Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Summer Tutoring?

School is almost out for summer!   As a parent, I'm sure many thoughts are running through your mind such as:
"How am I going to keep these kids busy all summer?"
"I cannot believe how expensive these summer camps are."
"Where should we take the kids for a summer trip?"
"I can't believe how much these kids eat!"

Has the question, "should my child do tutoring over the summer," entered your thoughts yet?  Maybe it should.  I'm guessing that for most students tutoring over the summer sounds like about the worst idea any parent has ever had in the history of the world!  Summer tutoring isn't as bad as it might sound at first.

1.  The pressure of getting good grades is gone!  A student can learn for the sake of learning.  There is no test on Monday, no report due, and no presentation for which to prepare.  A student can work on his math skills, reading skills, or writing skills without the academic year stressors.

2.  Your child might just get ahead!  Wouldn't it feel wonderful for your child and you to start the school year off with confidence?  Sometimes when students go back to school in August, they feel like they have forgotten everything.  They may have forgotten a lot (see reason #3).  If a student has had the opportunity to continually work on her math facts and arithmetic all summer long, the nervousness at the beginning of the year will be minimized significantly.  If a student finishes the year where she needs to be, she could work ahead along with her tutor to really be prepared for next year.

3.  Summer Learning Loss  is real.  Study after study has shown how much students forget over the summer months.  Just read the statistics below.

We would love to help your child over the summer months.  Please let us know how we can partner with your family to help prevent summer learning loss and start the next school year with confidence!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Goals for you Elementary Aged Child

It's 2017! I'm sure many of you have already thought about your goals for the new year. It seems obvious at the start of the new year to come up with ways that we want to improve ourselves. But, what about our children? Have you spoken to them about their goals for the year? What would they would like to accomplish in the new year? Below are five different areas where elementary aged students can work on improving over the new year:

📚 Reading: Are you really reading with your first grader every night for at least 20 minutes? Really? Make this your goal for the new year. It is extremely important to do this one simple activity every night. Scholastic put out a study in 2015 stating,

" 41 percent of frequent readers ages 6 to 10 were read aloud to at home, while only 13 percent of infrequent readers were being read to."

This study shows how important it is to read aloud to your child. If you want your child to be a lifelong reader, then you must commit to this daily habit. 

Older elementary aged children who are confident readers should always be reading something. There is a book for every interest and personality. Time has a list of the top 100 books for children. Many of these are picture books, but not all.

📈 Math: Are your child's math facts under control? Mastering the basic math facts is essential to future success in mathematics. It is very difficult for a child to master long division if he does not know his multiplication facts. There are a multitude of websites that can help children master their math facts such as XtraMath.

🌎 Science: A great goal for science is to peak your child's interest in science. On a day off of school like MLK day, take your child to a science museum like the Museum of Nature and Science in Denver. Another option is to enroll your child in an after school science enrichment program like Mad Science.

🎨 Humanities: Encouraging art exploration for children is another important goal. In a school setting, children often do not have enough of an opportunity to explore their artistic side. Most of the school day is dedicated to preparing for standardized tests. Parents usually need to add art of some kind to their child's day after school. Many recreation centers offer art classes such as the Castle Rock Rec Center in Douglas County. Current classes being offered are KidsArt, cooking, drama, dance, scrapbooking and music.

Physical: Again, due to an emphasis of schools on testing, children do not have enough time during the school day for physical activity. Some children have one maybe two recesses a day of 15 to 20 minutes. Physical Education classes are dwindling. Students have PE about every three weeks or so. This is simply not enough physical activity. We are all aware that children (and adults) should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. The answer is a sport of some kind. It does not have to be a team sport either. Swimming, archery, and skiing are all excellent individual sports in which children of all ages can participate. Recreation centers are the best place to start when looking for a program. Get your child involved in more physical activity for a lifetime of health.

If you need help with achieving these goals for your children, Aim for the Stars Tutoring would love to provide your family with the support it needs. We support families in their academic goals and in coming up with a plan for enrichment activities for families.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Miracle Morning: The Cure for Procrastination

The Miracle Morning!

Have you heard of it?  Have you heard of Hal Elrod, the guy who "came up" with this concept and wrote the book about it?  If you haven't heard of it, I'm here to tell you, you've got to read his book.  It is the cure for the procrastination problem sweeping the earth.  Well, maybe procrastination isn't exactly sweeping the earth, but it was certainly sweeping through my household.  Or more specifically I was suffering from it and so was my daughter.  

Enter, the Miracle Morning.  The basic idea is to get up about an hour earlier than usual every morning to do a series of six self improvement activities before your day begins.  There is a handy acronym that Hal developed to help you remember what you are supposed to do.  The activities are called Life S.A.V.E.R.S.

S if for Silence (meditation or prayer)

A is for Affirmations (think "I am the greatest!" -Muhammad Ali)

V is for Visualization (think vision boards popularized by the Secret and Oprah)

E is for Exercise (Yoga, running, weights, pushups, you pick)

R is for Reading (self help books, the Bible, something inspiring)

S is for Scribing(Writing) (gratitude journal, goals, journaling about your day)

So, what does this have to do with procrastination?  Everything!  Once you have your goals in the forefront of your mind every morning, the urge to procrastinate disappears.  How are you going to achieve your goals if you put off doing the things you need to do?  You can't.  If I want to accomplish something, I need to act on it.  I need to create the habits today to make me the person I want to be tomorrow.  The Miracle Morning does that!

How are you planning to achieve your goals and dreams for 2017?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Studying for Finals

It's that time again...FINALS.  The dreaded last stop all students must make in the effort to achieve summer freedom.  At this point in the school year, most students are completely burned out.  The last thing they want to do is a marathon study session to prepare for the test that can make or break their grade.  In reality, a marathon study session is probably the worst thing a student can do to prepare for these monster exams.

Here's a solid study plan:

1.  Study in small time/information increments.  How many times have we heard this one, but it is so true.  Research on how the brain functions has proven time and time again, that we remember mostly what we study at the beginning of a session and at the end of the session.  Most things in the middle get lost somewhere.  Therefore, study a little bit at many different times, and you will remember more.

2.  Create a study outline.  Make a master list of all the chapters, concepts, or topics that will be covered on the exam.  Take how many days you have left to study for the exam and divide the chapters/concepts into the days.  If the exam covers 14 chapters of the chemistry textbook and you have two weeks until the exam, study one chapter a night.  This seems so very obvious, but most students do not do this.  In following this idea, you will be adhering to step #1 as well.  DO NOT try to learn 14 chapters in one night.

3.  Memorization technique:  I learned this in a psychology class in college and will never forget it.  The professor gave us a list of 20 random words to memorize.  He told half of the class just to repeat the words over and over (also known as rote rehearsal) to try to memorize the words.  He told the other half of the class to make up a story in their minds using all 20 words (also known as mediation/bridging).  Guess which half of the class remembered more?  The side that made up the story.  You have to be active in your learning and make what you are learning meaningful otherwise you will forget the information.  Just repeating something over and over is not going to do much for you on the exam.

4.  Determine where you study best.  Do you work best sitting at a table, lying in bed, outside under a shady tree,  on the floor of your bedroom?  Some people actually do study best in bed.  I personally will fall right to sleep in this scenario, so know thyself well on this one.

5.  Different subjects require different techniques.  When studying for a math exam, redo your math homework, quizzes, and tests.  When studying for an English exam, review your class notes, re-read important quotes from novels, study vocabulary.  For history, make elaborate time lines to organize the information covered or a family tree of the British dynasty covered on the exam.   For science, review notes, memorize vocabulary and formulas (see #3) review past experiments.  Come up with a plan other than stare at a textbook for hours and hours.

6.  Sleep.  But, not while you are supposed to be studying.  This is more on brain research, but your brain has to sleep to retain all the information you are trying to absorb.  If you "pull an all nighter"  this is one of the worst things you can do to prepare for an exam.  Your brain has to process all the information to retain it.  If you don't sleep, your brain can't process and you won't remember what you studied.

This should get you started.  Good luck on those finals!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Welcome Spring

Spring Fever 
n. A feeling of restlessness, excitement, or laziness brought on by the coming of spring.

With the warmer temperatures and sunny days, it may be becoming more difficult to ensure that your students' remain motivated and focused on school work.  Here are a few suggestions of how to handle a reluctant student in the Spring.
1.  Give in:  It may be surprising, but allowing your children to get outside and play for about 20 minutes before siting down to complete assignments will do more good than harm.  2.  Set up a schedule:  If your child has an end-of-year book report or project, use a big calendar to assign goals for each day and check them off as completed.  3.  Reward for completing a big project:  Choose a summer activity that you can plan with your child to enjoy when school is finished for the year.4.  Outdoor reading spot:  Set up a comfy chair and a glass of lemonade for your child to enjoy while reading or completing assignments.  5.  Celebrate:  Celebrate your child's accomplishments more often and make privileges easier to earn.  Yet, don't make the reward staying up late or anything that would work against your child at school.  

It is very important that parents ensure their students stay on task of studying and completing assignments during this time of year.   A strong grade in a class right now could decrease rapidly if students burn out too quickly.  I encourage all parents to be aware of the "spring fever" phenomenon because it try does exist.

A tutor can be a great way to help a student stay motivated in school.  Visit http://www.AimfortheStarsTutoring.com for more information about finding the perfect tutor for your child.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tutor Highlight: Spanish Tutor, Susan Mosby

I grew up in a quaint beach town in Southern California called Seal Beach.  I discovered my passion for teaching when in the 5th grade I was chosen to tutor kindergarteners how to read. I was excited to watch the progress of my pupils!  After high school, I attended the University of San Diego and graduated with a B.A. in Spanish and Anthropology.  My love for the Spanish language took me to fabulous language programs in Mexico, Costa Rica and Spain.  I then decided to move to Boulder and earn my post-graduate teaching credential from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Later, I moved to Washington D.C. to teach Spanish in Fairfax County, VA.  I decided that I preferred the west and returned to Orange County, CA where I taught all levels of Spanish, including AP/IB as well as Cultural Geography in Tustin Unified School District.  Because I’ve always been an avid learner, I pursued my Masters Degree in Spanish Philology from Middlebury College where I spent a year in Spain taking graduate Spanish classes. I am currently in my 8th year teaching Spanish at Cherry Creek High School.  I am glad to call Colorado home with my husband and three small children.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tutor Highlight - Nancy Hansen Zuschlag

Nancy Hansen Zuschlag has a wide breadth of experience teaching at multi-levels, from K- 12 to college, especially with tutoring/teaching children at the elementary and intermediate levels of K – 8. She is a 20+ year fabulous and engaging
instructor for children in multiple teaching styles, advising, and coordination for education programs that serve and promote small group and one-to-one advancement of learning for the whole child. Her areas of expertise are: sciences and labs, reading comprehension, writing composition, social studies/cultural geography, arts and languages. Nancy taught both university and elementary education in Colorado, New Jersey, Missouri and Kansas, California and abroad in Europe, as well as in multi-lingual classrooms. Throughout her many years as a professional educator, she worked at private schools in Colorado, and in the Cherry Creek, Jefferson County and Douglas County school districts. Her positions have included classroom educator, one-on-one advisor and tutor, program team member, faculty, adjunct faculty and instructor at several colleges and universities including: The University of Kansas, The University of Copenhagen, The Royal Danish School of Education and Teacher Training- Environmental Education Dept., Colorado State University, National Wildlife Federation, the Colorado School of Mines, William Woods College, the University of Northern Colorado, and Metro State College.  Nancy taught science and ecology courses, self-esteem and small group leadership, writing and reading comprehension and skill building, Gifted and Talented, and ESL in cooperation with Jefferson County Schools, Arapahoe County Schools, Cherry Creek Schools, Douglas County Schools; the Missouri, Colorado and New Jersey Divisions of Wildlife and Conservation, 4-H, Camp Fire Boys and Girls, Girl Scouts, Heartlight Girls, Science Matters, U.S. and State Forest Services, Denver Water, the National Wildlife Federation, EPA, and the museum education departments at the California Academy of Sciences, University of Kansas Dyche Museum, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the Stockholm (Sweden), Copenhagen (Denmark) Zoological Museums, Gardens & Aquaria. She developed and translated teaching materials, taught K-12 students of all skill levels, and trained teachers at school districts, wildlife agency and nature/science centers throughout the U.S., in Europe, and S. American.

Aim for the Stars is proud to present Nancy Hansen Zuschlag as one of our premier tutor/educators. Her engaging and accepting teaching styles and broad experiences make her a uniquely qualified tutor/instructor who is knowledgeable, serious, fun and dedicated to your child's advancement in learning and parents' support of that advanced learning.