Category Archives: Tips for Parents and Caregivers

How Foster Parents Can Get Elementary-Aged Students Interested in Science

Science homework does not have to be a chore for students or parents. Use expert recommendations to engage elementary-aged students in science.

Science homework does not have to be a chore for students or parents. Use expert recommendations to engage elementary-aged students in science.

Like math, science is a daunting subject for many children. Some feel intimidated while others are simply not interested. Parents often assume that they need to be rocket scientists in order to help children with their homework. In fact, foster parents can easily learn about science alongside their elementary-aged foster children when using the following methods:

Have Fun with Experiments

An easy way to solidify science concepts in your child’s mind is to capture her attention visually by running simple experiments at home. For instance, if your child’s science homework is about the change of an object’s physical state, help her understand this by showing how liquid transforms into vapor when you put a kettle of water to boil for hot chocolate.

Extend Science Lessons into Your Backyard

Show your child that what she has learned in school really exists. Point out the different clouds in the sky that affect weather changes (earth sciences), or help her identify the insects in your garden (life sciences) when you go out for a walk together. Helping your child with her science homework often requires taking class lessons outside the classroom.

Participate in Science Projects

Science projects are an effective learning method for any child. Test your child’s knowledge of underlying concepts by asking leading questions about the science projects assigned to her. Avoid building the projects for her. Instead, provide the materials she needs to create her project efficiently.

Use Mind Maps

Review the topic summary for the day’s science homework with your child before starting. Make sure your child knows what is expected of her when she addresses the task at hand. If needed, draw a colorful mind map linking critical points with key subject matters under that particular topic. Visualizing the topic in a mind map enables your child to pinpoint exactly where she may be having trouble when completing her homework.

Visit a Science Fair or Museum

Add science fairs in the vicinity to your calendar or take your child on a trip to the nearest museum to pique her curiosity in this subject. A major challenge when doing science homework with your child is to retain her interest in science as being more than just a subject to learn in school.

Play Interactive Science Games

Interactive science games are a great way to help your child with her science homework. Surf through the internet to find many free topic-related science games. Some games offer multiple choice answers that reinforce your child’s memory about a certain subject. For example, to go on to the next level in a game for life sciences, your child may be required to name the key features of an animal. If you are hesitant about going online, set a time every week for a game of science trivia with your child and the rest of the family.

Hire a Science Tutor

Sometimes children in foster care learn better from a tutor.  A science tutor can make homework time fun and exciting while help your foster child bridge identified learning gaps. Science tutors at Educational Tutorial Services are trained to help youth in care meet academic goals. Contact us today to learn about our in-home tutoring services!

Practical Science Homework Advice for Parents

Parents can help their children with science homework even if they do not know the material themselves.

Science is a subject that can be fascinating for kids at school, but there are times when children of all ages may need some help and guidance with this subject. As is the case with all subjects, kids will often have science homework and from time to time may need some help and guidance from you as a parent in order to get the homework completed successfully.

As a parent, you will naturally want to be able to offer this guidance and helping hand when it comes to your child’s science homework. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a whiz at science yourself – even if you are unfamiliar with the subject, there are various ways in which you can help your child.

How You Can Help with Science

Whether or not you are good at science yourself, there are a number of ways in which you can help your child when it comes to their science homework. Some tips to help include:

  •  Get appropriate materials: Depending on the level and grade your child is at, make sure that he or she has access to plenty of educational materials relating to science. This includes appropriate textbooks and reading materials.
  • Use the Internet: Encourage your child to use the Internet in order to carry out research relating to their science project. Don’t do the research for them but be on hand to guide them. This is a great way to access useful information as well as to get them into the habit of conducting online research for education.
  •  Study with a friend: Subjects such as science can be more fun to tackle with friends, particularly if it is a practical assignment. Therefore, you may want to suggest your child study with a friend but you should also make sure you are on hand to guide and help them if they need it. This is a great way of encouraging kids to share their knowledge and help one another understand.
  • Look at specialist help: If you feel that your child is falling behind with a specialist subject such as science, it may be worth considering focused help provided by a tutor. This could prove to be a valuable investment that can help your child to get on track with science and help them to better understand the subject as well as to cope with homework assignments more easily.

Don’t Do the Work For Them…

A key thing to remember is that while you should always be willing to provide your child with support and guidance with their science homework, as a parent you need to refrain from actually doing it for them otherwise this will have an adverse effect on their overall learning and understanding of the subject.

Academic Help for Children Who are Visual Learners

Visual learners can find everyday homework difficult to complete, especially if involves a lot of text. Expert tutors can help your visual learner with homework in way that allows her to attain more of the material she learns.

Visual learners can find everyday homework difficult to complete, especially if it involves a lot of text. Expert tutors can help your visual learner with homework in a way that allows her to retain more of the material she learns.

Although most students use all of their senses during the learning process, most prefer one over the others. The brain uses different channels to gather information about the world. This means your goal is to discover what channels are mostly used by your child and help him use that to his advantage. Here are some tips for parents whose children are visual learners.

Get Equipped

One of the first things to do dealing with a visual learner is to get properly equipped. This means when you pick workbooks for your child, you should pick the ones with many pictures, diagrams and other visuals in them. Get a chalk board or pen board and use it in your studies with the child. Tablets are great teaching tools for visual learners. Draw a picture or a diagram whenever you can to support your verbal explanations. Use pictures, bright colors and other visuals when helping your child with homework assignments.

Use Video Lessons

Nothing beats a good visual for a visual learner. This definitely is a case of when a picture is worth thousand words. Understand that your child’s brain is searching for pictures and it singles them out to learn from them. So, using videos is a strong tool you can leverage during study time. You can use educational cartoons for younger kids or use educational PC games for older ones. Online tutoring can be highly beneficial for visual learners because of whiteboards and other teaching tools used by tutors.

Teach Your Child to Work with Text

No matter how much your child likes pictures or other visuals there is no way they can learn by them alone. They still need to know how to work with text and how to make it a more memorable source of information. Here is one good tip for the parents. Get several highlighters and teach your kid to single out key thoughts and sentences of the text by highlighting them. This is how you create visual anchors in the text and help your child memorize and learn more information from reading words.

Use Gestures to Communicate

Verbal communication can also be hard for visual learners. So, when you are trying to teach something to your kid with words, use your hands and your entire body to support your words. You may help your kid to memorize certain things easier, if you back your words up with signs. Your child is more likely to remember you “talking” with your hands than what you said in words. This is another reason visual learners benefit from online tutoring – tutors use video to communicate with students.

As you see, these practical tips for parents can make your study times easier and more fun. You can learn to “speak the same language” with your child and avoid frustration when you communicate. When you need extra help, contact us for a private or online tutor that can provide the learning environment your visual learner needs to excel in school.

When Your Child Needs Math Help

You don't have to be a genius to help your child with his math homework.

While math is a vital part of the school curriculum for kids of all ages, there are some children who struggle with this particular subject more than others. Math is one of those subjects that some people are naturally brilliant at while others may really struggle to get their heads around it. However, perseverance and the right support can help kids who need a helping hand with their math.

At school, this helping hand naturally comes from the teacher, as kids can speak to their teacher for clarification or guidance with math issues they are struggling with. At home, on the other hand, it is usually the parents who will provide this guidance, offering support and help when their child is doing their math homework.

How You Can Help

If your child needs help with math homework, there are a number of ways in which you can help. This includes:

  •  Clarify their understanding: You need to get an idea of exactly what your child doesn’t understand about the question or assignment. It may be that he or she understands part of it but is struggling with a specific aspect. So, clarify their understanding by asking your child exactly what he or she needs to do and where the problem is.
  •  Break down the problem: Kids may struggle with a math question or assignment because they are looking at the bigger picture, which can be quite daunting. By breaking the question down and going through it section by section, it can be easier for kids to understand and solve.
  •  Don’t pass on your nerves: Many parents find that helping kids with math can be daunting, as sometimes they do not understand the problem themselves. Do not let you kids see that you are struggling or worried.
  •  Use the Internet: Don’t be afraid to use the internet or online tools to help your child. You should let your child look up the information but sit with them to guide them. This will not only enable them to get help but will get them into the habit of online research for educational purposes, which will become increasingly important as they grow older.
  •  Consider hiring a tutor: If you feel that your child has a big obstacle to overcome when it comes to math, you may want to consider hiring a tutor for additional support and assistance. This can help bring your child up to speed with math if he or she is falling behind compared to the rest of the class.

Addressing Concerns Over Progress

Also, remember that while helping your child with math homework you can gain a better understanding of their progress with this particular subject. If you are worried about your child’s progression with math, speak to their teacher to see what he or she recommends.

What to Expect From a Private Tutor

A private tutor can make all the difference to your child's success in school (and beyond).

A private tutor can make all the difference to your child’s success in school (and beyond).

Education is a major determinant of both an individual’s productivity as well as growth of the economy. Private tutoring is a popular way for parents to ensure the academic success of their children. Those who are not familiar with it may wonder whether it actually increases parental choices and if it helps a student achieve more in their academic pursuits. Private tutoring plays an important role in the education of today’s student. It involves giving extra instructions to students who wish to improve their aptitude and who also wish to become more knowledgeable about a particular subject.

What Is Private Tutoring?

Private tutoring can be defined as a form of tutoring where the student pays the tutor their fee and the tutor in turn provides supplementary instructions to the student in a particular academic subject. In other words, it is a form of private education in which instruction is provided on an individualized basis. Such instruction is perceived to be better than what a student receives when studying at a typical school.

This form of supplementary education is provided to students of all ages, including those who are studying at the upper-secondary level as well as those who are preparing for university examinations. Even those who are studying at primary as well as lower-secondary levels can benefit from this form of education. What’s more, private education is a growing phenomenon and more and more students are now opting for it.

No Secret Techniques

Before paying for private tutoring it is important to keep in mind that there are no secret techniques and magical methods that are going to work for every student for every subject and in every kind of environment. This is because the tutor has to use different teaching methods to suit the learning abilities of different students. Each student is unique and will only learn the subject provided the tutor uses the right teaching method.

For this form of supplementary education to be effective, it is important for the tutor to make his student feel comfortable and relaxed. Children (and adults) generally learn better when they are comfortable and relaxed. Feeling comfortable and relaxed helps the student to fully concentrate on their studies. They are able to give their studies their total undivided attention.

Assess Student’s Comprehension Level

A good tutor is one who assesses the comprehension level of his student and then teaches them in a manner that suits that comprehension level. In addition, the tutor will plan the lessons so that the instructions are not imparted on an ad-hoc basis but in a prearranged manner. To ensure that the teaching is effective, the private tutor must also use his creativity when teaching. If the tutor makes the mistake of teaching the student in a sterile and dry learning environment the results will be disappointing.

Private tutoring is only effective if the teaching methods used are effective and creative. The student should be taught in a fun way. The tutor must keep the student’s interests in mind when teaching them a subject. So, if the student reveals an interest in music then the tutor should use music mnemonics as learning tools. Last but not least, the tutor should always treat his student with utmost respect.

Turning Young Children into Enthusiastic Readers

With the right encouragement and support, young children will love reading.

Reading is a vital part of your child’s upbringing, as it aids their education, creativity, and imagination. Reading is something that a child should want to engage in for pleasure as well as for educational reasons, but not all kids are at the same level as their peers when it comes to reading.

Any parent that feels their child may be experiencing issues when it comes to reading should take action to try and rectify the problem as soon as possible. Being able to read properly will enrich your child’s life in numerous ways, which is why it is so important to find ways to improve their reading skills.

Tips to Build Reading Skills

Being a good reader is vital to your child’s academic achievements but is also a vital part of their upbringing, as it can feed their imagination, release their creativity, and enrich their lives.

If you want to help improve your child’s reading skills, there are a number of ways in which you can do this, including:

  • Read to your child daily: Younger kids love nothing more than to have a parent read to them. In addition to providing them with the pleasure of storytelling, this will also help to increase their interest in reading as well as improve their reading comprehension.
  •  Provide plenty of material: In order to increase your child’s interest in reading, make sure you provide them with plenty of reading material. Also, try to provide them with a diverse array of reading material so that they develop a taste for different genres as they grow older.
  •  Make reading a family activity: You can help to encourage your child to read by making this a family activity. So, you could put aside half an hour each day or every couple of days where everyone settles down with a book to read.
  •  Take your child to the library: While many people now read books on e-readers and online, kids are often fascinated by the shelves full of books at the library. Make the most of your local library and take the kids along to choose their own books.
  •  Get your child to read to you: Reading to your child is an important part of increasing your child’s interest in reading. However, you should also start getting your child to read to you, even if it is just a few paragraphs at a time. This will encourage your child to focus more on what he or she is reading as well as enabling you to monitor their progress.

Aiding Your Child in the Long Run

These tips can help make reading more fun for your child as well as help to increase their interest in reading as they get older. This in turn can improve reading comprehension, which will aid your child both academically and personally over the years. By utilizing these tips, you can help your child to develop an interest in reading that will aid them both during their time in school and for many years to come.

Creating the Right Learning Environment for Children with Learning Disabilities

An environment conducive to learning can help students with learning disabilities focus on their homework.

While all children need a little help and guidance with their homework from time to time, those who diagnosed with learning disabilities may require more support than most. For the parents of students with learning disabilities, it is important to be aware of ways in which this guidance and help can be provided without the parents actually taking over.

It is just as important for students with learning disabilities to be able to understand the work that they are doing at home as it is for those without learning disabilities. Parents need to find ways to help their child while still ensuring that he or she is the one that does the work.

Ways Parents Can Help

There are a number of ways in which you can help children with learning disabilities when it comes to their homework:

  • Establish a homework schedule: It is a good idea to develop a routine and establish a schedule. This increased organization can help your child get into a routine when it comes to completing homework and also means that you can ensure you are around when homework is being completed.
  •  Eliminate distractions: The last thing a child with learning difficulties needs is a load of distractions such as televisions, radios, and lots of noise. Therefore, make sure you set up a quiet area where your child can study in peace and focus on what needs to be done.
  •  Arrange regular breaks: If your child has a particularly lengthy homework assignment to complete, make sure you arrange regular breaks. This can help to increase focus and concentration, particularly for those who have ADD or ADHD.
  •  Hire a tutor: It can be highly beneficial for a child with learning disabilities to have extra support from a professional. You will find a number of tutors with experience and expertise in supporting those with learning difficulties, so this is an option you may want to consider for your child.
  •  Don’t pressure: Although you may be keen for your child to get their homework assignment completed on time, you may find that a child with learning disabilities reaches a saturation point where he or she is simply unable to take in any more. If this happens, make sure you don’t pressure or force your child to continue, as this could do more damage than good. Instead, write a note for the teacher explaining the situation.

Creating the Right Environment

These are a few of the ways in which you can make homework assignments easier for your child to tackle. Remember, children with learning disabilities can become distracted more easily, which makes it all the more important to create the right environment in your home. A big part of helping your child will be to both establish a routine and create a space in the home that is conducive to learning.

Expert Tips for Helping Kids With Science Homework

Parents should help their children with science homework but never do the work for them!

Parents should help their children with science homework but never do the work for them!

At all grade levels, students must take classes in multiple subjects. Science is usually one of those subjects. Science curriculum essentially includes general and environmental science at lower grade levels in addition to physics and chemistry in higher grades. Science as a subject has the capability to be fun as well as a nightmare depending on the student, teacher and circumstances. But the knowledge of science is important for a student to move ahead in life. As a parent, you can help your child with his science homework by using the following recommendations.

Make Yourself Available: When your kids have homework, take a few minutes to review each assignment. Make yourself available and brush up on the subject matter so that you can answer their queries whenever they require. Make your kids feel that they can turn up to you when they are in trouble. Be ready for this by getting online help from different sites and rebuild your knowledge of science so that you do not appear silly in front of your kids. This one recommendation will make your kids interested in science.

Motivate Your Kids: Science can be incredibly boring for kids. So, a bit of occasional motivation can come handy. Tell your kids stories of great inventions and scientists. For example, it might interest your child to know how Graham Bell invented the telephone or what experiments were conducted by Edison to discover electricity. Tell them about the hardships those scientists endured on their quest for scientific truth. Storytelling is a great way to motivate kids and encourage them when homework is tough.

Be an Inspiration:  Kids, especially young ones, look up to their parents. Parents are their first heroes. So, by showing how science has changed your life, your child will want to be just like you by learning scientific principles. Show them your interest in science and they will reciprocate!

Resist Completing Their Homework: Help your kids understand the homework and give them hints when needed. Provide suggestions for how to approach problems, but never give them the idea that you will complete homework assignments if they cannot.

Informal Field Trips: Take your kids to local museums, libraries, or zoos. Let them have a first-hand look on what they learn in books. Even amusement parks can help kids learn about scientific principles such as gravity and how rides work. For younger kids, make regular trips to the zoo and the natural history museum.

Help with Science Projects: A great deal of science homework involves take-home science projects. Here you have to resist your urge to do the project yourself. Help them, provide ideas to complete the project, but make them execute the ideas themselves. Take them places where the ingredients for their projects can be found, but push them to find the pieces and put them together themselves.

Science homework made for sleepless nights when you were a kid, so you should understand what goes on with your own child. A major difference is the more complex curriculum and amount of homework required of students today. So, keep your child company and provide encouragement so they do well and remain interested in science.

General Study Tips for Students in Elementary School

Students excel in school when they have proper support at home.

Good habits are best developed early. The same rule can be applied to elementary school. What a child learns in the early grades is a foundation for the rest of their educational experience. The same idea can be applied to a child’s study habits. It is never too early to impart the necessity of good study habits, and a few simple tips should start your child on the path to school success.

Tip #1: Parents should serve as a role model for children.

If you can, help them with their homework. Many parents are busy and finding the time to sit down with a child can be difficult, but parents should always stress the importance of completing homework as a way to reinforce the concepts learned in school.

Tip #2: Organization is the key to success.

This may sound trite, but it holds true. Encourage your child to keep papers from one subject separate from those in other classes. Multiple folders, color coded and arranged in a binder should prove helpful. Children should be encouraged to have all of the supplies they may need — pencils, erasers, glue sticks, crayons — all in one place, such as a pencil box. Many teachers encourage students to keep these supplies at school. If that is the case, make sure that these same supplies are available at home. Some schools now provide each student with an agenda book. Encourage your child to use it every day for writing down homework assignments and upcoming tests. This allows you and your child to stay on top of when things are due, and gives plenty of time for test preparation.

Tip #3: Find a convenient and dedicated space for doing homework and studying.

You might have been able to do your homework while sitting on your bed, but that was high school or college. This is elementary school, and young children can easily be distracted. Using the dining room or kitchen table, or a desk if your child has one, allows for the space one needs to have all their material at the ready and allows the parent to oversee that the child is on task.

Tip #4: Make homework and studying a routine part of each day.

Let’s face it, no one wants to spend seven hours cooped up in school and then come home and do their homework. However, homework and studying are vital components of the learning process. Your child may not want to come home and immediately start on their homework. If so, let them have some down time, but make sure that homework time is a part of the routine every day.

Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Students, once they start falling behind, may be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help, and then only fall further behind. Teachers are generally available through email or a phone call, and their job is to teach your child. Let them know if your child is having difficulty with certain subjects and make your child’s education the cooperative process that it should be.

 

Improving Your Child’s Reading Skills

Children who develop an interest in reading at an early age perform better in school.

Children who develop an interest in reading at an early age perform better in school in all subjects.

Children who like to read tend to do better in school and, later, in life. It is not only necessary for gaining knowledge but also for building character. It opens up the doors to the unknown and helps strengthen decision-making skills. In addition to all the above benefits, reading positively affects cognitive skills. It is, however, necessary to start early. Nurturing an expectation of and interest in reading from an early age is a must. As a parent you should encourage your child to improve their reading skills. Here are some suggestions you can use to help your children take the plunge into the world of knowledge.

Provide a Foundation for Reading:  When you start emphasizing the benefits of reading to your children, focus on what they should start with. You have to be the one to put forth a preview of reading material. If your child is in elementary school or younger, he or she may have difficulty understanding the text they are reading. You need to lay a foundation for them. For example, if they begin with a science-themed book that depicts different animal species, explain how many species exist, the difference between them, and then let them read it. It will spur both understanding and interest. Moreover, talk about your own experiences, how you have seen some species in the museum or at the zoo or in another book you read on a similar topic.

Establish Dedicated Reading Time: Set a time and create a place your children will be automatically inclined to read. If you spend time watching TV or using your laptop, the audio- visual experience will attract your child more than a printed book which may seem dull in comparison. So it is advisable to refrain from watching too much sports or other programs on TV when you child is around.

Ask Them to Read and Think Aloud:  It is an age-old practice to read aloud. This creates an audio-visual effect in your brain cells which not only enhances memory but also improves cognitive ability. Thus always motivate your child to read aloud. Moreover if they are reading something wrong you will be able to correct them by listening to what they are reading. This is definitely a really good practice as an adult.

Encourage Role Reversal: Ask your child to read to you and help you understand what he has read. Let him play the teacher. This improves understanding in multiple ways. It assists in improving presentation skills and strengthens speaking capability. This can be a good parameter to assess the built-in skills of your child.  It definitely helps to increase their knowledge too.

Try to Make the Reading Experience Interesting for your child: Buy your children new books that are outside of the school curriculum. This increases your child’s interest on their quest for knowledge. Choose books based on their appearance and content. Always make sure reading material is age-appropriate. Your child’s interest will grow while their reading skills improve.

Your child grows up watching you. Be a good role model so you can influence your child’s interest in reading and learning. Be a voracious reader yourself in front of your child, and he will become one himself!