News & Updates
April 2, 2020
The Benefits of Tutoring
The benefits of tutoring vary from student to student, but there is no doubt that any student, of any skill level, can benefit from tutoring. Tutoring can assist students that are struggling to keep up with subject matter or challenge those who need an extra push. Tutors can challenge students without evoking feelings of judgment, or the emotional baggage students often feel when working with parents or teachers on school work. We see this a lot. Students time and time again prefer to work with a tutor rather than with their parents or teacher. And this makes sense! A relationship with a tutor is more down-to-earth and relaxed. Students feel comfortable around tutors. They know that they can ask questions without being judged.
Below we discuss how tutoring benefits students and why you should consider enrolling your child, or self, in a tutoring program.
Students that are enrolled in private tutoring benefit from an individualized learning experience. They can learn difficult subjects like math and science better when they verbalize their own mathematical/scientific thinking in a tutoring session. This is critical. Many students are never given the chance in large classrooms to hear themselves speak and think about mathematics. During our tutoring sessions we employ an “active learning” strategy. There is a lot of evidence showing that active learning strategies help students learn and improve their retention of subject matter. The whole idea of active learning is that students are engaged in the process. They are asked to think about what they are doing. This is a form of meta-cognition. Meta-cognition is critical to learning. It provides the bridge between the worksheet or the problems that the students are doing—and the actual learning itself. Learning does not just happen. It doesn’t simply occur when students do homework. Learning functions when the learning environment has been intentionally designed based on scientific evidence.
There is a wide body of evidence that shows that when students solve difficult problems with the support of a tutor, instructor, or peers, they are better able to retain information and achieve their desired learning goals.
Tutors help students build academic skills and assist them in areas they struggle in whilst preparing them with improved work and study skills. The extra layer of preparedness and confidence students gain through tutoring will increase their overall academic achievement. This confidence radiates out to every aspect of a student’s life. It affects how they show up to the classroom. It improves their ability to make connections between complex ideas. It gives them a solid foundation and confidence upon which other successes are built.
The accountability a tutor provides encourages students to stay on track with their coursework and follow through with tasks. When a student is prepared for their subject matter, and don’t feel overwhelmed, they are more inclined to finish homework and other school-related tasks. This helps in so many ways. Firstly, it is always better to be prepared! This alone really helps students. They start turning in assignments on time. They understand when HW is due and what is expected of them.
Customized tutoring programs help ensure your child is learning effectively in a way that works for them. This is good for students who need an extra challenge, as well as students that need a slower pace and more individualized teaching. Simply put: not every student learns at the same pace. This is why lecture-based-learning often fails students and leaves many behind. The course must continue. And the teacher has to “sacrifice” some students for the benefit of others.
Through tutoring, students can learn work and study habits they might miss out on through standardized public schooling alone. The social, behavioral, and independence skills students learn through tutoring will benefit them inside and outside of school. These skills really apply to every area of life. Tutoring helps students learn how to set goals. It teaches them the importance of sitting down with a subject and just sticking with it. Tutoring also helps students learn that it is okay to ask for help and seek assistance from others.
Through tutoring, students learn how to recognize and control their learning pace and take initiative when doing their coursework. When a student feels like they are able to learn better thanks to the tools tutoring prepares them with, they are less likely to feel “left-behind” or too nervous to seek help when needed. Tutoring puts the learner in the driver’s seat. They are instantly in-charge of their own learning. Rather than being passive observers—like they are during class—students are transported to a block of time where they have to direct their own learning. With help, of course! Often it is the student who directs the tutor. The student says, “this is where I need help. This is what I’m struggling with.” Those are invaluable skills! In this way, tutoring helps students become better at recognizing their own weaknesses and strengths. This is helpful when attempting to learn or improve at any skill.
Tutoring can help school become fun for students. Encouragement and praise surrounding school can help with feelings of frustration toward school. Additionally, the confidence students gain via tutoring makes them feel more prepared going into school and other academic settings.
When a student feels more confident in their ability to succeed in school, and other academic settings, their overall confidence will increase. The tools learned in personalized tutoring boosts student’s self-esteem and confidence as they become more successful students.
Tutoring helps identify and manage any learning difficulties students may face resulting in an improved attitude towards school and learning. The one-on-one teaching that tutoring provides can help identify any issues that may get looked over in a large classroom setting.
The accountability that tutoring provides can go a long way in student’s overall dedication, and persistence in completing schoolwork and other school-related tasks. Through tutoring, students will eventually realize their personal growth and begin to take ownership of their own studies and other responsibilities.
Want more resources? Check out our free resource on how to create an effective home learning program for your child!
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Article Updated April 2020
March 1, 2019
Are you looking for a tutor? We look for them, too. And over the years we developed some processes and a handful of definite qualities that we look for in prospective tutors.
We base our processes on research and experience. Both research and experience have shown us that when looking for a tutor it is best to look for tutors who have the foundation of knowledge (the actual math, science, or Spanish knowledge) and also have the soft skills necessary to be able to connect with and relate to the student.
1. Soft Skills
We’ve found that over 50% of a tutors success is their ability to connect and relate to a student – it’s the teacher’s attitude, ability to communicate, and ability to connect that makes the biggest difference when it comes to education.
The bottom line is that your child is going to be much more likely to have a positive attitude towards learning and education if they are being assisted by someone that they like, relate to, and connect with.
2. Foundation of Knowledge
Of course, it is critical that a tutor not only talk the talk, but that they walk the walk. They need to know their stuff. We’ve interviewed tutors that didn’t – and of course we’ve interviewed tutors that did. It makes a big difference. It’s clearly visible. And we all know it.
3. Discipline (Preparedness)
We’ve interviewed tutors who weren’t prepared. We could tell. We’ve also interviewed tutors who brought lessons plans to the first meeting, who had everything written down and prepared. They were ready. And it showed. Hard work shows its colors.
These are just a few of the traits we look for in our tutors. We also look at who they are as person.
4. Integrity, Morals, Values
We ALWAYS ask ourselves, is this a tutor we would feel comfortable handing over the keys to our house? How about to our mothers house? Because tutors come into your home, it’s of critical importance that they have the highest levels of integrity. Whenever we are looking for a tutor – we look at their morality through both objective and subjective measures.
5. Their Life Path
We are much more inclined to hire a pre-medical student or a PhD mathematics student (who wants to teach) than we are to hire a tutor who just wants some extra cash. We look for tutors who have meaning and purpose behind their actions. We are looking for a tutor who has ambition and is willing to help and assist other people in achieving their dreams.
These are just a few of the qualities we look for.
We would be happy to give you advice on hiring and finding a tutor of your own. Or, if you like our style, you can always request a free session from one of our highly rated, regarded, and loved tutors.
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.