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No matter what the fall school semester brings, students are going to have to prepare for the beginning of a new academic year. In order for them to start strong, they need the right mindset to go in with a positive attitude. Here are eight simple actions your child can take to ensure academic success this school year, at any grade level.

Remain Active

Whether your student is in elementary, middle or high school, physical activity is key to helping them maintain focus and motivation. Try to make sure that they exercise a little bit each day. Walking, running, riding a bicycle or swimming will all help your student refresh their mind and boost their mood. Physical activity after class and before studying or homework staves off fatigue and mental exhaustion by giving them a break in between tasks. 

Taking a break after each subject is also vital to make the most of their academic time. Have them get up to stretch or walk around every half an hour. This action relieves nervous energy and allows them to return to their work with fresh eyes and new focus. Likewise, if they are feeling frustrated by a confusing math problem or word they struggle to remember, encourage them to stand and move around briefly. Besides stretching, they can do jumping jacks, pushups, situps or jog in place to increase blood flow and stimulate their mind.

Manage Time Effectively

Have your student create a study plan and make specific goals. Help them create goals that are clear and easily attainable in the short term. Instead of a goal to “study for Biology 1,” choose to study notes from specific class days or chapters in the textbook. Making a word or page count goal for an essay will also be more effective than trying to finish the whole thing at once. If your student enjoys to-do lists, have them create a physical list or digital note. Actually checking the item off will bring them satisfaction, and the little victories add up to huge academic success. 

Encourage your student to put their phone away during homework time and avoid multitasking. Pausing to check social media can lead to a larger and longer distraction than originally intended; one Tiktok may turn into 12, and 10 minutes of scrolling Twitter can easily become 30. Taking mental breaks is healthy and encouraged, but they should take care to ensure that a break does not become a distraction from the goals they want to achieve for the day.

Large goals are still encouraged; smaller daily goals can stack into these bigger tasks. For example, if your student is studying for the ACT with a practice book, their smaller goal could be to work on a practice test every other day with the ultimate intent of finishing the entire book. Crossing off the big goals will show your student the results of their hard work and daily diligence.

Ask for Help When Needed

There should be no shame in asking for help when your student is confused by a problem, assignment or concept. Encourage them to come to you with questions; if you are unsure of the answer, do not be afraid to acknowledge this fact. Being open and honest develops trust, and you have the opportunity to learn alongside your student as you work with them to answer their question. 

College professors maintain office hours for the express purpose of working with students who have questions or otherwise require assistance, so the earlier your student gets in the habit of reaching out, the better. Reinforce the concept that asking for help is beneficial and does not reflect badly on the confused person; instead, it shows the student cares about the material and has a willingness to learn. 

Discussing difficult concepts from a course with their peers will also help them, as it improves their communication and analytical skills. Creating small study groups may help your student, so long as the members of the group practice good time management and take care to avoid major distractions like a prolonged conversation on other topics. Such gatherings also improve your student’s ability to work as a team with others. Once the overall task is complete, a fun break with friends can prove a wonderful reward.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Accountability goes hand in hand with time management. Losing track of time or dropping focus every so often is normal, but your student can choose how they react to being distracted or experiencing setbacks. If they realize they have started daydreaming, they should take stock of what has been accomplished so far and their progress towards their goal for the day. Your student should then prioritize: What needs to happen most urgently? Do they need to rework their plans for the day to make those goals a reality? Would it be best for them to get up and refocus before returning to work? Maintaining a positive mindset is key to academic success, so if they appear frustrated, encourage them to take a small break and return to their task after a brief period of time, ideally 15 to 20 minutes.

Take Breaks

Working in large chunks is an easy way to lose focus. If your student sits down to write an eight-page paper in one sitting, they may find themselves struggling to maintain motivation after about 45 minutes. Every hour or so, or half an hour for younger students, they should take a break to refresh their minds with a different activity. This may easily be achieved with exercise, with the added benefit of engaging their muscles and improving their mood, but other activities well-suited to the individual student can also help. They might read a few chapters of a book, go outside for a little while, practice art or spend some time with family, friends or pets. 

Remember that your student should hold themself accountable for returning to work when they need to, and they should keep an eye on their social media use during study time. Make sure they take time to have fun when the studying is over! Without downtime and an opportunity for their mind to relax, your student will have trouble focusing and feeling rested for the next day. Your student needs ample time to pursue recreational activities they love and take time for themselves to truly ensure academic success.

Write Things Down

Although it may seem counterproductive at first, your student should rewrite their notes after each class. The physical act of writing the notes again reinforces their memory of the content, especially for any diagrams or charts they may have created. They should star, highlight or otherwise denote material that confuses them during their rewriting process, so they can ask questions at their next opportunity. 

Your student should also write down each assignment or important date they receive, even if they are confident that they will remember without reference. It is far better to have the information saved and never need it than to realize two days later that they are unsure whether their exam will be this or next Friday.

Organize Work Space

If your student’s workspace is cluttered, they will be less likely to focus. Make sure that the space they are working in provides them with enough room for all of their materials, and that they can sit comfortably without slouching. If your student has to lean over constantly, they will become unsettled and will probably experience neck or back pain after sitting. 

Encourage your student to avoid sitting on their bed to do homework or studying if they are using their room as a workplace. They need a designated place to work so that their brain can focus and compartmentalize better. Sometimes, a change of scenery may also work wonders. If they feel stagnant after a while of working in one area, try moving them to a new spot, such as a coffee shop or table in the backyard. To subconsciously promote a positive mood, look for an environment that affords some form of natural light, like a large window.

Challenge and Test Outside of Class

In order to grow and learn, your student needs to challenge themself. If their homework is completed, they should try self-quizzing with flash cards to ensure they thoroughly understand the material. Especially when preparing for a test like the ACT or SAT, they should take advantage of outside study materials like online practice modules and mock tests. Flexing their mental muscles beyond the classroom will help them excel, but they should make sure to take time for fun, too! Leisure activities can also challenge your student’s mind and outlook: games like chess and checkers stimulate a student’s sense of logic, as do puzzles. 

Ensure Academic Success with mAke the grAde

No matter what age your student is, following these eight actions will set them on the path towards academic success in their endeavors. Should you need further guidance, contact mAke the grAde. Remember that they should never be afraid to ask questions and request help. Their continued learning and improvement is the overall goal of education.

 

Although many students, teachers and parents don’t like the process, testing is an essential part of every educational program. Assessments provide much-needed data. They allow educators to track their students’ progress and let concerned parties know what skills and content a student might be struggling with. In addition, they even provide data that helps make future academic decisions easier. They also give institutions like colleges and universities a way to measure potential candidates for future admission.

Testing is important. A whole field of research and practice accommodates it. This field is full of terms that, while important, are difficult for most people to understand. It’s impossible to go through each and every one of them. But here are 15 testing terms that everyone should definitely know, in no particular order.

Formative Assessment

When it comes to testing, there are a lot of different types of assessments out there, and each one does something different. In the classroom, the two most commonly used types of assessments are formative and summative. 

Formative assessments are tests given during the course of a lesson or unit and are designed to measure a student’s progress while his or her knowledge is still forming (hence the word “formative”). These might include CFU (Checking for Understanding) moments, quizzes, benchmark tests, diagnostics and other assessments that are meant to measure progress up to a certain point. The teacher uses this information to plan future content. 

When a teacher can determine what students know, it’s very helpful. When a teacher can determine what students don’t know, he or she can then help those students better learn and master that content. Formative assessments can be graded, but they don’t have to be, since that is not their main purpose.

Summative Assessment

In contrast to formative testing, a summative assessment takes place at the end of a unit or lesson. Summative assessments determine or “sum up” what a student does or does not know (hence the word “summative”). 

When a student gets a summative assessment, it’s expected that they previously mastered all the content presented up to that point. Usually, these sorts of tests are graded and often weigh pretty heavily. This is because summative assessments are used as the main tool to determine whether or not a student has actually learned what was expected of them. These tests can include final exams and unit tests. 

Diagnostic Testing

A diagnostic test is a specific form of formative assessment, usually given at the very beginning of a class, term or unit of study. This kind of test finds out what a student knows and what a student doesn’t know. 

Many students get upset when they get items wrong on a diagnostic exam, but that is actually the point – it’s the wrong answers that allow a teacher to design lessons that will meet the needs of the students in the class. For this reason, diagnostic tests should never be counted as a grade.

Aptitude Testing

An aptitude test measures a student’s potential. We often see these sorts of tests, including the SAT and the ACT, being used as part of an entrance package to colleges and universities. 

The idea is that these tests do not assess what someone knows as much as what they have the potential to learn and do. Colleges then use that information when deciding what sort of person to admit into their institution.

Performance Assessment

A performance assessment measures a student’s skill in a particular area. These tests are less about knowledge and more about ability. Of course, a performance assessment can only be used if there is some sort of performance aspect to assess. So, you will often see these type of assessments in fields such as art, dance or music.

Many academic activities require skills rather than content. For example, one could argue that being able to successfully construct an argument is an academic piece that requires skill, not just knowledge.

Portfolio

A portfolio is a type of assessment that asks students to collect samples of their work. An artist, for example, might put together a collection of his or her best drawings, or a writer might compile a file of their best short stories or poems. A teacher evaluates this collection of work. 

Overall judgement must take into consideration multiple works that showcase a variety of skills and ideas.

Validity Testing

With all of the various tests available, it’s important to know whether or not a test is any good. Does the test actually do what it is supposed to do? With that being said, one major quality that test-makers and users look for in an assessment is validity.

Validity pertains to what the test actually measures. Does the vocabulary test actually show if the student knows those words? Does the math test actually show if a student knows the math concepts being tested? This might seem easy to figure out, but it isn’t always so. Sometimes, a test is full of “hidden” issues that make it unreliable.

Rubrics

Many assessments use a rubric to help the teacher determine a grade. A rubric is nothing more than a matrix that determines what should be present in an answer for the student to earn a specific score. These are often great ways to take a seemingly subjective process (like writing, for example) and make it graded on more objective standards. 

In addition, a rubric is great for breaking down large pieces into smaller, more gradable bits. For example, rather than just grade an essay as a whole, a teacher can look at grammar, vocabulary, organization, etc. The teacher then gives each element its own individual score based on its criteria.

Scaffolded Assessment

A scaffolded assessment is a sequential type of test that starts off easy and then progressively gets more difficult as the test continues. Each item gets more and more difficult and relies more on student knowledge and skill. 

These assessments measure how far a student progresses in a particular area. Or summatively, to see whether or not a student has mastered something to the level required by the course standards.

Authentic Assessment

The term “authentic assessment” refers to any sort of test that seeks to recreate real-world situations. Think of language learning, for example. Instead of practicing awkward conversations about food in a classroom, an authentic assessment might involve setting up a fake restaurant table and simulating a customer and waiter having a conversation about the menu. This technique makes the skill easier for the student to apply and learn outside of the classroom. 

Benchmark Testing

A benchmark is a specific type of formative assessment. These are most commonly used when a unit of study has a predetermined set of standards that are supposed to be met by the end of the unit. 

The benchmark is used along the way to see how close students are to meeting those standards. It also determines what learning gaps need to be addressed. The teacher uses this knowledge to help plan future content.

Percentile

Many standardized tests, report student ability in the form of a percentile. This is a number between 1 and 100 (like a percent) that shows how the student compares to other similar students across the area. A student in the 75th percentile on a skill can be said to have performed better than 75% of all the students who took that same assessment.

Standards-Based Assessment

A standards-based assessment is a test that specifically measures a student’s progress or understanding of certain standards. The standards might be teacher-chosen, school-wide or created by some other governing entity. In today’s educational system, it’s usually a state-wide government choice. 

The assessment then measures a student’s knowledge of those particular standards. Other content or skills don’t undergo assessment.

Standard Deviation

The statistics of a test reveal the standard deviation. Standard deviation measures how varied the scores on a particular assessment might be. A test with a wide distribution of scores, from very low to very high, has a high deviation. A test where most students all score similarly to one another has a low standard deviation.

Accommodations

A student’s individualized needs will determine if they need accommodations. Most often, students with a disability receive allowances. The accommodation is an exception to the normal testing rules. It gives the student a more even playing field and compensates for the disadvantages that stem from that disability. 

Common accommodations include extra time on tests, special seating, a change in a testing environment (a small group setting, for example) or the use of extra tools such as a calculator. It is only after a medical professional documents a disability that students receive accommodations.

Contact Make the Grade

Of course, experts use many other terms when it comes to testing and assessment. If you would like to know more about testing and how Make the Grade can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Fostering family success is a complex, multi-layered and ongoing process, particularly with regard to children. You want to nurture academic and social aptitude to set them up for positive growth, healthy relationships and career advancement. There are many influential factors and the outward institutions we trust. Schools and civic establishments are the most obvious indicators of our commitment to our children. 

Researching and choosing the school systems, daycare centers, tutors and counselors you will rely on is a critical step to facilitating enduring success for your family. For good reason, we strive for the most highly-trained and qualified professionals to guide the intellectual and social development of our children.

Understanding our role in supporting the efforts of educators is crucial to inspiring confidence and motivation in children. The processes and approaches to development we maintain at home are an essential supplement to education. They create a holistically positive climate for our children. As COVID-19 changes our work and educational landscape, forcing workers into remote roles and moving education to virtual platforms, the effectiveness of these approaches in the home becomes increasingly impact.

It is comforting to know that you control the foundational elements for family success at home. Fortunately, they do not require academic prowess or advanced knowledge to be effective. These five structures serve as a guide for a focused effort that is rigid enough to provide direction and flexible enough to accommodate the particular nature of your family dynamic.

Physical Structure

The first structure to consider is the physical set-up of your home and which elements can be conducive to focus and productivity. Many office workers who have taken their duties home because of the pandemic quickly realized how difficult it is to separate the home life from the work-life.

The level of separation between work and home dictates the creation of an effective physical layout. Home offices are a way to create a physical barrier that clearly defines a room as a pure workspace.

Sometimes we do not have the luxury of allocating an entire room for the sole purpose of work. You need to take creative approaches. For instance, setting up space in a bedroom with a desk, lamp and stationery is a good way to create a clear space for work. Everything in the space should be explicitly used for productivity. 

Once space is defined and understood throughout the family as a place of solitary productivity, you can add elements that facilitate efficiency. The rooms should be well-lit and comfortable. Keep ambient noise that could serve as a distraction to a minimum. The workspace should be ample enough to accommodate all of the materials your child will be using when doing work. For instance, if a computer takes up so much space on a desk, it hampers your child’s ability to work if he or she has to use materials to write other than the desk.

Regardless of how you choose to set up your physical space, consistency is key. The physical workspace will create a mental association for your family members. It creates a distinction that this particular area is constructed for the sole purpose of accomplishing work.

Time Structure

Much like the physical structure, we rely on our school systems to manage the time structure for our children. Strictly scheduled classes and breaks outline most of their day and the majority of their academic efforts.

As learning transitions to a virtual environment, parents have to shoulder the burden in encouraging a disciplined adherence to routine. However, even as some children return to the normalcy of five days at academic institutions, there is still a place for a time structure at home.

There are two factors that should be the focus of managing a time structure — prioritization and consistency. As the physical structure, you need to devout blocks of time to academic work. This is a flexible consideration and you may need to make adjustments depending on the demands of your child’s schoolwork.

Discuss with your child the expectations and focus points so you can create a specific, manageable and effective schedule. For instance, after school, you can allot the hours of 5 P.M. – 6 P.M. for homework, break for dinner and then set aside 7 P.M. – 8 P.M. for reading or remedial activities. Using the time structure consistently will help define a commitment to accomplishing daily academic goals.

Academic Structure

While all of these structures operate cohesively in a framework devoted to family success, this structure is one of the more measurable and obvious elements pertaining to academic achievement. Homework and upcoming exams characterize the academic structure in school. When the structure is carried into the home, variations in teaching and lesson plans can make this situation more confusing for a family.

Parents need to understand instructional expectations to effectively use the time structure in concert with the academic structure. The academic structure outlines project deadlines and sets benchmarks for your child’s comprehension of what they are learning. Focus is put on what work needs to be prioritized and when it is due. The structure details which concepts need to be learned and mastered so that your child can progress to the next stage.

Accountability Structure

The accountability structure is one that occurs organically in the family and is a natural parental responsibility. Devoted parents embrace accountability as they seek to provide acceptable parameters for behavior and academic performance.

Methods of executing accountability and identifying areas that require it are fluid — they often evolve as children grow up. If you have multiple children, how you hold them accountable may be completely different from one child to the next. You need to maintain a delicate distance to ensure that they are performing to acceptable standards. But you also need to provide space to develop their character and personal ethic. Parents should be present to provide direction and focus. Yet also allow children to operate more independently as they progress through their teenage years.

Constant and consistent communication is a critical component in managing an effective accountability structure. Parents need to provide unambiguous expectations that are measurable, specific, time-sensitive and reasonable. For example, you may set up a schedule for checking in on your children to review their work every hour. Communicate that you trust their ability to meet expectations but it is also your role as a parent to verify. It is vital to understand your children’s strengths, limitations and goals to allow accountability that does not inhibit their confidence.

Support Structure

For children to realize academic success, they need to maintain a positive approach, something built on confidence and desire. It is easy for parents to operate casually from a distance when their children are naturally gifted and demonstrates proficiency. However, this situation is rarely the case for most students throughout their entire academic careers.

At some point, challenges will arise for your children. They will need support from their peers, teachers and parents to keep them grounded in their efforts. Without adequate support, children who struggle with comprehension can become unmotivated and develop anxiety and negative attitudes toward learning.

Separate from accountability, the support you give as a parent should be reactive to your children’s needs. If they have trouble understanding a concept, they will not necessarily give up if they have their parents’ support. You need to make sure that your children see you as a resource and a cohort in their academic success. Acting positively and confidently when your children feel challenged can help mitigate their unease and keep them motivated.

Being a Super Parent

As a “super-parent,” it’s imperative to be the source of knowledge to propel your children to academic excellence. Parents want to have all the answers and do everything they can to ensure their children blossom into successful adults. This goal can be a stressful endeavor since we all have certain deficiencies. You may stare blankly at the calculus homework they have trouble understanding. You may not have enough hours in the day to provide the special care that you feel your children deserve.

Caring parents will always have stresses and concerns regarding their children. However, your ability to handle every challenge your child faces does not define your capacity as parents. An understanding of your personal limitations and your child’s academic needs is necessary to positively affect their development. Knowing when to ask for help is one of the best indicators of your parenting quality.

Contact mAke the grAde

At mAke the grAde, we see parents as partners and treat students uniquely. Each with distinct goals and educational opportunities. Course structures are comprehensive and flexible to address the students’ individual needs and prepare them for the academic challenges. One-on-one tutoring, virtual learning, small group classes and communal resources are available to engage students and promote ongoing academic excellence. For more information on how you can enhance your child’s educational experience and learn more about the five structures every family need, contact mAke the grAde today.

Supporting kids as they learn is one of the most valuable contributions we can make. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, but we can all learn in an effort to improve ourselves. Kids face a lot of pressure to get good grades while they are in school. Their grades can help define their futures and learning about many different subjects can inspire their natural curiosity. By learning about different subjects, kids begin to learn about the world and think about what they may want to do for a career. What they learn helps carve out the rest of their lives. Academic tutoring is a great way to help encourage and supplement education.

Main Learning Types 

For teachers and tutors to be successful, they need to consider these main learning types when developing teaching methods:

Visual learners

These types of learners prefer to see and observe visual aids. Diagrams, pictures, and written instructions are helpful for visual learners. 

Auditory learners

When the subject matter is reinforced by sound, auditory learners tend to learn better. Auditory learners would rather listen to a lecture instead of reading notes. They are good at verbal explanations and may read aloud to themselves. 

Kinesthetic learners

Kinesthetic learners are also known as tactile learners. They learn better through experiences or actions. They like to touch objects and act out events. These types of learners may struggle to sit still for long periods of time. 

Reading/Writing learners

This type of learner prefers to learn through written words. They enjoy writing, reading, and researching. 

Different Types of Academic Tutoring

There are a variety of tutoring types:

One-on-one tutoring

One-on-one tutoring is the most direct style. It is great for evaluating current skill levels to build a tutoring plan. Students are able to set the pace with regular appointments to figure out the best pace at which they learn. When you are able to have this one-on-one interaction, students can easily ask to spend more time on certain subjects before moving on. This direct interaction allows them to spend more time making sure they understand the material. 

Group tutoring

Working in a group can have both pros and cons. At mAke the grAde, we make sure to keep these groups small. We usually have about two to four students within a group. This setup allows for each student to get more attention. One great benefit of this approach is that ideas or questions the student may not have thought of could be brought up by other students. The students can help open each other’s minds and increase how much they are able to learn. 

Online tutoring

Being able to teach online gives many more students access to knowledge. Tutors may be able to reach more students this way. A lot of its success has to do with how it is set up. We have an internet-based classroom to help students learn what they need to know.  It is a great option for those who need more flexibility in their studies. It also allows for easier access to online resources during the tutoring sessions. 

Classmate tutoring

Students could also receive tutoring from a classmate, but this method comes with some downfalls. The first problem is that a classmate is not a professional tutor. Just because classmates may know the material, does not mean they know how to teach it. There could be issues of trust or communication when attempting to learn from a fellow classmate. Classmates will not be versed in how to create goals and a plan to get there. They also will not understand the different learning types.

Main Goals of Academic Tutoring

There are three main functions that go along with tutoring:

Expanding knowledge

Strong or gifted students may have a hard time in school because they are bored. While tutoring is often used for students who are struggling, it can also be beneficial for those who need more of a challenge. It can expand their capacity for achievement and keep their interest in certain subjects. 

Providing a solution

Tutoring is commonly used for students who are struggling. It can help these students catch up to their peers by providing study and further instruction outside of school. Tutoring can help inspire interest in additional subjects by helping students understand more of the material. 

Supplementation

Tutoring can also be a great asset in supplementing students’ education. It can help reinforce and maintain progress through extra practice and independent lessons that they are not getting through their schoolwork. 

Benefits of Academic Tutoring 

Tutoring can help all kinds of learners by tailoring a curriculum to the student:

An individual experience

At mAke the grAde, we tailor the tutoring plan to the individual students. By assessing their current skill levels, we can determine goals and a plan for reaching them. Our tutoring allows for each student to have a unique plan created for him or her. 

One-on-one attention

When students are in class, it is hard for teachers to provide one-on-one attention. They are outnumbered and many students may not receive the instruction they need to excel. Tutors have the time to really get to know their students. They are able to learn students’ different learning styles to be able to help them learn in the most efficient way possible. Tutors’ methods can be adapted to suit each student and increase the success of the tutoring plan. 

Improve academic performance

By working with a tutor, students can better prepare for tests and exams. Tutors will work with students on their problem areas to increase knowledge of these subjects. By increasing this knowledge, it will help their grades to improve as well. 

Improves attitude toward learning and school

Students often become frustrated when they are not able to understand something. They could shut down and develop a sour attitude toward school and learning as a whole. They may feel overwhelmed and not know where to turn to. When students work with a tutor, they will be able to ask more questions and have someone help understand the material. This encouragement can help improve the attitude they have and help them view learning as fun again. 

Improves self-esteem and confidence

When students have the resources and skills to succeed, they will believe in themselves more. This newfound confidence is a valuable asset in school and in life. 

Improves study habits

Not only does working with a tutor help students academically, but it also helps with overall study habits. We at mAke the grAde teach students the best practices to study and retain knowledge. These skills help students throughout their lives and help them achieve their goals in and out of school. 

Provides a positive learning environment

To focus and retain knowledge, students need to be confident and secure in their surroundings. Tutoring gives students an environment that is free from the usual distractions. Students can focus better because there are fewer students and disruptions. 

Encourages responsibility and independence

Students who work with a tutor are taking a more active role in managing their education. They will be able to do homework without help and see the value of taking personal responsibility. They will better take responsibility for their actions. 

Helps overcome problem areas

With one-on-one attention, tutors are able to specifically target difficult subjects with students. This focus allows students to have more study time where they really need it. 

Encourages asking questions

When students are in a large group of their peers, they may be reluctant to ask questions in front of everyone. They may feel self-conscious or that their question is not a valid one. With academic tutoring, students may be more open to voice when they do not understand something. It can also help teach them how to ask these questions when they are in a larger group. 

Provides a challenge

Even if students are doing well in school, they can still benefit from tutoring. Tutoring offers an opportunity to learn more about things they are interested in and dive deeper into certain subjects. If students are bored, they need a challenge. Tutoring can provide this help. 

Provides direct feedback

When students are in a classroom setting, they may find it difficult to get specific and in-depth feedback. With one-on-one attention, students are able to receive detailed feedback on their work and information about their strengths and weaknesses. This information can help students improve and build their academic skills.

Helps students prepare for college

Tutoring is a great way to teach students how to build study plans and time management skills that they are going to need when they get to college. The skills they learn will help them as they grow older. 

Tutoring is a great addition to students’ academic plans. Through it, they can better understand their strengths and weaknesses and how to better study in the future.

Contact mAke the grAde

At mAke the grAde we offer assessments to help determine your child’s level of understanding and how to build goals from there. Contact us to see how we can help. 

Don’t forget, mAke the grAde is hosting a FREE live event on September 10th. You can find out all the details by visiting www.makethegrade.school.  You can also stay up to date with all the most recent details, tips, and tricks to help your child maximize their education here www.makethegrade.community.

The academic struggle is a complex and misunderstood issue. The traditional perspective that when a learner fails the fault lies with them is flawed. So also is the perspective that the educational system must be failing the student if the learner is not finding success and growing academically and intellectually. There are many factors unique to each learner that directly impact their academic success.  Individualized education plans and 504 academic accommodations can only do so much to address a learner’s needs, and not every learner qualifies. 

You may have already experienced the effects of your child struggling in school, especially when that struggle is expressed through behavior at home and in class. Highly intelligent learners often have to work harder to master content and achieve academically if their needs are not being met, and when they don’t find the success they often act out their frustration. It’s like they are their own worst enemy and sabotage their own success. 

Why is this issue so prevalent? The fundamental obstacle to their success hasn’t been addressed: no one has given them what they need. Even in a private school setting with small classroom sizes, many learners still struggle to understand concepts and earn high grades. There is a reason they continue to struggle: no one is helping them figure out what their learning needs are. 

Supporting Every Struggling Learner Is Our Specialty

This is where mAke the grAde can help. We help students at every level establish the following:

  • Mapping out their unique learning style and needs so they can see it for themselves
  • A rapport with an individual tutor who dedicates to addressing their learning needs
  • A social learning environment where they can support and be supported by peers who are also seeking to improve their academics

Once upon a time, every child was excited by and loved learning. Many of them get lost somewhere along the way due to circumstances beyond their control. Every child is also on their own timetable for intellectual and academic growth. Some kids read later than others, but when they start reading they advance more quickly than their peers. Others struggle with simple math concepts for a few years. But as time passes they find math is their favorite subject. Their individual development is a significant factor in their success. School systems both public and private often overlook this educational need in favor of standardization.

 mAke the grAde provides tools, strategies, and motivation so that your child can maximize their education. We have found when students know their learning needs are met, they quickly become inspired by and excited about learning again. It’s a simple but powerful model that offers significant rewards even for learners who seem unmotivated and resigned to their academic “fate”. What are that sets mAke the grAde apart? Let’s examine that in detail together.

mAke the grAde: Self-Esteem, Independence and Advocacy

Every learner has tremendous potential to achieve academically. Every student has challenges. Some students can overcome these challenges on their own and some need support. Being able to overcome these challenges enables a student to reach their full potential. Additionally, the inability to address or overcome these challenges can hold a student back and prevent them from reaching their potential.

Many factors can challenge a student. Sometimes it’s social factors like negative experiences with teachers, other students, or an instructor in a particular subject area like math or science. Perhaps they did poorly on a benchmark assessment or reading performance test that left them feeling less capable than their peers, or they found they struggled more than others to maintain the same academic pace. These experiences affect their engagement with all future learning and can lock the student into a static mindset where they must accept the judgment of others as final regarding their intelligence or academic potential.

In other cases, learners simply may not know how best to approach problem-solving in the academic world. They are hesitant to be independent because their learning has always been a top-down education model where the teacher is the authority, and they are to learn only as their teacher instructs them. They have no inclination or motivation to strike out on their own to find solutions to the problems posed in their class. When they can’t do it the way the teacher asks them to, they come to believe that they are unable to do the problems and they start to question their ability.  In reality, only their perspective of the problem needs adjustment, but they can’t see that because they have never known anything else.

Worst of all, asking for help is seen as a weakness or a lack of intelligence by themselves or their peers, so they don’t advocate for themselves. Moreover, some learners fear (or have been chastised for) self-advocacy because it makes them social disruptors in the classroom. They are afraid to “hold everyone else back.” So they keep silent and suffer, causing them to internalize their feelings of failure, frustration, and inadequacy as being their own fault.  

mAke the grAde is all about addressing these three fundamental learning needs to unlock each learner’s potential: Self-Esteem, Independence, and Advocacy: 

Self-Esteem

Our learners learn from the beginning of their tutoring sessions that where they have been does not determine where they can go. We evaluate their learning needs in a collaborative process to help them understand they can achieve academic success given time, perspective, and a growth mindset. Setting small, short-term achievable goals is a critical component of rebuilding your learner’s self-esteem. This is the foundation of confidence they will need to turn their academic lives around. It is also the first step to falling in love with learning all over again. 

Independence

To quote a popular phrase by Jack Sparrow, “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

Every learner learns from a young age that when you have problems, you must solve them. The problem is students rarely know more than one approach to problem-solving. They learn how the teacher solves problems and never make decisions about how to approach problems outside what they have been taught. Learners don’t generalize their learning because they have never learned how to apply their problem-solving skills in more than one way. 

mAke the grAde focuses on teaching students multiple problem-solving approaches and skillsets in every academic discipline. And we focus on finding practical and workable solutions more than rote memorization of formulas and strategies. When real problems arise in the classroom or in life, they have a complete toolkit to work with independently.

Advocacy

Knowing how much you don’t know is the mark of true wisdom. It can be humbling, but even the strongest and smartest of us must ask for help when we don’t understand something. Knowing where to get correct and useful advice is critical. mAke the grAde focuses on teaching students how to ask for help in productive ways, and offers the opportunity to consult an expert in a non-threatening setting away from peers. This is why self-esteem and independence are fundamental to our model. It is impossible to help a student ask for help if they don’t have the self-confidence to know they can learn and the skills to independently solve their problems once they have asked for help and support. 

Teaching advocacy is also the key benefit to both our individual and small group tutoring sessions. It allows learners to gradually ease into asking for help in a classroom setting where they might otherwise keep silent. We believe without self-advocacy, students will not unlock their potential. So we teach its value in helping students address their own learning needs.

Final Thoughts

mAke the grAde offers unique benefits to students which enables them to overcome their individual challenges to learning through addressing their unique learning needs. Students are not learning robots despite the best efforts of conventional education models.  If a learner’s needs are not met in the classroom, they will struggle, grow frustrated, and likely give up. They can only take so much before they shut down, and it’s a normal human response.

Our goal is to help them see past their frustration, have confidence in the power of their own potential, take control of their learning with independent problem solving and advocate for themselves to overcome challenges when they lack knowledge or need help. It is as effective as it is simple. Every learner can benefit from what mAke the grAde has to offer. Visit our website today for details about how your learner can benefit from our services anywhere in the world.

Don’t forget to check out our mAke the grAde community where you can find all the latest and greatest ways to keep maximizing your child’s education.

While many students will be starting their school year online due to COVID, parents or guardians may begin to feel the pressures of making sure their children complete all assignments, understands all class materials and passes all their classes. Between technical difficulties and not having an in-person class, students may not be able to communicate with their teachers as effectively as before. Before you or your children stress about this school year, check out the ways mAke the grAde supports families during this unprecedented time due to COVID. 

We Provide a Personal Learning Plan

Everyone learns differently and at their own pace. At mAke the grAde, we take that fact into consideration and make a personalized learning plan for each student. Before beginning lessons, we go over what students need to be successful and adapt the lessons accordingly. And then we want to make sure that every student leaves mAke the grAde understanding everything that is needed to be known to have a successful educational experience.  Learn more here:  www.makethegrade.academy

We Include Many Courses

mAke the grAde is a one-stop-shop for all your educational needs. We provide many courses including ACT and SAT prep, science, math, time management and more. Each one of these courses will include different elements like 24/7 access, live office hours, direct message support and exclusive access to posts and videos. 

We Provide Multiple Lesson Schedules

At mAke the grAde, we provide different schedules for lessons or meetings that fit around your time. They have three different allocated durations you can choose from — 15 minutes, 30 minutes or one hour. In these meetings, you and your child can go over any problems, issues or questions you may have about a course, tutoring or even a homework assignment. We are here for you no matter the time. Once you make an appointment, you will get an email confirmation and a reminder. 

We Work With all Ages

We don’t just help younger students. At mAke the grAde, we help anyone of any age to improve science, math and time management skills. If you have an older child prepping for the ACT or SAT, mAke the grAde provides detailed courses. At the end of the day, we want to share education with all ages. 

Call a Professional

We understand the difficulties families face during the COVID crisis. We work day and night to make sure we provide the best tutoring and lesson planning for every child. For more information on how mAke the grAde supports families during this pandemic, contact us today.

Homeschooling is a great option for some families. If you are considering taking this direction for educating your middle school-aged children, here is some helpful information you need to know.

 

Who Should Consider Homeschooling?

Homeschooling is a great option for middle schoolers who need more flexibility than a traditional classroom can give. Homeschooling offers an enriching environment where students can be more focused on lessons without the distractions that can come from a school setting. Other students who can benefit from a homeschool environment include those who have just moved to a new area and those who have health issues that make it difficult to be in class with other students.

 

Use This Time for Transitioning to High School

Middle school is a time of great change and preparation. During your homeschooling sessions, spend some time focusing on lessons and exercises that will prepare your children for high school. In high school, students will be expected to be more mature and exhibit some independence. The quality of their work will also need to be at a higher level. Get your children ready for these changes by slowly introducing these qualities in your lessons. Allow your children to work independently on their schoolwork and start expecting more from them academically.

 

Add Electives to Your Curriculum

Middle school is the perfect time to let your children begin to make choices about their education. In a traditional classroom setting, middle school students are introduced to elective classes from which they can choose. Offer the same types of choices to your children as part of their homeschooling curriculum. Allowing your children to have a say in what topics they are learning about will help give them a sense of ownership about their education, encourage them to take their lessons seriously and instill a love of learning in them.

 

Plan Field Trips

Avoid the mistake of taking the “home” part of homeschooling too literally. Learning can happen anywhere, and taking your middle school-aged children on field trips is a great way to break up the school day and keep the education coming. Your children will love a chance to get out of the home classroom and experience life by taking trips to museums, plays and symphony concerts. You can even take them on real-life adventures like visiting a TV or radio station or something similar. The sky’s the limit, and it is the perfect opportunity to introduce your middle school children to everything life has to offer.

 

You have many options and opportunities when you homeschool your middle school-aged children. If you think homeschooling is an option you want to consider, contact mAke the grAde Academic Services today, and we can help get you started.