Blog & Resources - Make The Grade

Blog & Resources

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.

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.

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.