Archive for the ‘Education News’ Category

Black History: The Love Sharpener Part 1

Did you know that John Lee Love, a Black African American, invented the pencil sharpener, which was patented as the “Love Sharpener” in 1897?

So in honor of this Day of LOVE and Black History Month, let’s put the spotlight on two inspirational Christian women who, despite all their hardships, have anchored their strength on Love and Faith.

Harriet Ross Tubman.  She is probably one of the most famous African American women in the history of America.  An ill-treated slave from Maryland, she escaped to Pennsylvania only to return to Maryland and help free her family.  For 11 years, she rescued about 70 slaves, and helped more than 50 others to escape to Canada using the Underground Railroad System.

Though we believe that her most important resource was her religious faith in God, many believed that her bravery was brought about by her FAITH with the divine power.  And just like the Three Kings when Christ was born, the North Star guided Harriet Tubman.  And just like Moses, she guided the slaves heading north. Harriet Tubman has been a very devout Christian and as you go along learning more about Harriet Tubman, it seems her FAITH in the divine provided her with immediate assistance.

Every day, she prayed her master to be kinder.  But one night, she was so angry at her master for his maltreatments, she prayed: “First of March I began to pray, ‘Oh Lord, if you ain’t never going to change that man’s heart, kill him, Lord, and take him out of the way.”  A week later, Brodess (Master) died, and Tubman expressed regret for her earlier sentiments.”   [Bradford, Sarah Hopkins (orig. pub. 1869), (1971). Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman. Freeport: Books for Libraries Press. ISBN 0-8369-8782-9.]

It was the death of his former Master that pressed her to fight against being resold to a “new owner,” knowing that this will cause her family to be separated like property settled in estate.

It was Harriet’s LOVE for her family that has been her definitive motivation above anything else to risk her life.  It is her constant belief in God’s promise that gave her the protection and the courage she needed to tread on, and be the one of the bravest women in Black African American History.


About Nest Entertainment: From its origin over twenty years ago, has become a leader providing entertaining and educational resources for the expansive family market.  In addition to creating enriching stories and highest quality animated and musical productions, we have carved a niche as the nexus distributor between the wholesome Family Entertainment, Home Education and Christian markets through our proven Internet retail and wholesale distribution system.

Teach your childern about William Bradford! Sample DVD Offer

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Are you still in those beginning stages of narrowing down the curriculum for this year’s VBS? The first step to planning is choosing a fun theme that all the kids will enjoy learning about! With all kinds of different curriculum choices out there, it seems almost impossible to decide.  Here at Nest Learning, we offer the top picks for this year!

If you’re looking to find a new recommendation…there’s one in particular that we suggest…Concordia’s Amazing Desert Journey!

Join the Journey and teach about Jesus from the very beginning!

This packet includes special Director Tools, Leader Tools and Student Tools along with a day by day schedule categorized by Bible Story, Key Point, Memory Verse, and Connector.

Check out this link and learn more about this exciting VBS Starter Kit that you can’t go wrong with!

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Top Parenting Resources: Are There Other Alternatives to Retention?

Different parenting resources present disagreeing data about whether or not holding a child back another grade in school after failing standardized tests helps improve academic performance. While some argue that giving a child another year to “catch up” is a positive alternative, many specialists and parents claim retention can do more damage to their child’s learning and social development.

 According to Karl Alexander, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, grade retention “at any age raises the risk of dropping out of school later,” and has a negative impact on all areas of a child’s academic achievement and socio-emotional adjustment.  Another study conducted by the University of California also found that students who have been held back another year attribute being retained for their “poor peer relationships, poor self-esteem and their continuing struggles at school.”  This is why it is imperative that you consider the following alternatives before deciding to hold your child back another year:

 Alternative #1:  Diagnostic testing and supplemental curriculumThrough proper diagnostic testing, you’d be able to accurately identify your child’s academic level, as well as skills.  This allows you and the school to clearly determine if your child is in the right grade level, using the appropriate curriculum.  If you feel there is a need to “beef it up”, don’t hesitate to go over a variety of supplemental curricula that’s available to you.  Once you find one that best fits your child’s needs, integrate it with your child’s school work because this can help emphasize things learned in school.

 Alternative #2:  Remedial classes and additional course work.  Coordinate with your child’s teacher to identify your child’s academic weaknesses, and find out if additional course work can help earn the extra credits she needs.  Encourage her to join study groups and if at all possible, hire an effective tutor who can provide one-on-one help in understanding new lessons and completing school work.  Consider enrolling your child in summer classes or, if his school offers them, extended day and extended year programs.  Many parenting resources support that getting children involved in homework clubs and after-school programs can help increase their learning success in the classroom.

 Alternative #3:  Extra-curricular activities.    Get your child involved in other non-academic activities.  Help him make new friends by participating in sports activities like football and basketball, or joining groups such as choir, scouts and dance.  Exposing him to things outside school can help boost his academic performance, establishing a good foundation for long-term academic success.

Wordly Wise 3000 Makes Homeschool Vocabulary Fun

Wordly Wise 3000 enriches vocabulary skills while making vocabulary learning fun. The homeschool vocabulary curriculum contains riddles, crossword puzzles, hidden messages and many other engaging activities to help kids in grades K through 12 absorb up to 4050 new vocabulary words!

With Wordly Wise 3000, students build their reading vocabularies while simultaneously strengthening their reading, critical thinking, and writing skills. Here you will find a Wordly Wise books and word lists for every level of vocabulary curriculum!

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We love our blog followers so much that we’d like to give you a chance to win some of these fantastic vocabulary  books – Wordly Wise.  All you need to do to enter is click now, purchase any Wordly Wise curriculum product using the COUPON CODE: NLB7 and you’ll be automatically entered into our drawing. Three lucky winners will receive two additional Wordly Wise books (of their choice) absolutely free!! Participants must use coupon code to be entered. Tell all your friends and family! This special contest will end on Monday, 9/13/10 at 8AM. So ENTER NOW!!

How Homeschool Curriculum Can Help Your Public School Child Meet State Education Standards

As more and more parents become increasingly disappointed and unhappy with local public schools and weak enforcement of state education standards, the need for additional and effective homeschool curriculum continues to grow.  Parents have come to realize that if they want their children to meet and keep up with the state education standards for their appropriate grade level, they’re going to need quality Math curriculum or English curriculum that they can use to teach their children outside of school.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative contains documents that provide what your child should know by a certain grade level. As a parent responsible for your child’s education, you will want to read the standards and evaluate whether or not your child meets the requirements. In addition, here are three things you can do to make sure your children are not lacking in good education:

Support your child academically. Knowing what your child learns in school allows you to effectively monitor his learning progress.  Don’t hesitate to discuss his performance in school with school teachers and staff.  Find out his academic strengths and areas for improvement.  You also want to make sure he gets his homework done, and if necessary, find a good tutor to help with homework.  Create an environment that is conducive for learning, and help your child prepare for his exams.  Maximize your child’s learning progress by using effective and engaging Math homeschool curriculum or English homeschool curriculum that can help you facilitate learning, even after public school hours.

Support your child’s learning at home. Remember, your child can easily mirror your attitude towards education, so make sure to create an environment that appreciates and values learning.  You also want to monitor her video game, television, and Internet use, and make sure you provide high-quality educational media.  Encourage her to read, as you teach her the beauty of words and imagination.   Take time to talk with your child, and encourage active learning at home.

Be creative and engaging. When teaching your child, it is normal for you to run out of ideas and activities, so be very creative.  Do not limit your learning materials and learn to explore other educational media like educational DVDs and computer games.  Use everything and anything to teach your child, and allow each experience to be as enriching as possible.

Light in the Tunnel

At present, each state sets its own academic standards, but the enthusiasm to really reinforce it varies broadly.  And with the hope that this is going to change soon, especially with the recent reinvigoration of the debate about the creation of common state education standards that are of international calibre, parents can turn to homeschool curriculum to help ensure their kids remain on point with these standards.  Keep in mind that preparing our children for college and the real world is ultimately our responsibility as parents.  And creating a productive younger generation will ultimately determine the future of our nation.

To find the appropriate homeschool curriculum for your child’s grade level, visit NEST Learning today!

Backyardigans and Dragon Tales: Using Educational DVDs for Toddlers



Parents over the recent years have turned to educational DVDs—such as Backyardigans and Dragon Tales —to teach their young children.  And while some experts argue that too much TV time can be counterproductive in educating kids, recent studies show that with proper supervision, educational media can actually help boost learning.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of high-quality educational media for children ages two years and older.  Although personal interaction is still the best avenue to take, allowing your children to watch educational DVDs can be beneficial, especially when they have one or two hours to spare, or when weather conditions provide no other option but to stay indoors.

Keeping your kids occupied during hot, cold, and even wet seasons can be a bit challenging.  You are bound to run out of activities and game plans, which can easily increase your level of stress, especially when you have to attend to other things like your career or other children.

This is where shows like Backyardigans, Dragon Tales and other educational DVDs step in to help.  For two hours, your children will be entertained and taught different life lessons.  Highly recommended by parents and even school teachers, these shows teach kids the beauty of imagination and the importance of building self-confidence and self-worth.  Each episode has a basket of values, each revealed in a way that’s appealing to children from two to four years of age, with plenty of repetition and even some dancing and singing!

Below are Four Tips on How to Optimize Your Use of Educational Media to Teach Your Children:

Tip #1: Stock up on a careful selection of programs that your children can view when they have free time.  Take advantage of the wide array of options available to you, even online!

Tip #2: Make time to watch these shows with your child, as this allows you to debrief and discuss different learning points, as well as enhance his or her vocabulary and analytical skills.  Do not use educational DVDs as electronic nannies.  Doing so will only be detrimental to your child’s social and cognitive development.

Tip #3: Teach your children critical viewing skills as you watch educational DVDs together.  Knowing how to filter and analyze information will help them make right

Dragon Tales

Dragon Tales

choices as they grow up.

Tip #4: Limit the time they spend in front of the TV to 1 to 2 hours, per day, for children ages two and above.  For babies younger than two years, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time at all.

Popcorn + Animated Education DVDs + Mom and Dad = A Fun Learning Experience!

The modern world is fast changing, and even the learning methods parents may choose to employ have evolved.  Shows like Backyardigans and Dragon Tales, apart from providing wholesome entertainment, are excellent educational tools that can stimulate intellectual development in children.

The ultimate trick in making this a wonderful learning experience is to simply have fun.  Keep that in mind, and it will be a time well spent in front of the TV!

U.S. Army Symbol Religious and Should Be Changed

Fort Carson, CO Hospital Emblem

Fort Carson, CO Hospital Emblem

A cross that lies on the emblem of an U.S. Army Hospital in Fort Carson, Colorado is creating an uproar among the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Even though the emblem has been up since 1969, they have asked the hospital to take their emblem down now because it violates the constitutional requirement for separation of church and state.

The emblem also sates, “Pro deo et humanitate” meaning “For God and humanity.”

“The cross was meant to be both an emblem of mercy and a symbol dating to the Middle Ages, when pilgrims carried a cross with a spiked base to mark the site of a camp,” said Lt. Col. Steve Wollman. “References to doctors serving God and humanity date to the time of Hippocrates, a pre-Christianity Greek physician.”

“The symbol is a reference to the Crusades and could embolden U.S. enemies who want to portray the war on terror as a Christian war on Islam,” said the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. “This continues to add more fodder to the argument that we are Crusaders. It’s exactly what fundamentalist Muslims want.”

But why all the worry about an emblem that has been up for around 41 years? Representative Jack Kingston, R-Ga., asked the House Armed Services Committee this week to hold hearings on what he called “a growing movement in the military to censor certain biblical teachings.”

Many argue whether certain biblical teachings are being censored or if it is simply “Christianity” that is really being attacked lately. What are your opinions?

FREE iPad Giveaway With Any Homeschool Curriculum Purchase

FREE iPad Giveaway

FREE iPad Giveaway

NEST learning has a new amazing offer! For EVERY homeschool curriculum item you buy, you get an automatic entry to win a FREE iPad. ($499 Value) Official Terms and Conditions

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In addition, NEST is offering a savings of 20% Plus, FREE SHIPPING on ALL Alpha Omega Curriculum! This only happens once a year anywhere, so now is the time to stock up for the best deals of the year.

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Obama Student Loan Bill Helps More Stay Out of Debt

Obama promoting new education loan

Luke Sharrett/The New York Times

What does Obama signing a new student loan bill mean for you and your kids? And what are the positive and negative effects?

On a positive note, the bill could possibly mean the difference in you paying on a ridiculous loan for the rest of your life or having college almost fully funded for you. According to the White House,

— Pell Grants will rise from $5,550 for the coming school year to $5,975 by 2017.

— More eligible students will be able to get a full Pell Grant. Currently, most grants only go to students with family income below $20,000, but students with family income of up to $50,000 will also be eligible.

— Some college graduates will have an easier time repaying loans. The government will essentially guarantee that workers in low-paying jobs will be able to reduce their payments. Current law caps monthly payments at 15 percent of these workers’ incomes; the new law will lower the cap to 10 percent.

A White House press release spells it out this way, “All new federal student loans will be direct loans, delivered and collected by private companies under performance-based contracts with the Department of Education. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, ending these wasteful subsidies will free up nearly $68 billion for college affordability and deficit reduction over the next 11 years.”

On a negative note, some officials are angry over this bill. Why?

Free market analysts estimate that the bill will kill around 35,000 private-sector jobs – work that would be assumed by federal employees. Republican lawmakers said that, the plan will make the government charge other  students more for the loans to help pay for the nearly $1-trillion health care bill, which was signed into law on Tuesday, Mar. 23.

What are your opinions?


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