Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Three Ways to Enrich your Family's Summer

Image result for teen reading 

  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.