Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Countdown to the First Day of School

We all know about brain drain that can come from our much needed summer breaks.  Most students can benefit from transitioning back into academics before the first day of school.  Here are some transitions that can pay off next month:

1. Everyone should be reading for pleasure.  It doesn’t matter what you read.  Any kind of reading improves comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and writing.  Always read something enjoyable, and take your book wherever you go.

2. Review math.  You can order review books online or get a tutor to help review last year’s math to get the brain ready for this year.

3. Practice writing.  Send emails or cards to friends and relatives or keep a summer journal.

4. Review for PSAT, SAT, or ACT.  Summer is the best time to practice without having school homework to do as well.

5. Assess your potential needs for the school year.  Working with a tutor or academic coach at the beginning of the school year improves focus and prevents the workload from becoming overwhelming.

6. Start off strong! Contact Tutoring for Success to create your personalized tutoring plan for the 2016-2017 school year.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Surviving through the Last Month of Summer

Surviving through the Last Month of Summer

Most of us have spent plenty of time traveling, relaxing, swimming, and hanging out this summer.  Don’t forget to balance summer fun with a bit of reading and review for school in order to start the new school year well prepared.

·         Establish Routines – If your kids are like some kids I know, a day without structure equals a day lounging and playing phone games.  Add some structure to your days with schedules, allowing time for exercise (hopefully swimming in this heat wave), life skills like cooking, trips to local attractions, and time for reading and academics.           

·         Don’t  over-plan – Many children don’t get enough down time during the school year.  Allowing time to pursue interests like art and music, hang with friends, and just chill, is important and necessary.

·         Go Outside – Don’t let TV be an all day baby-sitter.  Summer weather is fabulous, and even on hot days, you can enjoy an evening bike ride, swim, or walk.

·         Create Bored Jar – Have your children write down all the fun things they’d like to do on slips of paper. Fold up those things and put them in empty jar. When you find yourselves with a free day, have your child pull out of the jar randomly to see what slip suggestion you get.

·         Take Occasional Trips – Trips can range from museums, Mount Vernon, and Arlington Cemetery to water parks and beaches.  Take some time off to explore on a regular basis to create fabulous summer memories.

·         Remember to Read – As an avid reader, I was always in the middle of a gripping novel and still am.  Summer allows the time to read even more, preferably page turners.  Everyone should pick out their own books of choice.  It doesn’t matter if the books are junky, silly, or too easy.  Any kind of reading will improve vocabulary, spelling, fluency, and writing skills.

·         Get Ready for the School Year – Three months is a long time to ignore academics altogether.  It is a great time to review math, practice writing, and spend time to prepare for the SAT and ACT.  And don’t forget those summer assignments! 

·         Get a Summer Tutor – To help focus on a plan of action, get a tutor this summer to help build up weak areas, review for standardized tests, and give an extra push to maximize readiness to learn this Fall.  Call us any time for free phone consultation and to match you with a tutor – 703-390-9220

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Making the Most of Summer Break

Summers start off like,

Our idea of summer plans are all,

And then the reality of summer break boredom hits,

We have a few suggestions to cure your families from summer boredom:

Make sure your kids are eating well. Find healthy fun recipes you can make as a family!

Help your kids get enthusiastic about going to the library and signing up for the summer reading program. Have them make lists of must read books for the summer.

Make sure your kids are getting plenty of exercise. Taking them to the pool and enrolling them in fun active summer camps can make the summer fly by.

Make sure your kids are relaxing and resting up from the long school year they just had, and most importantly getting rested up for next year.

Make sure that once in awhile, they remember to review for next year. Who knows? Maybe they will even go into the next year all like,

And don't forget to call Tutoring for Success to check out our special summer rates to help catch up, keep up, or get ahead.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Finishing the school year strong!

With summer break just around the corner, many of us find it difficult to keep our focus strong while approaching the end of the school year. Motivation is dwindling as the thought of school free days get closer and closer. It is possible to regain focus and motivation to achieve the desired success in school we all hope for. Here is a guide to finish the school year out strong!

Get organized!
Make a Schedule of Important Dates for the remainder of the school year including test days, project due dates, and end of the year social functions.

Spend time outside!
Take advantage of the sunny 70 degree days by completing homework assignments and studying for tests outside.

Avoid Cramming
Study in Intervals. Research shows that studying in intervals provides better long-term retention, ultimately leading to higher test results. Study in 30 and 50 minute segments with breaks of 5-10 minutes in between.

Communicate With Teachers
Teachers are most effective when they have the full support and backing of parents, and this time of year is even more critical to have that cooperation. Keep the lines of communication open and be involved whenever you can as a parent.

Diminish Distractions
Put your cell phone in “Do not Disturb Mode”. Study in different locations. Eat snacks to stay energized. Take frequent breaks.

Start planning your summer
If you have something to look forward to upon completion of the school year, by starting to plan your summer you are giving yourself something to work towards.

Use your resources
One of the best ways to prepare for final exams is to work with a tutor to prepare. Tutors can help you identify areas you need help with and create a personalized plan based of your academic ability to prepare.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hoda Kotb's 10 life lessons for grads

Last weekend there were college graduations and celebrations all over the country.  I was at my niece’s graduation at Tulane University, where I was fortunate to experience one of my favorite speeches ever, by Hoda Kotb from the Today Show.  Her inspiring speech gave us ten valuable pieces of advice for college grads or anybody…

You don’t want to miss this.  Click here to see the speech for yourself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Making a College Decision by the May 1st “D Day” deadline

If you know any seniors who still haven’t finalized their college decisions, forward this guest blog by Jewel Walwyn, a professional college counselor.

It’s April and you have done the hard part-or so you thought. On your desk at home, or your inbox, sits a cluster of acceptance letters from colleges!  You are college bound, but the problem is, to which one. You carefully chose the colleges to which you will apply and are now faced with options. Options can be great, but you have less than a month to decide which college will help to steer you in the correct trajectory for the rest of your life. No big deal, right?

As you and your parents ponder over and analyze your schools, here are some things to consider that may help to objectively compare the schools beyond that attractive admissions officer that plays the same sport you do!

First, why May 1st:  May 1 is National College Decision Day, so called because the vast majority of U.S. colleges and universities set this as the deadline for students to notify them of their decision to attend. This date determines if you will accept or deny that financial package that is coupled with your acceptance letter.

In order to make a fully informed decision, I recommend considering the following questions that I’ve compiled over the years thanks to many amazing sources:

·        How many students stick around after freshman year?

·        How many students actually graduate?

·        How many students find good jobs after graduation?

·        Which school offers the stronger academic program in which I’m interested?

·        Are there extracurricular activities and social clubs that appeal to me more at one school than another?

·        What kinds of students enjoy attending this school?

Once you’ve created a list of questions, it’s time to find the answers. Here are some places to start your search:

·        If you haven’t already done so and the campus is nearby, visit the campus. A campus visit reveals far more about a college than any website will.

·        Go through the college’s website with a fine toothed comb. Read between the lines to learn about the college’s atmosphere and values.

·        Look over the school newspaper (most are available online). The school paper often offers a glimpse of campus life and available activities.

·        Access the course catalogue (if not available online, most schools will gladly provide one). If the school doesn’t offer interesting courses, you probably don’t want to attend.

·        Contact the admissions officers with any unanswered questions. People who work for the college may be biased, but they also know more about the school than anyone else.

Compare Your Options Once you’re fully informed, it’s decision time. Choosing which college to attend is the first major life decision most students make – it’s a harrowing, terrifying, and exciting experience. Many students are tempted to make this decision purely based on emotion (i.e. “I got into my dream school! It’s expensive, but who cares?”), but this decision must be made in a logical and thoughtful manner.

·        Compare financial aid packages. This can be trickier than it sounds- rule out any schools that are too far beyond your family’s means.

·        Make a pro and con list for each school. Sometimes seeing all of the possible benefits and consequences in black and white can make the decision easier.

·        If you are still stuck, go with your gut. You will spend roughly 4 years living and studying at this school – ultimately, it is you who will have to decide what is right for you.

Respond Correctly There’s a bit more to finalizing a college decision than simply sending in a form. Follow these steps to get all your ducks in a row:

·        Send your Statement of Intent to Register and your deposit to your chosen college. Make sure to re-read all the materials that came from the colleges so that you submit every required document!

·        Notify the other colleges that you will not be attending. Many schools will already have sent a form that essentially asks you to “check yes or no” – if so, simply submit that form. If there was no form, notify the colleges in writing. Don’t feel obligated to include an explanation – a brief note stating that you have carefully weighed your options and decided to attend another school will suffice. Notifying your reject colleges might seem like a massive waste of time, but it’s the polite thing to do. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of other students on the wait list, and by notifying the college that you will not attend, you open your spot to another student.

·        Review any and all paperwork your college has sent. Make note of any additional applications and deadlines (such as housing applications). Check to see whether the college requests a final transcript, immunization documents, or other documentation and submit the appropriate documents in a timely manner.

Once all of this has been finished, you can breathe a sigh of relief – the long and arduous road to college admission is FINALLY done

Jewel Walwyn, M.Ed. is a college counselor at School Counseling Group located on Mac Arthur Blvd in Washington, DC. With over 15 years of experience, Jewel guides students and families through the college process. She specializes in helping students with learning disabilities as well transfer students, adult students, and those seeking a gap year.