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What You Need To Know About Twins

What You Need To Know About Twins

Being a twin is a unique experience that is often misunderstood by those who are not twins themselves. In popular culture, being a twin is usually highlighted by having someone with whom you can dress like, someone you can play practical jokes on families and friends with by switching roles, and generally having someone by your side at all times. While all of this is true, there are other little-known facts about twins, including genetics and the probability of even having twins. Read on to learn more about the fascinating world of twins.

  1. Identical twins do not have the exact same fingerprints, even though they share almost matching DNA. This is due to the fact that fingerprints are not solely based on DNA.
  2. In the U.S., Massachusetts is the state with the highest percentage of twins, due to what researchers believe is the rising trend of wealthy career women living in the suburbs outside of Boston. This is because pregnancies in older women are more likely to result in twin births.
  3. Women who consume a lot of cheese are 5 times more likely to have twins than those who eat less according to this study.
  4. About 1 in 250 pregnancies end up with identical twin births.
  5. According to researchers at Umberto Castiello of the University of Padova in Italy, twins interact with one another while in the womb.
  6. Twins are not telepathic and cannot read each other’s minds, even if they do finish each other’s sentences.
  7. There is such thing as a secret twin language, especially when twins are very young. According to researchers, at least 40 percent of twins invent their own autonomous language.
  8. Twins can be mirror images of one another when they are formed from a single egg. For example, one will be right-handed while the other is left-handed.
  9. Taller women are more likely to have twins due to having a larger amount of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) than their shorter counterparts.
  10. It is possible for twins to have two different fathers, although it is quite rare.
  11. Dogs are able to tell identical twins apart, partly due to individual odors that each twin has.
  12. Despite appearances, twins prefer to have their own identity, especially as they grow older.
  13. Some conjoined twins can taste and feel what the other experiences, since they are connected at the head by a “thalamic bridge,” a section of the brain that processes most of the sensory input.
  14. Fraternal twins do not look identical because they were developed from two different eggs by two different sperm.
  15. A “parent-trap” switch is not just a thing in movies, since with identical twins it is easy to trick even friends or family members.
  16. Having twins run in the family is true for fraternal twins, but not identical ones.
  17. Twinning does not skip generations, contrary to popular belief.
  18. Mothers of twins are thought to live longer because they are seen as strong and healthy to be able to birth two children at once.
  19. Nigeria is the country that is known for having the highest birth rate of twins.
  20. China is the country with the lowest percentage of twin births, where 1 in 300 result in multiple births.
  21. 22 per cent of twins are born left-handed as opposed 10 per cent in non-twins.
  22. There are more twins being born in the U.S. than ever before. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth rates for twins have increased 70 per cent in the last 30 years.
  23. Vanishing twin syndrome occurs when 15-20 per cent of all twin pregnancies result in a miscarriage.
  24. Twins tend to be born early — over 50 per cent of twin births are before 37 weeks.
  25. The average weight for a twin at birth is 5 pounds and 5 ounces.

Featured photo credit: Flicker via flickr.com

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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