- Consider reviewing last year’s final report card. This will give your family an academic refresher and a little remind of the highs and lows of last year.
- Consider setting some academic goals. Now that you’ve reviewed the outcomes of last year, start considering what academic achievements could be reached THIS year. Both parents and children can identify changes that they’d like to make this school year.
- Consider a routine overhaul. A new school year is an opportunity to deal with any and all bad habits that can get in the way of learning. These include morning and evening routines, eating habits, after-school routines, and homework and study habits. Fine-tune your family’s routine from the first day of class and settle into a school year with better habits.
- Consider using an agenda for more than just school. Agendas are more than just a place to write down homework, they are great for keeping track of to-do lists, questions to ask teachers, chores. Students can also use agendas to prioritize workflow, keep track of work hours, extracurricular activities, and countdown until tests and exams.
- Consider getting extra support right off the bat. School may not even be in session yet, (or it may have just begun) but it’s not too soon to enlist in some extra support. Why wait to find out what will happen with grades this year? Get on top of any potential issues BEFORE they become a problem. Take the bull by the horns. Show this grade who’s boss!
Do you know the five most common signs that your child might be struggling in school?
Here they are:
5. Your child frequently makes comments such as, “The teacher picks on me,” or ” Do I have to go to school today?” or ” This assignment is pointless.”
4. Daily homework is not being completed .
3. Assignments and projects are missed completely or submitted late.
2. There are poor tests scores and poor grades on projects and assignments.
1. Your child is uninterested in school and school-related activities.
Not all of these signs of school trouble have to happen at the same time, but when one or more happens frequently, it’s a sign that things may be getting off track. The sooner that parents and students get help, the easier it will be to get back on track and put and end to school troubles.
Ryan Parker from Toronto radio station Q107 goes back to school with Oxford Learning!
Watch this fun video shot at the Rosedale location to discover how your child can build confidence while learning the ABCs and the 1-2-3s:
It’s more than a month into the school year. By this time, young students should be getting over their new-school year anxiety and starting to show excitement about the classroom, their teachers, and their new friends. A large part of the early years of school is social, including group play and recess. This part of development can lay the groundwork for a child’s attitude about school. They should be getting the message that school is a safe, fun place and that learning can be fun.
On the academic side, the early years of school are about critical groundwork; children are building the foundation for future skills (counting, learning their letters, and basic reading skills). While some problems might sound alarm bells, problems at this point might just as easily resolve themselves.
By the middle of October, students should be well into their school routine. The back-to-school jitters should be long gone.
If students are having issues, be it not keeping up with homework, or getting easily frustrated, now is the time to seek help.
It’s still early in the school year, and by seeking help now, students can quite easily repair academic problems and get on track.
High School Years
For many high school students, heading back to school is like jumping into the deep end of the pool. There is no easing into it. The school year starts off with a big splash, often with homework and assignments from the very first day of class. By mid October, students may have already dealt with midterms and major projects and essays. There is no time to waste; the first report is on the horizon, and high school students need to keep their eyes on the prize. One bad test mark can set the tone for the rest of the year. It’s important that if highschoolers are not adjusting to the new grade, they seek help. A little extra support can help students stay organized, stay on track of their homework, and keep up with the new curriculum.
It’s important to not be shy about asking for help; the many tutoring options are there for that specific reason. Often, the simple act of asking the teacher for extra help shows a willingness to improve, which can go a long way when it comes to the report card.
1. Oversleeping/Not Getting Enough Sleep. Students of all ages need a bedtime. Research has shown us time and again that during sleep, the brain files and stores information learned throughout the day. Just as oversleeping can wreak havoc on a morning routine, not getting enough sleep can seriously disrupt a student’s ability to focus in class.
2. Poor Nutrition. Food is fuel—the better the quality, the better the performance. If children eat a sugar-filled breakfast, or skip breakfast altogether, they run the risk of performing less than optimally in school. Without proper nutrition, children can tire out and lose focus. Students should be focusing on their teacher, not on their rumbling bellies.
3. Too Much Screen Time. TVs, computers, and cell phones are distracting to students. Mounting evidence is showing that multitasking is not as good as was originally thought. When students are trying to do homework, having online access doesn’t necessarily improve their ability to work, and it can detract from their ability to focus on a single task for a period of time.
4. Procrastinating. Everybody likes to relax after school (or work). But from social lives to family responsibilities to sports and extra curricular activities, it can be tempting to leave homework until the last minute. Too many distractions, not following a schedule, or not using an agenda can put homework on the bottom of the priority list. When students put schoolwork on a backburner, it can lead to last-minute scrambles and late-night cram sessions, neither of which pay-off in the classroom.
5. Not Getting Help. One of the biggest mistakes that students make is waiting until the last minute to seek help. Often the first report card is the first indicator that something may be getting off-track, but it can take a call from the teacher or a failing grade before students seek out support. At that point it will take more effort to correct the problem than if a student had asked for help at the “I’m-not-really-understanding-this stage.”
Oxford Learning has great programs to help students get rid of bad habits and get on track for a better school year. Contact an Oxford Learning location near you to find out how your child can ditch bad school habits for good.
This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of Oxford Learning.
Oxford Learning was founded in London, ON, in 1984 as an after-school educational program designed to not only help children get better grades, but to help children learn to really understand and to get “it” once and for all.
The original Oxford Learning centre was so successful, that within a few years, other Oxford Learning centres were opening across Ontario. From there, it wasn’t long before centres were opening in other provinces across Canada.
Today, Oxford Learning has over 80 centres from coast to coast in Canada, as well as multiple locations across the US and the world.
Early Years: Grades 1-3
Whether a child is heading to class for the very first time or a seasoned veteran of the third grade, the summer break is a great chance to introduce or keep a young student familiar with the type of structure that they encounter in the classroom.
- Read books together at a set time everyday
- Ask questions and have a discussion about readings
- Introduce fun workbooks that cover classroom subjects such as math and reading
- Set routines such as bedtime and reading times and stick to them
Middle Years: Grades 4-8
Children are growing rapidly both physically and mentally during this time. It’s a very busy time frame for children—they have a lot coming at them, from school to increasing family and social obligations. Summer represents a great opportunity for them to synthesize all the information that they have learned during the school year. Summer is the time for students to have those “A-HA” moments that can translate school year book learning into experiences that sink in. Here’s how
- Visit museums
- Take nature walks and discuss trees/plants/wildlife
- Take up a new hobby such as painting or gardening
- Research a favorite subject from school
Teen Years: High School
The summer break during the high school years is almost as important as the school year itself. At the high school level the curriculum moves along at an impressive speed—even a single missed school day can result in a major skill gap. But the pace doesn’t slow down for missed skills; usually the first real break that high school students get is the summer. That’s why the summer is a great opportunity for high school students—they can catch up and fill in any skills gaps.
Whether it is summer school, a private tutor, an education company such as Oxford Learning, or simply a focused desire to read and write more, teens can make the most of the extra time in the summer to improve grades—after all, it’s not too often that highschoolers have extra time, so why not make the most of it?
According to just released results, almost a quarter of high school students in Ontario are not passing the standardized literacy tests that are given in grade 10.
While that may seem like a shocking figure, if you look at it another way, more than three quarters of all high school students are passing literacy tests on their first attempt.
Literacy tests assess student’s familiarity with reading and writing skills, as well as general familiarity with the standards of the English language, up to the grade-nine level (in Ontario.)
Students that don’t pass the test on their first attempt are given a second, and even third, attempt to write the test.
What is worrying is that a portion of the students that re-take the test are not passing, even on their second attempt.
Given that literacy is a foundational skill that is very important to everyday life, it is no wonder that it causes some concern when high school students at the tenth grade level are not functioning at a consistent fluency.
Aside from obvious reasons such as learning disabilities or non-native English speakers, one of the major reasons could be that the formal rules of English grammar are not taught beyond the early elementary grades.
While students use grammar in their everyday life, by the time that students reach high school, the rules are no longer familiar. Their language is second nature, so when students are asked to draw on rules that they were taught, five or so grades previously, it can be challenging.
That’s why all students, not just those who find grammar challenging, should take a refresher course—Oxford Learning has a great program to help students hone their grammar, improve their writing, become critical thinkers, and get test-taking tips to boot.
For students entering the 10th grade, the summer presents a perfect opportunity to tune-up grammar skills before taking the standardized literacy test.
Like with any test, preparation is key. Students who take the time to review and prepare before a test will perform better and with less stress than those who are not prepared.
Consider an Oxford Learning program for your teen. It will mean better marks on not just the standardized literacy tests, but on all tests. Better marks equal happier students, happier parents, and happier school boards. It’s win-win-win.
By Angela Marseglia, B.Ed., MA
I often receive panicked phone calls at this time of year from parents who are worried that they have missed the boat on getting appropriate help for their child. Now that the winter holidays and March Break are behind us, they can see that the end is closer than they thought. “How can my daughter turn her C’s and D’s turn into A’s or B’s with less than 3 months left in the school year?” they ask. There is of time left to catch up and to pick up grades before June. Having the right attitude and identifying your child’s real needs will help them reach their goals.
Having that “can-do” attitude is essential for students and parents when setting goals for improvement. Maintain a positive outlook—no matter how discouraged your child gets—so they learn that it is okay to fail as long as we learn from our failures. For example, if your child does poorly on a test, find out why. Did they not study enough? Be sure to set up a study plan for the next test so they are prepared. Did they not understand the materials? Encourage your child to make this clear before the test so they may get help from the teacher. Maintaining a positive dialogue with your child well help encourage them and keep them motivated, even when they are not successful. Remember to celebrate all achievements—even the very small ones—to build your child’s confidence so they believe they can succeed.
Staying connected with your child’s teacher and staying focussed on their needs will help your child achieve success. If you have concerns, address them immediately. Is your child progressing, even though they are having difficulties? Does he or she understand the material presented in class? Is it difficult for your child to follow directions or stay organized? If the same problems are resurfacing year after year, it may be an indication that supplemental resources and programs are necessary to help get your child ahead. Speak with the teacher to find out what additional help is available for your child.
One last word of advice is not to get caught up in grade expectations for the end of the year. Remember that grades can be subjective, and more often the learning skills are important in determining the long-term success your child can achieve. Learning does not have to stop when last school bell rings. Programs are available all summer long to help your child develop the skills they may lack so that they can be successful life-long learners.
Thanks to contributing author Angela Marseglia. Angela has been an educator for 17 years and is the Director at Oxford Learning in the Beach. For information about tutoring, supplemental education or the summer programs call, she can be reached at 416-686-1430 or email@example.com
Tough economic times are afoot. Tough economic times means that we often tighten our belts and eliminate the extras…the luxuries are the first to go. The dinners out, the extra car, the added cable stations…
Whether you are in Canada or the US, Europe or South America, the one thing that isn’t seen as expendable is education. After all, there is only one sure-fire solution to riding the wave of uncertainty for the future…a better education for our children.
We want to protect and to insulate our children from the hardships in life—the best possible way to ensure that this happens is in securing top-notch education for them.
After all, better grades are the best way to ensure that tomorrow’s leaders have a stable future to look forward to.
What can you do, when it seems that the world may be crumbling around you? Give your children a stable ground to stand on. Make sure that they are equipped with the skills that they need to be successful…for today, tomorrow, and for the future.
Education is the way to do this.