December 1, 2018
Our experience with tutoring for kids has taught us one thing: kids learn differently than teenagers and adults do. There are a few core ways a child’s approach to learning differs from that of an adult.
1. Tutoring for Kids uses a Different Style of Motivation
Adults study and learn in order to accomplish a given goal. Get a job. Secure a raise. Earn your graduate degree. Kids, however, are intrinsically motivated to learn because they are curious in understanding what the world is and how it works. That’s why it’s important to make elementary education fun and interesting. Grab a kid’s attention right off the bat. Enhance their natural curiosity and interest.
2. Tutoring for Kids Emphasizes that They Have The Whole World Open To Them
One elementary school teacher, Pauline Gremaud, has this to say: “I teach students that they are writers. They are readers. They are scientists. They are explorers.” (You can learn more by reading her incredible blog.)
At Tutor Portland we believe this is a great approach to elementary education and learning. Kids at this age need to know that the skills they are learning matter – that these skills are fundamental to becoming their future self. It’s important that they know that through learning they can reach their dreams. They can be a writer. A scientist. An explorer.
3. Tutoring for Kids uses Different Learning Methods
When it comes to adult education, a lot of teachers use a “teacher centered approach.” The teacher is the expert, the authority. This is a traditionalist style of teaching: the emphasis is on the teacher.
In a constructivist style of teaching, the focus is on the student. Learning is interactive instead of being based solely on repetition (traditionalist). Students work in groups. And knowledge is seen as fluid and changing. Most importantly, a student’s opinion is valued. It matters.
Teaching methods can have a huge impact on a child’s success. Cooperative learning, inquiry-based learning, and direct instruction are all methods of teaching.
At Tutor Portland we believe a Student Centered (constructivist) approach to learning has the greatest benefit for students.
Tutoring for kids is different than adult education because kids have a unique style of motivation and they need to know the whole word is open to them. At Tutor Portland we believe we can best help our students succeed by utilizing a student centered approach to education and learning.
November 1, 2018
As the world moves faster and faster towards online meetings, working remotely, and nearly everything online — we’ve found that in-home tutoring still works best for most students. One things we’ve discovered over thousands of hours of tutoring is that each student learns a bit differently. We all have different strategies for learning and solving problems.
1. Each Student Learns Differently
Everyone has their own way and method of solving problems. And this means using a wide-array of educational techniques is the best way to help students realize their inner-genius. In our experience, switching between different styles of teaching and learning is simply harder to do online. One student might learn best with diagrams, writing, or through visualization. And when the tutor and student are both sitting at the same desk, it’s much easier to switch back and forth between different learning styles. Eventually picking the one that works best.
Through our many years of in-home tutoring, we’ve learned that if something isn’t working – teach it a different way.
2. In-Home Tutoring Has A Greater Emotional Understanding and Connection
Human psychology and understanding is a big part of what we do at Tutor Portland. And it’s just harder to do online. During in-home tutoring, it’s easy to read a student’s nonverbal communication and body language. Maybe they didn’t understand something. Maybe they are feeling down on their abilities. One of our tutors would be able to see this in a student’s body language, and take the appropriate steps to correct it.
We call this Tutoring In The Moment. We are able to stop our students and provide a redirect, re-framing their thinking from a negative view of their own capabilities to one of possibility, desire, and hope.
Maybe a student, when you use a particular style of teaching, starts to lean in and becomes visibly more interested in what you are saying. This is a clear sign to our tutors that this particular style of education is working.
3. In-Home Tutoring is Convenient + Online Tutoring is Easy to Skip
I’ve personally done online tutoring in the past. And it seems like 25-30% of the time is spent waiting for the computer to load, or for the internet to refresh.
Can you imagine having a personal trainer over skype? It would be better than nothing. But having a trainer in person is much better. You are much less likely to skip the session or blow it off.
When you know a tutor is coming to your house at 5:00PM, it’s easy to prepare and make it happen. There is something less formal about online communication appointments. They are much easier to skip.
These are just a few reasons why we believe in-home tutoring is better than online tutoring. We encourage you to contact us, if you have any questions about your child’s education.
October 1, 2018
Human beings are driven by emotions. We experience feelings of joy, anger, sadness, and relief with changing scenarios. Getting anxious is also an integral part of our behavior. One of the leading types of anxieties is exam anxiety. It’s a universal problem and almost all of us face it at some point in our lives. It’s a trait that can have negative effects on our personality and future success.
Exams rattle us all. High school students seem to face exam anxiety most often. It can be stressful because it makes you lose focus for prolonged periods of time. As a responsible parent, you should take the following steps to help your child manage exam anxiety.
The process of dealing with exam anxiety is a series of rational steps which include observing the symptoms in your child, finding the causes behind them, and helping your child overcome those issues. If you don’t prepare your child for dealing with exam anxiety, she might be left behind compared to other children.
In this article, our top tutors have created a process of dealing with exam anxiety, and structured it into bite size components so that you can help your child manage their stress on test day.
Symptoms of Anxiety
The foremost thing in fighting anxiety is to learn about the symptoms associated with it. The symptoms help you reach the base of the problem. As a parent, you must be able to read the symptoms emerging in your child. It requires you to engage thoroughly with your child during his learning years.
Physical symptoms are associated with the personality of your child. These symptoms appear whenever your kid engages in demanding activities. Increased release of sweat from your body is the first sign associated with physical symptoms.
Apart from sweating, your kid might face shortness of breath as a result of anxiety. This is due to increased tension and associated increase in heartbeat. This is a serious issue which needs to be dealt with in the early stages otherwise it could lead to severe problems for your child in the future.
Lack of concentration is another physical symptom which is associated with exam anxiety. Due to increased levels of stress, your child loses concentration and doesn’t take any interest in things happening around him. He could lose focus in his family and social life, which can have other negative impacts on his health and well-being.
Exam anxiety changes your child not only at the physical level but at the mental level as well. The mental capacity of your kid could be greatly affected come test time; making your child appear as if she isn’t as smart as she truly is. As a parent, you should help your child reduce the levels of stress and anxiety otherwise, she might begin to doubt her own abilities.
Rapid mood swings, rage, and anger coupled with excessive emotional behavior are some of the mental symptoms associated with exam anxiety.
Negative thinking, yelling at family and friends, and poor memory are behavioral symptoms that students facing exam anxiety often experience.
Causes of Exam Anxiety
Fear of Failure
Fear is the biggest enemy of all of us. It keeps us from taking brave steps. If we have fear of a certain thing then we will be unable to perform our best at that particular thing. Your kid might be having a fear of failure which is leading to anxiety.
Lack of Confidence
Lacking confidence when taking on a task can often negatively impact our performance. This trait is often found in children going to school. If your kid is not having enough confidence in his personality then he will not be able to express himself properly which will result in lack of creativity. Once you’re short on creativity and confidence, your anxiety can grow exponentially.
Fear of Repeating Past Mistakes
There might be a time when your daughter used to be confident in her abilities. But then, a failure led to the loss of confidence and promoted fear of failing again. This is a common problem seen in many children. It’s natural that your kid doesn’t want to fail. So to avoid failure, she might be avoiding truly trying and giving her best effort. Her brain rationalizes that if she doesn’t fully try, she can’t be accurately evaluated. “You can’t find my true potential,” her actions seem to say.
The solution? Teach your child to have a “growth mindset” about life and learning.
Tips to help your Child
Once you have studied the prevailing symptoms and associated causes, the next phase is dealing with the core of the problem. It requires you to engage with your kid and help him out. This all starts with giving proper time to your child on a daily basis. There are no shortcuts to help your child out of this problem. It is a long process that takes time and consistent effort and support. Students and children need to know that someone is there for them: that they have someone they can count on (and someone who is counting on them).
There are many ways to which you can help your child avoid exam anxiety. The following is a list that our top Portland educators and tutors have created:
Assist In Studying For The Test
The most basic thing which promotes anxiety is the difficulty which your kid might be facing in preparing for his test. There could be problems which he is not able to understand, or there might be a proportion of syllabus he hasn’t covered.
As a responsible parent, you need to assist your kid with the his studying. You can help him cover topics and sit down with him to study. This will be a huge boost to your child’s confidence. He will be more comfortable in dealing with the problems which he previously found daunting.
The bottom line is: someone needs to be engaging with your child, 1 on 1, on a consistent basis.
Ask Her To Prepare Her Own Notes
When you write something down, research shows that you are much more likely to remember it. You can interpret it in your own style, and practice writing it in your own words. This is helpful practice come exam time. Ask your daughter to prepare and write notes and even explain them to others if she can. This will help her listen to other student’s views and thus increase her levels of understanding. This will be a huge boost of confidence.
Teach Her To Be Expressive
You need to be expressive to perform well in your exams. If you’re not able to express your thoughts and ideas on paper or through speech, your teacher won’t be able to accurately grade what you truly know.
Ask your kid to be fearless while sitting in the exam hall and to be expressive about her thoughts and ideas. This is not easy. As a parent, you can help your child learn how to be more expressive and resilient towards sharing ideas.
Talk To His Teachers
When it comes to learning, teachers can be very helpful. If your child is going through an exam anxiety situation, then his mentors should aware of it. (He does have a strong mentor and / or role model, right?) They are usually extremely useful in helping with exam anxiety and other issues.
Ask the teacher what is going on. Your teacher has hundreds of hours observing your child in class. She normally knows what is happening. If not, you can ask her to pay special attention to how your child is doing on exam day. If problems persist, our tutors recommend meeting with a teacher regularly.
Get Help From Professionals
A professional who has been dealing with similar issues for years can help your child out of the situation. A psychologist or a therapist can help your kid relieve stress and tension through interactive activities. Apart from activities, a professional can help your kid control his brain in a much better way. Controlling your brain is important to get control over your emotions. If your kid is able to manage his emotions then he will be able to manage exam stress as well.
Go Hiking, Or Spend Time In Nature
It is necessary to take breaks from your regular routine as it helps you relieve stress and maintain focus. A refreshed mind helps you be more creative and thoughtful.
You can arrange intermittent breaks from your child’s education and take him to a hill, lake, park, or somewhere refreshing. This will bring him closer to nature. Research shows that nature improves the functioning of our brain and reduces stress. It is important you schedule time for your child to have inner reflection. If your child understands herself better, she will become more confident and better able to solve her own problems and cure her own exam anxiety.
Indulge In Stress Relieving Exercises or Sports
Sports and exercise are great ways to reduce stress. First of all, exercise has been proven to improve your mood. Students often stop studying or don’t study because they aren’t feeling good. When students take time to exercise, they actually end up feeling better and getting more done.
Exercise releases endorphins.
Ask Him To Change His Habits
Your kid’s eating and sleeping patterns greatly impact his mental behavior. If he has sleeping issues or bad diet problems, then you should get to work immediately and help him recover from these bad-habits. If not properly addressed, these could lead to serious health issues, bad behavior, and exam anxiety.
Set a daily routine for your child, one which includes his sleeping and waking up times. Cook him better food. Ask him to eat his vegetables and fruit. Try to have him cut down on his refined sugars and processed foods.
Here is an article about how to cook healthy foods for your children.
Exam Anxiety: This Too, Shall Pass
Life gives you a new opportunity at each turn. Your child must learn this if he wants to be successful in life. Tell your child that a failure is not the end. (It’s simply an opportunity to learn, grow, and start working harder and smarter.)
Teach your child that failure is a one time event, it’s not a person or character trait. We might fail at certain things, but that doesn’t mean we are “failures.”
A supportive attitude from those around him will help him reduce exam anxiety at a much faster rate. Tell your child that you believe in him. Tell him that you love him no matter what happens.
Every Time You Fail You Learn Something
Your child is currently going through a phase of learning. Remind her that learning should be fun.
Tell her that when you fail, you don’t actually fail but learn something new. If she builds this attitude, she will lose her anxiety problems and will be more confident going into exams.
Children who have been suffering from exam anxiety problems can recover to normal conditions if their issues are properly dealt with. It is the responsibility of the parents, and to a large extent of the teachers, to help children make their way to confident test taking skills.
Parents can learn from the topics we’ve discussed here, and the links to other great articles that our tutors have provided. If these therapies are properly applied, then your child will perform better as a result.
If your child continues to struggle with her learning, you should seek professional support. A mentor, psychologist, or tutor can often help your child improve her mindset and grades. Please contact us if you have any questions about the future success of your child.
September 1, 2018
This is a guide on how to find and select the best high school courses for your teenager.
High school carries a lot of importance in the educational career of your child. It develops the base of your child’s future. As a student (and parent) you will come across multiple subjects in high school which you might have to go through and struggle with. In high school there are a few limitations and specifications over what you can study. However, our tutors have developed a list of the best high school courses to take.
Your high school courses will directly affect your college admission. For instance, if you want to go to MIT, then you must have a good grip over science and technology, and if you want to go to Harvard Medical School, then you not only need to have good knowledge of the medical subjects (for instance, Biology, Chemistry, Physics) but you also need hands-on experience of processes related to the field.
Expanding Fields Of Study, More Opportunity (But Also, More Tough Choices)
In recent times, high school education has spread out its reach to many fields of study. For instance, in the past people used to have a specific choice over what they will be studying in high school and then at the college level. However, in contemporary times, you have a range of subjects which you can opt from and pursue a career in. These days, there are not many limitations over your future career. The only thing that can hold you back is yourself. And we know from experience: you can learn anything.
What courses to go for? The Following Are The Best High School Courses You Can Select:
Our top tutors have devised a list of subjects which a high school student, who wishes to pursue his educational goals at college and graduate levels, can choose from. This will prove to be a guideline which he can work on and use to follow his career dreams.
Literature is the branch of study which deals with the study of the books and scriptures written by great writers of the past. In the field of literature, you can study subjects which will blow your mind away. The vast knowledge and the contexts of different writers will help you expand your spectrum of thinking. You will grow in rationality and everything will have a reason to you.
Literature is a very good career choice; if your child feels interested then you should allow him to study literature in his high school and help him get admission in a college which has a strong degree program for literature or education.
Literature has many further sub-branches giving you freedom of choice over which particular part of the subject you want to master:
Philosophy deals with the study of work of great philosophers of the past. You learn their writings and develop opinions over their findings. This helps you contemplate and grow in levels of logic.
In the subject of history, you study about cultures, wars, and legends of the past. The field finds huge applications in modern day international relations and similar studies. The subject has huge career growth opportunities if you go on and become a historian or professor.
This field sheds light on different religions of the world allowing you to dig deep and find more about the relation between man and God. It is a mesmerizing field of education if you’re religiously inclined or curious about different faiths and belief structures.
This field of study deals with the study of languages; you learn about their origin and proper use. It is a relatively new field of study, it found huge recognition after the 1950s. Many people chose linguistics to pursue their careers in. This field has amazing career options as you can go on to become expert in computational linguistics, dialect, or socio-linguistics.
Math is regarded as the mother of all knowledge. It is considered to be that field of education which takes us closest to God, The Universe, or a Higher Power. Through its binary system of calculations, we have been able to explore a lot of new horizons in our earth and the worlds beyond.
There are countless branches into which the field of mathematics has been dispersed. However, the three most notable (and important!) ones are:
Algebra is the mathematical study of operations. It involves problems solving ranging from simple equations to complex terms, which has helped mankind evolve and is the foundation for chemistry, physics, and much of modern medicine.
Geometry is the mathematical study of shapes. In the field of geometry, you come across many shapes which exist in the real world around us. This portion of math has vast application in the field of astronomy as it helps you in studying heavenly bodies.
Calculus is the mathematical study of change. It helps us find out gradual changes in different mechanisms. For examples, many scientific and technological studies include the services of calculus to calculate the change associated with the natural phenomenon of our everyday world. Calculus is a requirement of many medical schools (however, not in Oregon!).
If you want to be an engineer, architect, astronaut, technician, doctor, or any similar professional then science is the field of education you should be choosing in high school, college, and beyond.
Science has a very diverse range of fields as it includes many different branches of education: biology, chemistry, and physics are the top three.
If you want to be professional with technical knowledge of different processes, or want to pursue a career in production industry or research sector, then you should study one of the following branches of science.
Biology is the study of living things. It relates to deep-rooted knowledge of animals, plants, their properties, and associated characters. If you want to pursue a career as a doctor then you should study biology and pass it with great grades. Apart from being a doctor, you can become an expert on the subjects of botany or zoology which include detailed studies of plants and animals, respectively.
Chemistry is one of the most interesting and diverse fields of education. It involves the chemistry of all the processes happening around us. You can study organic chemistry, physical chemistry, or one from the many of its sub-branches. A chemistry graduate finds huge demand in the industries, so it is a good career option. It’s best to start learning chemistry in high school. This will give you a solid foundation, preparing you for more advanced study in college.
Physics is the study of natural phenomena happening around us are studied as physics. It is a diverse field of study which finds applications in the study of matter, the study of astronomical bodies, and many more. It is one of the most interesting fields of education which sees novelty at each turn.
If you want your child to have a good career then ask him to study physics in high school, and pursue a specialization in it at the college level, too.
Geology includes deep studies about the earth. You undergo detailed study about the metals and their properties. As a geologist, you can learn how to extract different minerals from the earth, and become an expert in your field.
In the recent times, especially after the Two Great Wars, the study of social sciences emerged to the fore. It includes in-depth knowledge of war, peace, and human rights. When you study social sciences, you not only promise yourself a good career but also become a voice of the underprivileged. Some of the famous sub-fields of social science are discussed below:
International relations studies the relationship between different countries. It studies the times of conflict and peace. When you study the subject, you become aware of the process through which states interact with each other. It is a very diverse field in itself.
Political science helps you learn about the politics of a region and the factors which govern that region. It is an interesting branch of political science with amazing career opportunities in government, journalism, and more.
This branch of social sciences studies human rights and what it means to be human. You can become the CEO of a non-profit, start one yourself, and find another way to help the public. But humanities can also prepare you for a field in Law or Medicine.
The study of law is one of the oldest fields of education in the world. You can become a lawyer, a judge, or a legal adviser to international organizations if you choose to pursue a career in the field of law. (Join your school’s speech and debate team in high school and college!) (Our founder, Eric, debated at Portland State University, The University of Oregon, and Cleveland High School.)
Psychology is the study of human behavior. With the change of time, the human mind undergoes transitions, which is followed by changes in behavior. A psychologist studies mental illness, as well as the activities in life that make us thrive and live meaningful, happy lives (positive psychology). It is a rapidly growing career option as more and more students are getting enrolled in the subject every year.
Studying foreign languages is a good career option. As a high school student, you can enroll in a specific language (Spanish is always a great option). Learning a language helps you learn about the culture and people of its place of origin. You can easily get a job in a multinational firm or a government office if you have strong fluency in a foreign language. The two most-spoken languages in the world are:
English is the most spoken language in the world. Deemed as the global language (yep! we’re lucky to speak it), it provides a common medium for nearly everyone in the world to communicate.
Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world. It is particularly important to Americans because Latin America is so close, and more and more Latinos are coming to live and work in the U.S.
Art means creativity. So, if you feel you have that spark which can push you to become a promising artist, you should continue with studying art in high school. (Research shows art is also good for our brains!) With your skills, you can pursue a successful career as an interior designer, fashion designer, painter, musician, and more!
If you child wants to be an athlete then he should go for sports sciences. Sports sciences include an in-depth study of the processes involved with different games which can help you learn about your favorite sport. You can develop your abilities in a particular game and then continue a career as a professional in it. Sports science has a lot of promises to offer to young students these days (as an athlete, marketer, or physical therapist).
A career in medical sciences is extremely different from those which involve industries. However, the subjects which a student needs to learn during his high school, for a career in medical, aren’t any different from the ones required to study for a career in industry.
An young person who wants to make it to medical college after completing high school should do the following:
- Take four years to study math, science, and psychology.
- Choose a health-related project in school.
- Volunteer at a local health clinic.
- Participate in pre-health enrichment programs.
It is important to have a good firsthand knowledge of the procedures involved in medicine. You’ll need to take time away from your regular studies to volunteer in hospitals and clinics and get a feel and understanding of medical care. This will paradoxically help you earn better grades, assist you during your college interview, and strengthen your interest in the subject.
These are a few of the many subjects which you can choose from during your time in high school. These subjects can all have promising futures. (It’s what you make of the field that counts.)
Other Things To Consider When Looking For The Best High School Courses Around:
Apart from choosing a course in high school, there are other things which affect your college application as much as the choice of your subjects.
- Good Grades: Apart from choosing the proper high school subjects which will promise you a good future, getting good grades in those subjects is often even more important. Since there is a lot of market saturation due to increasing numbers of students every year, only the ones who are the most competitive and have the best grades are considered by the top U.S. colleges.
- Guidance: You should have good knowledge of the subjects which you think inspire you. A great tutor, teacher, or mentor at the high school level is important because at that age students are often not very aware of the pros and cons affiliated with certain subjects. It is better to ask for guidance and help.
Your choice of subject could have diverse effects on your personality and your future, too. So if you want to enjoy a successful future, with a good job which you’d enjoy doing, then you should consider carefully before choosing your subjects in high school.
Add balance to your Personality
A good career choice can add much-needed balance to your personality. If you choose a field of education which suits best your interests then you will be able to perform better in it, both at college and professional levels. It is said that if you love your job then you never work a day in your life. So, if you want to have fun while working, choose the field of study very carefully. Seek counsel from professionals to help you out with the process.
Define your Context
Your career choice helps you develop a context for yourself which will assist you with your professional life.
There are multiple subjects which are being taught at college and university levels. All these subjects have their own significance and application. No particular subject is superior to another, in any context. Each has its own value. It all comes down to you how you see them (and use them!). The ones which you find most interesting and fascinating, you should go on and develop a professional career in them.
As a parent, it is extremely important to give your child the liberty to choose her high school courses. You can assist her choosing the right ones but you should respect her choices also. Allow her to pursue her studies in the subjects which she finds most intriguing and interesting.
It is important to maintain interest in your education. If you love what you’re studying then you will able to perform at your best levels.
Follow our website for more useful information. With the counsel of our experts, you can find out your educational preferences and choose subjects, in high school, which will define your career in near future.
August 1, 2018
Help Your Child Develop A Better Understanding of Math — 3 Major Topics All Teenagers Should Learn In High School Math
High school students learn best at their own pace, but that isn’t always possible when they’re thrown into a fast-paced math curriculum. As students work their way from algebra through calculus, they may begin to falter if the are missing fundamental knowledge about math. Math is all about building blocks, and if students want to develop a better understanding of math, it’s important that they feel confident applying past concepts to future problems.
That’s where a tutor comes in. You see, great math tutors are not only experts in the particulars of a subject – they’re trained to make sure high school students truly understand the concepts at a deeper level. The results are higher grades and even a spark of fun for students in high school math class.
Algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus are all unique in their own ways, and our tutors will help your high school student understand three major topics that are universal in all forms of math, and applicable to life after class.
Topic 1: A Better Understanding of Math: Relational Understanding
Did you know there are two types of understanding in math? Many students are adept at the first: instrumental understanding. They can take certain math rules and use them to solve problems – but they don’t necessarily know why the rule worked. This form of understanding relies on memorization more than application and can lead to struggles when problems become more complex.
The second form is relational understanding. Some may call it deductive reasoning. It necessitates a deeper understanding of rules, formulas and theorems so that students can continue to build on a solid foundation when things get harder. When students understand the why behind math, their worlds start to open up and they can make connections they may not have seen before.
Math tutors help with relational understanding because they have more time to work with students. In a classroom environment, students can begin to feel overwhelmed if they don’t fully grasp a concept, and fall behind as the class speeds on through to the next lesson. A student who understands the purpose behind math ideas and how to apply them to different concepts will be capable of solving any problem.
Topic 2: A Better Understanding of Math: Translating decimals, fractions and percentages
The entire course of algebra study hinges on understanding of decimals, fractions and percentages, and students need to be able to seamlessly transition between the three. But our brains don’t necessarily work that quickly. Think of yourself in the supermarket, trying to deduce a sale price – sometimes it takes some mental gymnastics to get to the answer. When high school students are up against time pressure on standardized tests, they need to perform at a high level, and fast.
The most common questions tutors will hear from frustrated math students is, “when will I ever use this in real life?” From statistics class in college to filing taxes to taking measurements on a home building project, decimals, fractions and percentages are perhaps the most relevant concepts to the real world beyond the classroom. All high school students should know how to speak the language of these numbers, and math tutors can make them proficient.
Topic 3: A Better Understanding of Math: Calculator proficiency
Every high school student has a computer in their hands at all times nowadays, but not all of them understand the right inputs to solve math problems. Or, if they do, they understand them at an instrumental level and their ability to manipulate formulas tops off at a certain point.
Calculator learning is crucial in high school math. Machines are capable of so much, but they can’t do all the work for your student. Our tutors focus first on the concept, then on how to replicate the concept in digital form. We want students to be confident in more than just knowing where the right button is – we want them to grasp exactly why they’re pressing it to solve a problem.
July 1, 2018
Research shows that, over the summer, Portland high school students are likely to experience summer learning loss. Students, on average, lose the equivalent of 2.5 months worth of math education during the summer months. Decades of research (dating back over 100 years) prove this stunning fact.
However, some students actually report slight gains in learning and brain development over the summer. Why? They read books. Work with tutors. And attend educational summer camps. (My mom used to send me to these. Thanks, mom!)
Tired of summer learning loss? You better be! Research shows that it’s cumulative. That means each summer piles on-top of each other, weighing down your child’s grades like a heavy rock.
Quick Tips on helping your Portland high school student prevent summer learning loss:
- Go To The Library
- Reward Them For Khan Academy
- Teach Them About Finance and Investing
- Read To Them
- Solve Math Problems With Them
You could consider creating a reward system, whereby if your child reads for 30 minutes (or studies math using Khan Academy for 30 minutes) they are free to play with their friends for the afternoon.
Remember, this is also important for standardized tests. Research shows that after the summer months, students score lower on standardized tests (than they did at the end of spring). And this loss is cumulative. For example, in math, students who don’t learn in the summer can end up 2.5 to 3 years behind their peers. Could this be a reason that your teenager is struggling in algebra, geometry, or calculus? In our experience, we see this happen all the time.
Is your child on the bubble?
Summer learning loss is especially important if your child is struggling or “on the bubble” in any of her classes. A few hours in the summer can mean the difference between a D or a B in the fall.
Ask your teacher for help. Often, teachers will have extra resources and ideas for how their students can catch up and improve in the summer. Ask about: workbooks, online resources, or fun activities.
Checking with next year’s teacher is often an even better idea because they can help give your child a direct head start.
Other ideas to consider:
- Summer Writing Courses
- Dance Classes
- STEM Summer Camp
Planning a lot of vacations this summer?
Try to find some teachable moments. Let your child help plan and research the trip. Take them to the zoo, library, or a museum. Encourage them to write a journal during the summer.
I know a number of parents who suspend allowance during the summer… and instead reward good behavior (studying, reading, learning) with prizes or compensation. Research shows that these rewards don’t have to be big to work. They just have to be timely.
Good luck on your summer learning and fun!
June 1, 2018
Books For Success. What books help your child succeed? Read below to find out!
As a tutor, I’ve discovered that many children have low grades because of their poor mindset.
I’m a big believer in books. I give books to most of my clients. Why? Because they have the power to transform someone’s life.
This blog article is about the 3 books for success—to help boost your child’s grades.
Here are the most important books for success that your child should be reading, now:
Books For Success — Mindset
The “low effort syndrome” is something many parents are familiar with. Why does it happen? New research shows that it happens because during the teenager years students feel as if everyone is trying to quantify them. Grades. Papers. Tests. Students, at this age, naturally resist. “You want quantify me!” They seem to shout. “I won’t put it any effort at all— then you can’t test my ability. Ha!” (Clearly, that’s not the best, most useful, mindset in the world.)
The way to get around this, I’ve found, is to make students aware of this. I tell my clients why they are acting the way they are. And I think this insight gives me credibility. It builds trust because it shows I understand who they are and why they do what they do.
Teenagers, like anyone, want to be listened to. They want to be understood. They want to be heard and known.
And I think it’s possible to hear them—while still encouraging them to improve.
This book teaches students that they can learn anything. It teaches them that if they try, and use different strategies, they can succeed at any subject.
Books For Success — How to Win Friends and Influence People
This book is a classic. Another thing I’ve found in my research and time spent with youth, is that kids who have the “low effort syndrome” are usually lacking interpersonal skills. They might be difficult to deal with themselves—but often they don’t know how to deal with difficult people.
They don’t understand how to make a nit-picky teacher like them. Instead of being likable and winning a teacher’s favor, youth with the “low effort syndrome” are most likely to rebel so that they can look cool in front of their peers.
This can all change by reading a few good books.
Books For Success — How Children Succeed
How do children succeed? Recent research shows that more than anything else, having grit is what makes children succeed.
Grit is a personality trait that allows a person to pursue and accomplish their goals despite repeated and consistent setbacks and failures.
In life and education alike, challenges are going to come. That’s why it’s imperative for a child to develop grit.
What researchers are finding matters even more than cognitive skills … are non-cognitive characteristics and qualities such as: persistence, self-confidence, grit, curiosity, and self-control.
This book, and others, will show your child how.
— Eric Earle
P.S. — At Tutor Portland we have tutors who help in common everyday subjects. But our tutors also serve as mentors. We’re here to inspire students, to connect with them on a level deeper than simply school, academics, and grades. We’ve found that this deeper connection helps students improve both academically and personally.
May 1, 2018
Some Portland Parents Ask Me: Why Should I Hire A Tutor?
I’ve spoken with many Portland parents who are interested in hiring a tutor for their child. They often ask me about the benefits of tutoring. What results should they expect to see for their children?
Research On The Benefits of Hiring A Tutor
In 1982, a young researcher conducted a meta-analysis of over 60 studies on tutoring. This means, he took the results of over 60 studies and analyzed them to see the outcomes of a wide-range of studies.
- Tutored Students Outperformed Peers On Examinations
- Tutees Expressed More Positive Attitudes Towards School Subjects
- Tutoring Was Especially Beneficial For Students Learning Mathematics
Here is an article from the National Education Association that further discusses the benefits of academic tutoring.
(Why was math tutoring so beneficial?) Math is a linear subject. That means that what you learned yesterday (last year or last class) effects what you are learning today. So, if you fall behind in math, you’re in trouble. That’s where tutors can make a huge difference. Tutors can help Portland students rise above their difficulties and master new skills.
Academic And Cognitive Improvements From Working With Academic Tutors
- Tutors Help Students Raise Their GPA, Score Higher On Tests, and Better Understand Material
Social And Behavioral Benefits From Working With Academic Tutors
But tutors also bestow another benefit upon tutees: they help them socially.
- Tutors Help Students Develop What Psychologists Call A Self-Concept and Social-Concept
- (And further studies show that Self and Social Concepts are Correlated With Improved Academic Performance.)
- Tutored Students Show A Decrease In In-Class Disruptive Behaviors
- Tutored Students Report A Greater Degree Of Internal Responsibility For Their Own Achievement.
- Tutoring Has Also Been Shown To Improve Students’ Ability To Handle Constructive Feedback
That is pretty remarkable. Most Portland parents I talk too are in it for immediate results. They want to see their child’s grades go from Cs to As. And I understand that. But what’s incredible to me is the constructive power that tutoring can have on a student both socially and behaviorally.
If you’re interested in learning more:
Here’s an article that discusses several benefits to tutoring.
— Eric Earle
April 1, 2018
A Math Tutor: Is it the right time to hire one?
The mere word math is frightening to many students. However, tutors can rapidly bring students to heightened math confidence. (And heightened grades!)
First and Foremost: Grades.
If your child has a C or lower in math, a tutor might sound like a good idea. If you want your child to get straight As, a tutor might sound even better! Tutors can help students achieve their academic goals, no matter what they’re aiming for. Maybe there is a specific university they’re thinking about? Or a scholarship? Know where you and your child think their grades should be and call a tutor to decide how to get there.
Has Your Child Lost Interest In Math?
One sign that you might need to hire a tutor is if your child has lost interest for math. If your child used to love math, and now doesn’t—a tutor might be able to help.
If your child is losing interest in math, that’s a signal: something’s wrong. Most likely, they aren’t fully understanding the material.
Get A Math Tutor Quickly
It’s important, when it comes to any subject, to get a tutor early on. But it’s even more important with math. In math, more-so than any other subject, the content of the courses are linear (you must know the previous material in order to understand what is built on top of that material).
You always have to act especially quickly if you sense that your child is losing confidence in math. Confidence is critical to learning math. You need it. A tutor can always help restore a child’s confidence.
Is Hiring A Tutor Worth The Money?
I think it depends on where your child is—where you want them to be—and your financial situation. Hiring a tutor can be an incredible idea if you want to see better grades, on-time graduation, and success for your child.
This article explores tutoring—and whether or not it is worth the cost.
What Qualities To Look For In A Tutor
I think, when it comes to tutoring, likability is a really important factor. It’s important than your child like his tutor. A tutor must win a child’s trust. They should be knowledgable in their field. A tutor should be a strong communicator who has a passion for tutoring and seeing academic improvements in their tutee.
I’m a bit biased, but I’ve hand-selected our tutors—and I think they’re incredible.
— Eric Earle