What’s a Unit Study, Anyway?

Unit study helps. We believe in this so strongly, that we named our website after it! But what is unit study and why does it help so much?

desertStudying topics in single units rather than disjointed subjects allows children to organize information in ways that make more sense to their developing minds, which haven’t yet been completely exposed to the departmental ways subjects are segmented off. For example, a unit on on the world’s deserts could include sections on desert wildlife, people who have traveled through deserts, ancient desert civilizations, weather conditions in the desert, and desert ecosystems. This comprises a “unit” on deserts that touches on a vast array of traditional “subjects.”

For more examples of units and potential lesson plans, visit this page.

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State and Federal Administration of SSI

The Social Security Administration (SSA) makes Supplementary Security Income (SSI) available to elderly people or disabled people in need of extra financial support. The amount that a person is able to receive in SSI payments depends on their location (cost-of-living), who they live with (if they have dependants), and income.

For clarification purposes, the SSA has a specific definition of “income” so that they are able to consistently calculate how much a candidate is able to receive. According to their website, the SSA defines income as “anything a person receives that can be used for food or shelter. Income includes cash, checks, and “gift” items received, such as food and shelter.” Income is split into two categories, earned and unearned. Earned income is any money previously received from employment, and unearned income is considered as benefits received from workers compensation funds, disability, etc.

Over 30 states in the United States manage SSI benefits through state administration rather than federal administration. Applications should be directed to state agencies for people applying for benefits in states that manage their own supplements. According to the website of the Chris Mayo Law Firm, consulting an attorney when applying for SSI benefits can help push the process along more efficiently. State administered SSI benefits can give beneficiaries added advantages like Medicaid and additional assistance services like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

Texas is among the states that handle SSI payments through the state government. Since large cities like San Antonio are multi-cultural hubs, many people without citizenship frequently ask if citizenship is a requirement in order to receive SSI. Typically people must be a United States citizen, however there are some exceptions. Members of federally recognized Indian tribes, noncitizens admitted as immigrants, Cubans and Haitians admitted under the Refugee Education Assistance Act, victims of human trafficking, and Afghan and Iraqi entrants regarded as lawful permanent refugees are eligible to receive SSI benefits.

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Foreclosure Defense Strategies

Losing a home is a stressful event, and it has led to divorce, families separating, and a plethora of psychological problems. But a foreclosure does not happen overnight. An article on the website of Cedar Rapids-based law firm Hong Law, PLC, reminds homeowners that there are legal ways to avoid a foreclosure given the proper advice.

It is no secret that home foreclosures are widespread in the US, although it is currently on a downward trend. This could partly be due to the aggressive foreclosure defense strategies that homeowners are using to protect the assets that they have accumulated through hard work.

One of the most commonly utilized foreclosure defense strategies is bankruptcy. There are several types of bankruptcy that could apply to a specific individual facing foreclosure. This includes Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is essentially a restructuring program, and Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is largely debt forgiveness. A foreclosure defense lawyer can help determine which type of bankruptcy would best suit the circumstances of the debtor, but the priority is to avoid foreclosure of the home.

Another foreclosure defense strategy is mortgage modification. There are federal and state programs which are designed to help distressed homeowners avoid losing their home by motivating lenders to agree to change the terms of the mortgage that will give homeowners a chance to recover.

It may also happen that certain lenders may not have been dealing fairly with their clients to the extent that they are violating some aspect of the Truth in Lending Act. It would be wise to have a foreclosure defense lawyer check out the mortgage agreement for any evidence of this.

The worst thing a homeowner who is facing foreclosure can do is to do nothing until it is too late. There is no profit in wallowing in self-pity; what is needed is positive action. Get a professional to assess your situation and see what you can do to stop foreclosure in its tracks.

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Early Warning Device for Traumatic Brain Injury in Car Accidents

A teenager recently developed a system for a science fair that would calculate the possibility and intensity of traumatic brain injury in the aftermath of a car accident.

In the International Science and Engineering Fair held in Phoenix, Arizona, 16-year-old Justin Krell who lives in Plankinton, South Dakota, presented the prototype for a system that would track a person’s head movement at the time of a car accident. This would enable the calculation of the possibility of concussion. The system is called HardHit, and uses an accelerometer, infrared proximity sensor and microcontroller which together provide the data to measure the forces that impinged on a car passenger at the time of impact.

The system is based on the Arduino system which stores the information in a MicroSD card. The data can be used by medical care professionals to help in the diagnosis of possible traumatic brain injury such as concussion. HardHit is an in-vehicle device which is currently placed directly behind where the driver’s head would be. The system is still being improved to make the information available to first responders as well as for compatibility with other onboard systems such as OnStar from General Motors.

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Medical Errors that Lead to Neonatal Brain Injuries

Few people understand how easy it is to make medical errors that can lead to serious brain injuries. It can be a case of too much, too little, too soon, or too late for many cases and may be due to negligence, miscommunication or fatigue. Based on observations of their cases, the Disparti Law Group in Chicago states that costs go beyond hospitalization and critical care; in most cases, lifetime special care is required.

Health care professionals are human beings with the same physical and mental limitations of ordinary people, but this realization does not absolve them from the duty of care towards their patients that is expected of them. Breaching this duty can render them liable for personal injury lawsuits.

One of the most common reasons for brain injury in both adults and children which is not traumatic i.e. physical blow in nature is hypoxia and anoxia. Hypoxia is depletion of oxygen in tissue; anoxia is the complete absence of oxygen. If the brain receives too little oxygen, this is called cerebral hypoxia. If no oxygen is getting to the brain at all, it is cerebral anoxia. When a medical procedure or treatment inadvertently causes the oxygen flow to the brain to decrease or cease over a certain period of time, the brain cells die, causing brain damage. Even if the oxygen flow is brought back to normal, the brain injury and consequent effects are usually permanent.

The most vulnerable to this type of injury are newborns. Medical errors that lead to brain injuries in neonates include delayed removal of airway obstructions and failure to provide necessary medical attention to pre-term babies with underdeveloped lungs. Adults suffering from a stroke may have more extensive brain injuries than they should have if they had been diagnosed and treated promptly.

It is possible to injure the brain in other ways, such as the use of too much labor-inducing Pitocin, or too much anesthesia during surgery. While there is no intent to harm, the health care professional is still liable for any damages that may accrue to the victim in a personal injury lawsuit. If someone close to you has suffered brain injuries due to medical errors, consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area for advice and assistance.

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Location Matters in Workers’ Comp

The incidence of workplace injuries by state affects the ranking of that state in terms of workers’ comp premiums. States with a high incidence of workers’ comp claims have higher premium rates, computed on a per $100 salary. For example, in 2012 Alaska has the highest premiums at $3.97 for every $100. The lowest is North Dakota, where covered employers only pay $1.08 for every $100 paid to its employees. New Jersey is ranked 16th at $2.66 per $100 while Minnesota is 24th at $2.33.

In general, covered employers in the US are required to provide adequate workers’ comp insurance. This is according to the website of Minnesota-based Robert Wilson & Associates, a workers’ comp law firm. Failure to do so render the employers directly liable for expenses related to workplace injuries of its employees.

The benefits that workers actually get depends on state statute, however, so location matters when it comes to claiming for workers’ compensation. In New Jersey, for example, the weekly benefits under workers’ comp insurance is pegged at not more than 75% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) but not less than 20%, depending on the nature of the claim, the injury and other factors. The SAWW for New Jersey is currently $1,101.89 for all workers. In comparison, Minnesota pegs workers’ comp wage benefits at not more than 50% and not less than 20% of the SAWW, which is currently $945.00.

Because the statutes regarding work injuries that lead to workers’ comp claims are quite complex and difficult for a layperson to understand, most employees are not aware of how their benefits are computed, and trust blindly to what insurers tell them. That is a sure way to get shortchanged. Based on an article on the website of Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., many claimants fail to receive the full range of benefits as mandated by workers’ comp laws because they are unaware of their entitlement. This can have a significant effect on the welfare and health of the injured or disabled worker, and should not happen.

Workers’ comp is something that many employees take for granted until they suffer from workplace injuries. If that happens, the best way to get the full measure of workers’ comp is to engage aggressive and knowledgeable legal representation.

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Truck Accidents in Texas on the Rise

Texas is the second largest state in the US, and it has a lot of highways and byways being traversed by all kinds of commercial vehicles. It is not really surprising that in 2012 there were 26,403 crashes involving commercial motor vehicles (CMV), including truck accidents, in all of Texas. Of this number, 460 were fatal (525 fatalities), 3,738 were serious injury (5,287 seriously injured) and 4,181 were injury crashes (7,193 injured). These figures represent a 17% increase in the number of CMV-related fatalities and 8% of CMV-related crashes to 2011. There were no fatality-free days in Texas for 2012.

While these numbers are for all CMV-related crashes, truck accidents are bound to have a significant contribution because of the size and nature of the vehicle. Most trucks are used to transport goods across many miles, and truck drivers make more money if they drive more miles. The chances of trucking accidents rise when there is a great demand for services because the faster you travel with fewer breaks, the faster the trucking company and driver earn. This is still negligent behavior, and according to McAllen-based law firm Patino & Associates P.L.L.C., victims of truck accidents can recover damages and get compensation from the driver and carrier.

A truck driver does not even have to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or be distracted by cell phone use or eating to be involved in truck accidents. All that is needed is for the truck driver to ignore regulations and skip mandated rest periods and fatal consequences can easily follow. The long hours, monotonous occupation and lack of sleep make large trucks weapons on wheels on Texan roadways to the detriment of smaller, more vulnerable vehicles. According to the Truck Accident Resource Center, 98% of the fatalities in truck accidents are the occupants of the other vehicle.

If you or someone you know sustained injuries due to the negligence of a truck driver in Texas, consult with a personal injury lawyer with experience in dealing with truck accidents. Irresponsible people have no business being behind the wheel of a large truck, and should be made to pay for it.

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Medical Malpractice in Cruise Ship Accidents

Children of the 80’s would know all about “The Love Boat” television series which was squeaky clean and the ideal vacation for Americans. But that is television, and the reality is there are a lot of things to beware of when deciding on going on a cruise, especially the issue of medical malpractice and cruise ship accidents.

In general, it is not a good idea to be beyond the reach of the primary physician if there is an existing medical condition even if you are certain you can get adequate medical attention wherever you are going. But when circumstances force it, such as going on a cruise, it is reasonable to expect that you will at least get competent emergency care in case of cruise ship accidents or medical emergencies such as a ruptured appendix. Unfortunately, there are no regulations that force cruise liners to provide such competent service, so shipboard doctors may not provide the quality of care you will need. And to make things worse, even if the medical personnel causes injury or death because of some type of medical malpractice, the cruise liner has no liability because it is governed by maritime law and shipboard doctors are independent contractors.

Of course, a medical malpractice suit can be brought against the health professional but most shipboard doctors are not American citizens, and are therefore not bound by US laws. If the doctor is licensed in the US, there may be some hope of compensation.The Vucci Law Group, P.A., website states that for cruise ship accidents, there is a statute of limitations of one year in which one can bring a case for medical malpractice.

There is no doubt that you are on shaky ground when medical malpractice occurs on a cruise ship, but that is no reason to take it lying down. As pointed out in an article on the website of Charleston-based Steinberg Law Firm, medical malpractice victims often go through a horrendous ordeal of repeated surgeries, medical complications, and long-term health consequences. If it is at all possible to get compensation for these injuries, every effort should be expended to see that the matter is addressed, even if it occurs onboard a cruise ship.

A cruise ship is shielded from liability for medical malpractice by antiquated laws more than a century-old. It is time to make some changes, and the only way to do that is to let the victims’ voices be heard. If you or someone close to you had suffered harm because of the negligence or incompetence of a physician or other medical professional, engage the services of a lawyer with extensive experience and knowledge of maritime law and cruise liners to have a better chance of recovering damages.

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Foreclosure Defense Strategies

Foreclosure Defense Strategies

Losing a home is a stressful event, and it has led to divorce, families separating, and a plethora of psychological problems. But a foreclosure does not happen overnight. An article on the website of Cedar Rapids-based law firm Hong Law, PLC, reminds homeowners that there are legal ways to avoid a foreclosure given the proper advice.

It is no secret that home foreclosures are widespread in the US, although it is currently on a downward trend. This could partly be due to the aggressive foreclosure defense strategies that homeowners are using to protect the assets that they have accumulated through hard work.

One of the most commonly utilized foreclosure defense strategies is bankruptcy. There are several types of bankruptcy that could apply to a specific individual facing foreclosure. This includes Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is essentially a restructuring program, and Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is largely debt forgiveness. A foreclosure defense lawyer can help determine which type of bankruptcy would best suit the circumstances of the debtor, but the priority is to avoid foreclosure of the home.

Another foreclosure defense strategy is mortgage modification. There are federal and state programs which are designed to help distressed homeowners avoid losing their home by motivating lenders to agree to change the terms of the mortgage that will give homeowners a chance to recover.

It may also happen that certain lenders may not have been dealing fairly with their clients to the extent that they are violating some aspect of the Truth in Lending Act. It would be wise to have a foreclosure defense lawyer check out the mortgage agreement for any evidence of this.

The worst thing a homeowner who is facing foreclosure can do is to do nothing until it is too late. There is no profit in wallowing in self-pity; what is needed is positive action. Get a professional to assess your situation and see what you can do to stop foreclosure in its tracks.

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Social Security Disability Benefits for Personal Injury Victims

There are many situations in which the question of how a personal injury settlement or award will affect social security disability benefits will arise. In general, however, a person receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments should not worry about any adverse effects on their monthly benefits in the event of personal injury compensation. There is no overlapping of jurisdictions for the two issues. This does not mean that a claim for SSDI benefits will be any easier. As pointed out in the website of the Chris Mayo Law Firm in San Antonio, filing a claim for SSDI benefits requires extensive knowledge in the ins and outs of the process to avoid getting denied.

Conversely, a person who became disabled because of the negligence of a third party and received a personal injury settlement with a medical component may still claim SSDI benefits. An ongoing personal injury claim does not preclude filing a claim for SSDI at the same time. According to an article in the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® in Green Bay, the negligent actions of a defendant in a personal injury case renders him or her liable for any injuries that may accrue to another person. This liability is not diminished by the financial capacity of the injured party.

It must be remembered that SSDI is funded out of payroll taxes. As an employee, you have been paying periodically into the SSDI fund, and you have the right to receive SSDI benefits if you in fact become disabled. SSDI is based on certain criteria that are not causative in nature; you can qualify if you have the required work credits and are unable to work for at least 12 months because of a medical condition that has left you totally disabled. The why will not matter, and income from sources other than your regular employment is not a deciding factor. As long as you remain unable to work, you will receive SSDI payments. Any monies that you may have received from a personal injury lawsuit remain separate from your SSDI eligibility.

However, you may be required to set up a Medicare Set-Aside or MSA, a trust fund designed to cover your future medical needs related to the medical basis of your personal injury claim. The rationale and mechanics of an MSA is somewhat complex, and may best be explained by an MSA lawyer who will set it up for you if the need arises.

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