Category Archives: Tutoring Foster Care Students

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.

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.