Keeping Your Memory Sharp

Loss of brain power is a growing concern as the population of the United States ages. Alzheimer’s and dementia are valid fears held by many Baby Boomers and succeeding generations. They worry about losing their memory and then other cognitive abilities and turning into a shell of their previous self. To cope with this anxiety, many are taking steps to exercise their minds years after leaving college.

Keeping their memory sharp, or actually improving memory skills , is a key activity to stave off brain drain. However, who wants to sit and memorize long lists of facts and numbers? It was a dreaded exercise in grade school so there’s no reason to believe that those in middle age and older would want to return to rote memorization. There are other ways, fun ways, to engage the memory and other mental faculties.

One of the best ways to keep the mind sharp is by learning a new language. Individuals who plan to spend their retirement traveling may want to plan ahead and learn German online now. Or they can enroll in a local conversational class that will allow them to interact with an instructor and classmates and provide even more mental stimulation.

The flip side of that coin is to become a teacher. There are lots of immigrants across the country who want to learn English . Teaching requires a good grasp of vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and pronunciation. Teachers have to stay on their toes in order to answer questions and guide students through the intricacies of the English language.

In addition to language, learning or teaching any new skill-set or subject matter will require strong memory skills as well as analytical and other cognitive skills. People can learn to cook a new type of cuisine, master a craft, or even study history, art, or literature. Or they can identify a skill or subject in which they are an expert and offer a class to others.

And, yes, there is an app for this. In fact, there are dozens of mobile apps, computer sites and games that are designed to help people exercise their memories using trivia, vocabulary, math, and logic skills. Everything from scrabble to chess to hidden object games provide hours of fun that also improve the memory.

contributed by Bradley Osborne, a popular columnist and blogger.  His work has appeared on news and family sites as well as educational sites and top lifestyle blogs.

image courtesy Creative Commons License

How to Write the Best Argumentative Essay – 3 Techniques

Argumentative essays require a lot of research and a genuine interest in the topic in order to be successful. Studying the various viewpoints of an argument and collecting evidence for and against each opinion is vital.

This type of essay takes on quite a specific format in the form of the introduction, clearly organized main body and final conclusion.


You must carry out thorough research on your topic of choice. Your chosen topic should be of genuine interest to you. There is nothing harder than having to argue on a topic that you hold no interest in. You must be able to demonstrate that your beliefs are reasonable and logical by providing evidence to back up any claims. Have an in-depth understanding of all viewpoints on the topic so that you can substantiate both sides of the argument with sufficient evidence.


Introduce your topic clearly with a brief explanation touching on both sides of the argument and where your view sits. The main body of the essay must include more detail with strong evidence in support of your findings. You must also include evidence to support any other viewpoints. By considering carefully the possible reasons that others share differing ideas, you can gather enough evidence to refute their claims and strengthen your own. In your conclusion you must summarise the evidence you have found and come upon a final decision be it that you are right or simply that you still have strong beliefs but are happy to ‘agree to disagree’.


The way in which you present your essay can say a lot to the reader. Ensuring that you format your work neatly and clearly will make it far more readable and appealing. Making each section of the essay clearly identifiable allows you to appear professional and the master of your topic. By using a writing program such as Microsoft Word, you have access to all the formatting, font styles and sizes that you need. Word comes as part of the Microsoft Office 2010 Package and also includes Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and many other programs. For students and teachers there are many online Student Software Stores where you can find specially discounted software for students with up to 90% discount on normal retail prices.


Handling Interview Questions

Because of the present economic conditions it is getting harder and harder to find a job that you can apply for.  There is also a high demand for jobs and that means that to get an interview you have to present an image that will get you noticed.  Provided that you have the qualifications for the position this is usually achieved via a suitable resume and an intriguing cover letter.  You want to create a level of desire in the interviewer’s mind.

So, if they have a desire to meet you then this usually takes the form of an interview.  Job interviews can be extremely stressful and so it is always best to be suitably prepared before you go to the meeting.  Review your resume, and do some research into the organization you be interviewing with.  Interviewers expect you to know about the job and about their company and its products – so be prepared in advance by reading profiles.

What else can you do to improve your chances of success during the interview?  Its important to be able to answer interview questions that are aimed at you.  Therefore it makes sense to anticipate the questions and prepare your answers in advance.

There are standard questions that are asked in all types of interviews.  These relate to your present employment, your responsibilities, how you performed, how much you got paid etc.  So before going to the interview review your past work history with a view to answering these types of questions.

There are also tougher questions that are aimed at putting higher levels of stress on you.  What are your weaknesses, why do you want to leave your present job,  tell me about a tough situation you were involved in, and how you handles it.

Interviewers expect your answers to be unrehearsed and fresh, so make sure they do not appear  too over rehearsed.  There is information out there on handling interview questions.  Read as many articles so that you are fully prepared for all types of questions.

How to Get Your Child Ready for School for Cheap

Have you thought about getting your child ready for school? No matter if you have a preschooler you are preparing for school or one already in school who spends too much time and money getting ready to leave, there are some ways you can save and experience more.

The Young Preschooler

Your child is going to enter preschool this year or next. While other parents are talking about spending hundreds of dollars on preparation programs and private tutoring lessons (yes, even at that age) you do not want to spend the money. What can you do to prepare your child?

  • Go to the library. Many of the materials you need (including books) are right there to use for no charge at all.
  • Spend time with your child in one on one activities that teach them tasks like cutting and coloring in the lines. This time allows you to customize their learning, too.
  • Make your own flashcards and create your own programs. Alternatively, you can find numerous free resources from teachers ready to use online.

If you have a preschooler, you do not have to spend a lot of money getting them ready to learn. Rather, focus on just putting time into the process.

Your School Aged Child

As the school year approaches, you may be looking for ways to cut down on the costs of all of those supplies and clothing items. How can you save money?

  • Do look through old clothing and find out what they really need. You may not need to purchase all new clothing for them.
  • Look at supplies from last year. Some items, including scissors and binders may be in good condition and still easy to use.
  • You can often find discount supplies at the end of the school year, especially book bags. This is a great way to save money overall.

Now that your child is ready for his or her first day of school, consider how to make the school year affordable, too. For example, you may want to think ahead and plan for breakfasts and lunches the night before. This is a perfect way to save money. You can make and freeze pancakes and waffles to warm up. You can also create breakfast sandwiches like this.

Keep extra supplies on hand that you purchase when they are on sale. This is the perfect way to ensure you always have enough and never have to pay high prices. In addition, shop around for things like science project supplies. These can be costly from a craft store, but they may be far less expensive at your hardware store or bought online.

The more options you have for saving money for school related expenses, the more likely you are to find that extra money is useful for other things. Getting your child ready for school may not be as costly as you think it is, especially if you plan for the costs you are likely to incur.

George Gallagher is a personal finance blogger who specializes in education.  He also works with regional students to help them find not-for-profit California student loans.

It’s Thursday, time for Inspiration.

Today’s piece of inspiration comes in the form of the classic book, How to Win Friends & Influence People. The book, by Dale Carnegie, was first written in 1937 and has since sold over 15 million copies. The book claims to teach readers how to form lasting relationships with friends and how to handle negotiating with people. It also promises to help build your interpersonal skills and motivate you to meet more people. The book claims that the lessons learned from it will inspire readers to be more successful in life.  How to Win Friends & Influence People is available at or just about any bookstore around.

Engage Children with Maps

Most educational research indicates that children learn best when they are fully engaged with the material. Reading a book or listening to a lecture can be effective if the child already has an interest in the subject matter. Getting them to interact physically, mentally, and emotionally is a much better tactic. This can be easily seen by looking at how kids interact with maps.

A World Wall Map may provide a good perspective on the size and scope of the planet, but most kids will treat it as decoration or something to gaze at. Ask them questions about the map in order to get them interested. Making a game out of who gets the most answers or who can locate something fastest is a good way to start. Letting the kids mark up the map with notations of places they’ve studied or places they’d like to visit can also make it more meaningful to them.

Another option is to let them build their own games. Kids are amazingly creative and can make up not just games, but entire stories based on very little. Sit them down in front of a Hawaii Wall Map and they are likely to spin tales about pirates and natives or they may come up with surprising information about the history and culture of the islands. They may even decide to cut the map into pieces to create their own giant puzzle. This sort of creativity should be encouraged as it will help them learn faster and retain information longer.