Category Archives: Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Improving Your Child’s Reading Skills

Children who develop an interest in reading at an early age perform better in school.

Children who develop an interest in reading at an early age perform better in school in all subjects.

Children who like to read tend to do better in school and, later, in life. It is not only necessary for gaining knowledge but also for building character. It opens up the doors to the unknown and helps strengthen decision-making skills. In addition to all the above benefits, reading positively affects cognitive skills. It is, however, necessary to start early. Nurturing an expectation of and interest in reading from an early age is a must. As a parent you should encourage your child to improve their reading skills. Here are some suggestions you can use to help your children take the plunge into the world of knowledge.

Provide a Foundation for Reading:  When you start emphasizing the benefits of reading to your children, focus on what they should start with. You have to be the one to put forth a preview of reading material. If your child is in elementary school or younger, he or she may have difficulty understanding the text they are reading. You need to lay a foundation for them. For example, if they begin with a science-themed book that depicts different animal species, explain how many species exist, the difference between them, and then let them read it. It will spur both understanding and interest. Moreover, talk about your own experiences, how you have seen some species in the museum or at the zoo or in another book you read on a similar topic.

Establish Dedicated Reading Time: Set a time and create a place your children will be automatically inclined to read. If you spend time watching TV or using your laptop, the audio- visual experience will attract your child more than a printed book which may seem dull in comparison. So it is advisable to refrain from watching too much sports or other programs on TV when you child is around.

Ask Them to Read and Think Aloud:  It is an age-old practice to read aloud. This creates an audio-visual effect in your brain cells which not only enhances memory but also improves cognitive ability. Thus always motivate your child to read aloud. Moreover if they are reading something wrong you will be able to correct them by listening to what they are reading. This is definitely a really good practice as an adult.

Encourage Role Reversal: Ask your child to read to you and help you understand what he has read. Let him play the teacher. This improves understanding in multiple ways. It assists in improving presentation skills and strengthens speaking capability. This can be a good parameter to assess the built-in skills of your child.  It definitely helps to increase their knowledge too.

Try to Make the Reading Experience Interesting for your child: Buy your children new books that are outside of the school curriculum. This increases your child’s interest on their quest for knowledge. Choose books based on their appearance and content. Always make sure reading material is age-appropriate. Your child’s interest will grow while their reading skills improve.

Your child grows up watching you. Be a good role model so you can influence your child’s interest in reading and learning. Be a voracious reader yourself in front of your child, and he will become one himself!

Teen Homework Help: Essential Tips for Parents

Teens require a different level of homework help than younger students. Consider hiring a tutor if you are having difficulty providing the homework help your teen needs.

Teens require a different level of homework help than younger students. Consider hiring a tutor if you are having difficulty providing the homework help your teen needs.

Homework has been a requirement since the concept of education and public schooling was formalized. It involves the process of bringing work from school to home for further study and practice to improve upon what has already been taught in the classroom. Today, with the influence of globalization, the pressure to excel academically for teens is immense. The role of parents and guardians is equally crucial. Even if you feel overwhelmed, helping your teen with homework is necessary. We have provided a few pointers to help parents who have teens that are struggle with homework on a regular basis:

#1: Create Homework Space: Whether tour teen may be a genius or an average student, she needs to be able to work on homework that is quiet and free of distractions. Each teen is different so find out what works best for your child. A desk may be needed for some teens while others prefer to work on the floor or on the couch. It is important your teen is comfortable but not so comfortable they fall asleep.

#2: Involve Yourself: Your teen may initially resist your help, but you still need to take steps to know about your child’s academic life. Teens with supportive and encouraging parents do better in school. They strive to achieve higher grades. And, they look forward by developing plans for their future.

#3: Establish a Homework Schedule: Being overly strict can be counterproductive with teens. It is important to all kids to participate in after school activities. Balance that free time with scheduled homework time. Even if he does not have homework that needs to be completed, he can spend that time studying or reading. Follow-through and stick to the schedule so your teen understands how important his education is to you. Build in break times so when they learn is retained.

#4: Lead by Example: You can always take time yourself to do your own “homework”. Bring work home from the office so you both have something to do during the designated homework time. Your teen will see how important learning is and how it affects job prospects.

#5: Keep in Contact with Teachers and Tutors: A tutor can provide great help to teens. But you need to remain involved. Communicate regularly with your teen’s teachers and tutor so you know if he is making progress or needs additional help in a particular area.

Even the most successful parents agree that parenting teens can be difficult. By establishing a few rules, you can make homework time go smoother. Teen tutoring is available and can provide the extra help your child needs if you are not able to assist with more challenging homework assignments. Contact us today for additional information!

Getting the Most from In-Home Tutoring if Your Child has Learning Disabilities

Students with learning disabilities can benefit from in-home tutoring as well as routine homework time.

Students with learning disabilities can benefit from in-home tutoring as well as routine homework time.

Homework is intended to be review for children learn in school. By practicing new concepts and principles, children are better able to remember and apply them. For students with learning disabilities, homework time can be frustrating. In-home tutoring is an excellent way to help your child complete assignments and build on knowledge learned in the classroom.

But you should not rely 100% on in-home tutoring to help your child. There are ways you can turn homework time into a success even if the tutor is not present.

Make a Homework Calendar

With the help of your child’s teacher, establish a homework calendar for your child with columns for the day’s assignments, your comments and the teacher’s notes. Make sure that your child comes home with the calendar every evening and returns it to his teacher the following day at school.

Prepare In/Out Folders

Get two folders of different colors and label one “Homework In” and the other “Homework Out”. Explain to your child that all assigned tasks for the day go into the “in” folder to bring home. Teach your child to place all completed homework into the “out” folder every evening to hand in to his teacher the next morning.

Establish a Routine (and Stick to It!)

Children with learning disabilities thrive on consistency. Fix a set time and place for homework and stick to this schedule as much as possible. Abrupt changes in routine may upset your child and distract her from doing her homework.

Divide and Conquer

Review the homework with your child first before starting. If your child has a short attention span, break the homework down to manageable chunks that your child can work through one at a time without being easily frustrated.

Adapt Homework to Your Child

No two homework assignments are the same. Adapt the task to your child’s ability to finish it alone or with your help. Depending on child’s specific disability, begin with easy homework to build her confidence. If your child loses interest quickly, then get longer homework out of the way first before taking a break.

Know When to Stop

There’s a limit to your child’s ability to concentrate, especially at the end of a long school day. Take short breaks for your child to recharge and recuperate. If she keeps hitting roadblocks, then it’s probably time to call it a day. Make a note on the homework calendar informing her teacher of the situation and revise the incomplete homework another day.

Make Homework Accommodations

There are times when you may need to make certain accommodations to assist your child with her homework. Read an assignment to her or explain how to work out a math problem according to what she’s learned in school. Focus on the importance of understanding the lesson instead of simply getting her homework done.

Ensure Open Communication

Have regular meetings with your child’s teachers to keep abreast with her learning problems in school. Being aware of your child’s struggles is half the battle won. If you see little improvement in your child, don’t hesitate to ask for extra help through tutors or education specialists.

Following these recommendations help leverage the benefits of in-home tutoring. Your child can meet or exceed academic goals when everyone works together!

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!

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!