Category Archives: Tutoring Foster Care Students

Tips to Improve Special Education Tutoring at Home

Classroom techniques can be effective when applied to special education tutoring.

Your foster child may already be receiving special education tutoring at home in addition to inclusive classroom education, but as most foster parents know, much can be done to enhance a child’s learning experience when learning is naturally embedded in their playtime.

A sense of achievement can work wonders to boost confidence in and out of the classroom environment. Special education tutoring doesn’t stop when the private tutor goes home for the day. With a few simple devices and a good measure of imagination and preparation, your child’s special learning needs can be addressed during playtime, too. Here are a few tips:

Use Classroom Tricks at Home

Your special education tutoring program may already include help with writing and copying information from the class board, but you can help your child in a simple and practical way by preparing a laminated sheet of paper that has a sentence window cut-out. The sheet or card features two slits which are set at right angles to the window and to one side, creating a slide.

Your child can use the slide to pull up or down the laminated card and, as soon as the window reaches the sentence to be copied out, it can reveal the whole sentence or just one word at a time, whatever the child feels more confident with. At home you can use a laminated card that spells out some of your child’s favorite bedtime stories, jokes or riddles and ask your child to copy them on a fresh piece of paper with the help of your slide.

Letters are Weird, Aren’t They?

Tutoring for special education students often involves teaching children with learning disabilities to overcome their fear of letters and their confusion over identifying them correctly. Make use of your child’s hobbies and likes – if your child likes to paint, encourage “letter pictures”, perhaps showing an animal for each letter or a favorite item of food, so that letters appear as friends instead of foes.

You could make an alphabet frieze so your child can remember what letters look like when she  is doing a writing exercise or you are exploring books together.

Older children who love being online and who perhaps already receive some form of online tutoring as part of their special education tutoring program can have fun with a variety of online teaching aids designed with parents and students in mind. Look for various government and university websites that offer great activities and teaching aids for free.

Ask your child’s tutor what you can do to help your child with reading and build this into playtime. Find out what kind of questions you should ask during reading exercises to ensure your child understands what you are reading together.

Foster Care Students Need Improved Educational Opportunities

With quality tutoring, students in foster care have a better chance of succeeding in school.

With more than 500,000 children living in foster care in this country, the need to focus on educational opportunities has never been greater. In addition to increased risks for incarceration, pregnancy, and homelessness, students aging out of the foster care system have a lower chance of gainful employment because of their poor education. Basic reading and math education is required for most entry-level jobs. Unfortunately, as a result of the multiple disruptions to their education, foster care students often do not have the skills needed to achieve positive life outcomes.

Better educational opportunities are needed for several reasons. Foster care students who do well academically have a greater chance of graduating from high school. It is challenging for teachers to focus on the unique needs of these students in the classroom. Fortunately, there are additional ways for foster care students to get the educational skills needed to succeed in life. Intensive tutoring is one of the most effective ways to help students in foster care maintain academic skills as they progress through the foster care system and enter adulthood.

County foster care agencies can partner with organizations like Educational Tutorial Services to ensure children in their care receive additional learning assistance. Students who participate in intensive tutoring programs are better able to meet achievement goals comparable to their peers. Without this type of assistance, students in foster care tend to lag behind several grade levels. Ultimately, this will impact their ability to be productive adults.

Tutoring that provides more than homework assistance can help foster care students prepare for the transition to independent living. Students can learn to be more disciplined and conscientious about the quality of their school work as well as turning assignments in on time. Tutors often serve a quasi-mentor role to students which can prove powerful when they are in foster care. Students thrive on positive feedback and encouragement tutors provide inherently.

As schools continue to struggle with funding issues, students in foster care can still get the support they need with the right tutoring program. Programs designed specifically for these students offer the most benefits. Not only do students in foster care get the assistance they need, but society gets a better citizen in the process which is, after all, a primary goal of our country’s education system.

In-Home Tutoring for Special Education Students

Tutors who provide in-home tutoring to students with special needs should do so in alignment with the student's IEP.

At-risk students who have been removed from their families and placed in temporary foster care or children who have been through a traumatic experience and are now part of the long-term foster care system often have very different needs from children who live in a happy and stable family environment.

With some 114,000 children in foster care across the US on any given day, children are often moved from home to home, from neighborhood to neighborhood and, as a result, have gaps in their education. A large proportion of them, around 30 to 40%, require special education tutoring because they have been diagnosed with a learning disability.

Tutoring for special education students can take many forms and varies according to their Individualized Education Programs, their abilities and challenges as well as their age.  Tutoring may incorporate online tutoring or private tutoring with workstations with technology that allows learning and interaction with other students or simply help to improve in a specific area such as math, reading and writing or acquiring better study habits and discipline.

Working with Caregivers, Schools, and Social Workers

Whoever provides special education tutoring for foster children or at-risk students must be able to work together with all the different members of this “learning team”. The team consists of the child, the students’ school, foster parents or caregivers, and any agencies in the community providing services to the family and student.  Collaboration is essential for the student to succeed academically.

Providing Private Tutoring for Individual Students

Although legislation requires that teaching methods should be universal in their substance and technique, the wide range of learning and physical disabilities as well as behavioral disorders makes it necessary for special education tutoring to be tailored to individual students. Many at-risk students and foster youth are still waiting to be diagnosed officially, making it even harder for mainstream inclusive schools to provide the education these children need.

Such children often feel they are just “a number” in the care system, so one-on-one home tutoring addresses a child’s very real need to feel “special” in the best sense of the word!  Suitable special education tutoring takes into consideration a child’s need to learn at his own pace and ability, while at the same time stressing cognitive skills development and instilling good study habits.

Applying Best Practices

The National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) provides educators with a research forum where new teaching methods and ideas can be exchanged and discussed. Asking the right questions at school should provide caregivers and foster parents with the answers as to what their special education child will need within the context of their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Educational Tutorial Services ensures all tutors know how to provide tutoring services that are aligned to IEP for maximum benefit to students.

Will Your Child Benefit From Private Tutoring?

The right tutor can engage and encourage your child to do well in school.

Parents hire private tutors to help their children with specific academic issues, provide remedial instruction, or assist with advanced studies. As with all aspects of a student’s education, there are several factors that influence your child’s academic success. Knowing what to expect when hiring a tutor can help your child receive the greatest benefits from private tutoring.

Academic Expectations

It is important you have reasonable expectations of your private tutor. The tutor is providing additional or supplemental instruction. Expecting the tutor to be your child’s primary instructor is setting both the tutor and your child up to fail. Private tutors rarely have interaction with a student’s school. For this reason, they have to be careful not to undermine the teaching that takes place during the school day. Children can easily become confused and suffer academically.

Developmental Expectations

Many children benefit from private tutoring beyond the academic progress. They frequently become more motivated to achieve in the classroom. Their self-confidence gets a major boost from the one-on-one interaction and positive reinforcements private tutors offer to promote a healthy self-image in their students. Children also acquire better learning habits and study skills when they have a private tutor.

Tutor Expectations

It is your responsibility to know the qualifications of the tutor you hire. Going through an agency such as Educational Tutorial Services insures that the individual you hire has completed all background checks and credential verifications. You can then set expectations for that tutor specific to their abilities and your child’s needs. Without going through an agency, you have no guarantee the tutor is actually proficient in a particular subject area.

Whatever your child’s particular challenge, a qualified tutor can help your child overcome learning obstacles and develop self-confidence. A private tutor can also serve as a mentor for your child. Following these recommendations is the best way to ensure your child benefits from private tutoring!

Why Private Tutoring is Important for Kids in Foster Care

Private tutoring helps foster youth catch up academically to their peers.

Children who end up in foster care for several years can face a tough time in many ways. There are various challenges that these kids have to face, and one of the key ones is keeping up academically. A solid education is important for all children but those who are in the foster care system face challenges that other kids do not have to worry about.

Amongst the challenges that foster children face when it comes to keeping up academically is the constant disruption caused by moving around. This can bring with it a drop in confidence and concentration levels, which in turn can have a severe negative impact on their learning abilities and education. This is where private tutoring can prove invaluable.

Ways in which private tutoring can help

There are a number of ways in which private tutoring can help to address some of the challenges that foster kids face when it comes to their education. Many foster children benefit from having private tutoring, enabling them to reap the results of a solid education they might otherwise have missed out on.

Some of the key ways in which this type of tutoring can help include:

  • Helping children to catch up: It can be very easy for kids in foster care to fall behind academically, often because of the constant disruption caused to their education due to moving around from one area to another. Private tutoring can help to bring kids up to speed academically and will enable them to catch up on their studies.
  • Focusing on specific needs: Some foster kids may find that they struggle with certain subjects or in certain areas as a result of having to keep starting over in new schools. Private tutoring will help to ensure that they are given additional support with subjects that they may be struggling with.
  • Restoring confidence in children: The confidence and self-esteem levels of a child in foster care can take a real battering as a result of all the moving around, and this can have a negative impact on their learning abilities and education. Private tutoring can help to restore confidence and aid learning.

One-On-One Tutoring

The fact that this type of learning offers one-on-one tutoring is another major benefit, as it means that the child is not vying for the attention of the tutor along with lots of other kids. Foster children who are moved around a lot may find it difficult to build a rapport with or engage with their regular teachers and may be less likely to ask questions or deal with areas of education they are struggling with. With one-on-one tutoring, the child is able to engage more with the tutor, which means they will find it easier to ask questions relating to their studies.

Common Education Problems for Foster Children

Tutoring can help foster care students struggling in class.

Children placed in foster care often experience trauma as a result of being removed from their families and the problems that caused the removal. It is not uncommon for them to be disinterested in their education as they experience anxiety over their new living arrangements and worry about their siblings or parents. It is up to the adults in a foster care child’s life to make sure he is getting adequate education. The following are typical problems foster children face related to education.

Poor Scores on State Standardized Tests

Most children in the foster care system will experience multiple placements which dramatically disrupts their education. Moving from home to home often results in a lag in the paperwork needed to enroll the child in a new school in a timely fashion. Quickly, this continuous disruption in a child’s life will impact their ability to learn as evidenced by poor test scores. Low test scores can result in a child having to repeat a grade level.

Higher Absenteeism

Students in foster care may feel embarrassed or lack confidence in the classroom if adults do not provide support needed. It is not unusual for foster care students to skip school more frequently than their peers. It is especially prevalent if the student has been required to repeat multiple grade levels. Dropping out of school is not unusual for children in foster care.

Disruptive Behavior

When students do attend school, they may exhibit behavior that is disruptive in the classroom. Students may act out in order to be excused from the class or out of simple frustration. Students who do not have the same academic skills as their peers may be bullied by other students or may feel hopeless of ever catching up to their peers.

Making sure the education problems of students in foster care are sufficiently addressed can be challenging. Public schools may not have the resources needed to provide support. However, the foster care agency that places the student can request funding to provide intensive tutoring support. Tutoring can help improve test scores, motivate students to attend school, and provide encouragement that foster positive behavior in students.

Educational Tutorial Services Launches Crowd Funding Campaigns for Innovative Online Tutoring Program and Scholarships

Educational Tutorial Services launches crowdfunding campaigns to fund new online tutoring program and scholarships for private tutoring.

We are pleased to announce that we have initiated an aggressive crowdfunding initiative to secure additional funds for our online tutoring program. We also will be raising funds to help students who need intensive one-on-one tutoring. Today, we kicked-off our crowdfunding with an exciting Indiegogo campaign for InstantTutor. Our Fundly campaign targets scholarship funds for foster youth in need of private tutoring.

The learning platform of InstantTutor is easy to use and designed to meet the learning needs of foster youth. With real-time tutoring, students are able to get help with homework and complete supplemental assignments intended to bridge learning gaps that developed when their education was disrupted. InstantTutor is 508 compliant so that youth with visual impairments can get the help they need. We will offer free worksheets so students can continue to build skills.

Our state-of-the-art learning platform includes a variety of tools including an interactive whiteboard, desktop sharing, ability to save tutoring sessions, and live webinars. Our goal is to ensure every youth in care has easy and affordable access to academic supports. The following graphic shows a bit how the program works:

Learn more about our initiatives at Indiegogo and Fundly. Also, visit our YouTube channel for a demonstration of InstantTutor. Share this post with friends and family. Together, we can reach more youth in care and help them achieve their academic goals!

Quality Matters When Tutoring Foster Care Students

The right tutor can help students in foster care bridge learning gaps while building confidence and providing support.

One reason there is a priority need to provide tutoring services to children and youth in foster care is because they often have serious gaps in their education. Between moving from foster home to foster home and changing schools frequently, foster care students typically are so preoccupied with their family situation and their future that it can be extremely difficult for them to concentrate. Worrying about passing a test can seem insignificant when you do not know if you will be in the same school the following day.

While tutoring services can certainly help, it is important to note that not all programs are equal. Specifically, not all tutors are the same. When searching for a tutoring service that will help your student, quality matters. Choosing the first program in the phone book or the first one you find online is a risk that could end up causing more harm than good. And, you want to consider more than just the hourly cost for services. The characteristics you want to look for in a tutoring service or private tutor include:

Always Prepared

Tutors should be able to start the session as soon as the student arrives. After a brief welcome, the tutor should be ready to get down to business. She will ask the student how school is going and review homework assignments. Whatever the learning goal is for that session, the tutor has relevant worksheets and other materials ready to share with the student.

Completely Reliable

It is not uncommon for adults to come and go in the lives of foster care children. A stable adult presence can make all of the difference to a young child or struggling teen. You want a tutor that arrives on time and always keeps her appointments. Unreliable tutors send the wrong message to students who may already need a reason to care about school.

Eternally Positive

Foster care students need to be around adults with positive outlooks on life. Only a tutor that is optimistic can provide the authentic encouragement students need to meet and exceed academic goals. Tutors that have good attitudes serve as role models for students. Students become more confident when they are around confident adults.

Exceptionally Empathetic

There are days when foster care students are more emotional than others. A visit with family members can cause children to act out or be disruptive during the tutoring session. A good tutor cares about the type of day their students are having. An empathetic tutor understands while still requiring students to focus on the lesson at hand.

Every tutoring session should be beneficial to the student. The only way to make sure that happens is if the tutor is knowledgeable, prepared, and passionate. The right tutor can definitely bridge educational gaps experienced by children and youth in the foster care system. Contact us to learn more about tutoring services for foster care students.

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!

Tutoring Out-of-School Youth Who Need to Improve Basic Skills

WIA-funded tutoring can help out-of-school youth learn basic skills needed for successful employment.

Older youth who have dropped out of school may be eligible for WIA-funded tutoring. These services must be approved through your local workforce development center. While you may not want to participate in remedial education, it will be required for you to do so if you do not have the necessary basic skills.

Importance of Grade-Level Proficiency

Youth who meet proficiency requirements for their grade level are better prepared to meet needs of employers. In many cases, these demands are pretty straightforward. You need to know how to read instructions, write notes or emails, and even have decent research skills. For most jobs, you need to be able to add, subtract, and calculate percentages without using a calculator. With WIA tutoring, you get tutoring in:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Math
  4. Science
  5. Social studies

Review of these subjects is intended to help prepare you to take and pass the GED exam. One goal of WIA is to help youth get a secondary education degree or certificate. For older youth, that means getting a General Education Development (GED) degree because they are too old to return to high school.

Benefits of Tutoring

Being academically proficient is only part of the story. Youth need to have additional skills to be attractive to prospective employers. These skills are often what make one applicant stand out from the others:

  • Communication skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Time management skills

Youth can learn these skills through intensive tutoring. Tutoring may take place in small groups or on an individual basis. All tutoring services are based on an initial academic assessment and resulting individual learning plan.

Why Tutors Make the Difference

Youth who are not eligible to participate in WIA-funded tutoring are often left to their own devices. It can be challenging for them to find the motivation they need for independent study. Tutors do more than provide academic instruction. They also provide much needed:

  • Social support
  • Encouragement
  • Mentoring
  • Problem-solving guidance

Keep youth on track to meet academic goals is an important role for tutors. Good tutors take this responsibility serious. They want students to succeed. Completion of a WIA tutoring program gets students one step closer to being a successful adult.