Category Archives: Tutoring Foster Care Students

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!

Tutoring Helps Prepare Foster Care Students for Adulthood

Tutoring can help prepare older youth who are getting ready to age out of the foster care system as they transition to adulthood.

With nearly 25,000 youth aging out of the foster care system, it is important they feel ready to be successful adults. Sadly, this rarely happens. The vast majority report being completely unprepared or only slightly prepared as they make the difficult transition to adulthood. They do not have the academic or social skills needed to secure gainful employment or enter into meaningful relationships. Simply put, they end up struggling just to survive.

Typical Outcomes for Students in Foster Care

The University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall Center for Children conducted a longitudinal study to determine outcomes for foster care youth in a tri-state area that included Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The results of this study, although not surprising, are dismal at best:

  • Less than 19% of foster care youth attend college compared to the 62% of youth of the same age who were never in the system
  • At least 90% of foster care youth under 20 earn less than $10,000 annually compared to the 79% of the general population of the same age group
  • Nearly 40% of youth who left the foster care system by the time they reached 19 did not attend school or have a job
  • Foster care youth are hospitalized more frequently than the general population as a result of emotional problems or drug use
  • Foster care youth are twice as likely to be parents before the age of 19 compared to the general population of the same age group

These are common outcomes for foster care youth in all major cities across the country. The good news is that a solid education can better prepare foster care youth to become productive adults.

Positive Impact of Tutoring

A good education is the foundation of nearly all successful endeavors. Although a formal education is important, it is only part of the picture. Tutoring can provide exceptional support to foster care youth who derive the following benefits from one-on-one tutors:

  • Basic literacy skills
  • Basic numeracy skills
  • Greater confidence
  • Interest in their future
  • Encouragement to succeed
  • A stable adult-figure
  • Informal mentoring

Children in the foster care system who have been permanently removed from their birth families have the right to be prepared for adulthood. Their sense of security has already been destroyed and personal relationships broken, it is criminal to also prevent them from having a fighting chance as a young adult. Get information on how Educational Tutorial Services helps youth in foster care bridge learning gaps so they can succeed as adults.

When Out-Of-School Youth Need to Improve Reading Skills

Without strong reading skills, out-of-school youth will find it difficult to find a good job. Private tutoring can help you improve reading skills and prepare for the GED exam.

Without strong reading skills, out-of-school youth will find it difficult to find a good job. Private tutoring can help you improve reading skills and prepare for the GED exam.

Reading is one of the basic skills that all students need to master, preferably in elementary school. Unfortunately, many students are not afforded that opportunity. Students in foster care, those who are homeless and disadvantaged teens often do not meet standards for reading and comprehension. These skill deficiencies often result in teens dropping out of school, experiencing homelessness, or ending up in prison.  Job opportunities are scare and your ability to make a decent living is limited.

Out-of-school youth who want to read better can now get help. The Workforce Investment Act provides funding that allows youth to receive remedial tutoring in reading. Expert reading tutors can help youth read more proficiently and even prepare the GED exam. In addition to working one-on-one with a private tutor, out-of-school youth can take the following steps to improve reading skills:

#1 Vary Reading Materials – It is important to find material that is interesting. Materials that are similar or too difficult will frustrate or bore you. Reading should be educational and fun, so add crossword puzzles or hobby magazines to your reading list.

#2 Visit the Library – The library offers access to many books and other reading materials without burning a hole in your wallet. You can find books on any subject that interests you. Most libraries participate in inter-lending programs so if your library does not have what you want, ask them to borrow it from a partner library.

#3 Break It Down – Learning to read can be an intimidating process at any age. Break reading passages into smaller, easier chunks that are easier to handle. Read out loud so that you can hear each sound you make when sounding out words. Use a dictionary to look up words you don’t understand.

#4 Choose Relevant Hobby – Reading doesn’t only come from books. Free time activities such as origami or building a car model require reading simple instruction manuals. You not only will find reading helpful but also rewarding when you complete these activities successfully.

#5 Make Time for Reading – Reading fluently takes practice – lots of practice. Set a time for reading an hour every day, even if it is simply reading the daily newspaper. You can spend time online reading your favorite blogs or news site. Whatever avenue you choose, commit to it so your reading skills improve faster.

#6 Be Realistic – Depending on your reading level, it may take quite a bit of time for you to see noticeable improvements in your reading ability and comprehension skills. There is no overnight miracle that will have you reading like an Oxford English professor. It is likely you will mispronounce common words or struggle over funny-looking words. And, that’s okay. Every student has been there at some point!

#7 Test Your Comprehension – You are learning to read now, but eventually you will be reading to learn. Check that you understand what you read by asking yourself questions before, during and after a reading session. Comprehension of a text gives meaning to its words and drives home the importance of reading.

A private tutor can determine your reading level and develop a plan to help you improve your reading skills in a specific period of time. Contact us to begin your reading-improvement journey today!

Tutoring for At-Risk Students: What to Expect

Specialized tutoring for at-risk students can help them improve academically while preventing them from dropping out of school.

Various factors determine if a particular student is “at-risk” for academic failure or even dropping out of school. For students who are attending school regularly but continue to struggle academically, tutoring can provide much needed help and support. Tutors help students with homework assignments, suggest ways to improve study skills and organization, and give students a boost in confidence.

Determining Need for a Tutor

Sometimes it is the student’s teacher or guidance counselor that recognizes he might benefit from extra help. At other times, it is the parent who needs other options to engage or motivate their child to do homework or study for tests. Consider the following questions when trying to determine if your child might need tutoring:

  • Does your child have a learning disability or experience emotional problems that interfere with his school days?
  • Does your child talk about dropping out of school?
  • Does your child struggle in a particular subject area or with a specific type of homework assignment?
  • Does your child find it difficult to study for tests?
  • Does your child completing projects on time?
  • Does your child seem anxious about homework assignments or upcoming tests?
  • Does your child constantly fight with me about doing homework or studying?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you might want to consider hiring a private tutor for your child.

Choosing the Best Type of Tutoring

Depending on your child’s needs and your schedule, there are several options available to you. Private tutoring is convenient because the tutor can meet with your child at your home or a public place such as a public library or community center. If your child is not comfortable with one-on-one tutoring, online tutoring may prove beneficial. He receives the same quality of tutoring but in the comfort of his own room. Some students do better in a small group setting where they receive instruction along with other students in the same age group or grade level.

Finding the Right Tutor

The tutor you hire should be able to address the issues you and your child are dealing with otherwise she will not be effective as a change agent. If your child has diagnosed learning disabilities, you should only consider tutors who have helped similar students achieve academic success. This is not the time to give a “nice” tutor the chance to help your child. There are professional agencies like Educational Tutorial Services with the expertise to effectively tutor at-risk students.

With help, it is possible to get your at-risk child back on the right academic track. A great tutor provides encouragement and fosters self-confidence in students. Learn more about tutoring opportunities available to you and your child today!

Education Pitfalls of the Foster Care System

Tutoring can help address education gaps for students in foster care.

The U.S. foster care system is designed to protect the general welfare of our children.  And it does a pretty good job making sure kids who are removed from their parents are placed in safe homes, receive clothing, and eat regularly. Other aspects of a child’s well-being often become secondary as children are unable to safely return home and experience multiple out-of-home placements.  The interruption of a child’s education when placed in foster care comes with a high price.

In “The Fleecing of Foster Children,” the Children’s Advocacy Institute and its partners details the educational outcomes of children in our foster care system.  Children removed from their homes often become immediately disadvantaged because their education is interrupted.  It can be challenging to find a foster placement in the same school district the child currently attends.  In addition, the removal from their parents care is traumatic.  Children take time to adapt to new schools and foster environments.

The picture is even starker for children who live in more than one foster care placement.  They soon lag several grade levels behind their peers.  Public school systems are already over-burdened and simply do not have the resources to pay special attention to these children.  It is not uncommon for them to completely fall off the radar of teachers.

Less than 3% of foster children actually earn a college degree. Not even half will be employed by the time they are 24 years old.  All of these factors combined mean that adults who were in foster care as youth have disproportionately higher levels of unemployment, arrest, and suicide.  Incredibly, more than one-third of this population will be homeless at some point, often when they age out of the foster care system.

Because education is the foundation of a financially secure future, many state and private foster care agencies are placing more emphasis on the education of children in their care.  To this end, they hire case workers and school liaisons to make sure children are attending school and are being assessed to determine current achievement levels.  Private tutoring services are secured to help close the gap in their learning with the goal of bringing foster care children up to par with their peers.  This is the best way to insure foster children have a fighting chance after graduating from high school.

Helping At-Risk Students Meet Standards and Achieve Academic Goals

Private tutoring can give at-risk students the confidence they need to succeed.

Expert tutoring services rely on research-based best practices to help low performing and at-risk students succeed in school. Effective instructional strategies are required for tutors who may only meet with students a few hours each week. Low-achieving students can easily bridge learning gaps and become motivated to do well in school. It just takes the right tutor to help make classroom lessons relevant and boost student confidence.

Short-Term Impact

The fastest way to determine if a tutor or tutoring service is being effective is to review student academic achievement and test scores. The primary goal of tutoring is to improve educational outcomes so at-risk students do not fail in school or later in life. When you use a tutoring service like Educational Tutorial Services, your student will be required to complete a pre-assessment and post-assessment to accurately measure their improvement. Our tutors also provide students with additional resources they can continue to use for on-going academic growth after the tutoring ends.

Long-Term Effects

In addition to the immediate benefits students receive from tutoring, there are long-term outcomes that impact students, parents, and the community. Long-term benefits that result from tutoring at-risk students include:

  • Students become motivated to succeed
  • Students are proud of academic achievements
  • Students stay in school until graduation
  • Students who have dropped out of school earn their GED
  • Students successfully transition to adulthood
  • Students become productive and contributing members of society

These very real benefits of tutoring have been well documented in various research studies over the past two decades. Even if your child has severe learning disabilities, intensive private tutoring can provide the one-on-one attention she needs to succeed in the classroom and in the real world.

Getting Started

The academic success of at-risk students depends on the adults in her life. A good tutoring service can match your child to the tutor that will be most effective in helping her meet academic content standards and achieve academic goals. It makes sense to let the tutoring service perform this function since it requires expertise to recruit, hire, and monitor qualified tutors. You risk your child’s academic future if you try to assume this responsibility yourself.

Education is Key to Success for Foster Children Aging-Out of System

Tutors provide supplemental education students in the foster care system need to successfully transition to adulthood.

The numbers paint a dismal picture for youth aging-out of the foster care system. Less than half will be employed by the time they are 24 years old. Nearly 25% have experienced homelessness since leaving the system. More than 75% of the young women will become pregnant at least once by the time they are 24 while more than 80% of the young men will be arrested by that age. Approximately 60% of the young men are actually convicted of committing a crime. A depressing picture by any account of children placed in a system that is supposed to have their best interests at heart.

Lack of basic education is the primary culprit that prevents former foster youth from succeeding as adults. Regardless of the age at which they are removed from their families and placed in foster care, their education is immediately interrupted. The average foster care child has over three placements throughout their life. Each new placement typically means a school change which translates into additional interruptions of their education. They get further and further behind. Soon they are performing several grades behind their peers.

Academic tutoring provides the support foster youth need to stay in and complete as much school as possible. Having a high school diploma or equivalent provides opportunities such as being able to get a job. The vast majority of youth who age-out of the foster care system before graduating from high school do not continue their education – they are focused on surviving. Resources exist in some communities to help these youth transition to independent living. But in other communities, they are on their own and that is a very scary proposition. They may not have contacts or know of places they can live and simply end up on the street.

A mere 6% of foster youth who age-out of the system earn a college degree by the time they reach 24. They are able to achieve this because they take advantage of the academic supports that are made available to them. Many have mentors who help them through the process. Often these mentors are tutors who assisted them during their high school years. It is not uncommon for a tutor to work with the same foster care students over multiple years. Tutors help youth close their education gaps so they are better prepared if they age-out of the foster care system.

Online Tutoring: A Silver Lining for Foster Children

Online tutoring provides specific benefits to foster youth.

As much as we wish a healthy and settled life for a child in foster care, it may never happen. Children in foster care regularly experience the stress of changing placements. This is a painful but important fact that affects the study habits and learning patterns of foster children, even those considered to be exceptional.

Online tutoring has been available for some time.  When private tutoring is not available, online tutoring can prove beneficial for foster youth:

1.       Continuation of Learning: While in foster care, a child may have to move from home to home, and sometimes family to family which disrupts the general emotional health as well as education of the child. But if a student is enrolled to an online tutoring program, he or she will be able to sit with the instructor whenever it is convenient to him or her  just by signing in.

2.       Static Studying Environment: Even if the child has to move to a new home, he or she can continue with the same online tutor. Classroom teachers may change but online tutors remain constant regardless of where you live. For this reason, online tutoring is one of the best options for foster youth.

3.       Audio-Visual Impact on Learning: Regardless of learning style, online tutoring can benefit foster youth. Online learning environments have more audio and visual effect which helps the student to understand and remember material better.

Consider this option if your foster student is struggling in school and needs supplemental attention from an experienced tutor. You may be amazed at how motivated your child becomes in school. It only takes an interested adult and exceptional teaching to get a child back on track academically. Online tutoring provides an interactive forum for foster youth to engage with a compassionate tutor while catching up with important educational concepts.

How Private Tutoring Can Help High School Students

Private tutoring can help high school students excel in school.

Students can benefit in many ways from private tutoring. High school students can get the extra academic support they need to take their achievement up a level. Private tutoring is an opportunity to get that edge you need to stand out when you begin to apply to colleges. You will find that colleges place significant emphasis on high school academic achievement so getting a high GPA can make the difference between getting into your first choice school and settling for a second or third choice. Private tutoring can also assist high school students improve standardized test scores.

High School Academic Performance

High school students frequently seek private tutoring to boost grades and to successfully complete AP classes. Honors classes are typically equivalent to college-level coursework. To maintain a competitive GPA, students turn to private tutoring to help develop organizational and study skills. These academic habits students develop in high school can give them a head start in college. Even if you do not need specific help with a particular subject, your tutor can give you extra homework to hone your academic skills.

College Admissions Test Preparation

A private tutor can help you prepare for a variety of college admission tests beginning with the ACT or SAT. Getting into top colleges and universities is highly competitive and most maintain test score requirements you must meet to be considered for admission. Tutors help students identify areas of strength and weaknesses. Together you will develop a plan of attack to shore up your strong areas while tackling the areas in which you need assistance.

College Coursework Preparation

If you have anxiety about college-level coursework, a private tutor can help you prepare for your college experience while you are still in high school. They will begin by making sure you are proficient in basic skills and core areas of study. If you want assistance to master specific subjects, private tutoring is the solution. You can learn how to balance your course load and learn new study methods to ensure your college experience is successful.

Special Education Tutoring within the Context of the IEP

Intensive in-home tutoring to students with special education needs is coordinated with the student's IEP.

Although Educational Tutorial Services offers nationwide private tutoring and test-prep tutoring to students of all ages, we are perhaps best known for our special education tutoring programs for at-risk students within the foster care system.

Having Somebody Speak Up For You

When families with special needs children first hear the diagnosis of their child’s disorder or disability, it can be numbing, devastating and deeply upsetting. Many parents ask “Where do we go from here?” It is common to turn to advocates like us to help guide you through the tutoring process.

Having one-on-one special education tutoring is important and can turn a child’s life around – since the in-home tutor will be far better able to recognize an individual child’s needs. For example if a student’s learning has improved and their development requires the IEP to be adapted to incorporate this, the monthly progress report will alert the school and caregivers to this.

Taking a Personalized Approach

Students are far more likely to improve and succeed in their learning if they feel secure, happy and their individual needs are met. We recognize this and tailor our teaching approach accordingly. Our tutors are very compassionate and have experience working with all learning abilities.

There are pre- and post assessments and monthly progress reports which are sent to carers, parents, teachers at the student’s school and to school administrators, but there are also the skills tutors have acquired by working with foster children and at-risk students – they are trained not just as special education tutoring providers but to recognize a child’s development needs as professionals within the context of foster care.

Often tutors come from the same community as their students and, therefore, have good insight into the concerns of foster parents and other caregivers as well as the challenges families face every day.  Because many of our tutors are certified in special education, we are uniquely qualified to provide special education tutoring. Learn more about our special education programs.