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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: http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles-quiz.shtml.)

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.

Keep it Standard

In college, I had an English professor who would tell us a grammar rule in class and then say, “But God doesn’t care.” I loved that. What she meant was, knowing the ins and outs of grammar is important, but it doesn’t make you a better person. It might, however, make you more employable.

Only six months after I went off to college I was giving a speech in Communications 101, and it was going well. I was pleased, because I was terribly shy and even standing upright seemed a victory, but for once I felt comfortable because my roommate was in the class and because I really liked the professor. Here I was, a first-year student who grew up mostly in West Virginia, giving a talk and acing it (I thought). Until. Until she mentioned where she grew up. In all of my years in West Virginia, the place where I lived was called “Sizemore Holler.” Granted, I knew the world at large would call it the way it’s spelled: Sizemore Hollow, but I couldn’t say it.

Did I ignore my mistake and go on, hoping no one else would notice it? I did not. I clapped my hand over my mouth in horror and apologized, saying it again, but in the foreign way I never had, the way I’d try to say it in the future but often fail: Sizemore Hollow.

Both the professor and the class laughed with me for saying holler, not at me, but my face flamed anyway. I vowed then and there to work even harder on my communication skills, both verbal and written.

What I learned from my wise English professor when I relayed the “horror story” of my mistake to her was this: Speak however you want at home and with your friends. You should; how we speak naturally is an important part of our heritage and history. But employers will make assumptions based on how you talk and write, and if you’d like to be hired, it’s important that you learn how to communicate in the corporate culture you’re hoping to join. Learning the rules of Standard American English is key. 

According to Rob Jenkins on the April 11, 2018 Chronicle of Higher Education website, “…over the past 10 years, employers consistently identify poor communication skills as one of their chief complaints about new hires.” At Learn More Center, we help you with both written and spoken Standard American English not because we don’t adore your accent or enjoy your emojis when you text us, but because we want to help you get the job or career you want most. Trust me, if you message us that you’ve gotten that dream job, you’ll get a STRING of emojis from us. But in the meantime, for job search purposes, keep it standard.

How To Order A Copy Of Your HSE Transcripts

HSE students, this is the information needed to replace or order copies of your diploma. YOU WILL NEED TO CALL TO GET YOUR TASC ID#. Please call Christine Moore for that information at 260-330-1461

HSEA-TASC™ Diploma/Transcript Request

The Learn More Center is unable to provide official HSEA-TASC™ diplomas and transcripts (We can ONLY provide UNOFFICIAL copies.) the State of Indiana has contracted with an outside agency, Diploma Sender, for this service. After passing the test, your FIRST diploma and transcripts will be MAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE!

For Duplicate HSEA-TASC™ documents or view results by contacting Diploma Sender at: www.diplomasender.com . The TASC ID# is required and is issued by the test examiner after you complete the entire test. You MUST have an email address! Fees for this service range from $5.00-$15.00 per item requested. Fees are subject to change without notice. A $5.00 handling fee is charged for mailing documents. There is no additional fee for FAX or email orders.

For additional information please contact The Learn More Center, at 260-330-1461. For website assistance or other inquiries, you may send an email message to support@diplomasender.com or call 855-313-5799.

The Power of May

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of His hand.  Irish Blessing

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

May I help you? May I have a cookie? May I sit here with you?

“May.” I love this word and this month.  May expresses possibility: may you learn much today.  May seeks polite permission:  May I come with you?  May conveys a wish or hope:  May you have a blessed journey.  May is the month where we start to feel more sun; we can see more vivid colors, and the promises of summer. 

May reflects Hope and Faith.  The Hope of more warmth and the Faith that fruits will grow.  We need May.  March and April of 2020 had many stresses.  Virus warnings, isolation commands, and social distancing can make it difficult to feel hope or maintain faith. Yet in the midst of chaos, I encourage you to embrace the power and promise of May. Even if the virus and warnings continue, even if the world turns more chaotic, even if social distancing continues, hold on.  May you find blessings in the midst of the chaos.

Fear, stress, and uncertainty may rob us of not only the joys of today, they can truly weaken our ability to stay emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy.  For a longer read go to:  https://medium.com/the-mission/why-coronavirus-should-be-the-least-of-your-worries-d6ed6abe75bc  Fear ignites our fight-flight-freeze response, which in turn weakens our ability to fight illness.  During this time, MAY you find peace.  May you learn new skills.  May you find inner strength, and may you find and give compassion and kindness. May you find and be the helpers.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”  Mr. Fred Rogers

At Learn More when we ask “May we help you?” we are seeking permission to walk with our students on their next journeys.   We embrace the power of May.  May your journeys be blessed. 

Blessings,

Cynthia

Cynthia

“For Good”

For both students and instructors, the past couple of months have been a time of change. In a popular musical, the lead character sings of her friendship with a woman, “I have been changed for good.” I was privileged to see the musical a few years ago in London, and let me tell you, if the tears shed by the audience was any indication, those lyrics changed them, too. COVID-19, while no friend of ours, has changed us and how we do things as well. Has it been “for good?” Let’s see.

Teaching online since March has been both a delight and a challenge. It allows for one-on-one sessions with students, and we mutually get to experience things such as one another’s pets coming up to the computer screen or seeing a family member cross behind and say hello. It lends a bit of fun informality to our relationship that we don’t usually have.

Seeing our students’ faces online is wonderful, too. That’s the unexpected benefit of actual face-to-face contact during a video session versus even sitting side by side in person, because as instructors we can detect a furrowed brow, can catch a puzzled look or more easily observe a moment of joy when knowledge dawns by seeing a student head on, or at least that’s been my experience.

However, sometimes the technology that one student has access to and/or feels comfortable using, another does not, so we have had to all be flexible and patient as we have found ways to meet virtually that works for nearly all of our students. Between the phone, Zoom, email, Facebook, and Facetime, we’ve reached all of our students who were able to work on their schooling during this tumultuous time. We’re proud of that.

While we have offered students computer-centered distance learning opportunities for some time, we’ve also upped our Google Classroom game as well as being trained to teach on another learning website we’re excited about called IXL. This pandemic has allowed us to increase our stable of resources to better serve our students both now and later.

Students have been fantastic with learning how to use these and other unfamiliar platforms, and it counts towards their digital literacy, which is increasingly important in the workplace. We have all gained confidence in and knowledge of technology during this time.

Nothing, of course, compares with working in person with students. But even as we gradually reopen the centers, we will continue offering distance learning via video for those who request it, as it’s been convenient for those students who have barriers such as lack of transportation or no childcare.

COVID-19, you might have changed us against our will, but despite you, it’s for good, in both senses of the word.

Success Story

One of our most memorable students is Sue Doan. She is full of energy and personality, talkative, and frequently laughing. Sue faced a challenging road to achieve her high school equivalency that she didn’t expect, but she made a promise to herself and her family that she intended to keep. Even when she felt discouraged or unsure that she could overcome the obstacles in her path, Sue pushed forward. Her determination, humor, and positive attitude would see her through.

Looking back, Sue talks about how she would talk herself through those tough moments. “I made a promise to myself. I can do this. I did it. I’m proud of myself. I keep on looking at my diploma and saying, ‘I did it.’” She’s thankful she did, but the journey was quite the challenge.

Sue has been married for forty years and she now has five children and five grandchildren. But before that, she was a child who had difficulties in school. “I got bullied and made fun of because my mother would pick my clothes. They didn’t see me as another student in school. I had no choice. I had to wear my mother’s clothes.” Sue felt discouraged and disliked as a result and did not enjoy being at school. “I got mean too. I didn’t like bullies. I beat them up.” When Sue was a teenager she finally decided she’d had enough of school and dropped out. “I didn’t think it was important. I was a Miss Know-It-All teenager.”  Sue started looking for work in her teens and realized that most jobs did not require a high school diploma so she didn’t think completing her education was a big deal. “I could get any job. And I did.”

Over the years, Sue held a variety of positions. At age 16, she worked in a foundry, and she had also worked in a pickle factory. She has been a car hop and a custodian. Sue worked for 34 years without feeling a need for a high school diploma. She focused on her work and on keeping herself active, walking six miles a day. One day, the plant that she worked at closed down and moved out of the country, and suddenly she was unemployed when most workplaces were requiring a high school equivalency. A service she was connected with recommended that she attend classes with Learn More Center to prepare and earn her HSE.

Sue worked hard to study for her HSE. There were many frustrating moments, but she refused to give up because of the promise she made. “It was a challenging program. I didn’t know some of the stuff, like algebra and geometry.” She pushed on to develop study habits and even groups with students outside of class time. She was determined to succeed no matter how long it took and she felt a connection with fellow students, teachers, and tutors. “I think the people cared and they sit down with you and have patience with a woman like me.” She said she “spent a long time studying, trying to convince myself I can do this. I’m proud of it. It took a long time and I did it!” She said encouragement from others was an incredible motivating factor that she had never experienced and that her teachers and school counselor in the ‘70s “didn’t even try to talk me out of quitting.”

She was concerned at first, but is happy that she chose to obtain her HSE. “I didn’t know for sure I wanted to do that because of my age.” She was afraid that they might “look at me like I was an older person.” She had doubts. “At first, I said I don’t really need this.” But she worked on staying positive and seeing it through. “I promised my parents I would do this and my sister.” She even received encouragement from other students.

After starting, she realized she wasn’t alone in going back. David, one of her teachers, used a buzz word, “Engage,” to help her focus “because I get frustrated.” In the end Sue realized that she wasn’t alone in going back to further her education. “You’re never too old to go back to school.”

Sue put great effort into keeping her promise to her family and practiced both in and outside of class. She became a member of the National Adult Education Honor Society. After completing, she feels like she wants to encourage others to pursue their education as well. “I’ve got me a good job now. I don’t have to worry about getting hassled or turned down.”

Sue’s laughter and high energy in the classroom isn’t present like it used to be, but she comes to visit periodically to share successes and keep in touch with fellow students, teachers, and tutors that she connected with and to encourage others to keep pushing forward, no matter how challenging it seems, because it’s worth it.

North Manchester
Town Life Center

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

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

Wabash
Wabash County Community Learning Center

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

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

Email:info@learnmorecenter.org
 

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