Monday, October 16, 2017

Gift Ideas for Writers

Gift Ideas for Writers

Finding the perfect gift for the writer on your list may not be as hard as you think. Most of the writers I know have a love for pens, pencils, and notebooks, especially those that are different than the norm.

Recent finds were disc bound writing systems such as those developed by Tul, the Happy Planner, Arc, and Circa. My personal favorite is the Tul, but my daughter and granddaughters much prefer the Happy Planner Systems, since they come with stickers and such. I enjoy the sticky notes that came with my Tul, but haven't seen a need for the sparkly stickers the girls like. The systems come in full size (letter size paper), junior size (5.5in X 8.5in), or classic size (7.75in X 9.75in).

I think the thing I like most about disc bound notebooks is the ease of removing paper and adding new paper. If I want to, I can purchase sets to incorporate in the expandable notebook, such as calendars, menu planners, finance planners, etc. Plastic standard dividers and pocket dividerspage flags, and a plethora of accessories are all available for extra purchase if I choose to use them. 

These make great gifts for writers, editors, and office workers.

Tul Disc Notebook Systems

The Tul Disc Notebook Systems come with either a poly cover (like mine) or a leather cover.  Since we use them to keep up with business schedules and more, my husband and I both opted for full size Tul Note-Taking System.

I was thrilled to learn that I can create pages for my disc notebook using my printer,  32 lb. paper, and a hole punch designed for disc systems. I use the Staples Arc Desktop Paper Punch to create my pages. It can be used to create pages for any size notebook. Just be sure to line to page up when punching the holes.

Several years ago, I created a blogging planner in PDF that I gave away. It was dated for 2015, but also had undated pages. Using this punch, I can print the appropriate pages from that planner and incorporate the pages into my Tul notebook.

The Arc Desktop Paper Punch works with Tul, Happy Planner, Arc, and Circa disc planners, so I fully expect my daughter and granddaughters to get lost of use out of this punch, too.

Not only can I remove and add pages, using discs that come in a variety of sizes and colors, I can increase the size of my planner as needed. Or even build a new one. An additional idea is to have an extra set of discs to keep track of old pages that I still need to refer back to, such as previous months in my planner. By removing them to a separate set of discs, I have them for ready reference, and also save on the weight and size of the planner/notebook I use.

Happy Planners

The Happy Planners I have seen come with a heavy laminated and colorful cover.

The one shown on the left is the one my daughter has, and she loves it.

My daughter uses her planner to keep track of all she has to do. Caring for two teens and a husband who is recovering from a stroke, she needs detailed notes to get everyone where they need to be on the right date at the right time.

My oldest granddaughter uses her Happy Planner to keep up with her college schedule. Her sister is waiting impatiently for her birthday Happy Planner gift, and hasn't shared what she plans to keep in hers.

Have you seen these fantastic disc notebook planners? Would you want one for yourself?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Free College Courses: OpenCourseWare for Homeschool Teens and for Adults

Photo: Ladyheart

Take Online College Courses Free!

The OpenCourseWare Initiative

The OpenCourseWare initiative has been in effect for several years, now. More and more colleges opt to take part in the OCW every year.

Using OCW, homeschooling high school students or adults who want or need to update skills can enroll in a course, study the material, and then take a CLEP test to get college course credit at a much reduced price.

You can even use these courses as dual credit courses for both high school and college credit. Some courses will require students to purchase a textbook, but used textbooks usually don't cost much.

OpenCourseWare Banner
(c) Linda Pogue

OpenCourseWare College Courses

If you are homeschooling high school students and concerned about teaching higher level math or science, check out the offerings at the colleges below:

MIT OpenCourseWare

Khan Academy (started as primarily math courses, but now includes almost any course you can think of!)

Carnegie Melon Open Learning Initiative

Stanford on iTunes U

UC Berkeley Courses

Tufts OpenCourseWare

LearningSpace - The Open University (600+ free online courses)

John Hopkins OpenCourseWare

Notre Dame OpenCourseWare

Utah State OpenCourseWare

The UMass Boston OpenCourseWare

University of California Irvine OpenCourseWare

NYU Open Education

Didn't find the course you want? It might take a while, but a Google search for free online courses in the subject you need might give you what you want.

Alternative: Study CLEP Study Guides to Prepare for College Credit Exams

In my personal college experience, I used CLEP to gain credit for three different courses. To prepare, I read and reviewed textbooks in the subject. CLEP Study Guides would have been a better idea, since they concentrate on the topic and the areas that are tested in the exams. One of the guides below might be just what you need.