Sunday, July 25, 2010

Delegation for Non-traditional Students

Attending college as a non-traditional student is challenging, especially if you have been the homemaker and caregiver to your family. One of the most difficult parts of college for non-traditional students is finding time to study and do homework.

Learn to delegate chores at home to give you the time you need for your studies. Delegation will save you time, and provide the much needed time for homework and study time. Learn to trust your family to do their share, so that you can have time to do the things that will eventually make all your lives better.

When you delegate responsibility for a task to one of your children, always follow up an hour or a day or so later, depending on the job. Make sure the task has been started or completed within a timely fashion. Children are not expert cleaners, so if cleaning is one of the chores you delegate, you may have to make allowances until they get better at it.

Communication is very important. Providing your family members a list of tasks makes it easy for them to remember everything they are expected to do, and the order in which it should be done.

Carefully assess your child’s abilities and skills. Match their skills with the available jobs. Give them the authority to do the job they have been given. If their job is to take out trash and someone is leaving empty cans on the counter, make sure they have the authority to deal with the situation appropriately. Keep the lines open so that you know what is going on, but don't tell them how to do the job and don't ride them about the job. It is, however, a good idea to teach them how to do the job, before assigning it to them.

Make sure they know what to do and how to do it. When you assign a task, give them a time table, so that they will know when you expect them to have the job done.

Let them make the decisions involving their job. If you don't, you are still doing it yourself. Trust them to do the job right, but follow up to make sure they are staying within the rules.

Don't plan for them. Occasionally, check to see if they need help. Either provide them with help, or help them yourself, but don't do the job for them.

In addition to helping you have the time you need to complete your school work, delegating household chores helps your children learn how to be independent in their own homes, someday. Everyone should learn to wash clothes, wash dishes, and keep a house straight. Learning to cook doesn’t hurt, either.

Be consistent in your expectations. Your family needs to know they can depend on you, too.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Algebra Recommendations

Unfortunately, the books I recommended in my last post for helping college students who struggle with Algebra are no longer available.

One of the main reasons learners have trouble with algebra is that they have poor basic math skills. If you can't multiply and divide easily, don't understand fractions and ratios, and sometimes squareroots, algebra will be a foreign language.

After a long search both online and offline, I have found some books that are excellent choices, and are currently in print. None is over $20 brand new, so these are still a good value.

E-Z Math
by Barron's covers whole numbers, fractions, percentages, beginning algebra, beginning geometry, beginning trigonometry, word problems and probability statistics.
Recommended retail price is $14.99, but you can get it brand new HERE
for $10.19. (Please note, prices may change in the interim.)

A-Plus Notes for Beginning Algebra: Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1
by Rong Yang has a suggested retail price of $19.50, but you can get it HERE
for $13.26. (Please note, prices may change in the interim.)

These are the books I am recommending to high school and college students who need a refresher in basic math and pre-algebra skills.

My experience is that having several algebra books allows you to better understand a topic in math, since each author will describe the topic in slightly different terms.