Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back to School Organizing Tips

SOURCE  Just like a fresh box of crayons, the new school year is ripe with possibility—the possibility to create something new. Fresh crayons and fresh starts—it’s a wonderful time of year! Take advantage of the clean slate in front of you by bringing some simple organizing strategies into your home, making the transition back-to-school even more invigorating. Sound like a plan? Let’s go.

Establish fresh routines.

What’s working well in your daily routine…and what could use a pick-me-up? If mornings are chaotic (or just not your prime time of day) consider taking care of as many daytime preparations as possible the night before. Layout clothes. Pack lunches. Set out the breakfast dishes and cereal. Pack the backpacks. And so on.
Make your new systems kid-friendly so your young helpers can help you get things checked off your to-do list. (The more help you have, the more time everyone has for fun.) For example, carve out a spot on a low shelf in the pantry to store lunch boxes and lunch making supplies. Then, have your helper be responsible for putting away his empty lunch box at the end of the day or even packing lunch. Install low coat hooks so your child can hang up his own coat and backpack at the end of each day.
craft cabinet

Create a homework station.

If a task is simple to do, it’s more fun to do. Homework is no different. Decide on the best spot in your home to set up homework central. Take into consideration how involved you need to be with homework and your child’s style. Does he focus better with people around or when working on his own? Is he better suited to sit at a table or curled up on the couch with a lap desk? Once you have a
place picked out, corral together handy homework tools and supplies into a nearby bin, cabinet or drawer. Stock up on age appropriate supplies such as pens, pencils, erasers, paper, crayons, markers, a ruler, a calculator, a dictionary, basic craft supplies and a pencil sharpener. Ask your teacher for ideas on supplies to keep on hand throughout the year to avoid last minute trips to the store for special supplies.

Create a system for school papers.

There are two types of papers, those you need to take action on and those you’re keeping for future reference. Designate a convenient spot for items you need to act on or refer back to throughout the school year. Items like classroom rules, schedules, class lists, and teacher contact information will be right at home in the command central binder (and best yet, you’ll know right where these important papers are when you need them.)
For schoolwork and artwork you want to keep, I suggest a two-tiered approach. First, purge unwanted items as soon as they come in the door. Collect the possible keepers into a small storage bin. Go through your bin using a regular time interval that works for you, like once a week, once a month or once a quarter. Keep in mind, the more you accumulate, the easier it will be to keep fewer items—the best pieces will stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, if dealing with a big pile of paper is overwhelming to you (I’ve been there, too!) it may be simpler to go through your bin more frequently. For school papers and artwork you’re keeping indefinitely, a simple three-ring binder can house a year’s worth keepsakes in one simple, tidy system.

Do your homework everyday.

That’s right Mom, you have homework, too. You know, all those papers that come home in the backpack each night? Homework. And it’s yours. Once you have your paperwork system set up, create a homework routine to help you and your kids stay on top of everything. Pick a time that works well for your energy level and fits with your other after school obligations—and then dig into those backpacks and get going. Take action on any paperwork that requires your attention. Sign and return permission slips. Add important dates to the family calendar. Pitch school work you no longer need…and accumulate those you want to hold onto for posterity sake into your collection bin.  Need help with homework?  Don't understand a math concept or writing assignment?  Contact Tutor Doctor Longmont for help with 1 to 1 tutoring in the home.
Your communication hub can include a family calendar, colored markers, pens and pencils, and a notepad for taking down phone messages. Consider color coding your family calendar by assigning each family member a color. If you’re a visual person who needs to see things to remember them, consider using a bulletin board for posting messages, invites and your calendar, or take advantage of your built-in magnetic board known as your refrigerator door. Keep phone messages neat and tidy by using a family message book, a covered composition book used to keep a running tab of phone messages and notes.
door hanger reminders

Create a put-away bin.

Keep household clutter at bay by corralling items into a put-away bin. Assign one for each family member, or collect everything into a single bin, and take turns on put-away duty. Clearing out your bin each and every day will keep clutter at bay.

Remember not to forget.

Create a simple system by the door to help you remember your new routine or special items you need to take with you each day: gym shoes on gym day, violin on music day, and snacks on snack day. Hang a bin or basket by your door to corral the items you need to remember, or create a fun little “don’t forget” door hanger with a built-in pocket for your daily checklist.
With these simple strategies, staying organized all school year is as certain as a fresh box of crayons on the first day of school. ;)

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Monday, July 29, 2013

6 Important Things to Tell your Teacher

With the start of the new school year, your students will be getting a new teacher and there are several bits of vital information you can convey that will make their lives easier and help them to forge a connection with your student. If you have the opportunity to speak with your student’s new teacher, you can let them know the essentials which will help them to foster a better relationship with you and your student.
Allergies and medical conditions: If your student has any allergies or existing medical conditions, please inform their teacher. You should also leave a basic outline of actions to take should a medical emergency arise. This could be instructions on how to administer an inhaler or medication to combat the effects of allergies how to recognize symptoms which will require medical attention. Teachers should be aware of any side effects that the medication could cause like drowsiness or vomiting.
Always ensure that your teacher and the school office have your contact details as well as those of your secondary contact person and your doctor. Providing adequate information will mean that your teacher is ready for every eventuality.
Academics: Discussing your student’s academic history will help to highlight areas in which your student excels and where teachers and a tutor from Tutor Doctor Longmont can possibly provide more challenging materials and exercises. You can also highlight areas that your student may have found challenging in the past so that the teacher can keep an eye on progress and provide additional assistance where necessary
Hobbies and interests: The more your teacher knows about his or her students, the easier it is for them to build a relationship and make a connection. Knowing what your student’s interests and hobbies are will help to provide topics for conversation and will help your teacher to get to know your student better.
Extenuating circumstances: Throughout the year, its best to keep your teacher up to date on major life changes that your student is experiencing in their home life. A death in the family, divorce or an ill relative may have an impact on your student’s academic performance or behavior. When your teacher understands what is happening at home, they are better able to deal with any issues which may arise at school. They can be more understanding and provide support while allowing more time for academic work to be completed.
Religion: If your family practices a religion that stipulates clothing or food choices, tell your teacher so that they can help your student to navigate social and practical issues. You can also help teachers to plan their academic calendars more effectively when they know which days are religious holidays for their students.
Learning style: Each student has a particular learning style which is the way in which they are best able to absorb information. While most lesson plans should present information in ways that students from every learning style should grasp, knowing your student’s learning style will help their teacher to present information in ways that they can relate to and understand. Tutor Doctor Longmont  provides one to one learning that is individualized to a student's learning style. 
Forming a partnership with your new teacher will benefit everyone. Be open and honest and provide all the necessary information to ensure a smooth start to the new year.  Is your student struggling or apprehensive about school?  Does your student deserve INDIVIDUALIZED attention to BUILD CONFIDENCE AND STUDY SKILLS for the BEST SCHOOL YEAR EVER?   call today for your FREE consultation so we can show how! 

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

3 Ways Summer Tutoring Can Get Your Child Ready For The Fall

summer tutoringSummer is often the time when families work to catch up on things that fell by the wayside during the busy school year. When parents work and kids get behind in school, it is also the time many take to focus on preparation for the coming year.
Some do this with summer school - yet when family vacations and other fun summer events crowd the calendar sometimes the best choice is summer tutoring.  Hiring a tutor is a positive thing, learn more why you should hire a tutor.
The Benefits of Individualized Study
Individualized study is always the fastest way to support any learner in quickly identifying what needs focus, while also being able to create an individualized plan so the time spent one-on-one truly addresses the learning issues your student is most needing support with.
Like with big student numbers in general classroom study - summer school does not always meet with the individual issues that can resolve simple learning confusion or misunderstanding on a topic or subject.
Some of the ways summer tutoring helps to prepare your child for the coming school year include:
1) Understanding the basics of subjects the learner struggled with during the school year.
Sometimes when a child falls behind it is simply due to overcrowded classrooms and the lack of individualized attention. Many students have different learning styles and if a math teacher or a reading instructor uses a style that is difficult for your child to embrace - learning can slow and issues can develop.
This is neither the fault of the student or the teacher - only the learning circumstances - likely due to lack of individual attention and teacher time available.
2) Getting ahead of the class in preparation for challenging subjects.
Many times parents will use summer tutoring to help their learners get ahead of a subject that promises to be a challenge during the coming school year. Especially if your learner is working on college entrance subjects or exams.
Getting ahead of the learning curve is one of the best ways to help support your child in remaining confident in his/her abilities and self-esteem can also be directly connected to how well children perform in school.
Often parents will realize an issue has arisen due to changes in the student's behavior such as:
  • Increases in irritability
  • A heightened resistance to going to school or
  • An increase in complaints about a certain class, teacher or homework assignment
3) Providing a review of basics such as math, reading, and other difficult-to- master concepts that can slow learning if they are not fully comprehended during the year.

Review of Core Principles, Deeper Comprehension of Difficult Subjects

Many times kids will miss a concept or the principle of a subject's core due to illness, overcrowded classes or difficulty paying attention due to other distractions in the classroom. More often than not your child is struggling due to circumstances they cannot control.

When parents use summer tutoring to support the learning process - summertime is usually the best time for kids to go back a bit and re-address challenge areas so they can continue confidently the following school year. Learning is one-on-one and the home tutor who has made an accurate assessment for the child's learning plan can help your child leap forward.

Within one or two visits per week through the summer - your learner can not only catch up to subjects that became overwhelming - they can also move ahead of the other learners so that going to school looses the overwhelming feeling that comes from struggle with various subjects.

Support and Confidence Makes Taking Tests Easier

You may have a college bound student about to go through standardized testing such as the SAT or STAAR exams. College entrance exams can also be a great source of tension and stress for students.

Feeling well-prepared for college entrance exams can make or break the hope for getting into your school of choice. Supporting your student in feeling ready can be one of the most powerfully helpful things a parent can do to help a hard-working student prepare.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

30 things to start doing for yourself

Remember today, for it is the beginning.
Today marks the start of a brave new future.
Here it is, a positive ‘to-do’ list for the upcoming year – 30 things to start doing for yourself:
  1. Start spending time with the right people. – These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.
  2. Start facing your problems head on. – It isn’t your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them.  Problems will not disappear unless you take action.  Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you’ve done.  It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch.  These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.
  3. Start being honest with yourself about everything. – Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed.  Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become.  Be honest with every aspect of your life, always.  Because you are the one person you can forever count on.  Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are.  Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Start making your own happiness a priority. – Your needs matter.  If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself.  Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you.  And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.
  5. Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly. – Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are.  Be yourself.  Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else.  Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms.  Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.
  6. Start noticing and living in the present. – Right now is a miracle.  Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you.  Right now is life.  So stop thinking about how great things will be in the future.  Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past.  Learn to be in the ‘here and now’ and experience life as it’s happening.  Appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.
  7. Start valuing the lessons your mistakes teach you. – Mistakes are okay; they’re the stepping stones of progress.  If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not trying hard enough and you’re not learning.  Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again.  Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing and improving.  Significant achievements are almost invariably realized at the end of a long road of failures.  One of the ‘mistakes’ you fear might just be the link to your greatest achievement yet.
  8. Start being more polite to yourself. – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?  The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.  You must love who you are or no one else will.
  9. Start enjoying the things you already have. – The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy when we reach a certain level in life – a level we see others operating at – your boss with her corner office, that friend of a friend who owns a mansion on the beach, etc.  Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there you’ll likely have a new destination in mind.  You’ll end up spending your whole life working toward something new without ever stopping to enjoy the things you have now.  So take a quiet moment every morning when you first awake to appreciate where you are and what you already have.
  10. Start creating your own happiness. – If you are waiting for someone else to make you happy, you’re missing out.  Smile because you can.  Choose happiness.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Be happy with who you are now, and let your positivity inspire your journey into tomorrow.  Happiness is often found when and where you decide to seek it.  If you look for happiness within the opportunities you have, you will eventually find it.  But if you constantly look for something else, unfortunately, you’ll find that too.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Start giving your ideas and dreams a chance. – In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.
  12. Start believing that you’re ready for the next step. – You are ready!  Think about it.  You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward.  So embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges – they’re gifts that will help you to grow.
  13. Start entering new relationships for the right reasons. – Enter new relationships with dependable, honest people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be.  Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect – people who reciprocate your kindness and commitment.  And pay attention to what people do, because a person’s actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.
  14. Start giving new people you meet a chance. – It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you’ve ever made.  People and priorities change.  As some relationships fade others will grow.  Appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work.  Trust your judgment.  Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory.  Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.
  15. Start competing against an earlier version of yourself. – Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, but know that competing against them is a waste of time.  You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  You are competing to be the best you can be.  Aim to break your own personal records.
  16. Start cheering for other people’s victories. – Start noticing what you like about others and tell them.  Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places.  So be happy for those who are making progress.  Cheer for their victories.  Be thankful for their blessings, openly.  What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
  17. Start looking for the silver lining in tough situations. – When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining – the small glimmers of hope.  Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times.  And remain conscious of your blessings and victories – all the things in your life that are right.  Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.
  18. Start forgiving yourself and others. – We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others.  And while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go.  Forgiveness is the remedy.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
  19. Start helping those around you. – Care about people.  Guide them if you know a better way.  The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.  Love and kindness begets love and kindness.  And so on and so forth.
  20. Start listening to your own inner voice. – If it helps, discuss your ideas with those closest to you, but give yourself enough room to follow your own intuition.  Be true to yourself.  Say what you need to say.  Do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Start being attentive to your stress level and take short breaks. – Slow down.  Breathe.  Give yourself permission to pause, regroup and move forward with clarity and purpose.  When you’re at your busiest, a brief recess can rejuvenate your mind and increase your productivity.  These short breaks will help you regain your sanity and reflect on your recent actions so you can be sure they’re in line with your goals.
  22. Start noticing the beauty of small moments. – Instead of waiting for the big things to happen – marriage, kids, big promotion, winning the lottery – find happiness in the small things that happen every day.  Little things like having a quiet cup of coffee in the early morning, or the delicious taste and smell of a homemade meal, or the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or holding hands with your partner.  Noticing these small pleasures on a daily basis makes a big difference in the quality of your life.
  23. Start accepting things when they are less than perfect. – Remember, ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good.’  One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept things as they are.  Sometimes it’s better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people as they are, rather than to trying to make everything and everyone conform to an impossible ideal.  No, you shouldn’t accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.
  24. Start working toward your goals every single day. – Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  Whatever it is you dream about, start taking small, logical steps every day to make it happen.  Get out there and DO something!  The harder you work the luckier you will become.  While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it.  By ‘working on it,’ I mean consistently devoting oneself to the end result.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  25. Start being more open about how you feel. – If you’re hurting, give yourself the necessary space and time to hurt, but be open about it.  Talk to those closest to you.  Tell them the truth about how you feel.  Let them listen.  The simple act of getting things off your chest and into the open is your first step toward feeling good again.
  26. Start taking full accountability for your own life. – Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them.  Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.  You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life.  And no, it won’t always be easy.  Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them.  But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles.  Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.
  27. Start actively nurturing your most important relationships. – Bring real, honest joy into your life and the lives of those you love by simply telling them how much they mean to you on a regular basis.  You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people.  Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.  Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.
  28. Start concentrating on the things you can control. – You can’t change everything, but you can always change something.  Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.  Invest your energy in the things you can control, and act on them now.
  29. Start focusing on the possibility of positive outcomes. – The mind must believe it CAN do something before it is capable of actually doing it.  The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful.  Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  Regardless of how a situation seems, focus on what you DO WANT to happen, and then take the next positive step forward.  No, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things.  Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects – whether or not you’re happy and successful in the long run depends greatly on which aspects you focus on.  
  30. Start noticing how wealthy you are right now. – Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”  Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective.  You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.  You didn’t go to sleep outside.  You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning.  You hardly broke a sweat today.  You didn’t spend a minute in fear.  You have access to clean drinking water.  You have access to medical care.  You have access to the Internet.  You can read.  Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.