September Newsletter

We Care! Erin Brock

The Learn More Center is more than just a place to go to learn math or reading. It’s a place where you can connect with people who have lived entirely different lives from yours, but somehow understand who you are and what you’re going through. It’s a place where you don’t have to feel alone. Each person who walks through our doors has lived a unique, complex, life. Some have faced trauma, abuse, or other hardships. But at Learn More Center, we commit to spreading love and understanding, making it our goal to care about every student. You may come to us with the goal of getting your diploma or learning a new language, but you will leave with a new family and a large group of people who care about you. Your past is your own, but the Learn More Center is here to shape the way for your future!

Be Present: As a Person, in Real Life. By Erin Brock

Wherever you are right now, how many things do you notice around you? If you’re sitting outside, do you hear the birds chirping or smell the fresh grass and pure earth? If you’re inside, do you hear the buzz of the air conditioner or the sound of the world outside your windows? Often, we realize that we missed something that was going on around us all because
we weren’t paying attention. We weren’t present. It can be so easy to become engulfed with the world going on inside our heads. Our
minds spin with thoughts about the past and the future, thinking about what we’ve done and what we’re about to do. But it’s important to take a step back and remember to be present in the moment! Sometimes the greatest things we can do for ourselves are taking a step back, breathing deeply, and being grateful for where we are. If you find yourself thinking more about what’s next in life or what’s passed instead of what is happening right now, it can be easy to feel stressed or upset. Remember to be present and stay grounded. One way or another, everything will sort itself out and as long as we remember to appreciate the moments we’re in, we can better appreciate the moments that are coming.

August Newsletter

July Newsletter

The Power of Educated Parents

While I always knew I wanted to go to college, I wasn’t sure how to get started with the process. Thankfully, something fortuitous happened for me at just the right time: when both of my parents earned their GEDs, they went straight to our local community college and signed up for classes. When I graduated from high school the next year, I followed, and I was privileged to get to take a couple of classes with them before I transferred to a four-year college. Going to college with them is a treasured memory. It helped me, a shy young woman, acclimate to a new environment. It was a natural next step for me, one that would have been more difficult if my parents had not led the way.

Not everyone has had that unique experience, but research shows that the education level of parents can have an effect on their children. A College Board/National Journal survey conducted in 2014 provided some interesting insights: Eighty percent of those with both parents who hold college degrees said their parents wanted them to go on to a four-year college or university. Only 29 percent in families without degrees were encouraged to do so. Their parents instead suggested they get a job or enter the military.

There is an economic benefit to children whose parents are educated, too. The National Center for Children in Poverty found in 2015 that less educated parents translated to lower household incomes. Eighty-six percent of children living with parents without a high school degree are in low-income families, the study shows.

As a result, because families without higher education aren’t as likely to encourage their children to go on to college, the cycle of poverty is often carried on to the next generation. Not only can poverty cause physical harm to children through a lack of basic necessities, but it can cause stress and behavioral issues throughout the family, resulting in problems in relationships and school.

My parents, degrees in hand, quickly moved the family from economically depressed West Virginia, where my dad was out of work, to Indiana where he found a job within a week. I (eventually) went on to get not only my bachelor’s but also my master’s degree. I can attest to the influence of parents’ education on a child.

*Photo by Kristin Hardwick

Ten Tips for Studying Life Science with your Family Outdoors

With the onset of warmer temperatures, being outdoors is a pleasure. Book learning is important, but sometimes your brain is mush and wants a break. Or your children are begging to go to the park. That’s okay—you can take your life science studies outside! Here are ten tips to help.

  1. Keep a nature journal listing the time of year, weather, sounds, smells, and what you see. What do you notice?
  2. Sketch the flora (plants) and fauna (wildlife) you observe, even if you don’t think you’re any good at it. Just closely looking at nature helps you see things you wouldn’t otherwise. Your children might enjoy their own sketch books, and who knows what they might catch that you haven’t?
  3. Write questions about things you can’t identify or phenomena you don’t understand. (If you have children, they will have an endless stream of questions to guide your research.) Look up the answers later.
  4. Take photos of plants you don’t recognize. Download a plant identifying app to your phone or post a photo on social media and ask for help. For bonus points, learn the parts of plants–you’ll need to know these.
  5. Encourage your family to all take nature photos and choose a winner of the day. That can be the subject you study for the week.
  6. Educate your children on environmentalism. Bring a picnic and make a point of leaving nothing behind (unless there’s a trash can and/or recycle bin nearby). Have them pick up others’ trash and throw it away.
  7. Make connections. Point out your water in your refillable water bottle and compare it to a nearby body of water or even a mud puddle to your children, asking questions about the water cycle. If it rains, even better. (The steps of the water cycle are easily found online and are fun to draw.)
  8. Start a family list of what plants and animals you have seen. Make a wish list of what you’d like to encounter. (A trip to the zoo might be in order.)
  9. Take time to watch an anthill and write about what you see happening or a bird building a nest. What can you learn from this?
  10. Bring something home, say, a flower or a rock. Put it on the dinner table and observe it for the next few days. Then ask yourself what you’ve learned from it.

Supplementing study guides with everyday life studies can bring joy back to learning, and it can help you and your family spend time together. It can increase your knowledge in painless, enjoyable ways. Give these ten tips (or just a couple) a try. Let us know your results.

Use it or Lose It: How to Retain What You’ve Learned

Have you ever had someone ask you something and you say, “Oh, hang on – I know that. Or, at least I used to know that”? For me, that would be the state capitals of the United States. (Don’t worry – you won’t have to memorize them to pass the HSE, but it never hurts to know them either.)

There are benefits to reviewing information regularly. If we don’t, we tend to forget it. You never know when, say, knowing the definition of agrarianism might be the key to answering a section of social studies questions that gives you just enough points to pass your exam, so you don’t want to just let what you’ve learned slip away from you.

There are many ways of going over what you have learned, the effectiveness of each depending on what kind of learner you are.

Did you know we all learn in different ways? (Here’s a quiz to find out what kind of learner you are:

Based on your learner type, you may try any or all of these methods for obtaining or reviewing information. (Yes, these same methods of review are also effective for learning information in the first place.)

Visual Learner: Learns best by seeing images or charts and graphs

  • Access online games or search “Google Images.”
  • Use charts, graphs, pictures, drawings.
  • Draw pictures to remind you of what you’re trying to remember. In the case of the state capitals, to picture the capital of Hawaii, maybe draw a honey jar in lululemon tights (hon e lulu). 

Physical/Kinesthetic Learner: Learns best through recreating, through movement, and through hands-on experience

  • Write information in a sandbox or in birdseed in a shoebox. The motion can help you remember.
  • “Reenact” a historical event. It doesn’t have to be elaborately done. A pretend sword fight while hollering the dates of a battle can work.
  • If there are experiments in class, be sure to ask for hands-on access to them.

Verbal Learner: Learns best by writing notes, reading, and prefers written assignments and emails

  • Type up information and print it on card stock to make flashcards or download a flashcard app.  
  • Write what you’re trying to remember in the notes section on your phone.
  • Write in your journal and read what you’re trying to remember aloud.

Auditory Learner: Learns best through lectures, discussions, music, and talking through information

  • Read the material into your voice memo and listen back to it.
  • Hunt up a YouTube or TED Talk video on the topic you’re studying.
  • Make the information into a song.

Oh, and by the way, I was inspired by writing this post to review the states and capitals. I found a cool game online and have had a ton of fun practicing. I think if I keep it up, they’ll come back to me just fine. And trust me, I’ll be reviewing them regularly from now on so I don’t lose them again. If you run into me, feel free to quiz me.

What are ways that YOU learn best? We’d love for you to share with us.

We’ve Only Just Begun

Congratulations! You’ve passed your HSE exam. You’re holding your diploma in your hand. Your relatives have taken tons of photos, and you still have the taste of graduation cake in your mouth. Eventually, however, it occurs to you that tomorrow is coming. “What now?” you say. We’re glad you asked!

Trust me, if you’re a Learn More Center student, this won’t be the first time you’ve considered the future. We will have discussed your goals with you the minute you walk in the door because we want to help: we’re in this together.

Some students come to us with job opportunities waiting when they earn their HSE. Some can’t apply for a job they want without earning that, and upon receiving their diploma, they immediately apply for the job they want. Other students have current employers who promise them raises and promotions if they get their HSE. (Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for a raise when you earn that HSE–it doesn’t hurt to ask.) Not everyone, however, knows what to do after graduation.  

Students sometimes come in knowing they want to enroll in a higher education program, and the HSE is only their first step. If that’s something you’re interested in we can help you apply for college and to sign up for the FAFSA to see if you qualify for financial aid for school. Whether your goal is pursuing a college degree or a certificate in a subject area, we can prep you for that as well.

Even those with well-defined initial goals, however, may find those changing as life situations arise: unemployment, divorces, childcare responsibilities. Don’t hesitate to come back in and discuss where to go if they do.

If you don’t know what you want to do after earning your diploma, that’s fine. One of the first things we do when you come to us is put you on Indiana Career Explorer, which measures your skills and career interests. It can help point you in the direction of a job that’s right for you. It could remind you of creative passions you didn’t realize you can convert to a career.

We also have new online courses available that provide you with skills you need for your current job, and how to navigate the workplace. We pass along job leads when we hear of them. Occasionally, our students become our colleagues, too. We take great joy in that.

All of this to say that we are here for you. When you earn that diploma, it’s not over. We’re not kicking you to the curb; we will continue to contact you, to see where you are in life, and how we can help you reach your educational goals. We will let you know when we have new programs that might benefit you, and we love it when you stop in or call to update us or tell us how we can help you.  

Let us help you figure out what’s next. It’s what we’re here for; our commitment to you is for the long term. And truly, we’ve only just begun.

North Manchester
Town Life Center

603 Bond Street
North Manchester, IN 46962
Phone: (260) 330-1461
HSE Exam scheduling:
(260) 330-3553

Monday: 9am-7pm
Wednesday: 9am-7pm

Wabash County Community Learning Center

277 North Thorne Street
Wabash, IN 46992
Phone: (260) 330-1082

Tuesday: 9am-6pm
Thursday: 9am-3pm



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