Welcome to the blog site of Karen Jean Matsko Hood. Ms. Hood is a prolific author and poet who has published a variety of book genres. She is also a passionate child advocate, feminist, cook, and nature lover. We invite your feedback and suggestions. Thank you for visiting, and do check back often as
you contribute to these blog discussions. Learn more about Karen at www.karenjeanmatskohood.com We invite you to share this site with your friends, and don't forget to sign up for our free e-newsletter.

College Tuition is Soaring Fast

Thursday, December 19, 2013@ 4:15 AM
Author: Karen Hood

Our economy has been failing for some time, but in the wake of that, education costs have continued to rise. Frugal Dad Jason has moved his site to Affordable Schools Online where he has chosen to focus on higher education and how to pay for it. I think many today either fresh out of school or career individuals looking to get more training could get ahead with a lot of the great information he supplies.

Check out his great information on college tuition costs rising over on Affordable Schools Online.

Experts Claim Access to Preschool Won’t Help American Literacy Problems

Wednesday, December 18, 2013@ 10:37 AM
Author: Karen Hood

Activists across the United States have been pressing for every American child to receive early education, hoping this will advocate some of the literacy issues in schoolchildren. Unfortunately, experts in the field of child development claim that a preschool setting is only half of the solution. Fingers are pointing at the increasing gap between children of low-income households and those whose families make more. As a comparison, Next Generation, an advocacy group for improving the lives of children, stated that low-income children have a vocabulary of 500 words by age three while their peers are coming in at 1,100 words.

The Word Gap

This is known as the word gap and it is only partially coming from the fact that some children do not attend preschool. It is also holding back lower income children from their full potential in reading and writing skills. Education can serve to bring children on an even playing field with each other in later years, but that education needs to reach beyond the classroom. While it is a good idea for all children to receive preschool education, advocates and educators should work to help parents realize that their child’s learning needs to be extended into the home. As stated on Karen Jean Matsko’s blog,

“ If a student makes it out of their formal schooling only semi-literate, their passage into adulthood is painfully crippled. All the social programs in the world won’t be able to stabilize that person’s life as much as the confidence that being a competent and literate adult would.”

The message is painfully clear. Parents need to step in and start talking to their children on a daily basis. Even if a parent does not read to their children regularly, simply talking to a child will enrich their vocabulary every single day. Through the Next Generation’s “Too Small to Fail” initiative, parents are being educated on the value and importance of simply talking to their children every single day. No matter what age, children have the ability to listen and interpret our words. Talking to the children will extend their education outside preschool and into the home, it’s free, and it’s very simple to complete.

This article was written by Claire Dawson

Helping Your Teen With a Drug Addiction

Tuesday, December 17, 2013@ 10:31 AM
Author: Karen Hood

We all try to be the best parents possible. We stumble and fall sometimes, but we get back up and learn to not be too hard on ourselves. However, even with the best parenting in the world, sometimes, our teens wind up with the wrong crowd. It begins with an innocent friendship then can turn ugly very quickly, sometimes overnight. Before we know what has happened to our sweet child, he or she has done something from which there is no return. If that accident was the consumption of an addictive drug, it’s definitely time to intervene and help before it’s too late for your teen. When you find out your teen is addicted to any type of drug, you need to learn to be strong right away, even in the face of your shattered heart.

Recognize the Signs of Addiction

You’ll need to start by recognizing the signs of an addiction. Your teen will become even more secretive than before. Moods will change and there may be an increase in sneaking in or out of the house. A lock might appear on the bedroom door out of nowhere, and he or she will begin avoiding you at all costs. Even a teen who is normally reserved around the family will change through drug addiction – he or she may become violent or start fighting with the family more often. Your family might find things missing or money gone.

How to Proceed

The next step is to not panic. Yelling, demanding answers or punishing will push the teen further from you. At this time, you need to try to pull your teen closer to you. You don’t want to cause more strain through overreacting or panicking. You will need to research options to help your teen overcome the trouble he or she has found. Begin by talking to your teen every chance you get about the situation. Expect resistance and denial in the beginning, but stay consistent. Look into treatment centers and talk to your teen about them. The most important thing to remember is that no one can get treatment unless they want it. Forcing your teen into treatment will only cause relapses.

It is heartbreaking to go through this alone, so make sure you have a support group around you. Friends, family and experts in child advocacy can help get you through this time. Many times, you can find experts at the drug treatment centers who will recommend a support group. This issue is a whole family issue and this fact is recognized by all experts involved. Don’t go through the heartache alone – you will be better able to help your teen if you have a substantial support group.

This article was written by Claire Dawson