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TFALC Blog - The Family and Learning Center

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  • (858) 454-7303
  • Bonnie Weiss
  • September 21, 2018 07:33:19 PM
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A Little About Us

The Family & Learning Center provides a unique type of one-on-one tutorial intervention called Educational Coaching. Our blog provides educational tips to improve your child’s study habits.

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    Back to School Organization: Starting the School Year Strong

    The beginning of the school year is a time for setting expectations and creating habits. Students who establish strong routines now benefit throughout the rest of the year, and this all starts with back to school organization. If they use their lecture notes to check their recall of information and […] The post Back to School Organization: Starting the School Year Strong appeared first on The Family and Learning...

    Back to School Organization

    The beginning of the school year is a time for setting expectations and creating habits. Students who establish strong routines now benefit throughout the rest of the year, and this all starts with back to school organization. If they use their lecture notes to check their recall of information and set up flashcards with vocabulary terms, they are usually prepared for their first tests and maintain a productive study approach.

    If they use a planner to keep track of assignments and prioritize their work, they typically manage their after-school time effectively. On the other hand, students without consistent home routines often end up with piles of unsorted papers, missing assignments, and/or overwhelming workloads.

    Back to School Organization Strengthens Executive Functions

    Many of these crucial habits rely on executive functions, which often do not fully develop until people reach their mid-20s. Executive functions enable people to plan, sequence, and monitor their own actions. To support students who are still developing these skills, adults can provide environments that promote planning, organization, and self-monitoring. Providing students with physical planners and showing them how to turn their upcoming tests and assignments into a daily to-do list is an essential aspect of time management and task initiation.

    Parents can also help by checking and rewarding planner completion until it is a firmly established habit. Similarly, having a weekly organization check-in can benefit students who struggle in this area. With regard to self-monitoring, strategies like verbalizing thought processes and checking work can improve students’ awareness of their own thoughts and actions. When adults model how to talk through their thoughts and double-check their completion of everyday tasks, they show how this strategy works. Students can also grow more independent in self-monitoring by setting up electronic reminders, reflecting on goals, and journaling.

    Supporting students as they set up their school year routines is a complex task. Ultimately, students must become independent in their application of executive function skills, a process which requires making mistakes and learning how to problem solve. However, students must first be provided with tools and modeling that guide them towards using executive function skills effectively. As one expert in the field suggested, “Provide the minimum support necessary for the child to be successful. That’s a flexible maxim: on some days and in some situations, the child needs more support, at other times less. It’s not just kids who are learning as they go—adults who work and live with kids are doing the same.

    Would your child benefit from strengthening their executive functions by learning strategies to be more organized and better manage their time? If so, contact The Family & Learning Center to find out how we can help.

    The post Back to School Organization: Starting the School Year Strong appeared first on The Family and Learning Center.


    Register Now For Academic Year 2019 – 2020!

    We hope that you and your family are having a fun-filled summer! With the school year quickly approaching, we are now accepting scheduling requests for the academic year Educational Coaching sessions, which begin on Monday, August 26th. We schedule students on a first-come, first-served basis. Please keep in mind that spaces […] The post Register Now For Academic Year 2019 – 2020! appeared first on The Family and Learning...

    Register Now For Academic Year 2019 - 2020!
    We hope that you and your family are having a fun-filled summer!

    With the school year quickly approaching, we are now accepting scheduling requests for the academic year Educational Coaching sessions, which begin on Monday, August 26th. We schedule students on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Please keep in mind that spaces are limited and after school times fill quickly. If you have questions about our recommendations for your child’s academic year program, please contact Bonnie Weiss at (858) 454-7303.

    We appreciate if everyone completes the scheduling request form, even if you’ve already notified the office of your preferred schedule.

    Scheduling Request Form

    We will be contacting you in mid-August to confirm your child’s schedule.

    AY 2019 – 2020 Registration Form

    The post Register Now For Academic Year 2019 – 2020! appeared first on The Family and Learning Center.


    Vocabulary Development Over Summer Break

    Our knowledge of words shapes our connections with our environments. The limits of our vocabulary define the limits of our communication by changing what we can understand and what we can express. Some have even proposed that people in different cultures experience emotions differently based on whether they have a […] The post Vocabulary Development Over Summer Break appeared first on The Family and Learning...

    Our knowledge of words shapes our connections with our environments. The limits of our vocabulary define the limits of our communication by changing what we can understand and what we can express. Some have even proposed that people in different cultures experience emotions differently based on whether they have a way of labeling a particular feeling. Since vocabulary is so powerful, we should aim to help students build up word knowledge on a daily basis with vocabulary development.

    Vocabulary Development Over Summer Break

    During the school year, students often receive specific word instruction and develop word-learning strategies. They might learn to connect with new words by sketching visual representations, using the words to describe their own experiences, analyzing word parts, or creating semantic maps of information about new words. All of these activities help them link the new vocabulary to what they already know, which leads to easier recall and independent application.

    Summer break can also be a fruitful time of vocabulary development because most vocabulary emerges indirectly through repeated exposures to words in conversation and reading. For students who are not yet comfortable reading books on their grade level, listening to parents read or following along with audiobooks can be a beneficial part of their summer routine.

    When students listen to stories at their grade level, their vocabulary expands. Adults can pause briefly during read-alouds to explain new words and give other examples of their use. The most useful words can then be incorporated into conversations in the following days.

    By the end of the summer, students will return to school with the confidence to understand content on their grade level and express themselves precisely.

    The post Vocabulary Development Over Summer Break appeared first on The Family and Learning Center.


    School’s Out for Summer, Now What?

    Although summer can be a great time to take a break from the daily grind of the school year, it is still important to maintain a routine at home. In their blog post “How Not To Go Crazy With Your Kids Home This Summer,” Coffee and Carpool suggests 6 things […] The post School’s Out for Summer, Now What? appeared first on The Family and Learning...

    School’s Out for Summer, Now What?

    Although summer can be a great time to take a break from the daily grind of the school year, it is still important to maintain a routine at home. In their blog post “How Not To Go Crazy With Your Kids Home This Summer,” Coffee and Carpool suggests 6 things to do every summer day. If school’s out for summer, now what can parents do to keep their children in a routine?

    These suggestions are so much more than just ways to keep your children busy. Through these activities your children will be developing valuable and lifelong skills.

    • Learning Time and Reading Challenges keep your child’s brain engaged and prevent summer slide.
    • Morning Structure and Chores help build and reinforce executive functioning skills.
    • Free play and Fun help foster creativity, strengthen social skills, and provide the opportunity to try new things.

    Click here to read the full blog from Coffee and Carpool, and learn how to keep your sanity this summer while helping your child build critical skills.

    The post School’s Out for Summer, Now What? appeared first on The Family and Learning Center.


    Maximize Test Performance

    The end of the school year is filled with tests. Replacing ineffective study methods with effective ones can go a long way towards successful results, but sometimes it’s not quite enough. The way you take tests also impacts your scores. As with other aspects of learning, test-taking can improve through […] The post Maximize Test Performance appeared first on The Family and Learning...

    Maximize Test Performance

    The end of the school year is filled with tests. Replacing ineffective study methods with effective ones can go a long way towards successful results, but sometimes it’s not quite enough. The way you take tests also impacts your scores. As with other aspects of learning, test-taking can improve through the application of appropriate strategies.

    These tips can help maximize test performance:

    Starting

    If your test preparation involved memorizing essential formulas or rules, you should offload that information immediately on the top of the test or scratch paper. Doing a memory dump of key information before starting the test provides a reliable reference and frees up mental energy. Then, you should preview the exam to get a sense of its length and content. This helps you manage your time and start brainstorming relevant information.

    Problem-solving

    As you go through the test, you can continue to support yourself by taking a strategic approach. One option is a technique called “hard start, jump to easy.” Instead of completely ignoring the hard questions until the end when you are already exhausted, start with a hard question and work on it until you feel stuck. Then shift back to some easier questions and keep making progress. Come back to the hard question if you have an idea about it. Otherwise try some other hard questions in between the easy ones. This allows your brain to keep brainstorming solutions in the background without using up too much time.

    While working on individual questions, you want to make sure you fully understand what they are asking. The first step towards understanding the expectations is to read the directions. Underlining any key words in the instructions can keep you focused on the right task. If you keep annotating each question throughout the test, you are more likely to notice important details and stay on track. Keep an eye out for qualifiers like “always,” “never,” “all,” or “none.” Paying attention to these important details helps you correctly apply the information you have studied.

    Finishing to Maximize Test Perfomance

    Once you finish answering the questions, it is time to check your work. Try to do more than skim through and see whether you filled in all of your answers. Reread the questions and see if your answers make sense. There is no need to second guess your initial instinct, but do change your answer if you have evidence your answer is wrong, you realize you misunderstood the question, or you recall new information. After this final check, you can feel satisfied that you have completed the test to the best of your ability.

    The post Maximize Test Performance appeared first on The Family and Learning Center.


    Time to Finish Strong

    Persistence, stamina, perseverance, grit. In the final months of the school year, students need this drive to keep trying when confronted with challenges, failure, and exhaustion. It’s time to finish strong! Not yet… Persistence relies on a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset means seeing mistakes as learning opportunities and […] The post Time to Finish Strong appeared first on The Family and Learning...

    Time to Finish Strong

    Persistence, stamina, perseverance, grit.

    In the final months of the school year, students need this drive to keep trying when confronted with challenges, failure, and exhaustion. It’s time to finish strong!

    Not yet…

    Persistence relies on a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset means seeing mistakes as learning opportunities and believing in the potential for improvement. When a growth mindset directs people’s actions, they are more likely to persevere through challenges. A leading researcher of motivation referred to growth mindset as using the “power of yet” instead of being “gripped in the tyranny of now.” For example, a student might get stuck thinking about how right now he does not understand his chemistry unit. If he thinks instead that he does not understand it yet, he can encourage himself to try different approaches, research the concepts, and reach out for help.

    I can do this.

    Developing a growth mindset leads to more positive self-talk. Sometimes people find it easier to encourage their friends and loved ones than to encourage themselves. If they consider how they would encourage someone else, they can start replacing negative self-talk with supportive thoughts. Teaching students about positive self-talk can help them persist through discouraging moments and stressful situations.

    Stepping towards goals

    To maintain a growth mindset, it helps to be aware of long-term progress. At The Family & Learning Center, we often reflect with our students on their strategy use and the concrete outcomes. After a test, students reflect on beneficial strategies, unhelpful strategies, and areas to target for improvement. By refining their approach, they learn from their performance to make sure their effort is effective over time. Positive results in the long run motivate ongoing hard work.

    When a student is working towards a long term goal, they can also sustain their motivation by setting steps along the way. As the end of school approaches, students benefit from spreading out finals studying and chunking big projects into smaller pieces. Getting a reward at the end of each step can help students who have a hard time with goal-directed persistence. Then they can continue giving their best effort all the way through the last day of school, and finish strong.

    The post Time to Finish Strong appeared first on The Family and Learning Center.


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