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As a student myself, I have some pre-back-to-school rituals that I practice each year to help me get back into learning mode without struggling. Here are some of my tips that I hope you find helpful: 1. Get into your new routine ahead of time: If you’re used to spending your summer days sleeping until noon, a good way to keep from feeling fatigued once school starts is gradually working your way back to waking up at an earlier time. For the month of August, or the few weeks remaining, try waking up an hour and a half earlier than you normally would. It’ll give your body time to adjust to the new schedule gradually, rather than all at once. 2. Don’t stress about materials: Sometimes it’s easy to get organized ahead of time. Some teachers will tell you what materials you’ll need, others don’t. If you don’t know what you’re going to need, don’t stress! Just bring a notebook and one folder to school with you on the first days of class. Collect everything, and when you... read more

Are you taking a foreign language in school? Maybe it is Spanish, or Japanese, or French? Well, that's great! However, summer is typically the time that most of what you have learned in these second languages during the school year wears away, and very fast too.   That's why it's recommended that you keep practicing reading, writing, listening, and speaking in your second (or third) language throughout the summer months. That way, you'll be prepared not only for the next class in the series in the fall, but also keep you from forgetting all of the intricate details that you have mastered already. Don't know how? Well here are some tips to get you started:   Ask your teacher or school librarian to see if you can borrow a used copy of your foreign language book, or perhaps loan out a copy of next year's book early. This way, you can review everything that you have already studied during last school year and even start looking ahead into what's... read more

There are two things that happen to the brain during the summer: either it gets smarter, or it gets dumber.  If you work on making it smarter this summer, then you'll have a stress free school year when it comes.   To help you on your path of smart awesomeness, I have put together this list of 5 ways to get summer this summer.   Video Games:  Your mom is wrong.  You should play video games.  Show her this YouTube video the next time she gets on your case: Jane McGonigal: The Game that Can Give You 10 Extra Years Exercise Play: Your mom is right.  To become smarter, your brain needs oxygen.  The only way to get oxygen to your brain is to move your body.  But don't do something as lame as exercising.  Get out there and find something fun.  To tell you the truth, I'm such a geek that I like to walk trails while reading my Kindle or listening to music.  Nature is lame.  But, if you are... read more

Summer time can be a bit of a struggle for tutors. Public schools are closed, and students as well as tutors are ready for a break. For most tutors, generating new leads and keeping busy in the Summer is a challenge. If you are new to the game, your first Summer is the toughest. Here is an idea that may just keep you moving along. Your local community college offers Summer classes. Students in the Summer need just as much help as students in the Fall and Spring. The key is to make sure your services are noticed. If you have the chance, participate in any open fairs or gatherings the school offers during the break. If possible, coincide student meetings or free tutor sessions during these events. If your community has a street market, or if there is a flea market nearby, you can try a more creative approach. Offer to tutor students right there on the spot. Have your business cards handy for people to take while you are busy with the student. You may want to advertise... read more

Now that school is out, the farthest thing from the minds of both parents and students is often academics.  After all, school's out; why would you want to practice math facts, spelling words, etc., during the summer?  However, research has shown that children forget much of what they have learned during the summer, and teachers are often forced to review material from the previous school year for at least the first few months of the next academic year.  This leaves little room to learn new material, and the students then fall farther behind.  I have seen this personally while doing student teaching, clinical experiences, etc, in different schools.   So, what's a parent to do?  First, visit your local dollar store, Target, or any other store that sells activities for children.  These places often sell workbooks to review material from the previous school year, as well as materials to help the child start on activities for their upcoming... read more

I've taught in a major school district for over 20 years.  Yes, there is such a thing as summer learning loss.   The best way to combat it is to find some summer activities that enforce your knowledge in a fun way.  Go to museums (they are always nice and cool), zoos, or other activities.  Go to a vacation bible school or camp, or if you are an older student teach or be a counselor.   There are lots of day camps that focus on a particular activity that may even be career based.    The best thing you can do, is hire a tutor to focus on your weakest subject.  That way, you can go back to school and wow everyone.  Being better at your worst subject will boost your self confidence.   Most of all, HAVE FUN!

1) Organize your school materials by subject and/or date. 2) Make flashcards for important concepts (perhaps subjects in which you are struggling) and periodically review them. 3) Buy/borrow review books for the previous grade and/or the next grade and work through those over time.   If all else fails, enlist the help of a WyzAnt tutor; after all, that's what we're here for! :)

Most teachers plan on needing to review basic subject-area content during the first few weeks of school. Why? Because most students need to refresh their memory after spending their summers swimming, playing video games, and generally going everything they can to avoid anything remotely resembling school work.   Summer enrichment doesn't have to look like regular schoolwork. Anything that gets your kids thinking will be helpful. This could be as simple as visiting a museum, a library, or a state park. Many museums offer free admission days - you just might have to call and ask. Most libraries offer free summer reading programs with incentives like gift certificates or small toys.   Going camping this summer? Challenge your kids to find ten different types of bugs (no, they don't need to pick them up and take them home!). Or ten different types of plants (again, no touching necessary). Challenge your kids to find similarities and differences between... read more

Chances are you’re excited about school being out for summer…I couldn’t agree more! School gets so busy towards the end of the year. Testing, sporting events, concerts and other happenings can all take a toll on your child's practice routine. Once the dust settles from the end of school year festivities, kids with a less full calendar of things to do all too often become bored and need some ideas about how to best spend their time.   If you, or your child, are interested in maintaining or increasing music performance skills from the last day of school through the first day of school the most effective approach is through facilitating time spent on task. Of course, continuing music lessons is a great start! Your child’s private music teacher is the best resource for keeping your son/daughter motivated throughout the summer months. S/he should also be able to recommend outside performance opportunities to support your child’s efforts while introducing them to other... read more

Let's suppose you have zero dollars to spend but you do have a few basic supplies around the house.  Here are ten things you can do this summer to make life more interesting – for yourself and others (for ideas 2 – 10, check with your parent[s] before beginning): 1. Reduce time spent on the computer, game box, TV, etc.  Don't just reduce time; set a goal of how much time you plan to cut from each venue per day.  Can you shave off even more minutes/hours by the end of summer? 2. Check out books from the library -- good books by good authors that cause one to think on imagination, perceive symbolism, develop leadership, learn from history; explore new continents, scientific breakthroughs, and much more.  You can also borrow from or swap books with a friend. 3.  Start a journal.  See YouTube and other sites for creating your own cover, pages.  The more you create on your own, the more fun.  Anyone can walk... read more

Summer vacation is right around the corner, and that means plenty of time to focus on a talent, skill, hobby, etc.   Instead of using the summer time to sit at the pool, try devoting just a little bit of time each day to studying music, which will keep your mind fresh and help you remember everything you learned this past school year!

   Summer is a crucial time for students to continue their education. I know they have just finished up the school year and would love a break, but there needs to be some activity from the students. An easy way to keep your brain going is to actually study things you enjoy. Instead of sitting at home and going through your basic classes (Math, English, Science, etc), I suggest incorporating something you enjoy or find interest in. If you already enjoy a hobby then expand your knowledge in that field. Learning can take place in all fields. For instance, I have been wanting to learn more about light waves and solar energy, so I signed up for free classes on Coursera.com for the summer. They are basic courses with a light load of work, but I will most likely put more effort into these courses because I actually find them interesting.     Another excellent solution is games. Games are a great way to hold your students undivided attention with fun.... read more

Losing knowledge over the course of long vacations is a major problem facing every student. Fortunately, there are many, many ways to combat it, if you know where to look. The best resources I've found for math and science include Khan Academy and MIT lectures. For programming, Codecademy is indispensable. For languages, I recommend Duolingo. It also helps to give yourself projects. If you're curious about something, figure it out! You'd be amazed how much you retain and learn when you apply yourself under your own motivation. Remember to have fun over the summer, but don't forget that learning can be fun too!

I believe that students need to take a couple of weeks right after school is out and have fun! They have been cooped up, studying hard and walking that line of following rules and being told what and what not to do for quite a while.  They have been stressed with finals and trying to get every last good grade possible to ensure either passing to the next grade or upping their GPA's .  Summer continues to get shorter and shorter with schools starting now at the end of July, so let them be kids, have fun and relax.  Now this is not to say that maybe reading a book here and there or prepping for SAT's or other important tests should be totally forgotten but on a bit of a slower pace than in the regular school year. Getting on the internet and using educational resources and tools that make learning fun and not feel like school is a good way to keep their minds sharp also.  Traveling is one of the most educational experiences there is if possible over the summer... read more

1. Read a book! Before you finish school for the summer break, find out which books you’ll be reading next year. If you read them (or start reading them) over the summer, you’ll have much more time during the school year to reflect on the books. You will be able to provide clearer, more thoughtful responses because you’re not rushing through the book for the first time, but instead, reviewing it for a second time.  Or read any book you want! Reading over the summer will keep your mind fresh and keep your reading speed and comprehension up.  Find books online for free!  Or join a book exchange program!   2. Learn a language! Whether you want to strengthen a language you’re learning in school or just try something new, learning a language will keep you in the habit of reading, writing, practicing, and most importantly, learning. Pimsleur offers over forty different language courses (currently on sale for 30% off!) for a reasonable... read more

Unless you are a "Home-schooled" student...- which in the Summer months you are unless you are attending an actual Summer School - ...you are literally Out of the Box, the Box being the school building. This is a good thing on many levels. You've heard that change is good, well, the Summer months allow for some very significant change. In the first place, you have time now to reflect and consider what you were taught during the school-year, and for most students, time for such reflection was NOT available while you were in classes. Secondarily, you can now concentrate on the things you actually want to study and/or learn about, which is not always in the school's schedule. Staying sharp and retaining knowledge is about keeping your mind active, NOT about reviewing all the details of what you've already been taught. You'll find that quite naturally, your mind will recall facts that you've learned as you go about learning NEW things, things that interest you, things... read more

Read! It's an obvious answer from an English teacher, but the research indicates that this obvious answer is absolutely true. If you want to stay sharp, read. Pick up a copy of National Geographic, your local newspaper, or a great novel and enjoy the outdoors while reading something other than Facebook posts.   And don't forget to have fun in the sun. Going for hikes and getting plenty of exercise will also allow you to stay sharp and focused.

Summer learning can be fun!  With my tutoring clients, we make learning fun and interesting.     First, I always have something interesting or unusual going on in my office.  I have a cat who loves to play fetch, an experiment with seedlings, and caterpillars becoming butterflies.  These unusual items often inspire writing or reading interests.     Second, we make lemonade and sit outside to do our work!  Switching up our scenery is sometimes just the trick to get learning focused and interesting.  Cool lemonade and a nice shady spot on a hot day really help reluctant learners focus.   Third, I always make the last five to ten minutes of the lesson a game or fun time.  That could mean playing a quick game of chess, or just reading a book aloud for fun.  Sometimes, we draw pictures that coincide with our writing project.     Summer learning can certainly be a fun experience.  Don't... read more

One summer I was ambitious and signed up for a condensed Anatomy & Physiology II course.  Having just completed Anatomy & Physiology I and Microbiology during the spring semester, I thought just taking one college course over the summer would be a piece of cake.  How wrong I was!  Learning the major systems of the human body in a full 16 week semester can be challenging for most students.  Fortunately, our professor believed in assigning essay styled lab reports.  Writing about new and more complex topics is challenging!   A few weeks into the condensed summer session I realized I would not achieve the A I wanted in A & P II without a full commitment to spend every waking moment studying.  My professor made it clear to the class that he was not going to grade us any easier just because we chose to take the 'short course.'  I vividly recall him announcing during lecture that the endocrine system was probably the... read more

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