Mediaplex_tag

FREE
CONSULTATION


Get Started By
Viewing Our
Virtual Brochure

Tutor of the year
Tutor from United States wins 2013 Tutor of the Year Award

Location Finder

Find a Tutor
Doctor Near You
Zip / Postal Code
Go

Tutor Doctor Blog

  • Recognizing Video Gaming Addiction

     

    pic by Com Salud

    Most kids enjoy playing video and computer games and can be at it for hours or days at a time; especially when they have new games they want to master. For some, the camaraderie and communities that online gaming worlds offer fulfill an important social role in their lives. While many teens can play a couple of hours of games a week and successfully balance school, social time and family, for others it can be a compulsion that prevents development in essential areas. The big questions is… when is it too much?

    Clinical director of the Center for Online Addiction, Kimberly Young, has been investigating teen gaming. Like other addictions, she says the telltale signs are whether your teen has a compulsion to play that seems irresistible and if they experience withdrawal symptoms when they aren’t able to play their game. According to Young: “They become angry, violent, or depressed. If [parents] take away the computer, their child sits in the corner and cries, refuses to eat, sleep, or do anything.”

    Gaming offers a wonderful psychological escape to students and it is this aspect that fuels their addiction. While students may be unpopular at school, they can be dominant superheroes in the game. As they develop a social circle of supportive, admiring team members, they will spend more and more time in a fantasy world where they are respected and accepted. When they are drawn out of this world, it is as traumatic as if they just lost all their friends and were ripped from the communities in which they felt they belonged.

    When teens spend more than three hours a day (and more on weekends) playing games, they will be missing out on key social and academic developments and this will have lasting effects. They will suffer from fatigue, their grades will fall, they will drop out of extra-mural activities, they may drift apart from family and friends and will experience isolation.

    Time isn’t the only factor in determining addiction. Other symptoms include:

    • Gaming to escape real-life problems
    • Gaming for increasing amounts of time
    • Thinking about gaming when engaging in other activities
    • Lying to conceal the amount of time spent gaming
    • Feelings of irritation or depression when not gaming

    If you suspect that your teen or someone you know may be addicted to gaming, the first thing to do is to begin documenting their possible addiction. Start by logging the number of hours they spend gaming in a daily diary. List favorite activities that they no longer participate in because they are spending all their time gaming. You should also list problems that result from gaming, times they lied about gaming and their reaction to limitations placed on the amount of time they spend gaming.

    Start by talking to you teen about their addiction and suggest that they take steps to remedy the situation. If they are not able to do so, seek professional help. Like all addictions, gaming is a serious problem that requires professional help. Work with your teen to find solutions that are beneficial to everyone.

  • Best Gifts for Wonderful Teachers

    Pic by Sam

    Festive gifts show your teacher a little love for all that they have done for your kids this year. Teachers often go above and beyond the call of duty to guide and educate your children and it makes their efforts worth it when parents and students express their appreciation. You don’t have to spend a lot of money; just a little thoughtfulness and care is all you need to give a gift that makes your teacher feel special. Whatever you decide to get for your favorite teachers, make sure it’s personal.

    Gift cards

    Vouchers and gift cards allow your favorite teachers to buy things they really need or want. Get your children to create handmade cards for their favorite educators and pop the gift cards inside.

    Personalized stationary

    Always a classy gift, give your teacher their very own personalized stationary for letters, notes and cards.

    Teacher’s survival kit

    From coffee to chocolate, every teacher can use a little survival kit for those early mornings. Include a coffee travel mug with specialty coffees, cookies, chocolates and other treats that can help a teacher through a tough morning.

    Good books

    Most teachers will enjoy a good read. You can buy books for the classroom so that they have a little more variety in the reading corner or get them some books you know they will enjoy. Not sure what your teacher reads? Buy a gift voucher from a local or online book store.

    Holiday cookies

    Have fun with your kids and create a personal gift for your favorite teachers by baking a batch of festive cookies. You can bake a few batches of different cookies if you have a number of teachers to think of. Then you can give them a selection of treats to enjoy over the holidays.

    Plants

    Living gifts are a great way to make a lasting impression. Plants not only reduce stress, they also improve indoor air quality.

    Movie theater gift card

    Who doesn’t like going to the movies? Give your teachers a chance to unwind and relax in the new year with a gift voucher to a local cinema.

    Monogrammed gifts

    Get your kids to monogram items with their teacher’s name or initials. Scarves and hats, handkerchiefs, coffee mug cozies, and mittens will all look better with a little handy work.

    Candles

    You can make these yourself with a little beeswax and a mold. Making candles is a great holiday activity and they make brilliant gifts.

    Spa gifts

    This festive season, everyone can give a little love to their mistle-toes! Give gift vouchers to local spas or make up your own little kit with bath and spa products so that your teachers can give themselves a little pampering.

    The most important factor in your holiday gift to the teachers who do so much for you is personalization. Get your kids to pick out gifts and write their own cards and notes that express their appreciation for a job well done.

  • How to Resolve Teacher-Student Disputes

    Picture by DFAT

    It’s that time of the year again when the teacher-parent conference rounds may have some of you on edge. If your student isn’t getting on with their educator, you may be tempted to discuss your concerns with the teacher, but being confrontational during your meeting may actually make the situation worse. Author of “I Hate School: How To Help Your Child Love Learning,” Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, interviewed 100 educators to get their take on the best way to resolve tensions. We share some of her insights here.

    First of all, every child will eventually get a teacher they dislike in their academic careers. This may be as serious as a personality clash that results in mutual dislike or as simple as a classroom embarrassment that the teacher isn’t even aware of.

    When trouble is brewing in the classroom, try to get your student to resolve their disputes themselves. Learning to deal with people you don’t like, especially those in authority positions, is an important life lesson to learn.

    When you child says the teacher picks on her, ask for specific examples and then discuss ways in which she can handle the situation appropriately. Role play scenarios so that your child will know how to react. Role playing not only teaches your child how to respond to difficult situations, but also gives her the confidence she needs to speak up.

    If the situation remains unresolved and you feel it is negatively affecting your child, then it may be time to step in. The first thing Tobias recommends is not ambushing the teacher with your concerns. Start by building a relationship with them that is based on respect. “They’ll treat your child as well as you treat them,” says Tobias.

    When you get to know each other well enough, it will be easier to work together to create a happier classroom environment. Ambushing them with accusations will only make them defensive and may make the situation worse.

    Always give them the benefit of the doubt; remember that they are professionals who are able to put any personal feelings aside to deal with students appropriately and fairly. Don’t play the blame game, instead explain the situation and ask: “How can I help?” This will make the teacher feel like you want to be part of the solution and that you are willing to be an involved parent. It will also make them less defensive. Teachers have a lot of experience dealing with students who they don’t gel with, so they may actually have some really great ideas on how to restore harmony.

    If at all possible, resist the urge to go over the teacher’s head. Try your best to resolve situations with the teacher as speaking to the principal may only strengthen the teacher’s dislike of your child.

  • Best Books for Elementary School: Kindergarten to Second Grade

    The festive season approaches and, as you plan gifts for your kids, be sure to include a number of books that they will enjoy. Instilling a love for reading is one of the best gifts you can give to your children. Start by being a good example and reading books yourself, read to your children no matter their age and buy books that they will enjoy. For reluctant readers, try anime and manga or comic books to start or get a subscription to a magazine for the sports or hobbies that they love. Here is a list of the best books for children in elementary school to help you stuff those stockings.

    Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies by Caroline Crimi

    If you can’t imagine bunnies being terrifying swashbucklers of the sea, then you have clearly never heard of Barnacle Black Ear; the most fearsome pirate to ever sail the Salty Carrot. But while Barnacle Black Ear is shivering his timbers and making landlubbers walk the plank, his son is swinging in the crow’s nest with his nose buried in a book. When a dreadful storm threatens to scuttle the ship, will Henry the bookworm bunny be able to save his father’s pirate crew?

    The Giant and the Joneses by Julia Donaldson

    Jumbeelia is a young giantess who wonders down from her own world to find Colette, Poppy and Steven Jones. She is so taken with the children that she picks them up and pops them into a bag and takes them back home with her. The children soon find themselves locked up in Jumbeelia’s doll house. It takes a lot of clever thinking and courage for the children to figure out how to escape the doll’s house and return home.

    The Sneetches and other Stories by Dr. Seuss

    A wonderful Dr. Seuss classic, this collection of four stories will bring joy to children of all ages and the lucky adults who get to read to them. The books starts off with the tome of the unfortunate Sneetches who learn that pointless prejudice is harmful and unnecessary. Next we meet south-bound Zax and North-bound Zax who get stuck on each other in the prairie of Prax. The Zax’s are followed by Mrs. McCave who had 23 sons all named Dave and lastly we find a spooky story of a pair of haunted pants.

    Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French

    If you’ve spent countless hours wondering what wombats do all day, then ponder no more because this delightful, hysterically funny book will answer all your wombat-related queries. While the wombat’s diary starts off with mostly scratching eating and sleeping, things heat up when the wombat discovers its new neighbors; a human family. While the humans are really pleased with their new ‘pet’ and don’t seem to mind her digging up their garden or reducing their welcome mat to scraps, the wombat finds her human family easy to train and is rather pleased with her new pets. The illustrations are really adorable and you’ll love this funny little story.

  • Brilliant Study Tips to Cut Study Time and Improve Grades

    Pic by Saad Faruque

    Knowing how your brain and memory work will help you to maximize your study time. Spend less time hitting the books for even better results. When you feed your brain properly, get enough rest and convert information to the best possible form for you, you’re going to be surprised at just how much you can remember.

    Feed your brain

    While your brain only takes up 2% of your body weight, it consumes 20% of your daily calorie intake. That means for your brain to work properly, it must have the right fuel. The brain doesn’t like just any old calories either, it runs on glucose which can be found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

    Without a ready supply of glucose, you won’t be able to concentrate and you will experience memory loss. This means you will have trouble staying focused on your text book and will have to read the same chapter more than once if you want to remember it.

    If you have too much glucose—like the kind you find in high-sugar foods such as candy and cake—it will also negatively affect your memory. What this means is that instead of subsisting on a diet of coffee, soda and gummy bears while you are studying, eating healthy food will actually help to boost your memory. That means you don’t have to spend as much time studying and you’ll actually remember more.

    Know your learning style

    Each student has a learning style; some are visual learners who like pictures, videos and mind maps while others are auditory learners who like to listen to lectures or read aloud. You need to figure out your learning style. It’s often a combination of two or more learning styles so get a teacher to help you with this.

    Once you know your learning style, you need to convert the information you need to retain into a format that suits you. For example, if you are a visual learner, convert your notes into mind maps, watch videos on the concepts you need to master rather than reading a text book and search online for webinars that you can watch.

    When you present information in a way that suits your learning style, you are able to understand and retain more information. Converting information into formats that suit your learning style is something you should be doing throughout the year so that you make studying easier.

    Get enough sleep

    Studies showed that students who didn’t get enough sleep were not able to focus or retain information. The greater the sleep debt, the worse the students performed. Dr. Avi Sadeh, a lecturer at the University of Tel Aviv, conducted a study to find out just how much sleep deprivation affected academic performance; “A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development.” What this means practically is that a sleepy eighth grader will perform academically closer to a sixth grade level. Pulling all-nighters is just about the worst thing you can do for your exam performance. Instead, get enough sleep, exercise and eat healthy food when you study to ensure that your brain is performing optimally.

  • Charity Starts at Home

    pic by Sharon Mollerus

    As the season of excess approaches, balance out your holiday indulgences with charity work and volunteering. Teaching your children to be charitable is a great gift for them and for the community in which you live. When children do volunteer work and interact with people who are less fortunate, they learn to be grateful for all that they have.

    Getting the picture

    Teaching gratitude can be a difficult lesson as children compare themselves to their peers and don’t have a global frame of reference. Helping them to be charitable to others introduces them to people outside of their comfort zone so that they can see just how fortunate they really are. Besides, giving really is better than receiving and the joy of helping others is a wonderfully rewarding experience for kids.

    Talk about Charity

    While being a good role model is key, research shows that talking about charity is an effective way to introduce the idea. Get your kids to list all the things they have to be grateful for and talk about the fact that others may not be as fortunate. Discuss financial charitable contributions and doing things for people in your community that don’t cost money. Pair fun activities with giving so that your children have positive associations with charitable work.

    Give them a vote

    Ask your children what they would like to do for charity. It can be something like donating toys and old clothes, raising money for a charity of their choice or helping a neighbor with daily chores.

    Get older children to investigate charities in your community and in the world that they would like to contribute to. Visit local food banks or shelters to volunteer. When they meet people in their communities and read up online about conditions in developing countries, they get a more tangible idea of what life is like for other people.

    Include Mother Nature

    While charity tends to focus on our fellow humans over the holidays, don’t forget the environment on your list of things to do. Discuss with your kids ways in which they can improve the environment in your backyard, in their communities, in their country and in the world.

    Here are a list of things you can consider for charitable activities over the holidays:

    1. Visit a local senior’s home and talk to the residents.
    2. Volunteer at a local toy drive or soup kitchen.
    3. Donate toys and clothing to charity.
    4. Help elderly neighbors to shop, shovel their drives or take out their trash.
    5. Ask some of your relatives for charitable gifts instead of personal ones. You can buy a goat for a family in Africa, plant a tree in a reforestation program or sponsor a child’s education.
    6. Raise money for a good cause through bake sales, cocoa stands, doing chores for neighbors etc.
    7. Feed the birds and other wildlife in your yard.
    8. Organize a garbage cleanup of your local natural areas.

    Raise money for endangered species.

  • Lack of Sleep Leads to Poor Academic Performance

    Pic by Dave Emery

    Latest studies show that teens just aren’t getting enough sleep and this has far-reaching consequences. When teens don’t get enough downtime, they suffer from physical ailments, poor academic performance, and mental health and behavioral issues. We all know that young children need sleep and routines and so we have bedtimes. But, as children get older, we tend to forget that their brains and bodies are still growing and that they need more sleep than adults.

    Studies show that teenagers need 9-10 hours of sleep. Without proper sleep, memory and the ability to concentrate as well as higher cognitive functioning is severely affected. This means that when your teen pulls an all-nighter to study for exams, they are setting themselves up for a poor performance on exam day.

    A survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of high school students suffered from extreme daytime fatigue which caused them to regularly fall asleep in class. They attributed this to the average of 6.5 hours of sleep that the students we getting.

    Dr. Avi Sadeh, a lecturer at the University of Tel Aviv, conducted a study to find out just how much sleep deprivation affected academic performance; “A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development.” What this means practically is that a sleepy eighth grader will perform academically closer to a sixth grade level.

    Lack of sleep also reduces the efficacy of immune systems and that leaves students vulnerable to all the illnesses they are exposed to at school. Missed school days also contribute to poor academic performances.

    One of the reasons teens tend to stay up late is biological. Sleep researchers Mary Carskadon, at Brown University, and Bill Dement at Stanford found that at certain times of our life, our biological clocks keep us up and make us resistant to sleep. This phenomenon is called ‘phase delay’ and occurs before and during puberty. That means that your poor teen doesn’t feel in the least bit sleepy despite the fact that they really need their rest.

    One way to encourage students to sleep is by taking a melatonin supplement just before bed, by encouraging exercise and healthy eating and by getting your teens to avoid computers, games and academic tasks at least two hours before bedtime.

    A Harvard study discovered that the brain continues to learn even after you fall asleep. This is when it consolidates information and works through processes or steps you have learned the day before. Have you ever found that you were struggling with something, but then after a nap or a good night’s sleep, you suddenly got the hang of it? That’s because while you are sleeping, your brain was working on the problem without the noise and distractions of the day.

    If you want to help your student to excel academically and be healthier and happier, then more sleep is definitely the answer. Move your Zzzzz to A’s this semester by making sure your students are getting all the sleep they need.

  • Dealing with Competitive Parents

    Pic by Beth Kantor

    From tiger moms to competitive sports dads, parents can sometimes put undue pressure on their children and on teachers. They can also make other parents feel judged and inadequate. When this happens, the community and support system that is essential to raising healthy, happy children is eroded. Understanding what motivates competitive parents and learning how to deal with them can help to establish a supportive and caring infrastructure that creates the perfect environment for students to learn and grow.

    Why parents compete

    Understanding why some parents are competitive can go a long way to helping you to deal with them in an understanding and constructive way. Parenting really is the most difficult job because it doesn’t come with a manual. Every day, parents make decisions on how to raise their children which they understand will have far-reaching consequences. It’s intimidating and some parents need to reassure themselves that they are making the right decisions by justifying their positions.

    Unfortunately, some take this too far; to the point where only their ideas on parenting are validated and they may be a little aggressive in defending them. Family therapist, Mary Beth McClure explains: “Because there’s no external system of reward, we can always feel like we’re not doing enough, no matter what. So becoming competitive with another mom can be an unconscious way of trying to prove to ourselves that we are doing okay.”

    Dealing with judgment and competition

    Understanding that competitive parents could actually be insecure about their own parenting decisions may help you not to take their judgments personally.

    Avoid having these conversations around your children as they should not be made to feel bad when another parent is bragging about their child’s achievements.

    The best way to promote a positive parenting community is to be a good example. Compliment other parents on jobs well done or on the achievements of their children.

    When parents brag or judge, tell them they are doing a good job and then change the subject. Praise given in front of peers or authority figures like teachers, coaches and principals is even more rewarding. A recent study by Make Their Day and Badgeville found that most employees would choose recognition in front of their colleagues over a pay raise. This helps to highlight the importance we place on getting recognition and praise.

    Avoid gossiping about other parents and don’t encourage this behavior in others.

    When you feel like a parent is being judgmental or competitive, explain gently how they are making you feel—you may be surprised at their reaction. Most parents really don’t realize that they are acting in a negative way and they may appreciate the head’s up.

    Forming cohesive, supportive parenting communities can be a wonderful asset for parents, tutors, teachers and schools. When we work together, we can create a caring environment for families that helps them to thrive and grow.  So try to be open-minded about other parent’s techniques and foster friendships and community among your school’s parents.

  • Tutors: How Every Student Can Benefit

    Pic by the US Department of Education

    While poor test scores and bad grades are obvious indicators that your student needs help, there are many other instances in which a tutor can really help your child to learn the skills they need to be confident, independent, successful learners.

    The most important factor in determining whether your student could benefit from a tutor is communication; speak with them about the kinds of help a tutor can offer and speak with your child’s teacher too.

    Building Confidence

    Not being top of the class can cause students to feel less confident. This, in turn, could seriously affect their performance in class. When students lack confidence, they tend not to ask or answer questions in class. The teacher may overlook quieter students and they won’t participate in class and group activities with as much enthusiasm which will affect their academic performance over time.

    Executive Skills

    More than other assets like intelligence and talent, executive skills determine the success of a student. The ability to organize time, prioritize tasks and memorize data is key to academic performance. If you know that your child is smart, but they don’t study, have trouble focusing, often don’t hand in work or fail to study for exams, they may need some help with their executive skills.

    Teaching executive skills early on will ensure that they are able to handle their workload in later grades and at college. While they should get some training in executive skills at school, large class sizes mean teachers just don’t have time to teach these skills.

    A one-on-one tutor who specializes in executive skills can help your child to organize their time and carefully plan so that they leave enough time to complete assignments and study for exams. Learning to focus and acquiring memorizing skills will also help to minimize time spent studying.

    Honing these skills should reduce the daily homework hassles and frantic morning searches for lost homework or anxiety over forgotten assignments.

    Academic Foundations

    Each student will have gaps in their academic foundations which get compounded as they move through their school careers. Each new grade builds on the last and teachers don’t have the time to go back and explain work that has already been covered. When your child gets one-on-one tutoring, their tutor is able to start at the beginning and work through the academic foundations to find gaps and fill them.

    Better Grades

    Students with great grades need tutors too, especially if they have schools, scholarships or programs they want to qualify for. If you have a talented student that has started to struggle, chances are they are just bored. When gifted students get bored, they tend to stop paying attention in class and don’t work as hard because they aren’t challenged. When this happens, their grades suffer and they may miss important opportunities.

    Whether your child is bored or they want to turn their A into an A+, you can trust a one-on-one tutor to help them to excel. Your tutor can work with teachers to find extra, more challenging work for your child to take on.

     

  • Money Lessons All Children Should Learn

    Pic by MikiI Yoshihito

    Teaching your children how to effectively work with their money provides them with an important life tool that is essential for their future success. You can start from an early age to teach them how to effectively budget, how to save and how to focus on providing for their needs before spending money on things they want.

    Budgeting

    Learning how to create a budget and live within it is arguably the most important financial lesson any kid could learn. Luckily, it’s an easy one to teach. It’s never too early to start teaching kids to stretch their finances to accommodate their lifestyles. Start with an allowance that should cover all the ‘I want’ requests.

    Lori Mackey, author of “Money Mama and the Three Little Pigs” suggests a 10-10-10-70 system for teaching kids to budget.

    “When your child gets their first dollar, we suggest that you teach them to save 10 percent, invest 10 percent, give 10 percent and live from 70 percent. When you give them a dollar, you give them two quarters and five dimes and then you sit with them and say this dime is for something that is important to you or that you want to help,” she says. This money can go to a charity or school drive or to a family member who needs assistance.

    The Value of a Dollar

    Once your kids start getting the hang of budgeting, give them some practice. This could mean that they have to take care of their own budgets. Here you can give them a weekly or monthly budget and they have to use this to pay for all their own expenses like school lunches and trips, stationary, internet and phone bills.

    You can also allow them to participate in the family budget. This means they can be responsible for planning the family meals for one week to fit into a budget. They can also do the grocery shopping so they get a better idea of what things cost and how much money is spent on day-to-day living.

    Wants versus Needs

    An important concept that goes hand-in-hand with budgeting is the idea of wants and needs. Helping your child to identify the difference between these is a lesson essential to effective money management. They must learn to identify their needs and budget to cover these before spending money on things they want.

    Saving

    Encouraging saving is a slightly more difficult idea as the deferred gratification can seem too far away for impatient children. One way to help is to have a piggy bank or jar. Watching the jar fill with savings each week is a good visual and tactile representation of the rewards of saving.

    It also helps to have a goal to save towards. Start with short-term goals that are more attainable so that your child gets rewarded before they get bored or lose interest. Then help them to select bigger and more long-term goals when they get the hang of it.

    Investing

    The last 10% of their allowance should go towards long-term investments like college funds. You can also teach older kids how to invest their own money so that they understand how to do so for the long-term.