How’s your Student’s Sleep Schedule?

We all know the sacrifices students make in the pursuit of their schoolwork. At the top of the list is sleep. Students dedicate their time to their assignments, homework or exam prep and forget about one of the factors that allow them to focus and perform at their best, sleep. We see it all the time, in the movies or tv shows and I’m sure it even premiers in your households, the cliched all-nighter. Despite its comedic appeal in movies, the reality of an all-nighter or affected sleep schedule can interrupt a student’s lifestyle.

It’s no secret that with an irregular or subpar sleep pattern, student’s performance and academic results decline. I mean it seems all too obvious, yet students continue to sacrifice their Zz’s just to complete one more question or one more sentence. Having a solid and consistent sleeping pattern can mean the difference between acing the exam tomorrow or falling asleep in it because you’ve prioritised the wrong thing.

Now your student might not believe you when you tell them this, but trust us, we’re a credible source. Here we go…it takes approximately 4 days to recover from a 1-hour sleep deficit. Just let that sink in. If your student didn’t get the recommended amount of sleep (6-8 hours for those not in the know) required on Monday, realistically they’re not going to recover from it until the weekend. So, for that whole week, they are going to be functioning on a sleep deficit. Now to me, and I hope to you too, that doesn’t sound like a good combination of high-quality academic performance that week at school.

Monitor their sleep. You and your student can take this really literally and get out a pen and paper to jot it all down. Or you can simply take notice of the changes and habits that occurred during their sleep. In doing this, you’ll start to see certain factors or activities that happen before, after or during sleep that contribute to the overall quality of the sleep. Once you’ve figured out what they are and what they are responsible for, you might be able to identify some possible triggers or solutions to get a better night’s sleep.

Look into alternative methods. These could include taking up yoga, efforts of relaxation or simply some visualisation techniques. Such methods could be the key to getting into a deeper sleep. Maybe establishing a bedtime routine would be beneficial. Your body might learn to wind down and follow the necessary steps to getting ready for bed. Or perhaps it might be as simple a trick as blocking out the light or noise. Blackout curtains are one way to achieve this and let me tell you, they work a treat!

Unfortunately, many students suffer from different variations of sleep deficiency. Incorporating these steps into the discussion and solution might ease the pain of getting up each morning for school or early commitments.

Should I get my Student Help?

Unless you’re in the classroom with your student each day, it can be tricky to determine whether they are struggling or not. Even more so, it can be hard to pick whether or not they are struggling more than the other students or if their struggle is part of the challenge. Perhaps there’s the added struggle of having no or little communication with the teacher, meaning they can’t communicate or indicate the need to seek further help. Not to worry, after years in the business we’ve compiled together our top signs of when it’s right to bring your children in!

  1. Are they struggling with the basics? Have you noticed your student failing to improve because of their lack of understanding of the fundamentals? In this situation, students will find it difficult to progress if they can’t use and implement the basics of the subject or concept. This can often be the first sign for parents to indicate for them to keep an eye out.
  1. Focusing is a hard task. Perhaps external factors contributing to this one, but let’s be real, it’s kind of essential to this whole learning thing. Even if it means focusing on non-academic tasks, it might mean practising focus and attention. Start with small things, like cooking or tasks that you can watch and notice their distraction level with. Just being aware of things like this can be mean the difference in starting to assist your child’s education now or later (and then it might be too late).
  2. They need to spice it up. Is your student not feeling challenged? Maybe you think that they could benefit from learning new skills or concepts. Or you would like to introduce them to new perspectives or ways of approaching problems. In the same way that every student is different, we can’t expect every teacher to be the same. Your student’s focus and grasp at the basics might be up to standard but their teacher’s way of teaching or describing something just won’t stick. Seeking another intellectual, that’s maybe a bit younger or went through a similar curriculum might be the key to having things explained a little better.
  3. They’ve got an important exam coming up. For some students, a school entrance or scholarship exam could be right around the corner. In that case, maybe not everyone in their classroom is completing the same things. So, it might be that your student needs someone to devote their time and energy to focus on one topic or a particular set of questions. Even if the teacher is involved, getting an extra set of hands in to help the cause won’t hinder or halt the student’s progress.
  4. They enjoy learning. It can be easier to spot the signs of when a student needs tuition because they’re struggling. But can’t there also be times where students want tuition? They want tuition because they like independent subjects, they want a challenge, or they like to hand in their assignments at the very best standard they can be. These types of students are always welcome to a little bit of help, no matter their excellence or academic ability.

With trained, screened and committed tutors, your student will benefit from our one-on-one experience. Bringing your child in is just the first and exciting step. We’re here to help solidify the basics, get that focus back into gear and assist in any way we can. Tuition not only provides tools for students in their education now, but it can be beneficial in the future too. So, if after reading all this (I do hope you’ve gotten to the end), and you think perhaps your student falls into one or more categories, contact us today!

Why you and your Child Should Read Together

It’s understandable that in between work, getting the family organised or other commitments, time spent just with your student can be few and far between. It can be hard to prioritise time amongst all the other requirements, but if you find the time, seize it. The ultimate gift and use of your time can be sitting with your child to read with them. If you’re wondering we’re so passionate about the benefits of reading with and to your children, here’s why…

By way of reading, students in return improve their memory and remembering skills. In combination, their problem-solving skills are also enhanced. In reading stories and tales of certain characters, students can identify themes and examples of problem-solving themselves.

Whether it’s a series or just a one-time novel, the feeling students gain from following the protagonist’s story will always be beneficial. Their mental health, like spending time with them, is of the utmost importance. So, when their reading and connecting to the story and its characters, it can trigger hormones. Along with the happy hormones that are generated, comes another good feeling of comfort and relaxation. And who doesn’t want to be both relaxed and comfortable?

Reading a picture book, novel or even a memoir can teach students things. No matter their age or reading level, there’s always something that can be taken out of reading and getting to the end of the story. Students learn the value of empathy and by-product, how to feel empathy for others in the book and then translate this to their own world of people.

With you by their side, either reading to them or listening to them read to you, there’s a sense of togetherness. It’s a way to bond and keep in tune with your child and their learning at the same time. Students also get the satisfaction of a comfortable environment to read in, with someone who is going to encourage and support their learning and their reading.

Some other tips we suggest when it comes to reading is to let your student choose the book. Students will be much more inclined to continue with the story and be engaged when it’s something they are directly interested in. To further that engagement, encourage voices or different ways to personalise and characterise the characters in the book. Using expressive voices or motions will excite the students and introduce a sense of immersion within the story.

Reading doesn’t have to be a chore or something students put off. Perhaps adding in reading to the nightly routine before bed can be a calming way to wind down, whilst still including a sense of learning within the activity. Students’ confidence, remembering skills and mental health will be positively improved.

Teaching Students to Stand Up for Themselves

In any environment students find themselves in, there’s a need for students to feel valued and accepted. In the case where they feel underappreciated or unheard, its important they know that one, that’s not okay and two, they have the right to advocate for themselves. Self-advocacy involves the idea that any individual has the ability to speak on behalf of themselves and their desires. This type of skill and confidence is important for any student wanting to gain a sense of independence. Standing up for yourself and your associated beliefs will also not go astray after school in the workforce or the pathway your student decides to take.

To advocate for themselves, students need to gain an understanding of their own personal strengths, weaknesses and needs in all environments. Whether it be at work or school, at home or in a social setting, there are certain qualities that each individual can offer and there are others they need to be aware of. Having an awareness of when to contribute or when to listen is effective in being an active member of any conversation. This knowledge will assist students in knowing when the time is right to speak up and advocate for themselves.

We’re all going to fail. Even the best of the best in any field have failed or encountered setbacks. It’s never something to be ashamed of, in fact it’s something to celebrate. If students feel challenged or stuck, encourage them to speak up and ask for help. Self-advocacy doesn’t have to be centred around the individual and their emotions. In this case, it could be advocating for their education or a better standard of education. Situations like this will also contribute to students’ strengths and weaknesses when they discover what they need to do more of to overcome the challenge or how to improve for next time.

Confidence and standing up go hand in hand. Having the confidence and strength in your emotions, needs and the standard to which students as both an individual and as a student should be treated, are inherent to their confidence in and outside of the classroom. Backing themselves and their ideologies leads to success by way of perseverance and a sense of belief in their achievements and strengths.

Standing up for yourself takes time. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the confidence every day to tackle the adversities and imbalances we may experience and disagree with. But it’s important to remind your students and yourself for that matter, that self-advocacy develops over time. As you get to know yourself and the strengths and weaknesses that come with that identity, the confidence will come.

JUST IN: Student’s don’t Benefit from Pulling an All-nighter

If that title came as a shock to you, then you must be a student reading this. If you’re anyone else, you already knew. All-nighters can’t be good for you. They might sound fun at a fifth-grade sleepover, but the night before an exam? Really? Our answer, surely not.

If you’re unsure of the term or activity that is an ‘all-nighter’, let me explain. Essentially, it’s in the name. Students stay up all night (you guessed it), without even a peep of shut eye to either cram for an exam or finish an assignment. This all happens before the impending deadline that is the next morning.

Now, there’s no excuse for students who partake in this type of foolery. I’m sure your teachers gave you deadlines and I’m sure they even reminded you of its due date. So why then are you up at 3 am fighting the urge to sleep to finish an assignment that should have been finished and left to edit the week leading up to it?

I hope that by now you’re convinced it’s a bad idea. But if more convincing is what you need, extra convincing coming up!

The perceived reputation that comes with pulling an all-nighter is not cool. It doesn’t give you a badge of honour nor does it give you an almighty power above your fellow naïve peers.

Your sleeping pattern is way out of whack. Consecutive all-nighters being pulled can mean a new sleeping pattern. And a sleeping pattern that does not compliment a student’s lifestyle.

You won’t be productive. You’re too busy thinking about the crevice you’re going to make later in your un-made bed. So whilst you’re thinking about your 300-cotton count sheets, your teacher is trying to teach you a new Maths concept that inevitably is lost in ‘your plans for later’ thinking.

Thankfully, whoever, whatever, however, designed this earth we find ourselves on, they stipulated that when we say goodbye to the sun and hello to the moon, it means that we also say goodbye for a few hours or two. So why would you want to stay up long enough to say hello to the sun again, only to find you never even said goodbye or goodnight more like yourself? The moral of the story you may ask, well, it’s unhealthy.

All-nighters should be used to impress people nor be the hope of students’ terrible time management. Organise your time better and get rid of those unnecessary tasks. Don’t be a showoff in the pursuit of cramming. It won’t serve your ego or your goals.

How to Balance Work-Work and Schoolwork

As students get into their senior levels of high school and then again in their tertiary years of study, other commitments fight for priority. Some of those commitments include family or friend gatherings, sport or extracurricular activities or a possible part-time job. It’s not uncommon for students to have a part-time job on the side to support their possible shopping addiction or to put in the piggy bank for later. Whether or not it’s for practical or what some would argue impractical reasons (sorry shoppers), it’s always important to know your priorities. The most important take away is that work will come second because its only a supplement to the schoolwork you must complete. If your student or a student you know struggles with prioritizing their work commitments with their study commitments, give them these tips!

First of all, don’t take after-hour shifts. We’ve heard it all before, but we’re not kidding when we say that students need AT LEAST 6 – 8 hours of quality sleep each night. So, getting home at 10 pm or 2 am in some circumstances is no lifestyle for a committed student. Working late-night shifts will drain you of your energy and the needed motivation for the next day. In turn, the performance and quality of work or effort may reduce into the negatives. If this doesn’t sound like something you’re up for (good, you’re listening), then talk to your managers. Have a chat and maybe explain your situation. Determine a time you’re willing to work till and then anything after that is not going to work with your school commitments.

Set your limit. Being a full-time student means there are certain hours and days of the week that are dedicated to that work. Some days need to be set aside to get that assignment done or to finish the readings. Whatever is required, it’s important to prioritize these as opposed to a casual 3-hour shift. Again, you might have to have another conversation with a boss or manager. Confirming the number of hours you are comfortable to work each week or on a fortnightly basis and stick to it. The holidays or Uni-break can be times where you may take on the occasional extra shift. But when you’re in your term or semester stick to the discussed hours.

Ask for help. There’s no shame in seeking help of any form. In this case, it might be financial. If the need to work crazy hours or take on shifts that cut into study time is fueled by the need for more money, then maybe its an indication that help is needed. This help could come from an institution or organization, university support scheme or scholarship or an agreed-upon allowance from parents or family members. Having this in your back pocket will eliminate the need to work more and schoolwork less.

If none of those tips can be put into practice, step away. Take shifts on the holidays or when study dies down. But in the case where your superiors can’t accommodate or understand your wishes, find a new position. If that sounds like you, why not consider tutoring with us! We’re flexible and understand the importance of your study and the commitment you must attach to it.

Twas’ the night before an exam

The night before an exam can be a stressful time. The anticipation of what the next day brings can often cloud judgements. It can increase stress amongst students. This stress can then lead to unusual behaviour that is guaranteed to be unhelpful for the exam the next day. Things like cramming, pulling all-nighters and skipping meals in pursuit of more study are common tropes of the night before an exam. To eradicate the unusual and unhelpful behaviour, follow our below tips!

A common myth of studying, especially before an exam is that all of the topics, all of the questions and all of the things in between need to be covered. But guess what! It certainly does not. Studying for an exam should not occur before the night prior. It should be a gradual and consistent process completed in the upcoming weeks and days. So, the night before should consist of light studying. Perhaps there is one question you’re not sure of? Maybe a specific chapter of content that is a little fuzzy? That’s the thing to focus on. Go over light notes and cover what you need to.

Relax. Whilst it might seem trivial or unproductive, relaxing is a great way to prepare the mind for the day ahead. Read a book, cook dinner or take a bath to ease the mind. If the thought of relaxing doesn’t bring comfort to student’s worrying minds, bring the notes into the bath. Relaxing will not only ease the stress of thinking about the exam, but it will reset the mind as well.

Ensuring a nutritious dinner is had is also high on the priority list. We often hear people saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But, when an exam is around the corner, we’d argue that the meal the night before could be just as important. Get the greens in, get the 5 and 2 in, get it all in. Perhaps a cheeky square of chocolate couldn’t go astray in the motivation department either.

Sleep. 6 – 8 hours. Do it. And under any circumstances, there will be no all-nighters. Students, do you hear me. Anything outside of the specified hours of sleep will do no good. It won’t help you tomorrow when you’re sitting in the exam fighting to keep your eyes open. I can only hope at this point you’ve listened to our advice and actually slept. But, in the case you’ve done the opposite and even if you have, before you get the shut-eye, set an alarm. Not so late that you’ll be rushing to get ready and not too early that you’ve skipped the number of hours required. But like Goldilocks, just right.

So, there you have it. No cramming, only light study/review. Relax don’t stress. Have a nutritious and delicious dinner. Get sleep and no all-nighters. That’s all it takes to prepare for an exam!

‘Great Job’ goes a Long Way…

We’re always trying to motivate students. We’re trying to get them to persevere or to just finish the homework. I’m sure as parents and educators, we think we’ve tried all the tricks to get the motivation flowing. But perhaps there’s something small, yet impactful that we might have missed in the process. Now what I’m talking about is encouragement. It sounds simple and it may even sound like something you do with your student, but are you sure? Are you encouraging them when they’ve done something good or corrected a previous error? Are you providing words of affirmation to ensure they will overcome the current challenge or obstacle? On reflection, you might find that you don’t or you don’t encourage enough. We’re here to change that!

Saying nice words that lift the student and their spirits up will always help the attitude to learning. Words and phrases like “Keep it up”, “Good” or “Great Job” create a positive environment. Learning in a positive environment can trigger a positive attitude and mindset to get ready for learning. With motivation and positivity on their side, we can expect an increase in the effort applied by students.

Obstacles and challenges are bound to show up. They are both a part of life and a part of learning. But students aren’t going to get through either if they don’t feel encouraged or supported in their pursuit. Students might say “I can’t do this” or “I’m not smart enough for this.” But what do you say in response? Try encouraging students to pursue using phrases like “I’m here to help you through this” or “You’ll get it with practise!” When they are faced with a challenge like this, never let them think they can’t do it. That not only develops a lack of confidence but also low self-esteem; two attributes we don’t want to see in any of our students.

If students get the hang of a concept or make good on something they’ve been struggling with, celebrate it! Now we’re not talking about a party-like celebration (although we definitely would not discourage it). What we’re talking about is an encouragement celebration. Stickers, words of affirmation and praises of behaviour are appropriate. Perhaps they’ve put extra work in or reviewed a little longer than usual to get there. If that’s the case, explain the importance of their progress and how their education will benefit if they continue the behaviour. Who knows, the student might even implement it after all the praise it received!

Encouraging students is key to building motivation and momentum with their studies. We don’t need new big ideas or to constantly think of ways to get the ideas flowing or the words on the page. Sometimes all it takes is some reaffirming words to promote support and ensure students are aware someone is always happy to help.

Change is Good, but when’s the Right Time?

A little bit of tweaking here and there can sometimes break it completely or put it all back together again. Perhaps the tweak that you and your student need is a change. A change of scenery, a change in routine and a change in schools. It might be that you’ve noticed your student feeling less motivated than usual when the school alarm goes off in the morning. Or maybe you’ve been feeling a little neglected or out of touch with their teacher and the school community? We’re here to help you get to the bottom of it. We’ve got what we think are 5 tell-tale signs of when it’s time to spice things up; time for a change.

Numero uno, your intuition. Your gut is never wrong. If you think there’s something going on with your student in regards to their relationship and attitude towards school, then follow up on it. Try to spark up a conversation with your child to determine if there are other factors contributing to the sudden disdain for school or if something really is going on at school. Try to prompt questions, but don’t let your judgement and conceptions convince your student that they aren’t happy with the school, let them come to the finalisation themselves.

Next up is their behaviour. If the crying and moaning at the gate amps up it could be a sign they’re not enjoying themselves. Perhaps it’s a change on the behaviour front altogether. Have they withdrawn from the family? Are they acting like themselves? If the answers are not what they should be, again, get the conversation going. Nothing is going to happen if the two of you are tiptoeing around the problem, unsure whether to broach the topic to one another.

Are you emailing your student’s teacher at 2 am hoping for a reply? There’s a fine line with communication amongst a teacher and the student’s guardians. Expecting 2 am replies is a hard ask, teachers are lucky if they get 15min in their 8 am – 4 pm workday for a bathroom break. So, interrupting their sleep and not getting a reply at 6am is a little understandable. However, going weeks on end without a reply or even an acknowledgement of the email is harsh. This combined with a lack of updates and communication be an indication.

Is the tennis court or Olympic standard swimming pool distracting you from the education in the classroom? Or perhaps those facilities are something that was on your list. Whatever the resources you want or don’t want, don’t let them cloud your judgement of what you think your student and their education deserve. Is the abundance or lack of resources distracting you from what they are missing? Or maybe it prompts an idea of something else that is not up to standard?

Timing may also be another sign to look elsewhere. The school you chose 12 years ago for your first student may not be the right choice for your current or future students. Despite the same parents, family or upbringing, not every sibling nor student is the same, meaning school isn’t a one fits all. And perhaps, maybe the school you chose 12 years ago isn’t that same school either. They’ve changed. And they’ve changed into something you maybe don’t align with anymore or you’ve changed too and what different things out of education and your children’s school.

Changing schools may not be the cure to your student’s change in behaviour, but it also shouldn’t be the first resort. Work together to find a solution that serves you, them and their schooling the best.

What Tuition is Right for Me? Online? In-Home? Centre?

Like anything, everything is different for everybody. So, when it comes to tuition, some methods and deliveries might be right for some but not for others. It’s important to consider what might work for your student and what you know will not, because in amongst that you’ll find your answer. Whether the answer is online, in-home or at one of our centres, taking the first step to tuition is exciting. It’s a new opportunity for students to learn and foster the opportunities that their access to education affords them.

What’s your student’s education style like? Do they thrive with routine and a clearly laid out schedule? In that case, maybe centre tuition could be a fit. Our centre tuition has the access to resources and textbooks that accompany the current curriculums. In this way, centre tuition could be advantageous for those in scholarship positions or students who have a strict curriculum to learn and follow.

Do they like to cover and review the day’s work? Or maybe something that they have not quite gotten the grasp of yet? Then I think in-home might be the best option! It affords students the ability to have a tutor come to their home or a meeting place of their choosing to provide the time to assist with the topic of concern.

And for our more tech-savvy students, online is a perfect choice. Conducting the session online with our program equipped with all the needed resources makes sure the session runs smooth just like it would in the classroom.

If supervision and some free time to get that grocery shop done are on your checklist, our centres can tick that off for you! With our admin teams always present, you can skip out for an hour to get those last-minute errands done. However, perhaps if that extra hour could be better used engaging your student while dinner is being cooked, then why not get one of our tutors to come to you! But if travelling is just out of the question or you and your student find yourself in a remote location, online is the way to go! Each of our services can be flexible to suit you and your student.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your type of tuition. You’ve already got it right by choosing tuition and trusting us to provide it. But perhaps my way of explaining things still leaves two options head-to-head or you’re just looking for some more information to confirm your choice, why not ask us! Our admin team are always happy to provide their expert opinion and help you knock out a pros and cons list to better inform your decision.

What a clean, organised workspace can do…

Now more than ever, hygiene and cleanliness are treated with more respect. Now regardless of whether or not the-shall-not-be-named-you-know-what can be regarded as the cause for this, we’re thankful. Going into the new year and the new school year means a whole new opportunity for organisation and cleanliness. Now whilst it would be nice, to have this philosophy with everything in life, sometimes it’s not possible. But! For students, one clean organised thing we think can be put into place, is a tidy desk or workspace to study in!

Whether it’s in their bedroom, in a mutual space or on the dining table (not our preferred), having a clean and tidy environment to study in is vital for motivation amongst students. No doubt, students will have at least some homework to do in the afternoon, even if they say they don’t…trust me they do. So, in that case, they’re going to be spending a lot of time there. A crowded and over-embellished work environment won’t encourage students to continue with their studies. The fact is, that unfortunately, it might distract them. Perhaps in the bedroom isn’t a feasible position for your student’s workspace, but ensuring there is somewhere, even if a corner of the home to go and study, will assist in getting the job done.

With newfound motivation, comes the improvement in performance. Students can perform better in an environment that is neat and tidy, that is also just for them. It’s a bonus if everything they need is effortlessly found, making the process easier and quicker.

A clean (and consistently cleaned) desk will also reduce the risk of illness or catching a cold during school terms. Providing a spray bottle and wipe every day before the student sits down will allow the student to understand that the space is intended to be kept clean and organised. Not only can a tidy workspace increase students’ physical wellbeing, but their mental wellbeing as well. A messy environment can trigger anxiety or stress for some students, removing focus from study and the task at hand. And maybe, just maybe, wiping down the desk every day might even make them branch out and clean the kitchen bench…you never know!

Having a dedicated space to themselves helps assist students in focusing their minds on their studies. It tells the body that when they are in that space, their objective is to study and learn. That environment being clean, and tidy will further assist the student when it comes to motivation, performance and wellbeing.

Making Friends at School

Making friends can be a daunting activity. It’s especially daunting for new students or students just starting out at school. But for some people, making friends is easy. They might be confident and a bit of an extravert, making it easier for them to include themselves in a conversation. However, for our shyer or introverted students, making friends can seem a little difficult. But that’s not to worry!

Getting involved is a great way to find people with similar interests. It might be a sports team or a club. Inserting yourself into a situation where you feel confident and interested in will allow you to converse with the others. The common interest in whatever the club, sport or activity focuses on, is a great starting point for a friendship.

Going up to a group full of people who possibly all know each other and are engaged in conversation may spark a sense of anxiety. But chances are, there’s someone in the playground who is just like you. So, why not approach them? Approach the student who might be sitting alone on at a desk in class or the student wandering the grounds at lunch. They might be just like you at the start, a little shy and nervous, but that can also be common ground too!

Ask questions. It’s a lot easier for someone to talk about themselves initially. Some people love it more than others… Asking what they’re favourite TV show is, or what their favourite subject is or what they got up to on their holidays, gets it off and running. You can also keep it going by asking some follow up questions. Asking what the show is about, why they like that subject and if they have any plans for the next holidays. Once the conversation gets going, it’s likely that the other person involved will flip it around and ask questions of you.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to make friends by pretending to be someone you are not. Now we know it sounds cheesy, but yes, we are saying to just be yourself. You’ve heard it before I’m sure, but have you ever put it in to practise? Who wants to be friends with someone who doesn’t really understand who you truly are? We don’t and we don’t think you do either. Perhaps not everyone will like you, but there will be people that do. The fun is finding those people!

It’s always daunting at first with any new situation. Rome wasn’t built in a day…unfortunately. So that means, you may not have found your bestest friend in one day, but just wait. Be yourself and act confident.

From Tutor to Parent

It can often be hard to communicate with teachers and tutors. In between the busy-ness of life, interaction with teachers can deteriorate. But keeping up with your students learning both via communication with their teacher and tutor is important to stay a valid member of their support network. But to help out, we’ve combined a few of our common tips and tricks from tutors for the parents out there.

Don’t be afraid to communicate or reach out. Taking pride and interest in your student’s learning will always be a good thing. Being in constant communication with your tutor and teacher ensures you are up to date with what your student is doing. It also allows for issues or concerns to be discussed as well as the improvement your student has made. In knowing your student’s strengths and weaknesses, it also allows you to help with better knowledge of what’s going on at home.

Try not to compare your students progress or learning with peers and other students. It can be very easy to slip into the habit of comparing with the student next to yours. It’s important to remember that not everyone learns at the same rate or with the same persistence. Making sure that you are focusing on your student and their progress only, will keep those nagging thoughts to look over at bay.

Advocate for your child and their learning. If you feel your child is disadvantaged or you want further stimulation, again communicate with your teacher. Making sure that your student is both challenged and encouraged is not nagging, it’s sticking up for your child and their learning which is extremely important. Not only will it advantage your student, but it will teach them to stand up for their own learning and follow suit.

Relate learning and the lessons learnt in the classroom to real life. Students can often be disappointed or confused when they try to apply what they have learnt to something tangible in their world. It can create a change in attitude and a negative perspective on their learning. In promoting the ways learning is utilized both at home, in the workforce and to function, students can find a new sense of appreciation for their learning.

Prioritizing your student’s learning and communicating with your tutor or teacher is vital for their growth. Keeping up to date with what’s going on and maybe what’s going wrong will only advantage your student.

Creativity: Why It’s Important and Why It’s Important to Foster it

Some say you’re either one or the other. You either approach problems and situations with a creative or logical approach. Whilst I’m sure we can see the importance of being logical and why it’s important to nurture it. But what about creativity? It’s the foundation for a lot of students and where they find passion and confidence. So yes, being logical and thinking critically is important. But what happens when you need to think out of the box? That’s where the creativity comes in; something every student should value and nurture.

Being creative whilst providing a sense of fun and entertainment for students, also brings about happiness. In having a fun and limitless approach to learning, students can feel more comfortable to both be themselves and participate. In exercising their learning and ideas in a comfortable and creative environment, students can also build a sense of resilience. When faced with a problem, students can find alternate approaches and use creative thinking to find a solution.

A sense of creativity in student’s approach and thinking can also lead to successful grades. Student can perform better in being passionate about the subject. Creativity allows for some freedom in the classroom. It allows for students to apply their own spin on a situation and it also allows for students to be individuals in coming up with their own ideas and ways of answering certain questions and situations.

But how can we ensure they don’t lose it?

Encourage students to use their own unique thinking. Thinking out of the box is never going to be a disadvantage. Coming up with your own ways and ideas to things can be rewarding and successful at the same time. Emphasize the idea that it is okay to not have the same thinking or approach as peers. Being different can sometimes mean a stronger outcome or even getting their quicker.

Reinforcing this idea that it’s okay to be different or unique is also a great way to foster students creativity. Students can feel validated and reassured that while it might not be the same approach as the student next to them, it doesn’t mean it is any less. Sometimes taking the scenic route offers more reward.

A little trick that also might come in hand is asking open-ended questions. When asking definitive questions, students can already find the answer. It decreases their thinking and does not foster self-discipline. In asking open-ended questions, students are forced to think creatively and for themselves.

Creativity will also be welcomed. Whether it’s in the workforce or the classroom, students should feel validated and assured that their creative thinking and approaches are encouraged.

Why we Should Evaluate Students without Grades Too

There’s nothing like a slap to the face when students are handed a grade they didn’t expect or wasn’t what they had hoped for. It can be disheartening. A simple letter or symbol next to it has the power to alter moods and confidence. So, if both validation and satisfaction rely on a certain letter to be presented, how are we ever going to have consistent happy students? Confidence shouldn’t be reliant on a letter and the one we hoped for. Trying other methods of encouragement and evaluation is one way we can ensure students are motivated and confident in their studies.

Comment on their improvement. This doesn’t have to be grade dependent or focused either. Measuring students improvement in the way they approach a question or focus in class is a way to analyze and notice improvement. The speed or rate of which they improved these skills is also another tactic to evaluate with respect to improvement.

Sometimes the amount of effort put in, doesn’t necessarily agree with the lettered outcome. Students can work extremely hard for a grade they feel doesn’t reflect the time or effort dedicated to the cause. Praising student’s efforts and the hard work they put it in to an assignment or study for an exam is an easy way to increase students’ confidence and self-esteem.

Have you noticed their willingness to participate in class? Maybe they come home and talk about the discussions they had in class that day or the question they got right when they raised their hand to answer. Noticing these little anecdotes might be the result of an increase in or willingness to participate in their classes and with peers. Picking up on this and making note of them to your student might even open their eyes to their change in behaviour.

Is your student excited to get up in the morning for school? Do they skip to and from the school gate? Then, perhaps your student has also had a change in attitude. Praising their positive outlook on their education and going to school is a great way of acknowledging their improvement. Students will find motivation and an increased sense of self-esteem in being encouraged to keep up the positivity.

Sometimes we don’t need to assess students in relation the little letter their assignments or exams are awarded with. Their improvement in and out of class as well as their attitudes can also be tells of a positive and confident student who is succeeding and progressing closer to their goals.

Choosing the Right Essay Topic for Tertiary Admissions

Moving on to the next phase for some students involves progressing from secondary to tertiary education. It’s an exciting step but a big one at that. Students will find that they are now responsible for due dates and motivation to get it all done. But before they get to that step, let’s help them get into University, TAFE or their next chosen education journey.

It’s important to research what the school or schools are looking for. Look into what makes them, them. Do they have a focus on community involvement or volunteering? Perhaps they place emphasis on specific virtues and ideologies? By utilizing these ideas in their essay, not only does it appeal to those reading them, but could also help to ensure their essay is the one that stands out.

Now, standing out whilst in some situations isn’t the ideal, in this situation it definitely is. Standing out could mean the difference between getting in and just missing out. No one wants to read the same essay a handful times with the only adjustment being the name of the student. No! The admissions team want to ready unique, genuine stories from individuals. Brainstorm values, experiences or perspectives that you have as a student and an individual that make you, you. Write them down. Once you think you’ve got it, go with it. If you’re not sure which one to go with, pick the one you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s a story about one of your travels or a hardship you’ve gone through in life. It might even be the value you place on family and why. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you can write about with purpose and motivation because without that, your essay won’t be finished nor up to the standard it should reflect.

Check out some common essays or essay topics. If you’re still stuck with what to write about or haven’t quite found your rhythm yet, get some inspiration from others. It doesn’t even have to be about university. You could find inspiration in an essay from someone you look up to or someone who writes about the things you like too. Whether or not you take specific inspiration from ideas or topics other authors have chosen, it will spark motivation in readings others’ prose.

It’s always important to produce a good essay whether it be for school or admissions. Providing your desired institution with an insight into your potential as a student and character as a person will enable them to determine whether the two are a good fit.

But sometimes the words just aren’t flowing onto the page. If that’s the case, our tutors are more than willing to assist. With experience in entrance exam and essay writing, we can guide you with one-on-one tuition.

When is it Time to Step in?

School is a time. You’ve got the wonders of education alongside the trials and tribulations of growing up. Students whether they say it or not, are dealing with a lot. And for that, we’ll cut them some slack. Maybe…But what it is important to look out for is low self-esteem. There are little signs and triggers that can indicate that your student is struggling and dealing with low self-esteem issues. But when is it the right time to step in? Whether you’re not sure what seems to be troubling them or want to be prepped for when the time may come, keep reading.

Are they having trouble taking criticism? It might be in the classroom or it might be at home. This criticism isn’t delivered with ill intent (I hope). It’s for the student’s benefit. To help them with a task or to guide them closer to a target or specific achievement. It’s a natural instinct to become a little embarrassed or uncomfortable when someone is delivering comments or advice of a critical nature. But that doesn’t mean the current project or state of the assignment is wrong or incorrect. Indicating to students that criticism is natural and actually a key tool in progressing both in the classroom and outside of the classroom will help the concerns and low self-confidence.

These kinds of attitudes to criticism can lead to a decreased sense of self and motivation. Motivation is a key aspect of schooling and really, any task in life. Sometimes we might not have it, and that’s okay. But there comes a time where we have to get it back and persevere. When students get into their senior years of schooling, both motivation and discipline will become their best friends. Practising and ensuring motivation now will encourage students and foster a solid foundation for their feature endeavours either at school or in the workforce. Things you can look out for is leaving assignments and tasks to the last minute as a sign of possessing a lack of motivation. Perhaps students are also not willing to complete their homework or do the groundwork to get it all done. Noticing and pointing out these behaviours to students can spark a discussion and solve the problem at hand.

Maybe your student has lost interest in new things or just doesn’t want to branch out for their comfort zone. They don’t want to try out for that new sport or they’ve had enough of doing an activity they normally like. This shift in priorities can be a clear sign to trigger help and interruption to ensure students are okay. Reassuring students of their worth and value both as students and individuals can help increase their self-esteem. Having support and encouragement around them will slowly make tackling new problems and activities less daunting.

Embracing your student for their achievements so far is an important responsibility as a member of their support system. Students need to understand that their failures and words of criticism are not roadblocks, but just obstacles to overcome.

Why Cooking is Great for the Mind

Creating and making up recipes in the kitchen will always be fun. Losing some flour on the floor or eating half the mixture before its made is part and parcel of putting the apron on. Students can go through phases of taking over in the kitchen, really embracing the responsibility and role the chef’s hat brings to the table. So why not encourage it? Whilst procrastibaking (Yes…it’s a term now ladies and gents) is a thing, getting creative and producing a product that students are proud of can be great for their confidence and mind.

Now, unless their gearing up to be the next MasterChef or challenge Jamie Oliver, it’s likely they’ll be following a recipe. Recipes often involve steps where activities and tasks need to be completed in a certain order within specific time frames. Following rules and recipes like these, teaches students the importance of following instructions. Being able to read, understand and then perform an action can translate into the classroom. Students will be able to follow their teacher’s instructions clearly and learn to read the instructions and questions carefully to ensure all the information is absorbed.

Whilst there is a recipe and set of instructions to follow, there’s also a little bit of leeway for things to get creative. Whether it’s the toppings on a cake or the colour of the icing, students have the opportunity to take charge and let their creative instincts strike. Even picking the recipe or deciding on what to bake, ignites the creative cycle. Students can also feel a sense of responsibility in picking the recipe and ingredients needed to create their cake of choice.

A good cook needs to know and learn how to multitask. Boiling the water while prepping and cutting should be on the agenda for any aspiring chef. Students practising these skills in the kitchen will give them the confidence to take this mindset with them into their studies. Working on an English assignment that’s due on Friday, whilst studying for an exam that’s on Monday is where the multitasking comes in. With experience in multitasking activities and juggling due dates and time frames, students can tackle their studies with a little bit of ease.

It’s no secret and it’s also no use trying to keep it a secret that every chef fumbles. There’s mishaps, mismeasuring and mistakes from reading the recipe to dropping the cake from out the oven. It’s not so funny at the time, but thinking back on those times will bring a little chuckle to mind I’m sure. Stuffing up and failing at times will assist in fostering your student’s growth and approach to failure. Quitting the kitchen after a mistake won’t help when times get tough with the books. Resetting and re-framing the mindset will not only de-stress the situation but might bring about a new approach to find a solution.

We’re not all Jamie Oliver. We can’t all guess how much spice to add, or how many ml’s of that liquid. We need measurements right? Well, I certainly do. Students using instruments and cooking utensils to measure out flour, sugar, milk and other ingredients is a real-life maths exam at play. Getting the right measurement exact and possibly even converting fractions into cups or ml’s will get the maths side of the brain flowing together with its creative counterpart.

How to Make for a Super-productive Student

Are your students struggling to get anything done? Do you often find yourself having to encourage your student to get their homework finished or start that assignment they’ve been putting off all weekend? It sounds like you’ve got a bit of an unproductive student on your hands. Motivation and perseverance comes about a little sparingly in your household. It’s hard to get them ready and focused on the tasks, but they’ve gotta get the job done. To help them do so, you might need to give them a helping hand.

The best way to get things done is to set it out. Put it all down. Writing an outline of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done makes your student accountable for their studies. A due date on the wall next to a list of tasks that need to be done to make sure it is in on time assists in building up the motivation to tackle it.

But I bet your student still needs a little more motivation. Why not set out some goals? Better yet, set out some SMART goals. For those trying to figure what the heck each letter means, let me spell it out for you. S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Relevant, T – Time-based. These types of goals make the work seem a little less trivial and more achievable. Literally mapping out what your student wants to achieve by the end of it all will surely spark some sort of creativity or get them out of their funk or writer’s block that’s been preventing them from getting it all done in the first place.

For the younger students though, maybe goals and setting it all down just isn’t going to work. For one, their goals are a little smaller in the younger grades. Finishing a 1,000 word essay now becomes trying to master your 3 times-tables or finding the difference between vowels and consonants. Which by the way are still just as big goals…just for tinier people, … but we can see why making sure that’s relevant or measurable becomes a little bit tricker. So for my younger friends, I have a suggestion. Two words, one piece of paper, a commitment contract. Now, this one isn’t legally binding I can assure you. But what this little but mighty piece of paper can do is, it can hold those younger students accountable and committed to their schooling. Starting off with a statement like ‘I will focus on…’ to then something like ‘I am committed to…’ is the easiest way to get your commitment contract signed. Students can put in their own focuses and commitments to tailor it to their own learning, but at the end of the day, that squiggly red texta signature down the bottom means they’ve got to stick to it.

Being productive doesn’t mean you have to nag. Yeah sure, it’s frustrating when they’d rather watch Netflix than finish that report, but let’s face it, we would too. But getting those SMART goals and Commitment Contracts set in order will make for some super productive, super motivated and super focused students…hopefully.

Is This the Right School for My Student?

Education is of the utmost importance. It lays the foundation for reading and writing, which are essential to functioning in any society, culture and workforce. So where should you send your student to school to get this education? Should it be private or public? Would you like it to be religious or not? Perhaps you would like your student to attend a single-sex school as opposed to co-ed. You might even consider boarding school or another option where you find yourself outside of the radius. Clearly, there are a few factors to consider to ensure that you pick the right one, so here’s a few things we think will help make up that pros and cons list:

  1. Ask around: Get the feel from past and present peers and students. Getting the insider insight into school life, the staff and the facilities offered can help make your decision. Perhaps you place importance on the grounds or physical components of the campus, so getting the do’s and don’t’s from those who know it best will help guide you into what school best suits your student’s needs.
  2. See where others are going: Just like asking around, ask neighbours or relatives where they are thinking of sending their students. They might have an option or school you haven’t yet considered that could be the right fit. Considering where your student’s friends and relatives are attending may also influence your decision depending on whether or not you wish for your student to attend with them.
  3. Think about your own schooling experience. What was important to you as a student? What do you enjoy the most about your school? Was there something that you maybe didn’t enjoy? Thinking of yourself as a student and putting yourself in your now student’s shoes can open up your ideas and perspectives of what’s needed and what’s probably not.
  4. Do your research. With the help of our trusty friend google, you can now peruse school websites and information whenever and wherever you’d like. Looking into past events, current staff and future plans can be a big factor in the ole’ where to go to school decision. You might find that their future plans or what they offer is not something you value and therefore need to look elsewhere.
  5. Location and Travel time. Just as a logistical factor, it wouldn’t be ideal having to travel 1 hour each way every day in peak traffic. Keep in mind, most schools also have a radius where they allow their students to come from and for some schools you might just miss out by a few kms (annoying I know). Start with schools in the area or somewhere with convenient travel time and go from there.
  6. Co-curricular activities and opportunities. What is on offer? Do they have a rugby or netball team? Do they have days to volunteer or give back to the community? What about academic co-curricular opportunities? Perhaps a school trip or excursion? By not just focusing on the academics and logistics of school, schools can be found to be so much more.