How To Encourage Kids Who Are Reluctant To Do Homework

Homework strategies

School’s back and your children have months of learning ahead of them, some of which will happen at home. Homework is an opportunity for children to practice the new skills they are learning at school and consolidate this knowledge. Students in the early years may bring home books to read. As children move into the higher grades, their homework becomes more involved with reports and projects.

Regardless of the type of homework, your child is bringing home, at times they can be quite reluctant to complete it, and the whole family may become frustrated. Take a deep breath-we have seven tips from our team of OCT-certified tutors to help end the homework battles:

Create a calendar: Sit down with your whole family and plan a weekly and monthly schedule that includes their extra curricular activities, free time, homework time and family time. Also, note any upcoming tests or exams to avoid studying at last minute.

Participate in the homework routine: Even if your child doesn’t need help with their homework, sitting down near or beside them can help your child to feel supported or at least not like everyone else is having fun while they work. Use this time as an opportunity to see what they are learning in class and their understanding of the material.

Set time limits: A visual timer can work well to help motivate students who are reluctant or feeling frustrated about their homework. They can see how much time they have to spend on the work rather than feel like it might go on forever.

Use the agenda: Another way to modify the time spent on homework is to try breaking it up into smaller sessions of time over the week. Sit down with your child and schedule out sessions in their agenda to get their homework done. Not only will a plan help alleviate some frustrations, but this will also assist them to develop organization skills, too.

Connect with the teacher: If you notice your child is struggling with their homework regularly, it may be time to touch base with their teacher. Set up a meeting to tell them what is happening at home. Your child’s teacher may have some strategies to help or may be able to modify some of the homework for your child.

Talk with your child: Sometimes children may be able to explain why they are avoiding their homework or why it leaves them feeling frustrated. Talk with your child to see if they can articulate their feelings. Perhaps they are tired and homework time could start earlier in the evening? Or maybe they feel like they don’t have enough free time during the week and you can address the family calendar together to see what can change.

Consider getting help: Homework help can happen in many different ways. You might engage the support of a family member or neighbour. Sometimes schools offer homework clubs, and in the older grades, many teachers have specific times during the week they are available to provide extra help to their students.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources, Toronto Tutoring

Leave a Comment: (0) →

Note Taking Strategies for a Successful Start to High School

Note taking strategies

Great note-taking skills can help you do well at school, preparing you for classes, essays, and exams. It’s a skill that will serve you all of your life, yet it rarely gets taught.

We’re here to help with fourteen strategies to incorporate into your note-taking routine to maximize your academic results this school year:

Add the date and title: You’ve been told this trick for years, but it’s worth a reminder. Never lose track of which class your notes belong to with a date and the title of the course.

Leave space: Leave space to add in more information whether you ask a question in class.

Get decorative: Use doodles, boxes, drawings, different coloured pens, and highlighters to make important points stand out.

Take notes in your own words: Whether listening in class or reading a text, write down the text in your own words.

Add examples: Especially helpful for math and science subjects, write down the example the teacher shares in class and label all the steps; this will be an invaluable reference when studying.

Pay attention to what’s on the board: If your teacher wrote something on the board, you could be sure it means they want you to take notice. Write it down and highlight it in some way. 

Review your notes: The day or weekend after class spend 20-30 minutes reviewing your notes and take note of any questions you have remaining.

Rewrite your notes: For some people rewriting notes into a Word Doc or in Google Docs helps them to organize their thinking, note areas of difficulty and have easy to read study notes.

Mnemonic devices: These are helpful for remembering the tricky material. Remember BEDMAS (brackets, exponents, divide/multiply, addition/subtraction) from middle school? Make up your own mnemonic device to memorize.

Write down all your formulas: Highlight these in your notes. Write them down first when studying and do this during an exam, too.

Make a study guide: Will your notes be used for a test? Take the time to combine your in-class notes and any reading into one document.

Add important dates to your agenda: Use your notes to help you plan how much time you will need to prep for a test. Add in dates to review and consolidate your notes in an agenda.

Use sticky notes: Did you come across some relevant information but run out of room on your paper? Write or draw down the new info on a sticky note and put it on top of the section of your notes it belongs too.

Figure out your method: As the year progresses, you’ll start to see a pattern emerge for how you like to take notes. The best way to take them is in a way that works for you! Keep it up!

Posted in: English Tutoring, History Tutoring, Parent Education Resources, Special Education Tutoring

Leave a Comment: (0) →

Four Back-to-School Trends To Rule The School Year

Back to School

After a long summer away from the classroom, the shift to back-to-school can be a stressful time for families. It’s tricky to change pace and step back into a routine, but a smooth transition is achievable through planning, talking with children about their feelings, and of course, shopping for essential supplies.

Here are 4 of the latest school trends that will get everyone in the family prepared for a successful school year.

Litterless Lunches

Reusable containers continue to rule for back to school lunches. Families who choose to use eco-friendly lunch containers have so many choices that are great for the environment and their wallets.  Among our favourites are colourful lunch totes, stainless steel insulated water bottles, and bento boxes that make packing healthy lunches simple.

Supplies with a social conscious

Staples carries ME to WE school supplies which are perfect for the socially minded child, letting them see the educational impact of each purpose using a unique tracking code. This collection includes binders, lunch bags, and backpacks.

Canadian-themed products

Canada’s big birthday isn’t over yet! Students can continue to celebrate Canada 150 all through the school year. Staples has patriotic products including animal and lumber jack 150th-anniversary pencil pouches,  Hilroy moose themed planners, and Merangue Canada beaver pens.

Tech tools that rule

Technology in the classroom is here to stay with schools embracing STEM learning, Makerspaces, and some even adopting bring your own device programs. There are so many neat tech tools and apps that support student learning, but one of our current favourites is Tile, the personal item tracker. Students can use it for locating all their lunch boxes, sports gear and even cell phones.

What’s more, fun that shopping for back to school?  A giveaway from Staples for a back-to-school product bag, valued at approximately $300, full of the coolest trends and essential supplies PLUS a $50 Staples gift card.

Teachers on Call Back To School Giveaway

The bag will include over 25 items including: Maxwell Action Kids Headphones, Whoosh webcam cover, Avery Emoji Binder, Merangue Emoji Pen, Sistema Ice Rod and Snack Attack Container, Elmers Slime Glue Set, Mr. Sketch Scented Markers, Staedtler Wopex Eco-Friendly Pencils, Crayola Doodle Scents Markers, Staples 2 Port Wall Charger and much, much more!

Entering is simple. You can win the Staples back-to-school package and gift card by entering below! We’ll announce the winner on August 25th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in: Educational Technology

Leave a Comment: (0) →

5 Tips to Prepare for the First Day of Kindergarten

Back to School Kindergarten

Time flies and your child is finally ready to go to kindergarten.   You’ve spent the last couple of years practicing reading and counting along with learning about colours, letters and playing with other children.

While your child is taking a big step forward in their growth, it is also important to ensure they feel comfortable and are ready for kindergarten.  Here are five tips to prepare for a successful transition to kindergarten:

Get Comfortable: We would recommend to tour the school in advance and make driving past the school part of your summer routine.  Some parents may ever want to practice going to do school in advance.

Listen: Discuss with your child what he or she is looking forward to about kindergarten and where they might have challenges.  If your child is nervous about something,  listen to their tone or see their expressions.   Be encouraging and support them where needed.

Make a Routine:  Start to build a back to school routine and adjust bedtimes and other schedules several weeks in advance.  That way the first day of school is not a sudden transition for your family.  The night before the first day, lay clothes out in advance, have lunches packed and allow for plenty of extra time.

Be Organized: Understand the school year calendar and policies in advance.  For example, what forms do I need to fill out and are their any food policies.   Finally, have your child’s items labelled.  Mabels Labels sells excellent products.

Stay Positive: Most importantly relax and be positive.  Show excitement about this wonderful milestone and don’t make drop off too big of a deal.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

Leave a Comment: (0) →

Back-to-School Advice from Julie Cole

August - Back to School

The Four A’s of August

It’s hard to believe the summer is winding down, and the school season is fast approaching. September can be a busy and chaotic time for families as they transition back into every day routines.

To get the lowdown from a true parenting expert, we consulted Mabel’s Label’s co-founder and mother of six, Julie Cole, to share her tips on preparing for back-to-school time.

To take full advantage of the month of August when students are out of school, Julie suggests parents focus on the four A’s of August:

Appointments - Take advantage of the break to set up doctor, dentist, eye (and any other appointments) now so your children can avoid missing any school in the fall.

Academics - Over the summer holiday, learning loss popularly referred to as “The Summer Slide” can occur and studies have shown that students can experience a potential decline over this time.  Use the next month to focus on reading every day, making math fun and taking summer educational field trips.

Adjusting Schedules - Encourage children to ease back into their school routines to avoid experiencing an abrupt change the first day of school.   Getting back in the swing of things a couple of weeks early will make the first day of school much easier!

Activities – Take the time now proactively to plan, register and decide which extracurricular activities your kids will be doing. Look at the family calendar and consider your budget. Remember that you don’t have to say YES to every activity they want to do!

Enjoy the rest of summer and follow these four A’s to make back-to-school time a breeze!

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

Leave a Comment: (0) →

Preparing for Back to School

Preparing for Back to School

Summer is about half way over and it is hard to believe that school is coming soon.  While many families still have vacation time planned, it is never too early to start planning for back to school.

Here are some tips below for your family to be in great shape before the start of the school year.

Adjust Your Routine: The summer can bring later bedtimes and we would encourage children to ease back into their school routine rather than having a quick change before the first day of school.   Getting back in the routine a couple of weeks early will make waking up the first day of school a breeze!

Build a Transition Plan: For students starting Kindergarten, Middle School, High School or switching schools, it can be a big transition. Here are some helpful tips for a successful transition to Kindergarten, Middle School and High School.

Ease Family Stress: Transitioning to a new school year can be hard for parents and students alike. There are a lot of unknowns when school begins, and this uncertainty can cause jitters. Here are ten simple but effective strategies you can use to help reduce back to school worries.

Stay Focused on Avoiding The Summer Slide: You have worked hard with your family to continue to read and do STEM activities in a fun and engaging way.  Keep up the great work as it will pay off in leaps and bounds when your child is ready for school and avoids any gaps from the prior year.  For tips on avoiding the Summer Slide, click here.

Back to School Shopping:  Starting early and looking for sales is a great way to save money on clothes, school supplies and other items.  Check out Staples Canada Back to School Centre for great deals.

Healthy Meals: Snacking and meals can be tasty and fun.   We have consulted nutrition expert and guest presenter for the Marilyn Denis show, Miranda Malisani for advice on healthy snacking and eating.   Click here for tips to stay healthy during the school year.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

Leave a Comment: (0) →

Apps to Prevent the Summer Slide

Preventing-the-Summer-Slide

Summer is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends and enjoy the beautiful weather after a busy school year.  Unfortunately, studies show that between June and September, students can lose around 2 months of learning and have trouble adjusting for the fall.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fun ways for students to keep learning over the summer.   Outside of full programs, there are a ton of fun apps out there, many of which students don’t even realize that they are learning.

Here are three great apps that help stop your kid’s summer slide:

App for Math: Splash Math for Grades 1-5

Splash Math is an educational program that provides comprehensive coverage of the curriculum with over 300 skills for Grades K-5. The use of animations, graphics and games make children master the basic math concepts like Addition, Subtraction, Division, Multiplication, Algebra and Geometry in a fun and interactive way.

App for Reading: Endless Reader

Endless Reader introduces “sight words”, the most commonly used words in school, library, and children’s books. Kids need to recognize these words by sight in order to achieve reading fluency. Recognizing sight words is advantageous for beginning readers because many of these words have unusual spelling, cannot be sounded out using phonics knowledge, and often cannot be represented using pictures. Kids will have a blast learning sight words and their context and usage with the adorable Endless monsters. Each word features an interactive word puzzle with letters that come alive, and then a sentence puzzle with words that become what they describe. See the word “dog” as a barking dog, and the word “up” reach for the sky!

App for Science: KidScience

Unleash your inner scientist with KidScience, the app that puts a science lab at your fingertips. Kids, parents, grandparents and babysitters can search for experiments based on ingredients on hand, kids’ ages (2 to 92), time available, or type of science. Simple recipes, combined with photos and watch-and-do videos, make science easy for everyone. Explanations of the science behind the fun are includes with each project, and new experiments are added regularly.

Posted in: Educational Technology

Leave a Comment: (0) →

Summer Rainy Day Educational Activities

boy playing in fort

With school over for the year, the summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the fresh air with family, friends or at camp. Unfortunately from time to time, the weather doesn’t cooperate and we go inside for a rainy day.

While we always hope for nice weather over the summer, a rainy day is a wonderful opportunity to play indoor educational games and work on avoiding the summer slide.

Don’t let a rainy day spoil the fun – here are 7 educational games and activities to play indoors:

1) Make a Collages:  Find old magazines, newspapers and catalogs and work with your kids to find pictures of animals, food, sites and other fun items.  Give them safety scissors and glue to make a collage book.

2) Create a Story: Work with your child to create a short about anything s/he is interested in.  Then one of you provides an opening line and you take turns to write sentences.   After you have both written the sentences, read the story out load together.

3) Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of items to either i) find around the house or ii) research in books, magazines or online.  Once your child has found all the items, present him or her a prize at the end.

4) Play a Family Board Game:  Board games are a wonderful way to bring the family together to spend time and remove everyone from technology.   They also teach counting, memory, logic and vocabulary development.  Here are some great recommendations from Parents Magazine.

5) Pick a Country and Learn About It:  If you have a globe, spin it around and see where your finger lands.  Learn about the language (hello / goodbye), popular food and even try to write a few letters.

6) Read a New Book Together:  Keep up your reading from the school year and learn new vocabulary and more complicated story lines.

7) Try a New Craft Project:  Pinterest has wonderful craft ideas for kids.  Scroll through the hundreds of photos and see which one you like best!

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

Leave a Comment: (0) →

4 Ways to Set up Your Child for Reading Success

Reading success

Children who come to school with rich experiences in oral language are better equipped to manage the complex skills needed for reading and writing. While all children can benefit from oral language experiences, they are especially important for children in the early elementary years or those beginning kindergarten in the fall.

Here are 4 ways to improve your child’s oral language skills this summer:

Modify screen time. We know that screen time has a place in both learning and fun but when are children are on screens they aren’t engaging in conversation. In the summer, it’s easy to lose track of time and be more flexible with the routines of the school year. Consider limiting screen time or chunking up the time throughout the day by using a timer or creating a screen time schedule.

Tell stories. Storytelling is a wonderful way to build your child’s oral literacy. Oral stories rely on playing with tone and volume to help evoke the power of emotions. As children learn to tell stories, they’ll naturally bring what they learn to their reading and writing. Get cozy and sit around making up silly stories or retell old favourites!

Play I-Spy. This classic game is perfect for road trips or just to fill a few moments with fun. Children love to try to stump their siblings and parents by choosing challenging items for them to find. I-Spy is a no-fuss way to get children talking, asking questions, and using descriptive language.

Play Charades. Charades is another game that all generations can enjoy. Keep it simple and give children the category before you start acting out your clues. This game encourages conversation, enhances questioning skills and is old-fashioned fun.

Have you noticed a theme to our oral language tips? Growing this skill is all about engaging children in conversation with a variety of opportunities to speak.

Posted in: English Tutoring

Leave a Comment: (0) →

Fun Early Learning Activities to Combat the Summer Slide

summer early learning activities

Summer learning doesn’t need to be boring! Although including some element of a learning routine into summer plans is a great way to prevent the summer slide, it’s possible to have fun, be outdoors and foster academic skills, too. We have four early learning activities for the little learner in your household:

Create a maker space in your backyard. Go on a hunt through your house for any materials that could be used outdoors to create a maker space for your children. This space promotes learning through play as children experiment, create, invent and learn using ase a variety of  tools and materials in a safe manner (e.g., batteries, wires, gears, wood, tools, paper etc).

Write lists. Asking your child to write a whole letter or story can be overwhelming at the best of times but in the summer it may lead to some moaning. Writing a list is a simple way to get children to write frequently. Encourage your child to start each day with a list of things to do including any academic work or chores you want them to accomplish. This will give them a purposeful agenda to their day that will keep them from saying they’re bored and help them practice time management.

Introduce DEAR time. Many children will be used to the DEAR, Drop Everything and Read, acronym from school. This is a time each day where the child stops whatever they are doing and reads for a designated amount of time. At school, the teachers often also join in the reading fun to be a reading role model. Choose a specific time each day or surprise your child by calling out DEAR time. After all, reading everyday is one of the best ways to prevent the summer slide. Make the transition to DEAR time easy by keeping a selection of books in different areas of the house so they always have something to read. Consider making an outdoor reading space using a tent and pillows a reality, too.

Stock up on sidewalk chalk. Sidewalk chalk can be used for tons of outdoor learning.

  • Write about the letters of the alphabet and have your child hop on them and say their name aloud
  • Call out math facts and have your child write the answers
  • Write rhyming words on the fence and encourage your child to draw the pictures that go along with them

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

Leave a Comment: (0) →
Page 1 of 17 12345...»