Category Archives: Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Providing Support During Homework Time

There are many ways parents can help children with homework.

As any parent knows, education is a vital part of their child’s upbringing and an extremely important part of their future. All parents want to ensure that their child is able to enjoy the best education but it is important to remember that kids sometimes need a helping hand in order to help them to overcome barriers and problems.

Teachers are, of course, the ones that children turn to for help while they are at school. However, kids also have homework to complete as part of their schooling, and if they need help with this, it is often up to parents to provide that valuable helping hand.

Helping Your Kids with Homework

It is important for parents to be supportive and help their kids with homework. However, there are a few tips you should keep in mind to help you and your child. This includes:

  • Don’t take over: It is all too easy for parents to get carried away and actually take over when helping their child with their homework. However, you need to be careful that you do not end up actually doing the work for the child. Instead, you should be guiding your child and explaining any issues he or she has with that particular project or question.
  • Stick to a schedule: It is important to get your child into a routine when it comes to their homework, and as such you should make sure you schedule a particular time for homework. This will not only get your child into a routine, which means that homework is less likely to be missed, but it also enables you to ensure that you will be around during that time period.
  • Set the right environment: Sitting your child down to do homework with the television blaring out in corner of the room isn’t really conducive to learning or concentration. You should make sure you set up an area that is quiet and has no distractions, as this will help your child to focus.
  •  Take an interest: It is important for parents to take an interest in their kids’ homework. This doesn’t just mean making them sit down and telling them to get on with it. You should ask about the projects, take an interest in what they are doing, and even offer to check it for them after they are done.
  •  Take action if necessary: The one time you are likely to identify any educational issues your child is experiencing is when they are doing their homework. If you have any concerns about their level of learning or confidence with a particular subject, don’t be afraid to discuss this with their teacher.

Assist with Learning Outside of School

These are all valuable ways in which parents can help their kids to not only complete their homework but also to continue learning even when they are not in a school environment. It is important for parents to ensure that just because a child walks out of the school gates they do not leave their academic head behind in the classroom. With these tips you can make sure that your child continues to get assistance with learning outside of school.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Traditional or Online Tutoring – Which is Right for You?

There are pros and cons to traditional private tutoring as well as online tutoring. Use these to determine which approach will benefit your child most.

There are pros and cons to traditional private tutoring as well as online tutoring. Use these to determine which approach will benefit your child most.

As with everything in today’s society, tutoring has taken a major step into the digital world. And, the age-old debate about traditional or new-age comes into play. Traditional tutoring or online tutoring? In order to make this decision easier for you, here is a list of pros and cons for both traditional and online tutoring.

Pros of Traditional Tutoring

With an actual tutor around, you can be sure that your child gets ample amount of attention. You also can rest assured that your child will be more focused because there is an adult around to keep him or her in check.

Having a tutor physically present around a student is a good idea because some students do not make it known that they are confused. Being able to see the students’ body language helps the tutor determine if the student fully understands what is being taught.

Cons of Traditional Tutoring

Hiring a tutor can be quite pricey depending on the tutor’s rate as well as his or her qualifications. Furthermore, students may need to pay for additional materials such as practice books. And, in some cases, you will need to transport your child to and from her tutoring session.

A tutoring session may take up to an hour or two, depending on the tutor and student. This time period is fully blocked and if you want to allocate this time for something else, you will need to find another time when your child and the tutor are both free to meet. This can be quite a chore if your child has activities such as sports or other extracurricular activities.

Pros of Online Tutoring

Students can get help at any time of the day. If your child is doing his or her homework at 9PM, and finds that he or she needs help with a certain problem, you can go online to look for help since there are tutors online at all times. Online tutoring is the solution for emergency situations.

It can cost a fraction of what a traditional tutor would charge and it only requires a stable Internet connection for online tutoring to take place. WiFi or a mobile connection is all it takes for an online tutoring session. If you can’t seem to get access to the Internet, you can simply go to one of the many cafes or libraries that provide free WiFi.

Cons of Online Tutoring

Online tutoring requires a lot of discipline and focus, something a younger child may lack. Hence online tutoring may only be suitable for a certain age group. If a younger child wishes to use online tutoring services, an adult may need to be around the child in order to supervise and keep him or her in check.

Students may not get the attention they need with online tutoring. If a student is weak in a particular topic or subject, it is important that they spend more time on that topic or subject. This may require more intensive face-to-face time with a tutor.

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.

Choosing the Right Online Tutoring Agency

Knowing what to look for in an online tutoring agency ensures you get the best tutor for your child.

Knowing what to look for in an online tutoring agency ensures you get the best tutor for your child.

When looking for an online tutor, most parents may place too much emphasis on the tutors’ credentials. Yes, tutors must be qualified but that is not the only factor to consider. In order to benefit from online tutoring, there are several factors that can improve the outcome. Here are some tips on how to choose the best tutor for your child.

Time Zone

This is important because you have to take into consideration the best time of day for your child to learn. If your child learns better in the day time, it makes sense to look for a tutor who lives in or near your time zone. However, if your child learns best at night, it might be more beneficial to look for a tutor who is most likely to be awake or in another time zone that fits your child’s learning preferences.

Interest

You may think that a tutor’s job is just to tutor your child, but it really is more than just tutoring. The relationship between a tutor and student can affect the results of online tutoring, or even traditional tutoring. If the tutor and student share the same interest, for example, both have a passion for football, the tutor can then invoke interest in your child by using a football analogy to explain a difficult math problem. Because your child is interested in the topic, he or she will tend to listen more carefully and therefore understand better.

Teaching Style

This can be a difficult thing to judge before having an actual lesson. There are several things you can do to gauge what a tutor’s teaching style is. The easiest method is to ask the tutor how a typical online tutoring lesson would be conducted. Another method is to see if there is feedback or comments from students who have had lessons with that tutor. Another thing you can do is to let the tutor know how your child is likely to behave during a tutoring session. For example, if his or her attention span is very short, the tutor can adjust the online tutoring session accordingly. Instead of 2 hour-long lessons per week, the tutor can accommodate and break the 2 hours into several 30-minute lessons, spread over the week.

Qualifications

The last but not the least is the tutor’s qualifications. This is an important factor to look for but it is definitely not the sole factor to consider when choosing a tutor. Make sure the tutors are experienced tutors who know how to help students in a virtual classroom setting in order to get the best out of online tutoring. Of course, there is no such thing as a tutor being over qualified, so feel free to pick the one with the highest qualifications.

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!