Monday, December 9, 2013 More families are looking for alternatives to traditional public schools. School closings and teaching faculty reductions are leading to over – crowded classrooms that don’t seem to meet all student’s needs. Home schooling is one educational option available to families seeking an alternative to their local public school system. This article highlights four things that will help you get your home school off to a good start while meeting all of your student’s educational needs. 1. What can you teach successfully? As an adult, chances are you can remember that one subject you were good at in school. Whether it came naturally for you, or you simply studied hard and still remember the content, you probably know the subject well enough to teach it to your home school students. However, you should still take some time to decide whether or not you can teach the subject to your students. Unless you have teaching experience as a classroom... read more
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Back-to-School Smart Tips It’s FINALLY almost time for school again, and I know a lot of you are excited (I know I am!), but there some excellent pointers to keep in mind as school starts back up again. Before school starts: 1. Get a really good planner you like. Most students aren’t accustomed to using planners or don’t keep up with it. Planners, whether you know it or not, are just as important, if not more important than binders and pencils. I know that all through middle school, high school, and college, I would have been completely lost without my planner. Planners are EXCELLENT for writing down quiz dates, test dates, homework, and after-school activities. Some schools will sell planners and those can be excellent, but I also recommend looking around at Office Depot, Barnes and Noble, or Wal-Mart/Target for other general planners that organize by time and day. Weekly planners typically do not work well for people with full schedules, so try to stay away from those. 2.... read more
For those struggling to get their kids into reading - This is a long post, but I successfully get 95% of my students to want to read non-stop within the first 2 months of school and I would like to share this with you. I kid you not, I have more of a problem with my students reading under their desks during other classes than trying to get them to read. I dunno about you, but I think that is actually a good problem to have! Parents, you can adapt what I am doing from my classroom to your home with ease. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's a tricky business. Kids, typically, don't like reading for pleasure. Well, not at first that is. There are a few fundamental reasons for this. 1. They are forced to read. It isn't an option "you must read for 30 minutes each night because I said so and it's good for you," etc. When kids (especially pre-teens/teenagers) are told to do something, they immediately don't want to do it. There... read more
Although learning is an awesome thing, it can be a difficult and frustrating journey for many students. This difficulty, however, is often times quite normal although most feel it means that a child may not be able to learn or that he/she is so frustrated that learning is no longer taking place. This is where the experienced tutor steps in; for frustration in learning is a part of the learning itself. I have taught and tutored many students and have seen first hand how this frustration can leave some students, and their parents, feeling helpless and hopeless. But there is ALWAYS Hope!!! What they have failed to realize is that as the brain learns difficult concepts, it can only take in parts at a time, little parts at a time. So although it may seem no learning is taking place, it actually is, just in smaller segments. In fact, the most frustration comes right before a new concept is achieved. This is when most give up. Had they stayed focused for perhaps one or two more... read more
Hello Scholars! It sure is lonely here at my desk waiting for scholars to respond...anyway I was just reviewing some Word Ladder puzzles...they are so much fun to do and I remembered that word searches of any kind help build vocabulary spelling skills. Is this something I could help anyone out there with? I started a new science experiment too...how long will it take for cheese to mold underwater? Hope to hear from a few scholars soon. Mrs. B
Virtual education’s popularity is on the rise. Parents have a wide variety of schools to choose from if they decide to enroll their children in a virtual school. This can make choosing a virtual school that's right for your children difficult. This article summarizes five important things to consider when choosing a virtual school for your children. 1. Independent Study vs. Live Instruction First, review the school’s website and any literature they have to see whether they use a live, online learning environment or if students will learn content in an independent study setting. There are pros and cons to each. An exhaustive list is outside of the scope of this article. In my experience as a former virtual schoolteacher, high school students can handle independent study with the right amount of supervision from their parents, middle school students cannot. They need the structure that live, online classes provide. Live, online classes typically use the same virtual... read more
If you had asked my middle school students to describe our class routines, you might have thought I was their English teacher, not Social Studies. As a teacher and tutor, I’ve tried to pass on a legacy for the love of reading to my students. I often tell them, “If you can read, you can teach yourself anything.” In this article, I will give you some tips on how to get your children to read more, and more often. It’s Not Magic! Occasionally, parents visited my classroom to ask, “How do you do it?” They were usually referring to the success of my Friday Silent Reading routine. Each fall, I explained the importance of literacy to my students and said that practice is best way to improve reading skills. I told them that I expected them to bring a book of their choice to class every day, to read it if they finished all the day’s scheduled activities I’d given them, and that the first 20 minutes of class every Friday was reserved for sustained silent reading. Parents... read more
Unless you or your child attends a year – round school, summer vacation begins sometime in the next week or so. College students have read more pages than they thought humanly possible, taken many exams, written research papers, and stayed up way too late over the past 10 months. Parents of school – aged children have helped with homework, gone to parent/ teacher conferences, E-mailed teachers, and maybe volunteered for one activity too many. This article will help you understand the importance of continuing your/ your child’s learning over the summer and lists several suggestions on how to make the fall back - to - school transition much easier! Suffer No Setbacks Educational researchers agree that students need to continue their education over the summer or they stand to lose up to three (3) months worth of the previous year’s learning. Think about that for a minute. It’s like going to class from March to May for no reason! Unless you keep learning over the summer,... read more
May is a busy month for schools. Standardized tests, field trips, and graduation planning takes center stage. Teachers meet with parents of struggling students as well as those who would benefit from summer enrichment classes to discuss summer school enrollment. This article will help parents/ guardians decide whether or not to enroll their child(ren) in summer school. A "Bad Rap" The words “summer school” tend to stir negative thoughts. Many parents and students falsely believe that going to summer school is a bad thing. Some cite teasing as a reason for not sending their child to summer school. Others think that their child will become overwhelmed without a summer break. In truth, research has shown that students who do not participate in any school – related activities during a two – month summer break can lose up to three months of the previous year’s learning! Teachers always include nearly a month’s worth of “re-teaching” (reviewing the previous year’s content)... read more
The last article of this series taught readers how to create academic standards – based unit and lesson plans. The key to writing useful lesson and unit plans is creating clear goal and objective statements. This article teaches readers the similarities and differences between the two statements and gives three tips for creating clear, content – relevant goals and objectives. Similarities and Differences Both types of statements must relate to a manageable piece of content. Goals and objectives suffer when they encompass too much content. An example of a goal statement that is too large is, “Students will be able to write a novel”. There are many smaller steps students should accomplish before students can complete this goal. A better goal statement is, “Students will be able to list the parts of a novel”. You can creatively teach this to your child(ren) in one day. Goals and objectives are typically 15 words or less and do not include the word “and”. If you have... read more
I learned in my human development class that babies learn through repetition = Rote memory You may have also witnessed the ease with which the ABC's were learned. Mary Had a Little Lamb? Twinkle Twinkle? It is easier to commit something to memory through a song. Why is it so easy to remember that annoying tune on the radio? To better memorize - Words - Phrases - Rules (Grammatical, mathematical etc) Try putting it to a simple song tune. Ex My 2 year old learned how to spell his name BINGO style. L-O-G-A-N.
The first two articles in this series covered how to prepare to home school your child(ren). If you’re following along, you’re probably asking yourself the most logical question: how do I know what to teach every day and how do I teach it? The simple answer is, “By pre-planning using unit and daily lesson plans.” This article explains unit and lesson plans, why they’re important to home schooling parents, and how to write each of these plans. What are unit and lesson plans? In part two of this series, I defined curriculum as “what is taught”. While that’s true, this definition can also be used for unit and lesson plans. Unit and lesson plans are written as a series of step - by - step instructions that explain exactly what you will teach, how you will teach it, the state or national academic standards that say you must teach it, and a list of books and materials you will need to teach the lesson successfully. Both lesson and unit plans state how you will check (or “assess”)... read more
In the first article of this series, I reviewed the steps that parents should take to make sure their child(ren) transition smoothly and legally from traditional schools to home schooling. This includes: researching and submitting necessary state department of education paperwork, creating a school year and school day schedule, choosing subjects and books/ materials, and setting learning goals. What’s next? This article explains how to plan each subject along with projects, quizzes, and tests to ensure your home school is successful. 1. Create a curriculum calendar. This is not the same as creating a school year or school day calendar. A curriculum calendar breaks down each subject you’ll teach so the material is spread evenly across your school year calendar. Use the school year learning goals you created along with the state or national subject standards for each class you’ll teach. Read the entire state or national standard before finalizing your curriculum calendar... read more
Parents consider home schooling their child(ren) for a number of reasons. Some may be dissatisfied with the curriculum offered by local public and private schools. Others may travel a lot and want their children to experience other countries and cultures. Whatever your reason for considering home schooling, this series of articles will teach you basic steps to take to begin home schooling your child(ren). Today’s article teaches you six important first steps to ensuring a successful and legal transition from traditional school settings to home school. 1. Review state home schooling laws. The first step you should take is to research your state’s home school related education. These regulations are easily found on the internet by entering “home school” in the search box on your state’s department of education website. This will tell you everything you need to know about needed documentation, deadlines, how to withdraw your child(ren) from public school to begin home schooling,... read more
IF I could go back in time and give my younger self some advice on how to be a better student, be more successful in school, life, etc, I would definitely tell myself that being involved in everything comes at a cost. It is better to find a few things that you like to do, do them well and often, than feeling stressed because there is so much on your plate at one time. Being a 'Jack of all Trades' it is natural for me to dip my toes in different waters- all at the same time, but that does not mean that I can give 100% to any of them at that time. While I was able to get good grades (A- average) while in school, I was impressed by how much better I did- and felt about my work- the few times that I scaled back on my activities. Another piece of advice that I wish that I could bestow upon my younger self would be to learn how to speak up in a group setting when someone is not fulfilling their part of an agreement. Now, this said, the best way to do this would be in a tactful... read more
History is all about studying the past. But, haven't we always been taught to "look towards the future"? Yes, but we also need to know the mistakes that have been made historically to look towards the future. So how do we determine what important historical information we need to know? Well...that's definitely a debatable topic. However, knowing the challenges those before us faced is a significant place to start! As I learn so many interesting things I am amazed by how I now look at past and current issues. Making sure our youth understand the importance of how we became the greatest nation in the world is so important. Why? Well let's take a look at some issues that are currently debated, such as gun control. The 2nd Amendment states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." This Amendment has been interpreted in so many ways. However, what is not discussed... read more
Hey my name is Laura, I have a BA in elementary education. I live in the central Jersey area. I am new to this site as a tutor, although I have been tutoring for about ten years. If someone has any pointers on how to be successful using this site and how to get clients quickly, please let me know!! I would appreciate it!!
In the early 1900’s, psychologists B. F. Skinner and John B. Watson developed a new branch of psychology they called behaviorism. Both scientists believed that human behavior was shaped by their environment and their reactions to it. They called this behavioral shaping “conditioning”. This article briefly describes the two types of behavioral conditioning and how parents, tutors, and teachers can use them to improve a student’s study habits. Two Types of Conditioning Skinner and Watson identified two types of conditioning in human behavioral studies: operant and classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is probably the most familiar to readers due to psychologist Ivan Pavlov’s famous experiments with his dogs (he actually used about 60 different dogs in his experiments). The differences between the two types of behavioral conditioning (or “training”) are in the kinds of behaviors each one targets. In classical conditioning, the trainer targets involuntary, or... read more
Spring is just around the corner and with it comes annual standardized testing for many students. These tests can cause a range of emotions from confidence to near panic - inducing anxiety in students, parents, teachers, and administrators. While parents understand that the tests are important to their child’s academic future, they may not understand how the scores are used. This article explains some of the ways teachers use standardized test scores, their general thoughts about the tests themselves, and several reasons parents should review test score sheets. Teacher Opinions About Standardized Tests I certainly can’t speak to every teacher’s feelings about standardized testing. As you might guess, opinions vary widely. New teacher’s opinions on the matter are largely shaped by teacher training programs at colleges and universities. It appears to take about two years of full – time teaching for new teacher’s opinions to becomes more experience - based. By then they... read more
In the United States, standardized test scores show that Math is one of the subjects students struggle with the most. State and federal grants are available to fund new and existing Math - focused programs with the goal of helping students improve their performance on these tests. Parents can lend a hand by making Math matter in the young people’s lives. This article lists five activities parents can do with their children to help them understand the importance of Math skills and improve their Math comprehension. 1. “Everyday Math”. This isn’t the same as the Math method many schools teach. Instead, by this I am referring to the chances you - as an adult – have to use Math in your everyday life. This might be the hardest of the five activities because you probably use more Math than you realize. For example, has your child ever asked you, “How much longer ‘til we’re there?” on a long car trip? I’m sure they have! Help them do the mental Math to figure out how long it will... read more