Category Archives: Tips for Parents and Caregivers

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!

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.

 

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!

6 Tips for Parents When Helping Children with Homework

 

Children who do not have structured homework time are more interested in play than learning.

Every parent wants their child to be successful and homework is an important part of a child’s education. Homework is not simply an extension of school it is also designed to help a student get used to working individually outside a school environment. The ability to work outside the classroom is something which will stand them in good stead in future years – whether that is in further education or in working life.

These 6 top tips will help you as a parent understand how you can best help your child with their homework.

Tip #1 – Remember why you are helping them

As a parent you need to remember that the primary goal of helping your child is to help them learn habits that will assist them in life. The secondary aim is to help them understand the topic being studied. At no point is it about helping them get full marks on a test by telling them the correct answers.

It is better for a young student to get something wrong but understand why they got it wrong than it is to score full marks but not understand the subject matter fully.

Tip #2 – Consider a reward system for getting homework done by a certain time

A reward is not the same as bribery. Children should be encouraged to do their homework because they have to rather than because they’ll be rewarded. However, it is acceptable to reward them for completing certain tasks by a certain time. This will help your child learn that it’s better to not leave things to the last minute.

Tip #3 – Create the right environment

Making sure your child has the right environment to study in is one of a parent’s key responsibilities. Sitting at a table or desk is likely to help as it will feel similar to a classroom. It is best to try to ensure a quiet environment with as few distractions as possible. Turn the television off and try to keep younger siblings out of the room.

Tip #4 – Have a ‘homework time’

A good habit to get into is to have ‘homework time’ at the same time every day. This will help children come to understand that homework is something that needs to be done. If they get used to homework being part of their routine they are more likely to get on and do it without kicking up a fuss.

Tip #5 – Save easiest for last

Another trick is to encourage your child to do the hardest homework first. This way they are tackling the trickiest elements while they still have loads of energy and it is a good habit to form for the future.

Tip #6 – Keeping up to speed with progress

It is important to continue to check the marks your child is receiving for their homework. This will indicate if the approach you are taking is paying off. It also shows your child you are interested in their education.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.