Education Notes

Homework Help for Kids

IF the homework blues have struck your household, author Amy Nathan has compiled a list of tips to help kids handle everything from writer's block to boredom in her book "Surviving Homework: Tips From Teens" (The Millbrook Press, 79 pp., $16.90). Three hundred top juniors and seniors shared their off-the-beaten-track remedies for fourth through eighth graders to make homework bearable, maybe even fun.

If the "It's S-o-o-o-o Boring" blues strike, Ms. Nathan says they can be conquered by setting a deadline to race against, studying with a friend, or even by goofing off to come up with creative answers. Or if you have problems spacing out, teens recommend taking breaks, not getting too comfortable, taking notes, or reading out loud. One teen said, "I'd visualize in my mind what I'd read, so the material became the script of a movie."

Nathan offers some highly creative solutions, many of which will probably be more effective with parental encouragement.

Minority life at college

The time is approaching for seniors to make the decision about which college to attend. But weighing the factors of location, size, and academic offerings may not be enough, especially for minorities. Robert Mitchell addresses issues such as minority retention rate, multicultural classes and activities, and the level of racism and interracial interaction in "The Multicultural Student's Guide to Colleges" (The Noonday Press, 745 pp., $25).

Everything from Howard University's liberal arts program to Princeton University's attempt to improve race relations and awareness on campus is included here. The 300 schools were chosen because of their prominence, location, and diversity. The book's academic and social perspectives delve deeper than many college guidebooks.

Mitchell says the quality-of-life ranking, a standard category in most other guides, should not be over-emphasized. The reason, he says, is that students' criteria for judging campus life may differ from those the guide uses to formulate the rankings. Mitchell also notes that predominantly white schools often have better financial aid.

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