Tutor A Team is excited to announce that we have won the Angie's List Super Service Award for the second consecutive year!
This esteemed award is only given to the top 5% of Angie's List education service providers.
The Super Service award reflects an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2015.
Angie’s List Super Service Award 2015 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must also be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check, and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.
Thank you to our friends and clients in the Tutor A Team community for the consistently outstanding reviews. You help us grow our business and help more families!
The sun is shining, a sweet breeze is blowing, and temperatures are perfect for riding bikes, cooking on the grill, playing outside, and more! What could be LESS appealing at this time of year than piles of books and homework?
We get it. The temptation to slack off these last few weeks of the year is strong, and it's easy to think that a few weeks of light effort won't make any difference. Students think, "I've done my homework all year long ... what are a few missed assignments going to hurt now?"
Here's what's wrong with that line of thinking. While, yes, the school year is almost over, the learning and exams are not. This is the time of year for major culminating projects and exam/SOL test preparation -- big tasks that count for huge chunks of the final average, and test scores that become part of your permanent record. Just as students and parents start losing interest in the school year and setting their sights on summer, some of the biggest challenges of the school year are popping up!
Here's how to keep your focus and finish strong, even when Mother Nature and summer days are calling your name.
1. Stay organized. That planner you've been using all year to track assignments and make to-do lists? Don't stop now.
2. Allow brief breaks. Nothing wrong with taking a quick walk around the block while you study for exams. Make a relaxing lap and get back on it.
3. Get creative with your "office space." Head out to the back deck to study, or meet your project group at the park. When the weather is glorious, you can enjoy it while still getting your work done.
4. Remember all the work you've already done. You've worked too hard this year to blow it all on a few lazy weeks. Dig in and stay motivated.
5. Make a great last impression. If your teachers, coaches, and counselors have been working hard to help you grow all year long -- don't sour their memory of you by tanking in the last quarter. Show your maturity and gratitude by finishing strong.
6. Get some sleep. Longer daylight hours sometimes trick us into staying up late. Make sure you're getting enough rest so you can be your best each day.
7. Set goals. Yes, you're finishing a year, but you're not done learning. (Hint: you never are.) What goals can you set for the last quarter? For summer? For next fall? Be thinking of your next steps for success and how you can start working toward them now.
8. Eat healthy. Study sessions are known for being prime opportunities to guzzle caffeinated sodas and munch on bag after bag of chips -- but these foods leave you feeling bloated and gross. Take advantage of the season's fruits and stay hydrated with plenty of water for energy that lasts.
9. Treat yourself. Each time you knock out a major task -- take an exam, submit that final essay -- find a way to reward yourself for staying the course. Maybe that's an Instagram break, a trip for ice cream, a Netflix movie, or a skateboard outing. Whatever it is, make sure you take a little time to celebrate your hard work.
10. Envision the finish line. You are so close! When your motivation sags, close your eyes and imagine what it'll be like to feel the sense of pride and accomplishment when you've done ALL THE THINGS. And done them WELL. It's going to feel great! So just hang in there and keep plugging away.
Teachers, parents, grandparents -- share this with your hardworking kids! And tell us in the comments -- what are your best tips for staying motivated through May and June?
And as always, if your student needs more help than you can provide, give us a call. We can help ensure a strong finish.
We just learned that we received a Service Award from Angie's List. This award is given to the top 5% of Angie's List businesses nationally. We consistently earn an A+ rating with Angie's List.
That means we have a lot of happy clients!
Thank you, Tutor A Team community, for your support. When you take the time to let others know how we've helped you, we are able to help more people!
We appreciate this recognition and will keep working hard to earn it year after year.
It can be really hard to help your own child overcome school troubles.
The problem is that you, the parent, can't get an objective view of the situation. You hear your child's version of events, and the teacher's version of events may not match. Your child may blame the teacher or be afraid to admit to her real level of effort. The teacher may be overwhelmed with struggling students and unable to give your child the time she needs.
Everyone may feel defensive about the situation, and the truth is likely somewhere in between the version you hear from your child and the teacher.
We recently received this note from one of our tutors, and we think it highlights an important benefit of hiring a professional tutor:
"I met with Sam and his mom this morning for an hour. The trouble he has been having has been remedied, but we are meeting again next week to work some more and to work ahead. It is my opinion that the teacher, being new, is leaving out some important steps in the problem solving process. Once I showed those to Sam, he was fine. Prior to this unit, he was doing well in class, but we will keep going back as we prepare for his midterm. We will continue to work as needed and schedule time to review for the midterm exam as well. I just wanted to give you an update. They are a very nice family."
In this situation, the fresh perspective of a professional tutor not only helped get the child back on track, it also gave the child's mother an understanding of what was going on and how her son could address the issue moving forward.
It's not about assigning blame, but it IS about getting an objective handle on the issues affecting your child's performance in school. Just one or two sessions with a caring, conscientious tutor can make all the difference for your son or daughter.
If you've been frustrated or confused by your child's school troubles, leave us a comment or get in touch today! You can fill out our web form or call us at (757) 410-1919. We love to troubleshoot students' problems, and we're happy to offer a fresh, objective perspective.
Most of us can recall a book from middle or high school English class that gave us a great deal of trouble. Classic literature can be tough, even for students who are generally solid readers. If your child struggles with reading, classic texts can mean a lot of struggle and frustration.
Learning to break down and comprehend challenging texts is an important skill, however -- one that will serve your child far beyond her school years. Our teachers offer the following tips for improving comprehension:
What other strategies have you tried? Leave us a note in the comments! And if you try these tips but find that your child still needs help, give us a call.
A recent study revealed that only 8% of Americans successfully keep their New Year's resolutions, which is a shame, because January is the perfect time for students to embrace a clean slate and set goals for the second semester.
Why is January so perfect?
Well, for one, students are generally well-rested after a break for the holidays. Also, with midterm exams and the second semester beginning, it's a good time for reflecting on study habits and taking steps for improvement.
Let's talk about some resolutions that could benefit your child as we begin the New Year:
Resolution #1 -- Get Organized
Now is the time to clean out binders, go through the desk, and set up a clean, well-organized study area. It's hard to stay on top of things if your work space is cluttered and messy!
Resolution #2 -- Keep and Use a Planner
Students, particularly middle school students, love to think they can remember everything they need to do. "I don't need to write it down!" they say ... until suddenly they are caught empty-handed when a big assignment's due, or they find themselves unprepared for a test. The start of a fresh, clean year is perfect for choosing a planner that works for your student and teaching him/her how to record homework, check off tasks, and keep track of project deadlines.
Resolution #3 -- Set "Now and Later" Goals
It can be hard for young students to see the point of the daily school grind and be motivated by its impact on their future. Homework is important but it can also be hard and boring -- while video games, friends, and sports are fun right now! Help your student make the connection between the daily work of school and long-term goals. Discuss future dreams and career plans, and set one "later" goal. Maybe your child wants to be a veterinarian, so that's the later goal. Then talk to your child about how the work he or she does every day in school connects to that "later" goal, and set a "now" goal that will be a building block for that future dream. Maybe your child needs to improve her science grade because she will want to establish strong skills in biology and chemistry for her future career. Helping your child make the connection between now and later can be very motivating!
What are your New Year's Resolutions? What do you hope for your child in 2015? Leave us a comment and let us know! And as always, if your child needs support reaching for academic goals, let us know. We love to help!
Last week, one of our new tutors sent us this message (with names changed to protect privacy), following a back-to-school session with her student:
I had an excellent session with my client, Becky, last night. When I first came, her dad said she was not happy because he had just yelled at her for forgetting her math homework at school.
She was feeling like a failure. By the time we were done, she had gotten the math problems texted to her by a friend, we had worked on getting her planner and binder organized and we had gotten the rest of her homework nearly done -- all in good spirits. She was so happy, telling her dad corny states jokes I had just told while going over her map homework, and best of all, she felt so much more confident than when I had arrived there. I left feeling like she was ready to take on school the next day. Times like this truly inspire me as a teacher and validate why I love to teach. I had to share it with you since you are the reason I am tutoring right now. I am so happy to have an outlet for doing what I love to do most -- motivate and inspire struggling students.
And there it is, the very best reason to get your child a tutor: "She felt so much more confident than when I had arrived there."
There was a situation in that home that night that most of us are all too familiar with -- a stressed and unhappy child, a frustrated parent, and no homework getting done. By the end of just that one tutoring session, that child was relaxed, confident, and ready to tackle the next day of school.
That's a priceless result, for both the child and the parent.
Getting your child a tutor is an investment in her self-efficacy as a learner. You're not just trying to get her math homework done; you're trying to equip her with the skills and confidence to continue learning and succeeding on her own, long after the tutor is out of the picture.
How can we help your child build that kind of learning mindset? Leave us a comment below, or give us a call today!
As summer draws to a close, many families in Hampton Roads are rushing around to get ready to go back to school. It can be an exciting, yet hectic and stressful, time for students and their parents. Back-to-school is one situation where it pays to be proactive, so consider these three tips for making this school year the best one yet.
1. Get Organized
Think about your routines from last year. Were you losing permission forms? Was homework left behind on the kitchen counter? Were you rushing back in from the bus stop to grab shoes for PE? Was every morning a mad dash to make it to school on time with all needed papers and supplies? Start this year right by implementing a few systems to help your routines run smoothly. Decide where your child will do homework (hint: not near the TV), and stock up on the needed supplies. Set up a basket or paper tray (on the counter or mounted on the wall) where you can keep school papers and forms. Think through your evening routine and make a plan with your child to get school things organized the night before -- backpack stuffed, papers signed, clothes selected and shoes located, and everything ready in a designated spot. Keep a family calendar in a shared spot so everyone's on the same page. These are simple modifications that can really de-stress your mornings.
2. Get On Schedule
Don't wait until Labor Day weekend to get your child's bedtime back on school hours -- that's too late! Start the shift now if you haven't already. You want your child to be rested and bright-eyed on the first day of school. In our house, we've been kind of terrible with enforcing a bed time. If bedtime is supposed to be 8:30, we find that pajama-selecting, teeth-brushing, story-reading, water-getting, etc. all add up to kids who are still awake at 10:00 p.m. Lately, we've been doing a "head to bed time," and it's working much better. Instead of shooing the kids upstairs at 8:28 for 8:30 bedtime, we start the routines much earlier, around 7:45. This gives everyone time to unplug from iPods and TV, handle their bedtime routines, and have quiet moments to read and talk before lights out.
3. Get In Touch with School
Now is the time to think about any special communications that could help your child as the school year starts. If your child has allergies or special medical needs, get in touch with the school nurse. If your child has learning needs and has an IEP or 504 plan, get in touch with her teacher or the school's case manager and make sure that everyone is aware of your child's learning needs. If your child has a weak subject or needs remediation, get in touch with us! We can talk about back-to-school tutoring programs. If you can, consider reaching out to your child's teacher and offering to help with back-to-school set-up and parent communication. Even if you can't volunteer in the classroom, introducing yourself and staying in the loop is a great way to show support for your child's education.
Teachers and parents, what strategies will YOU use to make this school year the best one yet? Leave us a comment with your great tips!
It's August, the time of year when everyone's thoughts turn back to school. While we still have a few (hopefully sunny) weeks left of summer, you need to start thinking about how to prepare your kids for a successful academic year.
For some kids, back to school is an exciting time to get some new shoes, shop for colorful supplies, and compare class assignments with friends. For other children, however, this is a time of anxiety and dread.
Will I know anyone in my class?
Will my teacher like me? Will I like her?
Am I going to bomb math again?
I barely survived Spanish last year. I know I'm not ready for Spanish II.
I procrastinated on my summer assignments, and now I don't know if I can finish.
You can address this kind of back-to-school anxiety with some easy steps to ease the transition in the weeks ahead. Here's what we recommend:
1. Keep a positive attitude. Even if you are also dreading school (and the ensuing homework battles), don't model negativity for your child. Be positive and encouraging. Remind your child of the good things, such as seeing friends each day and playing at PE. Tell your child that the year is a new beginning, and you are confident he can succeed.
2. Involve your child in the preparation. Let your child open the school mailers, and have her mark the calendar with important dates (such as Open House). Make a shopping list with your child, and when you can, let him pick out the colors of his notebook or the style of his lunchbox. Little things like this give your child a sense of control and excitement about school.
3. Ease back into school routines. If your kids have been staying up late and sleeping in, now is the time to start adjusting the schedule so you don't have to do it all at once on Labor Day weekend. Same thing goes with meal schedules and other household routines. Has your child been reading this summer? Make it a part of her daily routine now. Everyone fares better if the first week of school doesn't come as a mental and physical shock.
4. Consider summer tutoring. If your child's back-to-school stress is related to a history of difficulty in school, do what you can to make sure he starts of strong this year. For many kids, the right thing is a few hours of summer tutoring. This can offset "summer brain drain" and also give your child a jump start to the curriculum for the fall. Nothing eases anxiety like early success and confidence. We have learned that a little summer tutoring -- being proactive -- is more effective, less stressful, and cheaper than playing catch-up in September.
How do you get your children ready to go back to school? Leave us a note in the comments!
I encourage all parents and grandparents to strongly consider helping their students PRIOR to the start of the school year in September. Personal tutoring can make a big difference at the start of the school year.
We are finding many students become frustrated, disgusted, and in many instances feel defeated with a new subject they are not familiar with within 10 school days after the start of school.
When this happens it becomes difficult to turn the student around and what then happens is that it is a matter of always "catching-up." Tutoring at this point becomes expensive because you are trying to catch up plus keep up the pace. The best time to prepare for September school start is in August when only 3 or 4 hours of one-on-one tutoring, by a properly qualified tutor, can get the job done! This will enable the student to enter the classroom with high self confidence in their ability to meet the challenge of the new class.
This is particularly important with building block courses such as math, reading/writing, and foreign languages although the pre-school tutoring practice works well with any course the student is fearful they may not "like."
What subject is your child dreading come this September?