EP 114 – Phil Vetrano – Using the proper intel to make the best college admissions decision

Parents – You know what one of the most important decisions you can make?

  • What college will my child go to? 
  • Is this the right decision? 
  • How do I know this is the best? 
  • Will my child thrive? 
  • What is the best way to make this very important decision? 
  • How can I feel that we are making the right decision?

Meet Phil Vetrano, MBA,  founder of Planning and Vision, LLC, planningandvision.com, a data and analytics driven college advising and coaching service.

Phil Vetrano graduated with MBA from Hofstra University and has spent the past 7 years researching and analyzing colleges and speaking with 100’s of college students and staff to understand the strengths and weaknesses of 100’s of colleges.  Planning & Vision, LLC helps families and students prepare to optimize their investment in College and provides them with a competitive edge in career planning. Coach Phil uses strategic and data-driven methods to identify the best college fit for each prospective student, where they can thrive academically and socially within the family budget.  He helps students stand out to earn higher scholarships and higher earnings potential.  He assists students to improve their chances in gaining acceptance into selective colleges.  He truly has the students’ best interest in mind to save them from some of the missteps that so many have made before them so they can make an informed decision and improve their chances of success.

Talking Points:

Major Issues Facing Students & Parents When Considering College

1) Most HS students are unsure about their future and are generally Undecided about their career pursuits. No Real Plan or Purpose. At the end of the day, millions of HS Students are not really prepared to have a tremendous amount of success in college.

2) 42% of College Students are dropping out or not able to complete Bachelors degree in 6 years.  More than 50% are not completing it in 4 years.  30% of freshmen transfer or dropout.

3) Higher Education is expensive.  Student Debt is off the charts.

Highlights:

Two Free Virtual Seminars and 2 Fee Based Virtual Seminars in the Month of May.

(My Website will be updated to reflect the times and dates by 9pm)

Biggest success this past few months, Planning & Vision saved $17K per year for one student at a reputable and selective school after the student already received a $20K scholarship from the school.    I spent one hour with one client and I saved her additional $2,500 in college costs each year at a college with a Nursing Program which will add up to $10K if she continues there all 4 years.

About Phil:

Phil Vetrano has spent the last few years making a positive difference in HS & College Students lives by providing them with exceptional insights and opportunities to identify their academic and career goals with a methodology that keeps the students engaged, interested and anxious to learn more.  The students affectionally call him Coach Phil.  Coach Phil lets the student know that they are the CEO of their career and this process is all about them and each family members can be a valuable member of the team to provide assistance in preparation of the most significant decision of the teen’s life. The biggest and most daunting question for a student is: What am I going to do after High School?  For most teenagers, it is the first time they are making an adult decision and most are ill prepared to really understand what all their options are and how to go about this crucial decision-making process.  

Coach Phil Vetrano started performing Best Fit College & College Readiness analysis back in 2014 when his son was a sophomore in HS. After 2 years of solid research and data analysis of 1000 colleges, visiting 17 colleges, and speaking to 100’s of colleges; father and son were very confident that he was applying to 8 of his best fit colleges. After applying to all 8 colleges, Coach Phil performed a much deeper analysis to distinguish each college to assess which 3 colleges his son would be most likely to academically and socially thrive at, and determined which ones were the best value, within budget to avoid any student debt.  In April 2021, his son has a 3.8 GPA at his favorite University and completed his Bachelor Degree requirements in International Affairs in 3 years and has $0.00 Student Debt and he currently interns at the State Department in Washington DC. 

Planning & Vision, LLC helps families and students prepare to optimize their investment in College and provides them with a competitive edge in career planning. Coach Phil uses strategic and data-driven methods to identify the best college fit for each prospective student, where they can thrive academically and socially within the family budget.  He helps students stand out to earn higher scholarships and higher earnings potential.  He assists students to improve their chances in gaining acceptance into selective colleges.  He truly has the students’ best interest in mind to save them from some of the missteps that so many have made before them so they can make an informed decision and improve their chances of success.

Registration is required.  To register, call or email Coach Phil (516) 520-4894 philvetrano13.1@gmail.com

Learn More:

Coach Phil Vetrano, MBA
Planning & Vision, LLC
Schedule an appointment:
YouTube: 

 

EP 111 Apex Leadership with Ken Meyers

This week on Education Live Thursday the guest is Ken Meyers….
Join us every thursday 8pm for a discussion of all things education and beyond.
Ken Meyers, APEX Leadership – kenm@apexleadershipco.com
Learn more about Ken here:
At Apex Leadership Co. we build tomorrow’s leaders today — while simultaneously raising more money for your school with our hassle-free approach for busy volunteers.
Our powerful online platform maximizes your time and increases your reach for fundraising, all while our team of athletes does the heavy lifting and teaches PBIS-based leadership lessons. We combine fitness, fundraising and leadership into a powerful united event that builds your funds and your students’ character education.
And by the way, they help schools raise a LOT of funds for many much needed projects and enhancements.

EP 110 The Stress Less Life with Carlee Myers

Carlee Meyers – of Stresslessco,com – helps everyone to reduce stress using a propriety system she developed through her life experience and intuitive sense working through her own personal struggles.
Carlee offers a complimentary Stress Assessment: https://stresslessco.com/apply
Facebook:

https://facebook.com/thestresslessco

EP 102 – College Financial Planning with Jerry Gross

For the best support for all of your academic needs.  

The SUCCESS Community.  Learn more by clicking this link


News Flash – College is expensive.  It may be one of the largest expenditures that a family makes, second only to their home.  Proper planning and financial strategies are so critical to insure a successful financial side to the college experience.
Some of the highlights of this conversation:
Savings: Should you save for your children’s college or your retirement?  Can you successfully do both concurrently?
Life Insurance: Only 2 things will happen when your child goes to college, you will be alive or not alive. Make sure you have enough Life insurance.

Your Terminal Degree: Where do you put your investment… the Bachelors? the Masters? the Doctorate?  MBA? Law School? Professional School?

Increasing your financial aid: Ideas and ‘insider tips’ to increase chances of getting financial aid.

Here is a video – YouTube – version of this conversation.


About – Jerry Gross, MBA, CLU, ChFC

Owner of Jerry Gross Financial since 1981 focusing on College and Retirement planning.

Offers counsel to help people decide when best time to take Social Security, and Long Term Care Planning

Independent Financial Consultant, and Insurance agent

Personal:

Jerry is married for a second time and now has 2 kids and 2 step kids – all four have college degrees.  His daughter is a Lawyer in West Palm Beach, Fl., and his son CPA in Manhattan, now living with me (covid refugee). Her daughter is Family Therapist, and her son, Recruiter for Bucks County schools, and her son also lives with us.   Also  a Step Grandfather of baby Elliana, now 7 months old.
Reach Jerry:
Jerry Gross Financial
1041 Bustleton Pike, Suite 4… Feasterville PA 19053
215 355- 4544…Fax: 215 355- 3676 Email: grossfin@aol.com
My mission is to help you earn more interest on your money and Pay less to the IRS!!
www.jerrygrossfinancial.com…Your referrals are Appreciated!!!
FREE AUTO and Homeowners Quotes

8 Simple Actions That Will Ensure Academic Success

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.

 

15 Testing Terms You Need to Know

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!

Imagine Straight A’s Without The Stress

Now more than ever, with education rapidly changing, schools (virtual or otherwise), can become stressors for your children and yourself. Don’t worry. Here are a few action tips straight from an experienced, results-driven tutor that you can follow to help boost your children’s morale and inspire them to get straight A’s without the stress.

Aim for SUCCCESS

In our recent podcast, we presented the 3 C’s of SUCCCESS, or the idea that students need to follow the three C’s to succeed. 

  • Consistency, commitment, and community are all hallmarks of successful people, no matter what profession or stage of life they are in. Create an environment where your child can study consistently. Start by carving out a designated time each day to complete schoolwork. You can also provide incentives for commitment to academic improvement. Most importantly, foster a community that supports and encourages your children to be the best they can be. 

Make Learning Individualized

Most classrooms cater to the needs of the general homogenous population, which can be great for many students. But, it leaves others behind. Individualized attention is the key to unlocking your child’s academic potential. 

Our individualized tutoring program tackles this issue in three ways:

  • One-on-one tutoring sessions. This program allows us, instructors, to understand and adapt to your child’s learning style. This is a critical component for success. 
  • Individualized learning also allows for ample comprehension time. It gives your child and his or her brain the opportunity to absorb information at an individualized pace.
  • Personalized learning sessions can boost a student’s confidence. 

Successful learners are ready to participate in class discussions and tackle unfamiliar material, which takes self-confidence. As a parent, you can support your child one-on-one with homework help or test prep. But as a busy person with a lot on your to-do list, it may not be feasible for you. We can take some of that pressure off of you with our individualized tutoring.

Contact mAke the grAde

Success takes a lot of hard work, but just by reading this blog, you are already taking a step in the right direction to support your child academically and reduce stress for both of you. We are here to support you and your child in all areas, from tutoring in a specific subject to SAT/ACT preparation. If you are ready to make your child SUCCCESSful or try individualized learning, contact us today!

The 5 Structures Every Family Needs for Success

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.

Alternatives to School Curriculum-Based Virtual Learning Resources

Virtual learning was once considered, at best, a novelty, and at worst. An inefficient substitute for educating kids and teens. However, as time has progressed, an increasing number of parents have been adding virtual learning to their children’s education. Sometimes using it as a complete replacement for the physical classroom setting. Virtual learning is a great way to teach kids all the information they will need to compete in the world, as well as virtues like independence, responsibility, self-reliance and time management.

Even educational institutions like history museums and aquariums have their parallels in virtual learning. Here are some ways online resources can fulfill the role of the class field trips that have been customary to traditional public and private schools.

 

Science and History Museums

Museums have long been classic field trip destinations. History and science museums provide up close and personal ways of gathering information on complicated subjects through artifacts and displays. With the internet, however, everything that museums offer can be received straight from a computer.

For scientific exhibits, NASA has an official online museum you can visit whenever you want to get information regarding aerospace, astrophysics, space exploration and more. There, you can also take virtual tours of facilities like the Ballistics Impact Lab and the Space Environments Complex. The Worldwide Museum of Natural History is another great choice. There, you can see fossils of all different kinds of animals from around the world.

For history, the National Museum of American History is a great place to start, as it offers tons of images and articles about our nation’s interesting past.

Meanwhile, the Smithsonian Institution is one of the most popular museums anywhere on earth. It has artifacts and information relating to science, history, art and anthropology from all over the world. They also have a detailed online database of their exhibits for you to explore.

Planetariums

For seeing the solar system, galaxy and universe in a completely different way, planetariums have been an iconic way for kids and teens to study astronomy. With apps like “Star and Planet Finder” and “Sky Map”, you can get the same amount of information as you can at a planetarium. With these apps, you get to decide what you want to explore. When you run these apps on your smartphone, you will be able to see exactly where certain starts or plants are simply by pointing your phone in a particular direction.

 

Art Galleries

For all the paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and design you can handle, the Louvre Museum in Paris is the place to see. As one of the largest museums in the world, it is also home to one of the world’s largest online collections of art from ancient Egypt to the Renaissance and beyond. Best of all, they offer free online tours of their galleries that you can attend right from your computer.

Also, for over 1,700 pieces of art from more than 625 artists, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum also features its galleries online for you to enjoy. The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. has online displays too, as well as online courses on thinking critically about art.

 

Aquariums and Zoos

Finally, places like aquariums and zoos are great places to see animals up close, study their behavior and be awed by their beauty. Luckily, most zoos and aquariums have live streams of the animals in their exhibits that you can watch from home.

The Smithsonian, aside from their museum, also has a Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Institute. Showing 24/7 footage of their lions, elephants and more. They also offer online activities for kids to complete using footage of their wildlife exhibits.

One of the most famous aquariums in America, the Tennessee Aquarium, also has live footage from its tanks and exhibits. See penguins, otters, sharks and other marine fish and mammals and they waddle and swim through the camera’s line of sight. They also have dozens of videos that were created by professional scientists that offer biological facts about their animals.

To watch a family of bald eagles grow up right before your eyes, visit the Decorah Eagle Cam Live Feed. When these three eaglets were born, they became an internet sensation. The Raptor Resource Project has made it so that anybody, anywhere can check in on them and watch them live.

With so many online tools at your disposal, virtual learning is a more complete and enriching form of education than ever before. Plus, through virtual learning, kids get to learn about what they are interested in, for however long they want, instead of being told what to learn on somebody else’s schedule.

Whether it is exploring the planets or looking at the paintings of Monet, online resources offer all the excitement and information as field trips, right from home.

For more information about how your kids can expand their virtual education while learning at home, contact us today.