Category Archives: Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Helping Your Child with Reading

 

Children who like to read do better in school.

Reading with your child is incredibly important for a number of reasons. Learning to read from an early age is an essential step in all education. Reading is an intrinsic aspect of education regardless of the subject. A child who learns to read at home will be at an advantage when it comes to schoolwork.

Reading with and to your child is also an excellent bonding opportunity as you spend quality time with them in a learning environment.

The Research

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) published research early this year that noted only one-third of parents read bedtime stories regularly with their children on a nightly basis, and half the parents surveys believe their child spends way more time watching TV or playing video games than reading.

The key reason for not reading with a child was given as ‘lack of time’. Clearly, as working adults we lead busy lives, but is there anything we can do to make it easier to read with our kids?

A Little and Often

It’s best to read little and often, so try to put aside some time for it every day. This will also become a crucial bonding period. A little bit each day will quickly become a daily activity and an interest shared. Ten minutes before bed every night is not much of a commitment to make.

Set a Good Example

It is a well-known fact that children model their parents. If they see mom and dad regularly reading, they will be more likely to do the same. It will reduce any negativity towards books as being boring or dull. In addition you could talk to them about what you are reading and encourage them to do the same. Try and share thoughts, ideas, and hopes to do with the books you are both reading.

Simple Tips for Helping Your Child to Enjoy Books

Look for books on topics that you know your child is interested in. If they like trains, look for books which feature trains. This will help them to get excited about reading.

  • Make sure that children’s books are easily accessible in different rooms around your house.
  • Surround them not only with books but all sorts of reading materials. Magazines, newspapers, non-fiction will all help your child get used to the written word.
  • Read to your children and have them read to you. Not only will this be a nice bonding moment for you and your child it will help foster an interest in the material and the act of reading.
  • If English isn’t your family’s first language, you should make sure you buy dual-language books. Or split the reading between the different languages.  You should not restrict reading to just the one language.

Use these tips to engage your child in reading and you will have a reader for life!

Getting the Most from In-Home Tutoring if Your Child has Learning Disabilities

Students with learning disabilities can benefit from in-home tutoring as well as routine homework time.

Students with learning disabilities can benefit from in-home tutoring as well as routine homework time.

Homework is intended to be review for children learn in school. By practicing new concepts and principles, children are better able to remember and apply them. For students with learning disabilities, homework time can be frustrating. In-home tutoring is an excellent way to help your child complete assignments and build on knowledge learned in the classroom.

But you should not rely 100% on in-home tutoring to help your child. There are ways you can turn homework time into a success even if the tutor is not present.

Make a Homework Calendar

With the help of your child’s teacher, establish a homework calendar for your child with columns for the day’s assignments, your comments and the teacher’s notes. Make sure that your child comes home with the calendar every evening and returns it to his teacher the following day at school.

Prepare In/Out Folders

Get two folders of different colors and label one “Homework In” and the other “Homework Out”. Explain to your child that all assigned tasks for the day go into the “in” folder to bring home. Teach your child to place all completed homework into the “out” folder every evening to hand in to his teacher the next morning.

Establish a Routine (and Stick to It!)

Children with learning disabilities thrive on consistency. Fix a set time and place for homework and stick to this schedule as much as possible. Abrupt changes in routine may upset your child and distract her from doing her homework.

Divide and Conquer

Review the homework with your child first before starting. If your child has a short attention span, break the homework down to manageable chunks that your child can work through one at a time without being easily frustrated.

Adapt Homework to Your Child

No two homework assignments are the same. Adapt the task to your child’s ability to finish it alone or with your help. Depending on child’s specific disability, begin with easy homework to build her confidence. If your child loses interest quickly, then get longer homework out of the way first before taking a break.

Know When to Stop

There’s a limit to your child’s ability to concentrate, especially at the end of a long school day. Take short breaks for your child to recharge and recuperate. If she keeps hitting roadblocks, then it’s probably time to call it a day. Make a note on the homework calendar informing her teacher of the situation and revise the incomplete homework another day.

Make Homework Accommodations

There are times when you may need to make certain accommodations to assist your child with her homework. Read an assignment to her or explain how to work out a math problem according to what she’s learned in school. Focus on the importance of understanding the lesson instead of simply getting her homework done.

Ensure Open Communication

Have regular meetings with your child’s teachers to keep abreast with her learning problems in school. Being aware of your child’s struggles is half the battle won. If you see little improvement in your child, don’t hesitate to ask for extra help through tutors or education specialists.

Following these recommendations help leverage the benefits of in-home tutoring. Your child can meet or exceed academic goals when everyone works together!

Getting Children to Do Math Homework

Engaging children in math outside of the classroom makes them more interested in doing well on math homework.

Homework is an important part of a child’s education and as a parent you can play a vital role in that process. However, when it comes to math homework a lot of parents struggle as much as their children.

Let’s be honest, math is not everyone’s favorite subject and the very thought of trying to understand your son or daughter’s math homework can be a fairly demoralizing prospect.

But you cannot let your own dislike for math hinder you. It is important for your child to know you are there for them. You cannot afford to let your own fear affect your ability to help your child. Math can quickly become a child’s least favorite subject and by not encouraging them from an early age because of your own weaknesses you are increasing the chances of passing those deficiencies onto your children.

Fortunately there are a number of tricks and techniques you can use to ensure you are doing your utmost to assist with your children’s math homework.

Make It Interesting and Relevant

Try to make math as much fun as possible. Use games, puzzles and jigsaws to interest your children – you may even have fun yourself.

As with all learning if you are enjoying yourself you learn more quickly. Math doesn’t have to be all boring numbers and equations. There are a number of ways you can make it interesting and it’s important to show how we use math skills in everyday life.

  • Point out the different shapes to be found around your home.
  • Take your child shopping and talk about the quantities of anything you buy.
  • Let them handle money, get use to denominations, and see out how much things cost.
  • Play games involving numbers, such as card games, darts, or board games like Monopoly.
  • Use times of boredom and monotony as the perfect opportunity to get them thinking. The classic example is playing mental math game on long journeys.
  • Check with your child’s school for any specific information which would be useful. If their teachers are using a particular method it might be sensible to maintain that pattern.

Example of a Fun Math Game to Play

The following is a game suitable for all ages. It can be played at any time in any place.

Simply pick a number and then ask for those participating to take turns suggesting the ways that number can be reached.

For instance, if you chose the number 20, someone could suggest 10 x 2 as a possible solution.

Other example answers include

  • 200/10
  • 19+1
  • 21-1
  • 40/2

This game is suitable for all ages as the greater your understanding of math the more complicated your answers can become. There are also an unlimited number of responses and the whole exercise really gets your brain working!

Tips for Helping Teens in Foster Care with Homework

Teens in foster care benefit from tutoring as well as structured homework time.

Teens in foster care benefit from tutoring as well as structured and consistent homework time.

It is common for youth in foster care to be behind their peers academically. Although younger children may be more willing to spend time on homework, teens in foster care may rebel against foster parents or guardians who try to get them focused on academic goals. In-home tutoring can provide the motivation teens need to do well in school. Tutors with experience working with kids who are several grades behind where they should be can boost a child’s confidence and get them thinking about their future.

However, a tutor cannot be with your foster child all the time. There are steps you can take to provide an environment conducive to learning. Here’s how foster parents and guardians can help teens with homework without turning these after-school study sessions into a dreaded war of wills:

Be Organized

Homework hour is all about making sure your teen has sufficient time to complete assigns while he still has energy. Make sure your chores are completed beforehand so she has your undivided attention if she needs it. Turn off the television and eliminate other distractions that can interrupt a teen’s concentration. Actions counter to these recommendations send a message to your child that homework isn’t a priority.

Be Consistent

Establishing a reliable routine is just as important as helping your teen with homework. Set a designated time and place for schoolwork. Have everything your child needs at hand, including reference books, a computer, dictionary, and writing paper. Your child has a limited attention span, so don’t waste it by having him hunt around for an eraser.

Take a Break

After school, give your teen some downtime before hitting the books again at home. Have a healthy snack while chatting about her day at school. Discover what she learned in class and if she faced problems during a particular lesson. Reassure her that homework reinforces learning. This is your opening to start the day’s assignments.

Learn the Lesson

Nothing frustrates a teen more than a difficult homework assignment and nothing annoys you more that not being able to help her. Take time to study the material before trying to teach your child how to find the correct answers. If you don’t understand the lesson, find someone who does. An in-home or online tutor can provide assistance when you need it.

Think Outside the Box

Learning should be fun. Change settings by doing homework at the library instead of at home. Experiment with various methods of imparting the same knowledge to your child and see which ones work best to help her understand her homework.

Limit Homework Time

Your teen has spent almost an entire day in school, learning many subjects in a closed classroom environment. At home, keep homework time between 15 to 20 minute increments. Forcing your tired child to spend longer than 20 minutes on homework may produce resentment against extra assignments and discourage learning in general.

Offer Constructive Feedback

If your child has a tough time with a particular task, be patient and suggest different approaches to the problem instead of berating his inability to find a solution. Remember that homework is practice for what your child has already learned in class. Go through the lesson with her briefly before taking another shot at the answer.

Monitor Progress

Keep tabs on your teen’s progress in school. His struggle with homework may point towards learning difficulties during class. Discuss the issue with his teachers or attend parent-teacher meetings to find out more about the teaching methods employed in school and ways you can help at home.

Tutoring can help teens in foster care catch up with their peers and prepare them for graduation. Contact us today if your teen needs tutoring!

Have Fun (Not Fear) with Science Homework!

Don't be daunted if your child needs help with science homework. Use these tips to get help you both can use.

As a parent you want the best for your child. You want to help them and support them so that they achieve the best that they are capable of at all times. Education plays a huge role in shaping a young person and homework is a crucial aspect of school life.

Kids don’t like doing homework and often it is the parent’s responsibility to make sure they get it done. Getting your children into the habit early is the best way of helping them build on good habits and gives them a better chance of finding success.

So, sitting down with your child and seeing that they get their homework done is an important part of parenting. But what happens when your child brings home something you don’t understand? Science can be a tricky subject but you shouldn’t be afraid of getting involved.

Tackling Tricky Science

Science is a complicated and potentially confusing subject but remember you are doing this for your child’s welfare. You shouldn’t let your embarrassment impede their learning. Try and read ahead in your child’s textbook. Even if you are learning it five minutes before you help them learn it you are providing a great help.

If you wanted to go one step further, consider hiring a tutor to help your child learn more advanced science principles.

How to Keep Science Interesting

If you and your child are struggling to find science interesting, it is important to try and adjust the way you are approaching it. Remember what science is all about. It’s about explaining the world around you: how it works and why. Try and connect science and what you are reading on the page with the world around you. If it’s relevant, it is more interesting.

Look at gravity, plants, animals and the different reactions of fluids to temperatures. All of these, in addition to be being easily accessible, can be explained by simple scientific theories and calculations.

Technology Saves the Day!

If you are still struggling, either due to your own lack of knowledge or because your child is still not grasping scientific concepts, remember that all this information is out there within touching distance. If you do not understand a particular subject, you can Google it.

Online you will find all sorts of solutions theories and explanations. If you have a question, it is likely that someone has had the same question before and the answer is online. Always cover your bases by reading from a variety of sources.

Beyond In-Home Tutoring: Ways to Help Your Teen Improve Math Skills

Take advantage of all of the resources available to help your teen improve math skills today!

Take advantage of all of the resources available to help your teen improve math skills today!

Math is one of the most challenging subjects in school and a source of endless nightmares for teens and parents alike. Parents who have struggled through their own bad experiences with math may resist helping their teens who need help with math homework. Although in-home tutoring can certainly address your teen’s immediate need for homework help, there are steps you can take to help him improve his math skills outside of formal learning sessions.

Use Math Daily: Show your teen how math is important in everyday life by proposing numerical questions regularly. Take her grocery shopping and have her estimate the total cost before you actually check out. Ask her to calculate the final cost of a sale item when you take her to the mall. Using math daily trains your child to think numerically, laying a good foundation for solving math questions in school and later in life.

Make Math a Priority: Give her practice worksheets on days she doesn’t have math homework. There’s no one way to approach a mathematical problem. If your teen is stuck, help her work at it from another angle or us a different approach like drawing a diagram. Work the problem as thoroughly as possible.

Skip the Problem: Math problems should only take a minute or so to complete, and homework assignments shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes to complete. Let your teen know it is okay to skip a problem and return to it after she has completed the remaining problems. Spending too much time on a problem causes your teen to become frustrated which can result in unnecessary errors.

Refer to Examples: Go through the math lesson for the day with your teen and look at sample problems that she may have done in class. Refer to the sample when your child starts her homework and guide her towards the solution without actually telling her what to do.

Make Memory Aids: Math is all about numbers and formulas that may be too overwhelming for your teen to retain. Make memory aids that she can review at a glance to remind herself of how a particular problem should be solved.

Learn, Practice, and Practice Some More: Practice makes perfect. Assisting your child with homework reinforces class lessons but without regular review, your teen may still forget what she has learned. Set time aside to go over the week’s key math lessons. A brief oral test can indicate how well your teen understands the math concepts she is learning.

Encourage Group Study: Teens are extremely social. Let her invite some friends over to figure out the math homework together. Help them stay on track by leading them in a discussion of the questions and their proposed solutions. Praise their efforts and reward them with a snack and free time once they’re done with their homework.

Take Advantage of the internet: Educational websites provide a wealth of information and resources you and your teen can use. If you are having trouble with a particular math problem, find help by searching the Internet using keywords in the math problem. Never copy solutions from the Internet, but use them to help your teen better understand a problem and its solution.

Our math tutors have experience providing homework help to teens. Learn more about in-home tutoring for teens by contacting us today!

Improving Academic Outcomes for Children with Learning Disabilities

Parents can help a child with learning disabilities by understanding different learning styles and knowing how their child learns.

If your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability, you must be wondering what you can do to help. One of your biggest concerns is probably how they will cope at school.

Homework is an important part of the education process as it not only increases learning but also helps children develop good habits which will serve them in many ways in the future. Homework is also an area which a parent can help with and have some influence over. However, you need to be doing it correctly.

A parent’s role in helping their child study is not to make sure they get full marks, it’s about helping them help themselves. As a result, if your child has a learning disability, you must remember that you are not there to provide a cure or do the work for them.

The following tips are for parents of children with learning difficulties:

Focus on Strengths Not Weaknesses

It is imperative to remember that your child is not defined by a learning disability. One weakness is nothing compared to the multitude of strengths your child has in other areas. Focus on those strengths and use them to bolster interest and ability in the weaker areas. Encourage any academic area where your child excels and try to understand what it is about that subject that they enjoy. When possible, try to replicate the enjoyable elements across all subjects.

Make Sure YOU are the Expert on Your Child

It is a good idea to do your own research and keep up to speed with the options available to children with learning disabilities. Make sure you understand your child’s situation. What it means and what your options are should inform your course of action. Yes, it is great to talk to trained professionals like doctors and therapists, but remember that you owe it to your child to do your best for them. Understanding all the issues involved is a major step.

Be Prepared to Fight for Your Child

It is not nice to consider, but there are times when a child with a learning difficulty may be left behind. Whether it is due to understaffing or poor teaching, you must be prepared to have a grip on the situation and get involved when you need to. There’s no need to fight everyone and you have to be realistic, but be ready to embrace your role as a proactive parent. When you come up against obstacles remain calm and reasonable but stay firm and remember that you are fighting for the wellbeing of your child.

Take the Lead Yourself

Children follow their parents’ lead. If you take a positive approach to tackling a learning difficulty, your child is more likely to replicate. Always stay positive and constructive.

Remember that Every Child Learns Differently

There is no blueprint for how an individual learns and those with learning difficulties are no different. Some people learn best by seeing or reading, others by listening, and still others by touching or acting it out. You should try to identify how your child learns best and incorporate that into the way you help them with their homework. It may also be worth reaching out to their teachers and asking them to do the same.

Education is For Life, Not Just School

Depending on the severity of your child’s learning disability, you are going to have different goals and ambitions. The one thing to remember is it is not necessarily all about academic success. What you are helping your child to do is learn to cope in the best possible way so they can be successful adults. Learning how to interact socially and how to live their own life is just as admirable a target as good grades and high SAT scores.

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.