Is there any Relief to the Rising Cost of a College Education?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today and I’m discussing the cost of a college education. According to experts, the cost to send your children to school has risen forty percent in the last ten years.

Therefore, when my kids go to college it’s going to cost almost $15,000 dollars more a year to educate my boys. According to this college cost calculator. http://www.archimedes.com/vanguard/collcost.phtml?

I was a little freaked out about that. I mean we’ve started a college fund for the boys, but I’m sure it’s not going to grow that fast. According to experts, the reason for the increase has been loss of state funding, endowments, and fund raising.

So what are parents going to do? I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but incomes are on the decline as well, when parents’ incomes aren’t rising as fast as the cost of college educations that spells trouble.

There have been some whispers through the community that college classes will only be available online in the future. What does that mean? If this rumor does come to fruition, it means that colleges will no longer need the brick and mortar buildings in which to conduct their lectures. Professors will be able to record their lectures from their offices and even their homes. That cuts a huge expense right there. Hmmm… makes you think doesn’t it.

Wait, there’s more. If college courses are all online in the future, there will be no need to send your kids away to school. Just think of the savings on room and board!  Granted, they’ll be in the house a little longer than you planned, but think of the savings.

I believe this is the future of education. The way I see it, a student could pick any instructor he wishes to learn from regardless of that instructor’s affiliation with a certain college. I’m seeing professors as independent contractors. I’m sure the government would get involved in some way, probably, setting the criteria for each degree and the prerequisites for each class.

In fact, there’s one man who’s already doing this. His name is Salman Kahn. He’s a former hedge fund manager turned YouTube Teacher. He records lectures and posts them on the web and his videos are by far the most viewed educational videos on the web. In fact, he’s Bill Gates favorite teacher.

He posts lessons on math and science as well as lessons on a range of other subjects. His playlist of approximately one thousand six hundred and thirty tutorials are viewed on an average of seventy thousand times a day. I found this information in an article from Fortune’s Magazine. The author is David A. Kaplan and it’s titled, Bill Gates Favorite Teacher. He does all of this for free. He wants to offer the first free world class virtual school.

I see some great things that online teaching can accomplish. It will level the playing field between the socio-economic classes. What that means is that people who can’t afford to send their kids to college won’t have to worry. They can log onto the computer and see the same lecture as someone who can afford a Harvard education. I think that’s great. It would certainly alleviate the problem of whether or not people are going to be able to afford the cost of a college education, wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. If you have any insight on the future of education, please share it with us by leaving a comment. We’d love to hear from you! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Posted in reviews, Teen

Book Review of “Divergent!”

 

One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior’s society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she’s determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another book review. The book on the agenda this morning is “Divergent” by Veronica Roth. I must say that when I first bought the book I was skeptical. I’ve been reading a lot of Contemporary Young Adult Fiction and I was into all the teenage angst that comes with that type of story. So when I picked up this dystopian novel and started reading I didn’t think it would suck me in.

At first it didn’t. It took a couple of chapters before I had the desire to get to know the characters, but when I did, I had a hard time putting it down. I enjoyed the relationship between Tris and Four and I love how their relationship develops. I became interested enough in the story to buy the next book, “Insurgent.” I’m reading that one right now.

I’ve also become interested in learning what happens to the five factions, Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. This is a unique story and I’m looking forward to reading the others in the series.

However, I must say, it hasn’t drawn me in nearly as much as the Contemporary Young Adult books that I’ve recently read have. That said, I admire the author’s imagination. She has certainly created a unique world for this story. I’ll be reviewing the second book in the series soon. Thanks for stopping by! If you’d like to share your thoughts regarding “Divergent,” feel free to do so. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Health, Parenting, Teen

My thoughts on Vacation, Stress, and Peer Pressure

 

IMG_0315

 

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. My post is a little late this week because I had a doctor’s appointment and then hubby and I went out to lunch. It was nice to have a date with the hubster and it ended up being a relaxing day.

It’s also the last week of school for my kids. They’re so excited and I must say so am I. I don’t know if it’s because we had such an obnoxiously long winter or what, but I’m feeling a little wrung out.

We have great plans for the summer. We’re going to vacation up north on Torch Lake for a couple of weeks. Everyone in the family enjoys these trips, even our cat Lily. 🙂

 

IMG_0105

Taking a vacation is a great stress reliever for parents and kids. Sometimes we forget the stresses that kids deal with on a daily basis, the stress of peer pressure, school pressures, and trying to figure out where they fit into the world.

By removing your child from that environment, you give them an opportunity to spend time with the family and strengthen those bonds. I know most teens will protest having to take time away from their friends, but I think it’s good for them. I’m going to go out on a limb and say spending time alone is good for teens too.

Not too much time alone, but a child needs to have a good relationship with herself as well. Therefore, when the ugliness of peer pressure rears its head, hopefully she’ll choose what’s best for her, and not go along with the crowd because she’s afraid of being alone. She’ll have had some practice and it won’t be as scary.

It’s important for kids and teens to learn how to entertain themselves. That way they’re less dependent on others for entertainment and approval. It’s okay to be a little bit of a loner if your friends are engaging in less than desirable behavior. I’m hoping to teach my kids this. In my opinion, it might even alleviate some of the stress of dealing with peer pressure.

Well…I certainly went off on a tangent there, but that’s okay…after all this is my page to ramble. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and if you’d like to share your thoughts on vacations, kids, or stress feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to read them!

IMG_0314

Posted in Teen

Parents Beware! Synthetic Pot is on the Rise

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. While I was at the Laundromat washing a couple of comforters, they won’t fit in my washing machine at home, I happened upon an article in Time Magazine about synthetic pot.

The title sparked my interest, “The Rise of Fake Pot.” To get a glimpse of the article click here: http://time.com/57167/rise-of-fake-pot/

The gist of this article claims there’s a new drug in town and it’s not heroin, cocaine, or even marijuana. It’s synthetic marijuana and the reason it’s so scary is that it’s for sale legally as Botanical Incense. It also goes by the names Herbal Incense and Potpourri.

This synthetic marijuana originates in Asia,is  transported to the USA, and sold in convenience stores and gas stations. It comes in heat-sealed foil packets. Users smoke the Potpourri and it acts on the same receptors in the brain as THC.

In fact, this synthetic drug is even more hazardous to your health than the real stuff. Why? Because it contains toxic chemicals that cause severe reactions such as seizures, strokes, cardiac arrest, and kidney and brain damage.

Read what happened to Emily Bauer here: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/miracle-progress-teen-near-death-synthetic-marijuana-article-1.1456099 She smoked the stuff for two weeks straight and had multiple strokes that left her paralyzed and partially blind.

The scary thing about all of this is the fact it’s unregulated and sold legally. Your child can stop at a gas station and pick up as many foil packets that he or she wants.

The problem with regulation is regulatory agencies don’t know how to regulate it, because it’s only dangerous if someone ingests it. To make matters worse, manufacturer’s state on the packet, it’s not for human consumption. Therefore, they’re covered legally if someone dies from ingesting their product.

Right now, there’s a push to legalize marijuana and this is muddying the waters even more for those regulatory agencies. According to this article, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/05/28/e-cigarette-poisoning.aspx?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=poisonings-from-e-cigarettes-and-synthetic-pot-are-surgi the legalization of Marijuana would obliterate the synthetic drug market. Why would teens need all that toxic, synthetic crap when the real stuff is available?

Hmmm…makes you think, doesn’t it?  Parents and Educators need to be aware of this drug. It has long lasting, harmful side effects that can derail a young teen’s life.

What are your thoughts on Synthetic Pot? Should we legalize the real stuff that’s actually safer? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Uncategorized

Thinking about my Dad on Memorial Day

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s Memorial Day today and I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day!

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to take today and remember my dad. He passed away about fifteen years ago and even though he’s gone, I think about him every day. I see his personality in my brothers whenever I get together with them, especially my youngest brother. He has the same mannerisms as my father and that same tone whenever he’s being cynical. I laugh whenever I hear my dad’s signature sigh. My brother isn’t even aware that he does this, but I see it.

This photo courtesy of Creative Commons Flickr.com. Photographer Senor Condo
This photo courtesy of Creative Commons Flickr.com. Photographer Senor Condo

It’s funny the things I remember about my dad. Like the way he used to say my nickname, or when he used to get irritated with me for being late for dinner, but then he’d feel bad afterward and ask me to play catch. 😉 He could never stay mad at me for very long. Now that I’m a parent, I understand how irritating being late can be! I just loved being outside and I didn’t want to come in. I was just a kid after all.

Just being with him had a calming effect on me, like everything was going to be all right. I’m kind of a worrier, so it was a relief to feel that way whenever I could. 🙂

So, here’s to my dad! (Raising a glass of wine to the sky) I miss him and wish he were still here. I wish he had been around to meet my kids. He would’ve loved being with them. I also would’ve loved to see his expression when I became a published author. He would’ve been so proud. Sniff.

Speaking of publishing, I do have some other news that I’m excited about. My fourth book has been accepted for publication and it’ll be coming out in November. Squeeee….I’m so excited! In fact, my publisher wants to break up my story into three books. Gulp! At first, I wasn’t sure about that, but after thinking about it, I’m on board with the idea. So, instead of one book titled, “Gideon Lee,” there’s going to be three books. I’m so excited about this series!

That’s all I can say for now, but I’ll keep you posted!

 

I hope you all have a Happy Memorial Day. I’m going to take a few minutes and remember my dad, hoping he knows about my kids and my accomplishments. I hope he’s proud. 🙂

Posted in Parenting, Teen

Social Media: What is Its Impact on our Primary Relationships?

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m discussing something that I’m sure is near and dear to everyone’s hearts. I’m talking about Social Media.

As an author, I rely on Social Media to get the word out about my books and events that I’m participating in. It’s a great way to make professional connections with other authors, bloggers, and reviewers.

Social Media Landscape 2011

****This photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons. Photographer Fred Cavazza

Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

However, that’s the business side of Social Media; let’s take a look at the personal side of it. Many experts feel that Social Media is weakening our primary relationships. When I say primary, I’m talking about our relationship with our families and close friends. The experts feel that people spend so much time building up their social networks that they neglect these relationships. In fact, this article states just that. To read more, click the link. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-does-social-media-affect-relationships.html

I can see where this would be a problem. However, I do see a positive side to Social Networking as well. I think it’s incredible that my child can communicate with another child from another country via Social Media. What a way to bridge the gap between different cultures. What a great way to learn something about another country first hand.

I see this as a great positive. In my opinion, a whole new world has been opened up for the next generation if it’s used properly. When I say if it’s used properly, I mean if it’s used in moderation.

Just like we don’t want our kids playing video games 24/7 we  don’t want them interacting via social media sites for that long either. We should use the same constraints with social media that we would for any new activity that our kids engage in. The motto around my house is that everything’s good in moderation.

We as parents can make sure our kids don’t forget about their “real life” friends by setting limits on the amount of time they’re on social media and making sure they’re involved in other things like clubs and sports.

If we do this then the negative impact from Social Networking will be less. I’m sure there’ll be some kids who abuse it, just like there are some who abuse alcohol, or text and drive.

That’s why it’s important to have parental involvement. If parents are close by monitoring their child’s activity on the internet, they’re less likely to get into trouble. I know. Famous last words, right?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today! If you have any insight on how to set guidelines for social media use for teens, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

We need Diverse Books!

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today with some exciting news. My website/blog is getting a new look. You can already see some of the changes, but there are more to come, so please bear with me as the construction commences!

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to what’s going on in the Twitter World, but this last week the #weneeddiversebooks hashtag trended. I even tweeted and retweeted some of the messages because I think it’s true.

Although, the trend was mainly bringing to the attention of Tweeties everywhere that most books are of Caucasian construction, I think we need to look at all kinds of diversity and not just skin color.

There’s diversity of religion, diversity of sexual orientation, as well as racial diversity. In my humble opinion, if there were more books on these subjects then people would become more knowledgeable and with that knowledge, they’d become more tolerant of these different groups. Maybe this would help the bullying issues we seem to be facing in our schools and workplaces. Wouldn’t that be great?

A few books out there deal with racial diversity. Not the subject so to speak, but one of the main characters is of a different racial group than Caucasian. These books are a start in the cry for diversity. Below are a couple of them that I’ve come across.

 

Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.

 

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

I’m wondering if there were more diverse books available, would there be less anxiety in our teens. When you think about it, the teen years are full of angst because everyone’s trying to fit in. What if they learned through reading that we’re all different and that’s okay? There’d be less teen angst that’s for sure. Wouldn’t it be great if teens spent their time investing in themselves as opposed to trying to fit some unrealistic ideal? More books that are diverse could accomplish this, wouldn’t you agree?

So not only do we need more of these types of books in our bookstores, but we also need to have our kids read them. 🙂 So make sure when you come across a book where the hero is other than a Caucasian or may be of a different sexual orientation, give it a shot. You might be surprised by what you learn. Remember, reading fiction is a great way to learn too.

Thanks for reading my post today and if you know of a great book that deals with diversity leave a comment. I’d like to read it! 🙂

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Could the Heavy Pollen Season this Spring help the Bees?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a hectic couple of weeks. I’ve had classroom visits and I finished editing my fourth novel. I have news on that, but I’ll share that at a later date. 🙂

I’m in Michigan and as I’m sure many of you have heard we’ve had an extremely rough winter. In fact, I sent my kids to school today with their winter coats again because we just can’t seem to get the temperature above sixty degrees. Boo!

Anyway, I’ve heard because the winter has been so horrible that our spring is going to be the worst for allergy sufferers. According to the rumors, everything is going to pop at the same time this year and the pollen is going to be at very high levels.

Well, this got me thinking. 🙂 If the pollen is going to be at high levels this year, it would make it a great year to help the bees! That’s right! We need bees to keep the earth healthy. I’m sure you remember my post on saving the bees. Click here to read it: https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/lets-save-the-bees/

Photo compliments of Creative Commons on Flicker. Photographer Mike Baird

These tiny insects are one of the things that keeps our earth in balance and they do this when they cross-pollinate flowers. Unfortunately, the bee population has dwindled and experts aren’t sure why.

In order to keep our earth strong and vibrant we need to help our little friends. How can we help you ask? Well for one thing, plant flowers this spring. Let’s give our bee friends some food and while you’re at it, leave a basin of water near your flowerbeds, a birdbath isn’t just for birds, you know. 🙂 Bees get thirsty so let’s help keep them hydrated. To find out more ways to help our bee friends go to this link: http://www.queenofthesun.com/get-involved/10-things-you-can-do-to-help-bees/

My twitter friend, Dave the Bee shared it with me yesterday and it inspired this post.  Let’s take advantage of this heavy pollen season and help the bees help us! Plant some flowers this spring! 🙂

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Research is Critical to your Work In Progress

1597765466_55389839b7_m
This photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/51114580@N00/1597765466/in/photolist-3rbY1s-eMNJJD-8HEreg-5mnDfb-4ngZSY-8JxuUt-6Qn57B-ggsKho-b9pe34-apx2oh-dpRAoH-4VwMdz-7pqmAL-6bSeXR-dnSFz6

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after taking a blogcation. I needed one because I had a whole week of Classroom Visits to do and I wanted to concentrate on those. I have to say, I enjoy getting in front of my readers and talking about writing and what inspires my stories.

I’ve just finished my coming of age story, “Gideon Lee.” I can’t release details yet, but I’m excited about it. I did speak about it during my visits last week and there were sparks of interest in the story. That certainly did my heart good!

In writing my novels, I’ve found that research is critical. I’ve found that my readers, even though they know they’re reading fiction, want the stories they’re reading to be authentic. They want them to have the ring of truth echoing throughout them.

That’s why research is so important. Whether I’m writing a mystery where I must research police procedure, or a story that has musical inclinations and I’ve got to research different types of music it has to resonate authenticity.

I enjoy research immensely because I love to learn something new. I’m a firm believer in the concept that we never stop learning and I try to learn something new every day.

I do a lot of research on the internet. There’s an incredible amount of information at your fingertips, all you have to do is search for it. However, occasionally, I like to talk to a real person. When I was researching police procedure for my first Super Spies novel, “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer,” I spoke to a sergeant at my local police post. I received invaluable information and made a new friend. You never know when knowing a police sergeant will come in handy! 😉

When I first called down to the post, the officer that answered the phone wanted to make sure that my request was legitimate. Here’s how the conversation went.

“Hello, I’m Lisa Orchard and I’m writing a story about three young girls finding a dead body and I need to know about the procedure police follow at a crime scene.”

I heard some fumbling around and I imagined he was turning on a recorder, the officer said, “This is fiction, right?”

“Yes. This is definitely fiction.” I laughed, because he was being cautious. However, he needed to be, you just never know when you get a phone call like that.

After he felt confident that I wasn’t planning anything dangerous or illegal, he transferred me to the sergeant and she answered my questions. I’ve established a great relationship with her and she has been my source for most of my mystery stories. She has answered questions ranging from police procedure at a crime scene, to bombing questions, to inquiries regarding pings of cell phones. I must say it has been quite an education.

Research gives your story authenticity and that’s incredibly important in today’s book market, wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today and thanks for your patience during my blogcation. If you have any humorous stories you’d like to share regarding your research antics, please leave a comment! I’d love to read them!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

I’m taking a Blogcation! :)

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I just wanted to let everyone know that this week, I’m taking a slight vacation from my blog. I’ve got classroom visits scheduled all week so I’ll be back next Monday to chat with everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and I hope you have a great week! 

 

I’ll be back Monday! 🙂