Metra Announces Safety Poster and Essay Contest

While we very much appreciate having students from all over the country and indeed being internationally relevant by having students in more than 65 countries around the world, today's blog only pertains to students in and around the Chicago area.  Metra recently announced its 9th annual Safety Poster and Essay Contest.  This year's theme is "Unplug for Safety: Look, Listen, Live" and we invite local students to participate in one of two ways.  You can design a poster that could be featured on Metra'a Safety Calendar, on the contest web site, in station displays and on monthly tickets, or you can write an essay of no more than 300 words discussing why it is important to unplug for safety when near trains and railroad tracks.  Prizes for the contest include iPads and gift cards.  Click here to read the rules and get on the right track to finish your poster or essay by January 30, 2015.

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Today’s Anniversary: Breaking the Sound Barrier

It's October 14, and on this date in 1947, pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier.  Prior to that, no one had ever flown an airplane faster than the speed of sound.  A couple days ago we talked about students working at their own pace, but it's a topic worth revisiting today since so many of our students enjoy that benefit after they enroll and become an American School student.  Once you receive your paper-based course materials, it's entirely up to you how fast or how slow you complete a course.  We've seen students submit all exams in a subject at once and some of them do very well. While sending in all exams in a subject at once is not recommended because you won't get the benefit of feedback from your instructors, there is no penalty for doing so, other than if you partial two exams in a set, the rest will be returned to you ungraded so that you may review and improve them.  Online courses and online exams operate a bit differently but still give students the benefit to work at their own pace.  Whether you want to take your courses at the speed of sound or go a bit slower, we're here to help you as you work toward your accredited high school diploma!

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Today’s Special Occasion: Columbus Day

It's October 13, and today the United States observes Columbus Day.  Even though it is a federal holiday and there is no mail service, we are open to serve our students and schools.  More than 500 years ago, Christopher Columbus and his crew set sail on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.  Their journey was a difficult one, and they didn't exactly land where they expected, yet their voyage was one of the most famous in history.  Today would be a great day for you to set sail and begin your journey toward your American School diploma.  We can't guarantee you'll always have smooth sailing, but we can guarantee a supportive and caring staff will assist you whenever you need us.  Enroll today!

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Today’s Special Occasion: The Chicago Marathon

This weekend thousands of runners will flock to the Windy City to compete in the Chicago Marathon.  If you're a runner, then you know you have to pace yourself during the course of a race.  You can't sprint the first mile, lest you run out of energy for the remaining 25.2 miles, and, similarly, you probably wouldn't run at a snail's pace for the first 25.2 miles and then all of the sudden turn it on at the end to zoom past your competitors as you near the finish line.  It's important for runners to keep their pace steady throughout the race, running quickly enough to keep close to other lead runners while leaving something in the tank in case a quick finishing burst may win the race.  One of the best benefits of becoming our student is that we allow you to work entirely at your own pace.  You can go as quickly or as slowly as you want in your courses, learning at a rate that is comfortable for you.  While it is ideal to work steadily, we've seen students succeed working very rapidly at first and slowing down near the end and others succeed by working slowly at first and then more quickly as their graduation date approaches.  No matter your pace, you have a dedicated staff here to support you and keep you focused on the finish line which will be your accredited high school diploma.  Take the first step and enroll today!   

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Today’s Special Occasion: Mascot Hall of Fame

Yesterday after work two American School employees attended an event announcing that the Mascot Hall of Fame would be coming to nearby Whiting, Indiana.  Every so often, people ask if American School has a mascot.  It's a logical question considering most high schools have a mascot that appears at sporting events and at other school-related functions.  At this time, however, we don't have an official mascot, although we have at least one employee who'd love to wear a mascot costume!  Over the years we've considered a variety of mascots to best represent us, but in case we've omitted one, you can send us your suggestions.  Who knows?  Perhaps one day, with your help, American School will have a mascot that will be inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame!

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Today’s Anniversary: Don Larsen’s Perfect Game

It's October 8, and on this day in 1956, Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the World Series.  To this day, it's the only perfect game in the history of the World Series and one of only 21 perfect games ever pitched in the nearly 150-year history of Major League Baseball.  You might think that only baseball's elite pitchers toss perfect games, but that's not the case.  A look at the 21 men who have retired all 27 batters in order without letting a single one reach base finds a mix of All-Stars and journeymen and Hall of Famers and others, who like Larsen, had career records below .500, yet for one very special day, all of them achieved perfection.  We hope that American School students strive for perfection on every exam they attempt.  We know that's not always possible, but we want to give you every available resource you need in order to do your best.  Our exams are designed to be taken open book, so you can use your textbook, study guide and help sheets and other resources in the Online Student Center while you work.  Our instructors also want to help you achieve perfection.  They'll write constructive comments when they grade your exams so that you can do better on your next exam, and they are available to answer questions via phone and email if you use the contact information posted in the Online Student Center.  Whether you're an A student or find learning difficult, don't give up the pursuit of perfection.  We'll do everything we can to help you get there as you work toward your accredited high school diploma from American School! 

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Online Learning Demos Now Available

Since we've started offering online courses and online exams in paper-based courses, we've gotten calls and emails from students, parents and school officials who wanted to see what our online learning offerings look like.  We now have this information available on the Online Learning page of our web site.  Look for the links and instructions right below the main topic headings and enter the passwords on the page to view the materials which interest you.  If you like what you see, we invite you to enroll today.  We look forward to having you as our student!

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Today’s Anniversary: American Library Association

It's October 6, and on this date in 1876. the American Library Association was established.  Your local library can be a great resource for you when you complete your American School courses, particularly if you're asked to write a research paper in one of your English courses.  It can provide a number of good sources for you, including books, periodicals, videos and more, but make sure you cite your sources properly according to the style and directions given to you in your course.  It is important to give authors credit for their work that you use in your paper.  Not doing so would be plagiarism, which is frowned upon and is in violation of our honor system. 

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American School Tours Available

From time to time we like to remind you that tours of American School are available during normal business hours.  If you're in the Chicago area and would like to visit us, we would love to meet you, but it is best to contact us first to make sure a tour guide is available.  Simply email us with the date and time you'll be in town, and we'll reply to you to confirm your reservation or suggest a better time for you to visit.  We look forward to meeting you!

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Testimonial Thursday

It's the first Thursday in October, so let's get the month started off right by posting a testimonial from one of our students.  Mary from Georgia writes, "I never found homeschooling fun until I joined American School.  It was very easy to study by myself, and understanding the work was not difficult at all.  I’ll certainly be recommending American School to all of my friends."  We thank Mary for those words and wish to remind our readers that, while our courses are designed to be self-taught like Mary said, you are not alone.  Your instructors and our support staff are just a phone call or email away, and we are happy to help you as you work toward your accredited high school diploma.

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