Getting Perspective

A blog by Ray Rosen, Owner of Education Perspective.

Name: Education Perspective

Monday, July 27, 2009

Your Child is Starting Kindergarten, Are You Ready?

Chances are, you are more anxious about your 5-year-old’s first day of kindergarten then they are. Now that this momentous day is looming only a little more than a month away, now is a good time to plan and set routines in order to ease everyone’s first day jitters.

• Get Your Child Motivated to Learn. Talk about school and all of the new friends to be made and activities to learn. Keep the learning casual though – no drilling of the ABC’s or pressure to write his or her own name. However, students should know their full name, address, and phone number in case of emergency.

• Start Reading. If you haven’t been reading to your child on a regular basis, begin doing so immediately. This will help the child to learn to pay attention.

• Shop for School Items. Start with the basics and ask the school for a list of suggested supplies. And take this time to clear out the child’s closets, and other clutter to help with those harried mornings to come when they insist on getting themselves ready for the day.

• Organize a School Spot. Designate a space in the home for your child’s school supplies and where they will put their backpack and other school items each day. This will set up a good habit of organization for the entire year and cut down on morning frenzy.

• Celebrate this Special Day. Let the child know how special this day is and how proud of them you are. Take the time to involve them in the process of getting ready by shopping for a new first day outfit and selecting the items they want in their lunchbox. And, even if you aren’t going to be able to do it everyday, take your child to school on their first day. This will be an important memory for you both!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Time Isn’t Slump Time

What have you done so far this summer vacation? I’m sure much of it has been filled with barbeques and sunscreen but don’t forget to spend some time doing something for your academic future. Summer is a perfect time for high school students to start a college search. Here are some tips and ideas for utilizing some summer downtime:

1. Make a list of your top college choices and plan at least one campus visit before the school year begins.
2. We all know that college is an expensive investment. While online this summer, investigate some scholarship websites. There are literally thousands of scholarship opportunities and you will be surprised at the diversity of requirements. These days, scholarships are awarded for hobbies, special talents, and unique interests in addition to academic performance.
3. Volunteer for organizations that you care about. This looks great on your academic resume.

I know that students have earned a vacation after working so hard this last year but do consider spending some time in the remaining summer weeks looking toward and planning for your future. Just think how much time it will save you once your back in the classroom!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Summer Tutoring Can Benefit Your Student

Tutors are not just for the school year anymore. While summer vacation offers families some much needed time off, it can prove a difficult gap for some students to overcome when school begins. Summer tutoring is a great investment for any student. And, vacation offers a unique time of year for creative tactics – a chance to engage a student in a subject outside of the confines of classroom walls and textbooks.

Summer tutoring can be helpful in the following ways:

1. Struggling in a subject. If your child had difficulty in a subject during the school year, chances are they will encounter the subject matter again once school begins. For instance, a student who struggled in pre-Algebra will see ALL of that information again with Algebra I and II; as well as on the SAT. When you compound difficulty in a subject matter with a several month gap of learning, students forget what they learned and the struggle begins all over again. Even if he/she is not failing, this is a good time to find a tutor to get your child up to speed and support them as they continue with the course.

2. Keep focused and maintain good study/organizational habits. This can ensure that content and skills aren’t lost or forgotten during a long break.

3. Get a jumpstart on next year. If your child typically struggles in an area, such as math or science, it is helpful to set them up with a tutor before the course starts. The tutor can pre-teach them so they will already have some background knowledge when they enter the class. So much more is expected of students today and the pace for many courses is very fast. Getting a headstart may relieve the anxieties of just trying to keep up.

4. Ease the transition to middle and high schools. For students starting a new year in an entirely new environment there can be many obstacles. You can help your rising sixth or eight grader with a study skills and test preparation tutor. This way they can have a first day that will be way less overwhelming. Additionally the tutor can start the student on the road to organization that will benefit them for the entire year.

5. Refresher on foreign language. A tutor can refresh content from a previous class in order to get your child ready for a related course. For example, the tutor can review Spanish before your child takes Spanish II in school. This is particularly helpful if there is a substantial gap in time in between the courses.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Taking Supplies Inventory Now Will Save You Money

The average family spends more than $590 on back-to-school shopping per student! Taking a school supplies inventory now is good for your wallet and the environment.

Sort through last year’s supplies to see what is left over or items that can be reused. Don’t know where your child’s backpack is or where to find last year’s supplies? This is a perfect time to set up a shelf or container in your home for school supplies to use all year long. By starting to organize now with the left over supplies, you will set your student up for an organized year. One of the major differences between students with good grades and poor grades comes down to organization. If you set up this storage area near the place your child will do homework, you'll be modeling good organizational skills and he'll have what he needs nearby.

Even if you aren’t sure what your child may need this year you can certainly buy the basics when you see a sale. You know you'll need paper, pencils, glue sticks and notebooks.

An example of huge back-to-school sales can be found right now at both Office Max and Staples.
At Office Max you will find the following:
For a penny - Highlighter 2 pack (instantly, limit 3)
A nickel- 6" plastic protractor (instantly, limit 3)
A dime- metal compass (instantly, limit 3)
50 cents- Broad or fine markers, 10 pack (instantly, limit 3)

At Staples you will find the following:
For a penny, you can get an 8 pack of pencils (instantly, limit 2) and a pack of copy paper, 500 sheets (rebate, limit 2).
For a dollar, you can get staplers, white out, scissors, pens, tape, highlighters, pencil boxes, and photo print paper (rebate on this one).
Additionally, by visiting the Staples website you can print out a coupon for $5 off your purchase of $20!

Hurry, because these sales go from Sunday, July 12 to Wednesday, July 15.

This is just one example of how starting early will pay off throughout the summer. Happy shopping!

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer Reading Keeps Students on Track

This is the time of year when I receive phone calls from clients who want to know how they can keep their child on track this summer and not lose those crucial strides they made during the academic year. The answer is simple – READ. Now, getting a student on summer vacation to read may not be so simple.

Research consistently shows, over and over again, that children who read during the summer do much better in school when it starts again in the fall. And, children who do not read during the summer demonstrate a significant loss of information and skills.

The most important element of your child’s summer reading program is you and your enthusiasm for reading. Be proactive and track down a summer reading list from their school or local library. Also, ask your child if their teacher sent home a recommended summer reading list at the end of the school year. Many libraries also sponsor summer reading clubs and programs which award prizes and incentives for participants.

If there isn’t a summer reading program available to you, or if you are going to be traveling, you can easily create your own. Have your child help from the very start to help excite them. First, make a list of books to read this summer. You can begin by picking a favorite author or a subject. Then, create a calendar of summer reading events and plan special weekly reading activities with your child. Don’t be afraid to incorporate magazines and websites into your program as well. No matter what, keep reading fun and integrate it into a joint activities whenever possible. For instance, prepare for a nature hike on a nice day with guides from your local library; visit some historical sites and have your child research it prior and be the tour guide; have them help with the cooking by reading recipes and writing your grocery shopping lists; or, let your sports fanatic read the newspaper aloud to you.

Enjoy your summer and keep reading!

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