Archive for September, 2009

College students have to take on lots of reading and memorization, and sometimes, it’s just too much to handle. So how do you manage to read everything you need to AND remember it all? Just try out these 52 tips and you’ll be in much better shape when test time rolls around.

Read Faster

Put these tips to work to boost your reading speed.

  1. Don’t read aloud: Stay away from vocalization or subvocalization, which will dramatically reduce your reading speed.
  2. Skip around: Don’t be afraid to skip paragraphs and words that aren’t important.
  3. Give yourself less time: Push yourself to reduce the time you take to read blocks of information, and you’ll get better at it.
  4. Use your hands: Move your hand down the page as you read, keeping a constant motion.
  5. Stop fidgeting: Nervous habits can reduce your concentration.
  6. Don’t pause for periods and commas: Read all the way through periods and commas.
  7. Use a pointer: Run a pointer along lines as you read to force your eyes to follow the tip of your pointer.
  8. Pay attention: Read as if it really matters-don’t read in a passive, inattentive way.
  9. Build your vocabulary: The more words you know, the faster you’ll be able to read.
  10. Read in chunks of words: Do your best not to spend much time on each word, rather reading in phrases of multiple words.
  11. Continually ask questions: Stay focused by asking yourself questions frequently.
  12. Don’t reread: Rereading text you’ve already been over will disrupt your brain’s flow.
  13. Change reading speeds: Depending on the difficulty and content, speed up or slow down your reading.
  14. Practice reading: In practice reading, you’ll read much faster than you actually do, just to see the text faster and train your brain.
  15. Avoid reading unnecessary items: If you really don’t need to read that joke email, avoid it and save your reading time for what matters.
  16. Hop around the text: Bounce your hand across the page multiple times per line to skim text.
  17. Use an index card: Cover the page with an index card under the line you’re reading to improve your focus.
  18. Hang a do not disturb sign: Keep distractions away by making it clear you shouldn’t be bothered.
  19. Cut out distractions: Don’t watch TV or sit in a noisy room when you’re trying to read.
  20. Skim: Before and after reading, skim the text to get an introduction to the topic as well as find key points.
  21. Keep a notepad: Write down distracting questions or thoughts to deal with later so that you can keep going on the text at hand.
  22. Take a break: If you find yourself losing focus, take a few minutes to stop reading and get back to it with your full attention.
  23. Sweep the page: Use the sweep method to sweep your hand across each line as you read it.
  24. Be motivated: Think about why it’s important for you to be reading what you are, and you will be more focused and alert.
  25. Read throughout the day: Fit reading into tiny chunks of your day.

Remember More

Follow these tips, and it will be easy for you to remember more.

  1. Pay attention: Commit yourself to learning the material at hand-you’ll give yourself a much better chance of remembering it if you actually learn it in the first place.
  2. Eat less: Reducing your calorie intake can help boost your cognitive ability and memory.
  3. Break things into small chunks: Study small, related chunks to optimize learning for your working memory.
  4. Know and use your learning style: Tailor information to fit your learning style, whether it’s visual or auditory.
  5. Visualize it: By visualizing concepts, you’ll be able to memorize them fast and recall them better.
  6. Spread things out: Break learning up into separate sessions rather than marathons.
  7. Be creative: If you want to remember your dreams better, become a more creative person.
  8. Involve your senses: Use as many senses as possible to imprint information into your brain.
  9. Build upon what you know: Whenever possible, combine new information with things you’re already familiar with.
  10. Draw it: Draw items in a chart, diagram, or picture to cement them in your mind.
  11. Learn to play a new musical instrument: Challenge your brain with a new mental skill to improve your memory.
  12. Let go of easy information: Don’t force yourself to remember small things like appointments and tasks-use calendars, notepads and other tools to take a load off and focus on remembering what really matters.
  13. Stay socially engaged: Social engagement can go a long way to keeping your brain and memory sharp.
  14. Relate to the real world: Think about what you’re studying in a real life situation to make it more attainable.
  15. Study before bed: Sleeping after learning can help you solidify memory.
  16. Challenge your brain: Use puzzles and games to keep your brain active and improve its function.
  17. Use something catchy: You can memorize faster with catchy puns and phrases.
  18. Say it out loud: If you repeat something out loud from memory, you’ll be able to memorize it faster.
  19. Don’t overdo it: Learn a lot in one small session instead of focusing on one thing for an extended period of time.
  20. Repeat things: Repetition is the key to memory, so repeat things more.
  21. Convince yourself you have a good memory: Don’t give up-commit yourself to improve your memory.
  22. Always keep learning: Flex your brain’s muscles on a regular basis to keep your memory sharp.
  23. Write it down: Writing things down won’t just leave you with a reminder for later, it will help you to reproduce the memory in your mind.
  24. Stay motivated: Be motivated to improve your memory, and you’ll have a better chance.
  25. Don’t cram: Stay away from cramming at the last minute, which can overwhelm your memory.
  26. Exercise: Regular exercise can help you keep your brain sharp even as you age.
  27. Learn a new language: Develop new mental skills that can spur the development of new nerve connections.

Unschooling is an alternative education system that supports natural, interest-led learning at home. Whether you want to learn more about unschooling for your own research or child rearing projects, network with other parents who unschool their kids, or adopt some of the alternative learning philosophies to augment your own formal education, check out these 50 eye-opening blogs.


To find out more about what unschooling really means, visit these blogs.

  1. Life Without School: This community blog takes a look at unschooling culture while explaining the unschooling philosophy.
  2. Just Enough, and Nothing More: Tammy Takahashi’s blog teaches the principles and effectiveness of "deschooling" on this blog.
  3. Eclectic Parent: If you want a good example of how an unschooling lifestyle operates, check out Eclectic Parent.
  4. The Expanding Life: Read this blog — which also features an unschooling carnival — for insights into the state of public education and how unschooling is a reliable alternative.
  5. Joyfully Rejoicing: Check out this blog for questions and answers relating to the unschooling philosophy.
  6. Christian Unschooling: Find out what unschooling from a Christian perspective means and how it might work for your family.
  7. Do Life Right: Each post on this blog answers 20 questions about unschooling in different parts of the country.
  8. I’m Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write: This unschooler is also a vegetarian and anarchist hippie, but you’ll find that the blog is full of helpful resources for understanding unschooling.
  9. Challenging Assumptions with Wendy Priesnitz: Learn all about radical unschooling, natural parenting and green living from this blog.
  10. Unschooler Mom: This unschooling mom discusses the challenges and experiences she and her young children face as untraditional learners.

Tips and Lessons

These blogs are great resources for finding practical information about unschooling, including lesson plans and guides.

  1. An Unschooling Life: This blog is maintained by parents from New York who moved to Florida and adopted three children. Get unschooling videos and tips here.
  2. Caffeinated Jive: Read this blog to follow one family’s transition to unschooling.
  3. Sandra Dodd: Sandra Dodd posts lots of helpful resources and ideas while unschooling her kids in New Mexico.
  4. Learning Life Through Unschooling: On this blog, you’ll discover ways to teach your kids about life by exploring the environment, going to museums, doing arts and crafts, and setting a good example.
  5. Life Nurturing Education: Besides commenting on the unschooling philosophy, this Christian-centric blog also shares lesson ideas for math, civics, history and more.
  6. Ramblings of an Unschooling Family: Find out what unschoolers really do at home all day.
  7. Think!: Teach your kids to think outside of the box by incorporating these projects into their unschooling experience.
  8. Memoirs of an Unschooling Teacher: This unschooling mom taught in a conventional school for just one year before making the switch.
  9. Thinking Sticks: Playing With Ideas: Learn ways to teach religion, history, philosophy science, music, art and more from an unschooling perspective.
  10. Plaza Creativa: This mom shares her experiences as a relatively new unschooler.
  11. Mom is Teaching: Get practical, valuable tips for keeping your kids focused and entertained as they learn at home.


There are many types of homeschooling environments, and these bloggers share their less structured homeschooling experiences.

  1. Throwing Marshmallows: This liberal homeschooling mom writes about all the activities she and her two boys do for the sake of hands-on learning.
  2. Grueling Homeschooling: By reading this blog, you’ll find that "sanity is overrated" as a mother homeschools all 12 of her children.
  3. Yarns of the Heart: Learn about homeschooling and interest-led learning from a mom who has raised and educated three kids.
  4. Atypical homeschool: Ron and Andrea Rennick aren’t your typical homeschoolers, and they’re on a mission to change the stereotype.
  5. Mrs. Hannigan’s Home for Girls: This homeschooling mom teaches her girls at home and blogs about the joys and challenges of her unique education philosophy.
  6. Tales of the Green-Eyed Girl: Twelve-year-old Olivia from Maine writes about her exciting life as an unschooler.
  7. Why Homeschool: Here you’ll learn about the benefits and structure of homeschooling.
  8. The Homeschooling Blog: The Homeschooling Blog includes lesson plans, homeschooling news and trends, tips for socializing your kids, and a lot more.
  9. Time4Learning: On this blog, you’ll find homeschool lesson plans for Pre-K through 8th grade.
  10. SHEAF’s Homeschool Blog: This Catholic family uses interest-led, experiential learning systems to teach their kids.

Collaborative and Natural Learning

These community-focused and learning-by-living blogs share great tips and stories.

  1. Apple Star: This blog features lengthy, informative posts about collaborative learning, learning disorders, literacy, and more.
  2. Radical Unschoolers Network: This community and blog features threads, posts and more resources about radical unschooling.
  3. Organic Learning: This family of five shares their learning experiences with the world through the blog Organic Learning.
  4. Once Upon a Photobooth: This blogger is a member of the Radical Unschoolers Network and writes about activist projects, teaching her two sons at home, and more.
  5. Learning All the Time (Daily Experiences): Other unschooling parents will appreciate the posts on this blog, which comment on all the little ideas and activities that make the natural parenting and learning philosophy great.
  6. Learning through Living: Stephanie and her husband are raising their four kids by adhering to a natural learning lifestyle.
  7. Spiral Pathways: "earthmama" is a yogi who writes about homeschooling and living a green life.
  8. Learning in Freedom: If you want to learn how kids learn naturally, check out Ren Allen’s blog.
  9. Laura Nicole Garbers: Laura Nicole Garbers is a writer and career coach whose blog often focuses on unschooling practices and theory.

Untraditional Families

Some unschooling families take their choice not to conform to the next level by living on the road, in the mountains, and according to their own rules.

  1. Snavley Freebirds: This family of five travels and learns together without conforming to society’s small "boxes."
  2. An Untraditional Home: Dad is a web geek, mom is an artist, and with their kids, they play, learn and worship at home.
  3. Loving, Living Learning: This unschooling family lives a life full of love, laughter and learning in an untraditional way.
  4. Three Plus Two: This blogger has three kids whom she likes to feature in blog posts about creative learning and living.
  5. Perpetual Joy: Discover ways to teach your young children by following this blog about young Kathrynn’s education.
  6. The Sparkling Martins: The Martins are a large family who are passionate about radical unschooling.
  7. Wistful Wanderlust: Read about unschooling in Cornfield Country from a young mom who also doubles as a guest speaker.
  8. Moo said the mama: Moo said the mama is a blog about "an unschooling, urban homesteading, organic gardening, homebirthing, attachment parenting, eclectic, crafting & sewing, frugal living family."
  9. Wendt Family Journey: This Christian family, including two boys, lives on the road and learns as they go.
  10. On Bradstreet: This Pagan treehugger and mother of two teaches her kids according to a green, sustainable learning and living style.

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