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With schools being closed for the remainder of the school year, your child is most likely completing his or her school year online. This raises several questions:

How long this situation will last?
Will there be ‘regular school in the fall?
Will school be the same in the fall?
How will this affect my education in the long run?

Once school buildings reopen and students return to non-virtual learning, it is fair to wonder if it might be best for your children to continue their education online – in part or in whole. 

Is Virtual Learning Right for Your Child?

At this point due to the realities of life today virtual learning may be your child’s only educational option.  This may be done in a variety of ways which have been addressed in this blog and the mAke the grAde video library such as this video…

For the purpose of this article, let’s focus how your child will be getting educated and how they will be receiving information, and how well they can learn virtually.

For many students, interaction with other students and their teachers is paramount and these are inherently an integral part of the learning process, but that is not the case for everyone. Each student learns in a different way, whether it be visual, auditory, verbal or physical, (or a combination) so some children may prefer a more self-paced and independent home virtual learning option.

Some virtual classes have a teacher presenting the material either live or in an asynchronous manner, but most virtual curricula  require the student to work independently.  So while the instruction itself and the learning pacing may be preferred, it may still be difficult for students to learn and be free from distractions. So there are benefits and challenges.

I have addressed the need for the 5 structures for home / virtual learning in this podcast episode. They are critical for success regardless of the source of the information or the learning platform.

Older children are typically more independent and able to manage their time more efficiently while younger children will need help staying on a consistent schedule and maintaining a structure. As a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure your child has enough time and the proper structure to complete their assignments. and you will need to oversee the time they spend on the computer to make sure that they are staying on task.  You also need to consider that your kids will not have the same social engagements as they would in a physical classroom setting. Still, there is room for a flexible schedule and opportunity for social interaction with others outside of a classroom setting.

The Best Way for Your Child to Succeed in Virtual Learning

Again, the 5 structures are critical to success but, as a parent, to help your child succeed in a virtual classroom, you have to do some preparation and planning short term (daily) and longer term (weekly, monthly etc).  First, create physical structure – an area where they can work undisturbed.  Your children will also need to have the proper equipment, such as a computer, writing paper and pencils just like ‘school’.  Also create the time structure and do not neglect scheduling time in their day for them to go outside and play as well as for crafts or other fun activities.  Make a calendar for your children and create a schedule they can follow. All of these tools can help your child acclimate to a routine much like being in a physical school building.

Special Case = Options for Virtual SAT and ACT Preparation

Prepping for the SAT and ACT has always had a virtual / online component so there is much less adjustment for the students in these situation.  Further, there is a narrow and well defined curriculum used for test prep for both the SAT and ACT prep – which is to say that what the students need to learn does not vary.  Tutoring or online courses are available and specifically designed to prepare your child for these standardized tests have existed for years including a complete program at mAke the grAde which you can research here. 

Conclusion

Virtual home learning, when optional and not mandated, may be an option to explore.  In many cases, students enjoy the more independent nature of the academic pacing and style. There are challenges, such as needing structure and ensuring a complete curriculum, but the benefits may outweigh the downsides.

Great Headline – Tutoring Reduces Math Anxiety.

But how do we know?

If you’ve followed my blog and my posts for any amount of time, you know that I don’t often quote statistics or ‘research’ in Education since the studies tend to be subjective.  This study was the first quantitative study that I’ve seen.  The researchers did MRI on children before and after tutoring to measure brain waves and brain development.  Very interesting stuff.

The bottom line is that compared to a baseline, students who received 1 on 1 tutoring for Math were less anxious after only 8 weeks.   All the details of the study are at this link:

CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK TO THE STUDY

or see: http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/09/09/study-kids-math-anxiety-reduced-when-learning-with-tutors/

What do you think about this?

Do you think it would help you or your child?

Attn new HS Juniors.  It’s that time of year… Test Prep Season.

Good news …  there is help 🙂

A Free Practice SAT (by the College Board) is available on the College Board site. mAke the grAde recommends that all students planning to take an upcoming SAT should take advantage of this ‘offer’.

PRACTICE COLLEGE BOARD SAT EXAM

There are a number of ways to prep for the SAT (and ACT) exams.  One is to simply practice that test as much as possible.  Practice makes perfect.

Practice also helps to demonstrate both areas of need (which you may choose to ameliorate with a tutor) and areas of strength (which is may be just fine with).  Areas of need may include specifics in the 3 main sections of the SAT: Reading, Math and Writing, but may also expose needs in your timing and pacing for the questions and for the sections (remember the SAT (and ACT) is a timed exam!)

To access this practice SAT click this link:

PRACTICE COLLEGE BOARD SAT EXAM

The SAT is administrated 8 times during the academic year: October, November, December, January, March, May and June.  This year is a watershed year however as the “old” SAT will be administered up to and including January 2016 and then a “new” SAT will be administered starting in March 2016.  mAke the grAde recommends taking the “old” SAT while is is still in play since it is a known commodity and there are still several unknowns concerning the ‘new’ SAT.

What do you think? What is your test calendar plan?

Questions?  contact make the grade at EMAIL MAKETHEGRADE

PS – the deadline to register for the October 3 SAT exam is September 3.

PRACTICE COLLEGE BOARD SAT EXAM

This press release was syndicated to over 600 news agencies including ABC and Fox news and other wire services.

You can see the press release by clicking here:  Maximum Education Press Release

press release 1

This press release was syndicated to over 600 news agencies including ABC and Fox news and other wire services.
You can see the press release by clicking here:  Maximum Education Press Release
press release 1

It’s been an exciting summer at mAke the grAde.  Maximum Education was released in June and became an Amazon #1 seller in its first week.

You can still get your copy of Maximum Education at the roll out price of only 99 cents for the online kindle version or $9.99 for the paperback.

CLICK HERE TO GET Maximum Education

Both the kindle version and paperback continue to sell consistently.  Which leads to the next phase of the project.. Maximum Education – The Live Workshop.  This workshop will cover the important principles from the book in a 90 minute, live, interactive event.  The workshop will be presented live locally (beginning August 29th) as well as over the internet in a live webinar format (beginning in September).

If you want more information now, EMAIL mAke the grAde

Stay tuned for more details.

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It’s finals time.  Some students love this time of year (school is almost over) and some dread it.  These year end, culminating exams are often intimidating and overwhelming for students. The key is preparation and being ready to take the test.

The first step is to keep up with your classes all along.  Cramming is never a best option.  So if you have planned ahead and kept up with your work then you are in a much better situation to begin with.

There are many study techniques in Maximum Education, but one area covers how to prepare for finals (or any larger summary exam like midterms etc).   One key is to organize your information in a way that simplifies the process and at the same time organizes material in a way that makes it easier for you to learn / review it.

Here are some basic suggestions on how you can organize your information. There are many more in Maximum Education.

Think about what information the teacher has given you about the test:

– How long is the test?
– How many questions are there going to be?
– What is going to be stressed on the test?
– Are there any special cases that you have to be concerned about?
– Have you been given an essay question ahead of time?
– Do you know what types of math problems are going to be asked?
– Are there usually multiple choice questions about important dates in history?

I would love your feedback. What is your FAVORITE study trick or finals prep idea.

Put your idea in the comments and you have a chance to win a copy of Maximum Education!

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Maximum Education – The Ultimate Guide to Optimal Academics

Why did I write a book?

The core mission is to provide students and their families with simple and powerful tools to become more successful. This success includes academic but extends to many other areas of life as well.

As a preview, here is the working copy for the back cover of the book.

Students today are overloaded with school work load, extracurricular commitments, sports, volunteer work and more. They struggle to reach their academic potential and often become frustrated with the process.

Here is the solution…

Maximum Education provides a blueprint for success for students by providing functional tools for time management and prioritization, class note taking, outlines to organize information, test preparation skills and specialized tips for test preparation, standardized tests, college admissions test (ACT, SAT) and term papers.

This workbook also offers access to the mAke the grAde community of learners – an interactive group coordinated by Dr Greene – which allows students to share ideas, ask questions, and collaborate.

A lifelong educator, Dr Greene holds a state teaching certification and has taught at the middle school, high school (public and independent) and university level. In 1995 he establish mAke the grAde, a tutoring and academic consulting company based in the Philadelphia PA area, which provides private tutoring and support for students and their families, specializing in all areas of Math, the Sciences and Test Preparation for the college admissions process.

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Making and outline…. sounds pretty simple.  You take the main ideas and put them on the left and then get the supporting information and indent it.  A tried and true way to organize information.  A classic.

From Maximum Education, my soon to be released book which will help you with all levels of academics… “The purpose of an outline is to condense the essential information from a large source into a smaller, more direct, and useful format.”

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But, did you know that there are many other ways to make an outline?  In fact, in Maximum Education, you will learn 6 other ways to outline and to organize information.

Which begs the question: Why would I need 7 ways to outline..

Answer: because different types of information should be organized in different ways.

History class is generally factual information.  Maybe a timeline would help.  Or a way to sort people and their contributions to history.

Science class often has topical information and formulas.  A flow chart and examples work better.

Here is just one example of an ‘alternative’ type of outline. This is called a Spoke. The main idea is in the center and the supporting ideas are spokes around the main idea.

spoke outline

To learn more about Maximum Education visit the mAke the grAde community Facebook back or www.makethegrade.net