were not clear, and that the lessons were not challenging enough. Although teachers were obviously partly responsible for the situation, they had to face new difficulties brought in by comprehensive schools. The groups they taught were mainly in mixed ability; and this learning context implied the use of differentiation by challenging more able students and helping students having learning difficulties. The emphasis was no longer on writing skills, as had been the case previously. They had to adapt their teaching techniques to meet these new needs.

Margaret Thatcher’s first Education Act, which was published the very same year when she became Prime Minister, gave back the right to Local Education Authorities to select pupils for secondary school entrance. She revoked the Education Act issued by the Labour government in 1976. She also decided that the Government should control the school curriculum.

I.2. Significant changes: 1985 – 1996

“The irresistible rise of English as a vehicle for international communication made it easy to argue that the educational cost of producing a low level of communicative skill was too high to be justified in a curriculum under pressure from physical and human sciences. The motivation of the “new” learners, when a modern language (almost always French) was made compulsory in the comprehensive schools, was low, with a 60% drop out rate, which had a catastrophic effect on the morale of teachers.” (Hawkins, 1996:325). This is the analysis made by Hawkins of the speech delivered by George Perren, director of Centre for Information on Language Teaching, in 1976 at Kings College in London.

In 1985, the Department for Education and Employment published a document entitled “Better Schools”, which suggested that most students in secondary schools should receive a course in Modern Foreign Languages that could be of actual use, and that a second language should be offered in Year 8 or in Year 9 to the students who would gain from it. Nevertheless, one year later another report showed signs of very low achievement in Modern Foreign Languages. That year, 59,860 boys sat the Certificate of Secondary Education, and 17.63% gained a pass grade; 103,466 girls sat the same exam and 22.63% passed. The results were better though for the students who sat a General Certificate Ordinary Level. Among the 58,962 boys who took the exam, 58.87% of them got an A to C grade. As for the 88,695 girls who did the same exam, 60.47% obtained A to C, which was the pass grade for this specific exam.

Despite all the reports previously mentioned, the Consultative Document about the Curriculum for students aged 11 to 16 delivered in 1987 recommended to include a Modern Foreign Language within the foundation subjects. This means that a language would become compulsory for all the students for five years. It also implied that they would have to sit a formal examination after the five-year course.

In 1988, a long awaited reform of the examination system took place. In 1978, the Waddell Report already recommended a single exam at age 16 to replace the General Certificate of Education and the Certificate of Secondary Education.

The Certificate of Secondary Education introduced in 1965, which was designed for those students who were not able to achieve the traditional O level, was eventually replaced by the General Certificate of Secondary Education, with the 1988 Education Reform Act being published. This new exam, which was launched across the subjects, put an emphasis on assessing the four skills of listening, writing, reading and speaking. This was seen as one of the biggest achievements within the Modern Foreign Languages field in many years. Keith Joseph was the then Secretary of State for Education. His decision to initiate a new General Certificate of Secondary Education was aimed at preventing Local Education Authorities from interfering with assessments. So far, the curriculum had been in their hands and often fulfilled the requirements of some specific universities. It did not necessarily follow a logical and progressive content.
Testing and assessments were to become a regular procedure that students of future generations would have to sit at the ages of 7, 11, 14 and 16. Students’ individual results would not be available to everybody, but the school overall results would be made available. This was the birth of the League tables, dreaded by many British Schools. League tables are nowadays published in newspapers and analysed on television. This influences parents in the wishes they express for their children to be enrolled in one school rather than another.

The 1988 Education Reform Act’s main innovation was to establish for the first time a prescribed national curriculum for all state schools for the students from the age of five upwards. Within this curriculum, it was decided that languages would figure as a foundation subject in secondary schools, although informally many comprehensive schools, which before this Act had the freedom to decide whether they wanted their students to pursue a language up to the age of 16 or not, had already made them statutory.

In 1996, the Education Act reinforced all the previous Acts from the famous Butler Education act of 1944 onwards, but in the languages field it mainly reasserted the fact that Modern Foreign Languages was a foundation subject and that all students in Year 10 had to take their French, German or Spanish GCSE. Schools had to obey the law.

I.3. The Nuffield Inquiry

The Nuffield Foundation is a charitable trust which was created in 1943 by William Morris, also known as Lord Nuffield. He was the founder of Morris Motors. His original target was to “advance social well being, particularly through research and practical experiment. The Foundation aims to achieve this by supporting work which will bring about improvements in society, and which is founded on careful reflection and informed by objective and reliable evidence.” (www.nuffieldfoundation.org).

The foundation’s income is based on returns of investments, which makes it totally independent from the Government. It implies that the inquiries, research and reports are objective and unprejudiced. The foundation provides grants for various projects and supports some scientists and social scientists. Lately, they have launched programmes to develop the access to justice for all; they have instigated a programme on child protection, and have invested money to further the development of some Commonwealth countries, especially where education and health are concerned. The foundation is doing a comparative study about elderly people and the concerns about their financial problems in later life. They also keep what is called an open door, to fund missions that are submitted to them. Ideally, these innovative projects should be about one of the foundation’s areas of special interest, such as learning and social provision, law and society, or science and education.

The Nuffield foundation has lately worked on “Education 14-19″, and how to review the current system in order to inform future policies. They have also researched on speech and language difficulties, to try to enhance the work currently done. Assessment is another priority area. They have investigated curriculum policies and practices, with a particular attempt to see how Information and Communication Technology is being used in schools.

In spring 1998, the Foundation was contacted by language teachers’ representatives and delegates from the world of business, to inquire about the situation of Modern Foreign Languages in the United Kingdom. A Committee of ten people appointed by the trustees of the Foundation worked for two years on the following questions:

o “What capability in languages will this country need in the next twenty years if it is to fulfill its economic, strategic, social and cultural responsibilities and aims and the aspirations of its citizens?
o To what extent do present policies and arrangements meet these needs?
o What strategic planning and initiatives will be required in the light of the present position?” (The Nuffield Foundation, 2000: 10).

The Committee, headed by Sir Trevor McDonald, published a consultative report entitled “Where are we going with languages?”, and then many surveys were carried out by external agencies. After two years of work in partnership with organisations such as the Association for Language Learning, the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, many universities, Local Education Authorities, business schools and Chambers of Commerce, they published a final report and recommendation pamphlet entitled “Languages: the next generation” on 10 May 2000.

This was an extremely straightforward and long awaited report, which had strong significance for a number of professionals both in the business sphere and in the education field. It gained mixed critiques from the papers; one of the Times educational reporters reacted quite negatively and doomed some of the recommendations as mere utopia: “However, it remains to be seen whether the Nuffield report will help to ease our national embarrassment. Its authors are unrealistic in asking that all university applicants sit a foreign language competency test, but they are right to call for more language learning in junior schools, specialist primary schools, and improved language teaching in secondaries.” (TES, 10th of May 2000). This statement expresses mixed feelings about some aspects of the report, and is quite opinionated as far as secondary schools are concerned.

The Nuffield Languages Inquiry’s final report reached a number of conclusions from its main findings:

o “English native speakers tend to rely on the fact that their language is being spoken all over the world. However, in the current economic context, business meetings can not be held relying on the benevolence of potential partners who accept to speak a foreign language to communicate.
o There is a lack of proficiency in one or more languages within the United Kingdom human resources. Many foreigners have the opportunity of finding employment in the country whereas it does not seem to happen much the other way round.
o Languages are not taught efficiently in secondary schools, and the number of languages offered is too limited. Often, Modern Foreign Languages are presented as irrelevant even within schools. The level of achievement is too low.
o The post 16 provision for languages is too specialised and needs to broaden up; after sitting the GCSE, 90% of students drop the language that they had been learning.
o Government initiatives are not consistent throughout the compulsory schooling years and there is no transition managed with the universities.
o The tuition of languages starts too late in the child’s development and it would be much more beneficial from an earlier age.
o There is a crisis in the numbers on rolls in Modern Foreign Languages departments at university.
o There is a lack of qualified languages teachers, and the previous point implies that there will not be an increase in the number of new staff”.

The Committee working on this report, among whom Sir John Boyd, of Churchill College, Cambridge, made proposals to alleviate the situation. Although the report was originally an appeal made by various non governmental groups, the Committee addressed directly the Government in their proposals. The profile of Modern Foreign Languages must be raised within British society. Speaking more than one language must become a priority. In order to do so, a Government representative should be appointed to work specifically on this issue. Languages should be taught to pupils from the age of seven, at an age were there are no inhibitions and children have an intrinsic motivation for learning. The teaching and learning of Modern Foreign Languages in secondary schools needs to be improved. Students should have the necessary skills to learn another language later in life. The curriculum has to be revisited, and there is a great need for differentiation in approaches and contents so that every individual student can benefit from the experience of learning a language.

The report also advises to abrogate the decision made in 1966, which revoked the need for skills in a language to enter university. However, there should be alternative courses in languages for 16 to 19 year olds who do not wish to specialise in languages, but who would still like to have some level of competence. Information and Communication Technology, which is in full development within schools, has to be part of the teaching of a Modern Foreign Language, and the latter should become a “key skill” as Numeracy, Literacy or Information and Communication Technology are already.

The key message of the Nuffield Inquiry Committee is related to policies that the Government would have to undertake to improve standards in education. “The national strategy for languages should provide a coherent and consistent path of language learning from early childhood throughout life. To lay sound foundations for this path, learning for all children should start in primary school and become a sustained dimension of their entire school education (…). The government should make arrangements for the development of a national framework to define levels of language competence and provide a set of robust grade descriptors for levels of attainment to which all language qualifications should be connected.” (The Nuffield Foundation, 2000: 94).

So, the Nuffield Inquiry final report tried to tackle the issues that had to be dealt with in order to meet the country’s linguistic needs at the beginning of the 21st century. In 2001, the trustees of the Foundation established the Nuffield Language Programme to further develop the findings and more importantly the recommendations given. Their aim was to help to go from theory to practice, by working alongside the Government and various agencies that had to be involved in the process to make it functional, such as languages associations and business advisers. They wanted to contribute to the project by giving their expertise in the upcoming political debates, to promote languages within the community. Although they wished to play a role in the birth of new strategies, they also had decided that their involvement should not exceed a period of two years, after which it would be up to the Government to follow through and implement the proposals.

Google Page One Keyword Placement: Clarification Required

It is probably no surprise that an increasing number of online business owners and entrepreneurs now seek SEO website search engine optimization or marketing and promotional advice.

As a provider of Internet search consultation information, it is hard not to notice the present pattern of questions that now arise.

For example, one of the greatest concerns that affiliates, independent sellers, or home business marketers ask is this. “How do I get Google page one placement with my keyword in just two weeks?” The reason for an inquiry like this one is two-fold:

  1. Long-term SEO is both time-consuming and education-intensive. Meaning, the average Internet businessperson wants sales as quickly as possible, while usually lacking SEO skill or the time to wait for standard Google page rank achievement.
  2. Occasionally, one site owner DOES manage to garner a hot Google position with a site that just came into existence only 14 days ago. This isolated incident haphazardly motivates others to believe that they can indeed do the same.

However, strong reasons exist, which explain why this approach, event, or incident does not normally happen, and especially not to MASSES of online business marketers.

First, along with the newest Google webmaster guidelines, there are about TWELVE major factors that regulate keyword page rank achievement. Yet today, THREE of these factors reign in a super-important way.

Those determinants are:

  • Density and mutual MEANING of keyword on page;
  • Number of AUTHORITATIVE competitors; and
  • Amount of TARGETED monthly visitors.

Perhaps even more importantly than these three regulatory issues, another fact SHOULD remain high on your list of Google keyword placement priorities. That one is, simply, do you care whether your page possesses long-term stamina?

As well, do you want this Google keyword placement page to generate sales or sign-up membership support in a significant way?

Further, there is yet another tricky issue that tends to skip the consciousness of far too many online operators.

That is, almost anyone, even the inexperienced entrepreneur, can place a new keyword page onto a Google placement position in as little as two mere weeks because:

  1. Some keywords will have near zero competitors, yet may also lack realistic monthly visitor INTEREST;
  2. Many firms are available that “sell” thousands of links in varied packages–enough to jump-start nearly any obscure keyword into a good position.

Nonetheless, Google has become absolutely avid about finding and removing such sites and pages as quickly as possible, as well as extending penalties to the site owner. Thus, the answer to the question, “How can I obtain page one Google keyword position in only DAYS,” now becomes a critical decision-making matter.

In other words, is the site owner willing to TRADE a quick or sudden barrage of sales and high page presence, in lieu of nearly everlasting support from the Google administration?

Put simply, with today’s online operational guidelines, getting your Google page one keyword placement in merely DAYS easily becomes one’s chosen SUBSTITUTE for a site well made and a keyword that boosts the mission of improved consumer online search experiences.

This Is Why You Should Travel

‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page’Found this tempting line on Tumblr.

This really makes sense, especially today, when we are forced to be a victim of ‘modern humanity’. Things like digital bombardment, traffic hassles, work stress, break ups, recession, inflation, affairs and countless personal issues are frequently adding noise in our life.

So, a big question arises here. How can we escape from these nerve-racking situations? The perfect answer that pops up in my mind is ‘travel’. However, travelling as a stress buster should not be kept above everything, compromising your priorities in life.

Travel for Memory!

What memory would spring to your mind if I ask you about your last 2 years? I know, you wouldn’t tell me about the assignments you submitted to your boss or about the fancy dresses that you bought in Wall-Mart. These are too obvious stuff that you barely cherish for a long time.

On the other hand, you always love to share your ‘on the road’ experiences like going to different places, meeting different people and enjoying different foods – embracing life like a child. After all, travelling is just a store house of precious memories.

Travel to Escape from Routine Life!

Following the same everyday rituals can be boredom for you and your family. If you think that you all are stuck in a rut, then just pack your bag for a trip!

When you travel to different places, you are free from your routine life and also, you get a pretty good time to relax and de-stress with your family. No doubt, family comes first.

Just imagine swimming in the deep blue water of Jamaica when your working table is flooded with office files. Or, imagine being on the top of the Everest when you are at your career’s lowest position. Wouldn’t it be tantalizing? Plus, a small trip will definitely boost your energy once you are back to your everyday life.

Travel for Refreshment!

Staying home can be one way to unwind but definitely not an ideal way to truly refresh your body and mind. Rather than confiding yourself into the four walls of your home, you can explore different places – preventing your mind and body from stagnating. Ever wondered why people go for a walk after a hard day’s work? The reason – we need to refresh our minds just as we refresh our computers for better performance. Travelling can help you escape from a turned-off life and reintroduce to a life full of energy.

While you explore to different places, you also learn about different perspectives of living. You get to know different cultures, languages, relationships, dishes, festivals, climates, floras, faunas – everything that refreshes your mind, while learning new things.

Travel for Knowledge!

Though books and schools provide us information/knowledge and pave way for a better life, the real knowledge in life comes from experiences. No schools or accredited institutions in the whole world can provide you the knowledge that you can gain from travelling.

When you visit different places, you get a chance to meet different people of all races that have their own customs and beliefs. You will realize how different things and people are in different parts of the world. This is how we can establish new relationships, get social, learn more and experience life from a different angle.

As you set your feet to different lands, you become more confident and independent. You will have the courage and confidence to deal with those issues that you might not have been able to handle properly in the past. Now tell me, which educational institute does this?

Use Historic Locations To Learn Conceptual Social Studies

I was thinking about Walt Whitman as Steven and I walked along the red sand road to the Rose Bud Hill Pioneer Settlement. This tree lined forest lane was our road less traveled as Steven started a new adventure as an independently schooled kid. Steven was running ahead checking out all the informative signs along the trail. This was his first day as an independent learner. I wanted him to realize that he could learn easily so I set up this little trip to the Rose Bud Hill historic settlement.

Being a typical 14 year old he didn’t want to look like a geek carrying a notebook. To tell you the truth I wouldn’t have done it either so we took a digital camera instead. Don’t make a kid feel embarrassed. The fact is that you can do as much or more with a digital camera than you can with a notebook. He took an absurd number of pictures but in the process he documented everything there was to document. He photographed the information signs along with anything else that caught his attention so they could be placed in a PowerPoint. Make use of technology. Remember we are dealing with a species we might called technokids. A 14 year old has never lived without cell phones. There is no reason to take copious notes when photographs can illustrate everything.

We walked a few hundred more feet when I was almost scared to death. Suddenly a deer jumped up out of the bushes. I reacted as if it was bigfoot. But what a beautiful animal. After I realized I wasn’t going to be Bigfoots lunch I kept thinking about food. “Steven, what could that animal be used for by the people who lived here?” He immediately said “you can eat it”. “What else can you do with it?” He thought for a minute and then said “you can make clothes with the skin.” Then he decided that you could dry the meat for the winter.

Then we heard a furious commotion in a tree. We looked up to see several squirrels jumping from limb to limb in the top of a huge Red Oak. He ran over to the base of the enormous tree. He bent over backwards trying to look at what was creating the problem in the treetop. A loud chattering sound could be heard. Then I heard him yell squirrels. Look they’re fighting. I asked, “can you eat squirrels.” He made a horrible face while saying I guess so. “Yes, you can”, I said. Lets see what you’ve learned so far. This particular forest can provide two things you need to succeed in making a settlement; food and clothing. He ran over and took a picture of the tracks left by the deer. Without really trying Steven had learned that sources of food had to be in place for settlements to work.

He kept taking pictures and carefully photographed all the explanatory markers. Soon he yelled John come here. I walked over as fast as my arthritic knees would carry me and he said look at this. He pointed me to a sign that explained the Sassafras plant. The sign explained that he could create tea from the roots. I told him that I had drunk Sassafras tea as a child. Steven wanted to know what it tasted like. I told him it was kind of like root beer. So we had found more food. But the more important thing is that he was learning these concepts with no effort while having fun in a relaxed, enriching environment. He was deeply, intrinsically motivated to learn. He soon came up with the idea that you could actually make a meal from the forest.

Finally we made it to Rosebud Hill. We stood at the entrance to the peaceful farmstead looking at the log buildings. Steven walked first to a one room cabin. The cabin had a rope bed on one side and a table. Over the table was a hanging candle holder. There was a log stove that would have provided heat and a way to cook. The walls of the cabin were chinked with a mixture of mud and pine straw. I asked where did they get the materials to build this cabin? Steven thought about it for a moment then said well, duh, from the forest. “Exactly”, I said, “that’s another thing that has to exist for people to survive; building materials for shelter”. We walked out of the cabin over to the fenced garden where we could see the rich soil. Various greens were growing along with other winter crops. Then on to the chicken yard, the pig pen, the outhouse and, finally, the main house of the farm which consisted of two rooms. The large room was the center of all the family life; eating, socializing, sleeping along with protection from the elements. The second room housed another rope bed for the parents of the family. After we examined all the features of the demonstration farm we walked behind the homestead to the Akokisa indian village.

As we walked through the village we talked about the need for people to trade with each other. We also talked about the need for people to establish mutually beneficial relationships to survive. Steven brought up the idea that the indians probably helped the settlers by teaching them ways to live in the forest. “True enough, I said, “and they also probably traded with them.” Steven said “I bet that is another reason people settle somewhere.” We sat down on a log. “Let’s go over some things. What do we know now about why groups settle at a location?” Steven thought for a while then said “well they had to have food. They had to have material for shelter. They had to have somewhere to trade for things they wanted to use. But, don’t they need water?” I said “well, let’s see what they had for water.” So we walked down a trail that led us to beautiful Spring Creek.

More pictures were taken along the way. When we got to the creek Steven realized another important reason for settling here. Not only was there water but he saw a pontoon boat in the creek. He said “they could travel on this couldn’t they?”. Without opening a book, hearing a lecture or doing a Google search he had realized that there was a need for transportation. Looking at a map posted there we found that Spring Creek drains into the San Jacinto River. Then the San Jacinto River drains into the Gulf of Mexico where, at least hypothetically, the whole world could be reached from the Rose Bud Hill settlement.

Later that day after we arrived back at the house we sat down to debrief. “Ok, I asked, what can you say about why settlements are placed in particular locations?” Steven spent the next ten minutes telling me that there had to be natural resources to provide food and shelter. He talked about the need for adequate water. Another quality of an area he mentioned was easy transportation to other locations. And finally he talked about the ability to trade with other people. But that wasn’t all he talked about. He mentioned having good soil to grow food. he told about the need for animal resources to provide clothing and meat. But then he surprised me a bit when he talked about the politics that had to work between the population of native people and the settlers. From there we talked about how relationships are established between groups of people. I found that I was able to motivate him to make a list of things to study as an extension of what he had learned. He wanted to do a study of the plant and animal biology of Jones Park. That evening I found him looking up more local indian populations on the computer.

A couple of weeks past. I walked past his table where he was working. As I passed I casually asked him “what kinds of things have to exist for a human settlement to exist”. He thought for a minute then said “it’s like Rosebud Hill. You have to have some food, some water, transportation, trade, materials to make shelter and you have to be able to get along with the other people who live there”. The novelty of the way he was taught those concepts burned them into his brain with no effort.

Don’t ever be afraid to abandon the books for the real world. Just get out there. Look around you. Everyone lives in a place where there were natural resources, trade opportunities, transportation to other places available and shelter when your city was established. Get out into your community with your kids. Show them your world and why people came to live there. Keep in mind that local historical demonstration parks are nothing less than time machines. They provide a lens directly to the lives of the original people who came to live in your world. They teach through direct contact with all the senses of a child. They show through true experiential learning why every city and community in the world exists. Get out there in the world. Rescue your kid from the four, square walls of a classroom. Move on to the future of learning. Take your child on a time machine to see why your present world exists. The whole world is waiting to teach your child.