Monday, June 25, 2018

Get your Bang for your Buck with Summer Tutoring

Image result for two people in conversation
Many of our students end tutoring when the school year is over. This makes perfect sense, since everyone needs a break. However, after a short interval, a little summer tutoring can take students a long way! Here are three subjects that get the most bang for your buck in the summer:

  1. If your child is a high school sophomore or junior, summer is the ideal time to prepare for SAT's and ACT's. It's so much easier to focus when not in school. Our tutors have helped students raise their scores by over 100 points, making the difference to get admitted into their top college choices or receive increased merit aid. And this year, both ACT and SAT will be offered in the summer.
  2. The next best types of summer tutoring are writing and math. These are both areas where extra practice can make the transition from being OK or good to being an excellent, confident writer and being able to do math problems effortlessly and quickly.
  3. Learning a language is difficult for American students who don't get enough practice speaking and listening in class. Summer is a great time to practice these skills in a fun way with a tutor.

Finally, we have a summer special - half priced tutoring by top notch students who recently graduated high school and are headed to top colleges - see our previous blog for more information.

We know you have vacations planned. That's why our tutors have flexible schedules. We will work around your vacations to squeeze in a little summer education. And our tutors make it creative, fun, and lively.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Sign up for Half Priced Tutoring this Summer

Do you know a rising junior or senior who needs assistance with the college process?
This summer, we are fortunate to have a group of experienced tutors who just graduated high school. They are honor students who scored exceptionally well on their SAT's/ACT's and are heading to top tier colleges. The whole college process can be daunting for many students, and having navigated it successfully so recently, these students are uniquely qualified to help others succeed. They can help with SAT and ACT prep, college planning, college essay writing, and reading/writing and math skills for all ages.   

Don't miss this valuable offer! To sign up, please call us at 703-390-9220. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Three Ways to Enrich your Family's Summer

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  Your child might be overwhelmed with final exams and projects right now, but believe it or not, summer vacation is right around the corner. While this much-needed break is anticipated by students and parents alike, it's important to keep in mind the dangers of summer learning loss and how best to avoid it. The National Summer Learning Association has stated that "all young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer." Math, reading, writing, and even test-taking skills suffer during this 3-month absence from school.  However, this is not to say that students must spend their whole summer in a classroom or studying textbooks instead of going to camps and taking family trips. Here are 3 simple tips to help your children enjoy their summer and keep their brains sharp at the same time:


  It's no secret that we at Tutoring For Success love to encourage reading for pleasure, but that's just because there are so many benefits to this one simple activity. Research has shown that reading not only improves students' vocabulary, but also comprehension, spelling, writing, and even overall test scores. It also stimulates the imagination and introduces them to new ideas, concepts, and cultures that they might otherwise be unfamiliar with. If your child dislikes reading, it could be because she associates it with homework and therefore school. Allow her to choose her own reading material so it feels less like a chore. Fiction, Non Fiction, graphic novels, magazines, articles and blogs all count as appropriate reading-for-pleasure material! Remember: the more a student reads, the more fluent he becomes, and thus the easier and more enjoyable reading will be. Practice is everything, in reading and in life!

Explore Interactive, Hands-on Learning 

  Your child will be on a break from school, but that doesn't mean that learning has to stop. Summer is the perfect time for kids to explore subjects that interest them in ways that are different from what they do in school. Is your student interested in Science? Take a trip to a museum, nature center, or even to the garden in your own backyard. Cooking and baking are great ways to explore concepts relating to both chemistry and math.  Is history an interest?  Visit the monuments or the Fords Theatre. Art museums, zoos, and cultural centers make for fun (and oftentimes free) day trips, and of course, nothing beats a regular visit to your local library or book store. Listen to your children and find out what interests them; if they are able to choose what they learn about, they will feel more in control of their education and thus be more likely to enjoy it!

Work with a Tutor 

This is the best option for students who need more structure in their summer schedules. Not every child enjoys filling his vacation with camps and play dates, and that's perfectly fine, but beware of prolonged inactivity. Meeting with a regular tutor can help keep your student focused and learning throughout the break. A tutor will encourage your children to read, build their confidence, work with them on any problem areas, and help them be better prepared overall for the start of school in September. Summer is also the perfect time for high school students to prep for the SATs and ACTs without having to worry about additional homework. Even just a handful of tutoring sessions can make a big difference without demanding too much of your child's hard-earned vacation time.

Learning Loss should be taken seriously, but as you can see, there are plenty of fun and easy ways to prevent it while your child is out of school. What are some of your favorite ways to keep your mind sharp during the summer? Let us know in the comment section below!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Appreciating our Kids for who they are

Celebrate the Unique and Special Qualities of your Children

 As we all know, the best laid plans don't always work out the way we expected.  This is also true when having children.  We can't always understand them, but as parents, we need to appreciate them for who they are.  None of us can be perfect parents, but we can try our best to give our children what they need, compassion, understanding, and love.  We can applaud their humor, their talents, and their creativity without lamenting the children we expected to have.  We can make mistakes, learn from them, and move on.  We can model our efforts, our accepting of our shortcomings, and our resilience for our children.

And without further ado, I am sharing my newly discovered poem.

Image result for "welcome to holland" poem


Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Last Push to Improve those Grades

With just one-two months left of school, there is actually ample opportunity to improve grades. Doing well on your final exams and final projects can take you from a C to a B or from a B to an A. Here are some best practices to bring your grades to the next level:
  1. Map out your final tasks. The end of the year usually has multi-step projects and exams that are best studied over multiple days. Use a giant calendar or planner to break down your assignments and studying into multiple days so that the final result will be thorough and show detailed understanding.
  2. Focus on areas that you understand the least. This is difficult because we all want to engage in tasks and activities that we are good at. However, if you put aside an extra hour every other day to truly focus and try to understand, your comfort level is bound to improve. If you need help, go to a friend, teacher, parent, or tutor.
  3. Go the extra mile. For your final projects, add something extra to make you truly stand out. If your teacher has given you a rubric, look at it carefully and aim for the highest grade.
  4. Don't do too much at one time. Space out your work and get enough sleep. While you are sleeping, your brain processes a lot of the information that you have been trying to absorb.
  5. Visualize yourself after completing your work, what you will do with your free time, and how your improved grades will look and make you feel.
  6. Make sure to exercise each day. Regular exercise makes the brain work more efficiently.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Myths and Facts about ADHD

Those of us who are diagnosed or have children who are diagnosed with ADHD know that numerous myths about ADHD have been circulating for many years.  Have you heard these myths before? “ADHD is not a real disorder.”  “ADHD is somebody’s fault.”  “ADHD is an excuse for poor behavior.” This chart summarizes commonly spread myths as well as facts to counteract them.  First and foremost, be assured that ADHD is a real disorder with serious consequences if not addressed.

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ADHD Myths and Facts

                              Myths                                                                                              Facts

ADHD is not a real disorder.
ADHD is a genetic based brain disorder with serious consequences if not treated. The American Psychiatric Association defines ADHD as “a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.”
ADHD is somebody’s fault.
ADHD is not caused by poor parenting, sugar, food allergies, vaccines, or poor teachers.
Parents give their children with ADHD a pass and are too lenient with them.  If parents were stricter, their children would be better behaved.
The problem is rooted in brain chemistry, not discipline. In fact, when parents are overly strict and punish a child for things he cannot control, the symptoms can become worse.
You grow out of ADHD as a teen or young adult.
Many people do not grow out of ADHD and need strategies to cope throughout their lives. The majority of those who have ADHD in childhood continue to have it into adulthood.
Everybody has a “little ADHD”
People can have some symptoms of ADHD, like poor organization or poor focus, without having ADHD. Those diagnosed with ADHD have persistent symptoms that disrupt their lives.
If someone with ADHD can focus on one thing, she can focus on anything if she really tries.
ADHD is an interest-based nervous system. Someone with ADHD can focus intensely (hyper-focus) on something that is interesting. The same person may find it impossible to focus at all on something that is not interesting. It’s not that they won’t focus; they can’t focus.
Some kids are just lazy, and ADHD is an excuse.
There are biological reasons for behavior, and some associated with ADHD are focus, motivation, impulse control, planning, and organization, all which work together to help people get things done.
We can manage ADHD symptoms on our own.
The lives of people with ADHD can improve greatly by seeking help.  Professional interventions, such as coaching, tutoring, behavior modification therapy, and drug therapy are appropriate treatments.
ADHD does not usually occur with other conditions.
Up to 2/3 children with ADHD have one or more coexisting conditions such as learning disabilities, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and sleep disorders.

               Cheryl Gedzelman, President, Tutoring For Success
                    ADHD Resource Group of Northern Virginia

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to Prepare for the SAT and ACT

Is your child a college bound junior?  If so, it is time to tackle the SAT and/or ACT test.  Although a three-hour-plus challenging test is overwhelming to many students, if you take the time to break it down, it will be manageable and rewarding.

If you plan to take the SAT or ACT this spring, we recommend beginning to prepare as soon as possible.  These are not tests that you can cram for.  The best way to begin is to take a practice test from an official test prep book or online. 

It can be overwhelming to take the test all at once, and it’s not necessary.  You can take one section per day, which shouldn’t be difficult to fit in.  Then check your answers and go over every answer, using the explanations from the back of the book.  At this point, you should have a good idea of which areas are your strengths and which areas are your weaknesses.  If you take both the SAT and ACT, you may get an idea of which test is a better match for you.  If you work with a tutor, the tutor can go over the questions and answers with you.

We don’t recommend taking the test cold.  You probably already did this with the PSAT.  If you take the time to prepare, your score will be higher, and if you reach your target the first time, you may not need to re-take the test.  There are many ways to prepare:

1.       Use a prep book to brush up on material and practice.
2.       Go to an SAT or ACT class.
3.       Set up private tutoring sessions.

Students who are very self-motivated, whose PSAT and sample SAT or ACT scores are already near their targets, may be able to prepare independently.  To figure out your target score, look at the score ranges for the colleges you are interested in attending.  You want to strive to score in the top 50% of your desired college.

Students who get motivated and energized from working with their peers may do well in a class.   Since classes typically spend an equal time on each section, they work best for students who need a great deal of preparation and practice in each section.

Students who prefer individual attention and students who need more help in some areas than others do well with one-to-one tutoring.  We sometimes receive requests for only math and science or only reading and writing.  Other students need all areas, but more time in some than others.

We recommend an average of 8 weeks of tutoring, for 1.5 to 4 hours per week.  However, the amount of prep time you need totally depends on how far you are from your target score.  Most students take either the SAT or ACT or both at least twice and tend to do better the second time. 

Whether you take a class or sign up for one-to-one tutoring, your educational sessions must be coupled with individual practice in between sessions to get your money’s worth.  Practicing problems and going over the answers is just as important as working with a tutor.

For more information or to discuss your own situation, please call Tutoring For Success at 703-390-9220. 

Here is a list of registration and test dates for both the SAT and ACT.  Both have late registration dates for an additional fee as well.  To get your first choice of test location, sign up as soon as possible; for best results, begin preparing as soon as possible