Three Boredom-Busting Science Experiments: Fun and Easy At-Home Experiments for Your Kids

It’s hard to believe that for most of us, it’s been a little over one month in quarantine! The kids are home and you’ve been trying to get some much needed work accomplished. We get it — juggling those two things effectively can be…difficult to say the least. But pat yourselves on the back! You’ve been doing great keeping them busy while staying on top of your work. Your kids are truly lucky to have you! 

That said, we thought we’d put together a trio of fun science experiments that can be adapted for kids of all ages to help you keep them engaged and learning! We’ve chosen experiments that can be accomplished with some basic household items that many of us will likely already have laying around. Try any or all of these with your kids and let us know how it goes by leaving a comment below!

Experiment #1: Sink or Swim

The main question this experiment is seeking to answer is whether or not different household objects will float or sink when dropped into three different liquids. Specifically, you’ll need three clear glasses, corn syrup, vegetable oil, tap water and several small objects such as a paper clip, raisins, pebbles, and a ball of paper. 

First, fill each glass 1/2 to 2/3  of the way with a different liquid. Have your kids write down or tell you what they think might happen when they drop the different objects into the three different liquids — will the items sink or float? Why? 

Next, starting with the raisins, have your kids gently drop one in each of the three liquids. Have them write down what happens to the raisin in the water, oil and corn syrup. Take out the raisins and repeat the process with each of the items you’ve gathered. 

Once this process has been repeated with all of the items, have your kids look back at their predictions. Were they correct? Did the objects sink or float when they expected them to or were they surprised by the results? Why do they think they got the results that they did?

Now it’s time for a discussion. Depending on the age of your kids, you can either talk to them about how density affects an objects ability to sink or float. Alternatively, if your kids are a little older, this is a perfect way to have them do some research on density! Have them create a short presentation and ask them to come and tell you the answers once they’re done. 

If they are interested in this topic, you can do some things to extend the experiment. For example, if you add some food dye to the water, you can then have your kids pour all three of the liquids into one empty container. Let the liquids settle and have them describe to you what has happened — how did these liquids separate from one another? Why has this happened?

Experiment #2: Wingardium Leviosa

Ever wish you could wave a “magic” wand and make things float like they do in Harry Potter? Well, maybe you haven’t but your kids probably have! With this very simple demonstration, they will be able to do just that (only it’s not magic, it’s all thanks to the power of static electricity)! For this experiment you’ll need to get a plastic rod, a cloth, and a light plastic bag. 

Begin by having your kids rub the plastic rub with the cloth for 40 to 60 seconds. Next, flatten the plastic bag and rub it with the cloth for 40-60 seconds as well. Release the plastic bag in the air and have your kids wave the plastic rod underneath the bag. Voila! If done correctly your plastic bag should levitate as you hold the rod underneath it. 

Again, depending on the age of your kids, you can either explain to them the basics of static electricity or have them do some research to answer the question of why and how this happens.

Experiment #3: Slipping and Sliding

Have your kids ever wondered why they can slide across your hardwood or kitchen tile in socks but not barefoot? The answer is friction! There are plenty of fun experiments to demonstrate the forces of friction but this one is our favourite. 

In order to get started, you’ll need 4 to 6 pieces of cardboard (preferably cut from the same box) about 12 inches long and 6 inches wide, your kid’s favourite Hot Wheels car, a marker, and various items to create the surfaces on the different lengths of track. When creating the surfaces of your tracks, you can have your kids get creative by finding the various items themselves or you can provide them instead. 

Once you’ve chosen your track surface material, take 3 to 5 of your pieces of cardboard and start assembling with your kids. For example, one of the tracks could have sandpaper glued to the surface, another could have bits of ribbon or fabric, while another could be brushed with dish soap. Again, be creative here! The point is to create several tracks with different surfaces so that the forces of friction are different when your toy car rolls over them. 

At this point, you should still have 1 to 2 plain pieces of cardboard leftover. Use this to build a ramp for the car to travel down. Once this is complete, start by having your kids write down, draw or describe which of the surfaces they think the car will travel the furthest on. Take one of your tracks and place it at the bottom of your ramp so that the car will travel down the ramp and across the track. Your kids can experiment with each of the tracks and record how far the car travels across each of them by marking the distance with the marker and recording the length with a ruler or measuring tape. Next, have them write down these results on a piece of paper (or simply record them yourself). 

Once they’ve had their fun, ask them if the results lined up with their predictions. Did the results surprise them at all? Extend this experiment by doing some research on friction. Is there anyway to alter the toy car to make it go further? Would any other objects travel further than the car did? Have your kids do some experimenting on their own to see if they can solve these questions!

Tips for Getting Your Child Ready for Online Tutoring

Online tutoring provides your child with the educational support they need in the comfort of their own home, at the times that are convenient for them. Prep Academy Tutors is offering online tutoring services across Canada to digitally connect students with our certified and experienced tutors.

If you are considering online tutoring to continue and enhance your child’s academic development, there are a few things you can do to optimize the benefits of the digital service. At Prep Academy Tutors, we collaborate with parents to ensure that each student’s private tutoring is a fulfilling and enriching experience that is catered to their unique needs. 

You can help your child get ready for online tutoring to make sure they are fully equipped to learn online, and continue their education journey in an environment that is focused, constructive, encouraging, and enriching. 

With the right tools and resources, online tutoring can provide your child with the tools they need to keep up with their peers, get ahead, and reach academic success. Learn how you can set your child up for online tutoring with Prep Academy Tutors:

picture of tutor holding red duotang

1. Find the Right Tutor

Every child learns differently and has different educational needs. It is important to find a compassionate tutor who can create a strong bond with your child and fill these unique needs. The right tutor will create an environment that is low-pressure, personal, constructive and empowering. 

Whether your child is in need of a remedial tutoring program or subject-specific tutoring, Prep Academy Tutors will pair your child with the tutor that will best suit their unique needs, preferences, and learning style.

2. Set Academic Goals

Encourage your child to set academic goals. This gamification of learning will help encourage your child to challenge themselves to set and reach their personal academic goals with the support of an educational professional. 

The tutors at Prep Academy Tutors offer personalized one-on-one online tutoring to help students better understand course material and gain the academic confidence they need to succeed.

picture of girl on laptop while sitting in bed

3. Organize a Work Station:

It’s commonly suggested that a great way to increase productivity when you work from home is to get up from the bed and work in a designated workspace. This is supposed to help you mentally and physically avoid distractions.

The same thing goes for your child when online learning; get your child up, ready, and dressed to head to their work station — the bed is for sleeping, not learning.

When you and your child set up their learning workspace, they can distinguish the workspace as a place for learning and not playing, eating, or any other activity.

It’s important that this workspace is organized (also shown to benefit productivity), and out of high traffic areas where people will be in and out of. Online tutoring requires some uninterrupted time during which your child can focus on learning and both interpreting source material and applying knowledge of said material.

Giving your child the freedom to design their workspace can help to get them more excited about their online learning as they can look forward to utilizing their personal space to learn and advance their education.

4. Schedule the Day

A schedule will help keep your child on track and encourage them to learn how to balance tasks. Routines give kids a sense of security and help them develop good time management habits.

It is important to help your child schedule their day because, the reality is, they probably have responsibilities other than online tutoring. When you schedule their day, you can help them to better manage their time and split up their daily responsibilities.

If a student needs to write an assignment, engage with a tutor for feedback, make their lunch, and fold their laundry, a great way to help encourage them to be productive and get everything done is to guide them through a schedule-making process. 

A schedule can help students visualize what their day will look like and how much time should be allotted to each task. By making daily or even weekly schedules, your child will also learn how to manage their time and schedule their tasks independently as time goes on.

picture of pens

5. Gather Supplies & Keep Them Handy

Not having everything handy can pose as a distraction. If your child doesn’t have a pen, notebook, or even a charger for their device on hand, they then have to go looking for it. This disrupts their learning routine, takes time away from their learning, and impairs their focus. Make sure that your child has all the tools they need on hand to settle down, and focus on their online learning.

Supplies you will want handy include:

  • Chargers
  • Pens/pencils
  • Erasers
  • Notebooks
  • Calculator
  • Dictionary
  • Snacks
  • Water

6. Secure Your Internet Connection:

An essential part of online learning is the digital aspect. If your child is receiving online tutoring, they will likely need to send files back and forth and download resources. To do this effectively, they will need a secure internet connection and operating device. There are many affordable options for laptops and tablets that will help your child maintain a seamless online tutoring experience.

7. Work with the Tutor

When you enrol your child in online tutoring, it can be helpful to form open communication with their tutor. By working with your child’s tutor, you cannot only understand their progress but also identify ways to integrate their education and learning into day to day activities like cooking or baking. 

For example, if the tutor is working on fractions with your child, you can bake with your child to help them make the connection between what they’ve learned about fractions and real-life scenarios.

At Prep Academy Tutors, our tutors offer phone calls and other means of communication to keep you updated on your child’s progress and answer any of your questions you may have about your child’s educational journey.

picture of mom and daughter reading book on bed

8. Encourage Discussions

What did your child learn today? At Prep Academy Tutors, we believe in open communication to ensure that parents are aware of their child’s progress. In addition to scheduling phone calls with our tutors, you can also work with your child to discuss what they’ve learned throughout their tutoring experience and encourage them to make connections. 

You are one of your child’s greatest educational assets as you can encourage them by asking them questions, and answering their questions.

How Your Child Can Benefit from Online Tutoring

picture of kid on laptop

Online tutoring is a great resource that allows students to learn and get educational support in the comfort of their own homes. At Prep Academy Tutors, our tutors are making themselves available for online tutoring to help students continue their education without needing to leave their house.

Our certified tutors execute a personalized approach to online tutoring and will work one-on-one with your child online to help support their educational journey and explain things in a way that they can understand.

Through online tutoring, our local tutors are able to provide your child with supplementary activities, answer their questions, fill in any gaps in their knowledge, and help them to catch up academically. 

Online tutoring comes with many benefits as it is remote, flexible, personalized, and doesn’t sacrifice the personal relationship between educator and student. The tutors at Prep Academy Tutors connect with students online to talk things over with them and explain things in a way that they can understand. 

By bringing education online, your child can learn at their own pace in a low-pressure environment that they are familiar with. Consider the benefits of online tutoring and how receiving tutoring can help your child to set and reach their academic goals:

Flexibility

Online tutoring means that your child can receive educational support wherever and whenever they need it. Online tutoring also removes the need for travel time and other elements that can make scheduling educational support tricky. This makes it easy for tutors to make themselves available when students need them to be.

Our tutors work around your schedule to provide flexible online tutoring that suits your child’s at-home educational schedule. Whether your child requires tutoring in the morning, afternoon, or evening, our tutor will work with you to establish a schedule that works.

One-on-One Personalized Education

At Prep Academy Tutors, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to education. Our tutors approach online tutoring based on the unique needs of each student.

We consider a student’s unique learning style, schedule, capabilities, and gaps in their knowledge to create a plan that is specialized to them. Our tutors work with your child one-on-one instead of applying the same general approach to education.

picture of elementary school student on ipad

In-Home Learning

Online learning allows students to learn at home and at their own pace. A student’s home is a low-pressure environment where they will not be distracted by their peers. At-home online learning allows students to learn in an environment that is familiar and comfortable so that they can feel more at ease when receiving educational support. 

Learning at home also takes away the stress of classroom learning as students are less likely to compare themselves to their peers. Through online learning, students are able to focus on their personal pace and progress. 

Instead of acting like a teacher at the front of the classroom, online tutoring allows our tutors to act as a “smart friend” on the other end of the computer who can talk to your child through curriculum material and explain things in a way that they can understand.

Get Paired with the Right Tutor

Online tutoring makes it easy for your child to get paired with the right tutor. At Prep Academy Tutors, we have general tutors with knowledge of the current curriculum, as well as tutors who boast specialties in specific subjects

Whether you are looking for general support or an online math tutor, we will pair your child with the right online tutor who can provide them with the educational support they need.

Removed Distractions

Peers and other environmental factors when learning in the classroom can be distracting for students. By offering online tutoring we can eliminate these distractions. When your child is set up with a home learning station with little distractions, we can use online tutoring to capitalize on the familiarity and calmness of the home environment to educate them effectively.

Digital Skills

In a survey done by Statista in 2015, 49% of students stated that they had taken an online course in the past 12 months. Needless to say, digital technology and education are growing rapidly.

Technology is more and more prevalent in children’s day to day lives, and online tutoring provides students with the chance to develop strong digital skills. By sending files, understanding different programs, and interacting via systems like Skype, Zoom, etc., students are able to better their understanding of computer technology.

Independence

There is a level of independence that comes with online learning as students are able to manage their time and take control of their educational journey. This independence that comes from online learning can be applied in many facets of their life.

Through online learning and tutoring, students learn how to take control of different aspects of their life and get the confidence to make choices and create their own schedules. Online tutoring keeps students accountable for completing supplementary tasks and communicating their gaps in knowledge. This also helps students to develop a sense of awareness which, again, contributes to their overall independence.

Easy Tracking & Document Exchanges

Online tutoring makes it easy to keep track of progress and assignments, as all assignments and related resources are sent and stored electronically. This allows students and tutors to both save files and tools to track progress and use as a resource later.

In the classroom, students can struggle to stay organized as different assignments, tests, and worksheets can amalgamate into a disorganized stack of paper. By utilizing digital resources, students can more easily keep track of their different assignments and documents to see what they have completed and still have to complete. Easy file storage also enables students to use past documents as a learning resource that they can refer back to when need be.

This electronic exchange also makes it easy for students to send or copy physical classroom resources like essay assignments so that tutors can gage the assignment, and provide educational support accordingly.

Gain Academic Confidence

Online tutoring helps to increase your child’s overall academic confidence. It allows them to learn in a comfortable environment where they can gain the tools they need to better understand curriculum material and gives them an option to still receive an education when unable to be in the classroom due to illness, injury, or any other reason.

This level of personalized education is catered to build your child’s understanding, and help them catch up to their peers and gain academic confidence in the process. Our online tutors work closely with your child to provide them with all the resources they need to succeed academically and gain independence both inside and outside of the classroom.

The Importance of Continuing Education During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The Ontario Government has closed private and public schools for two weeks following March Break (week of March 23 and March 30) in response to the WHO and the CDC advising against public gatherings due to the outbreak and impacts of COVID-19. These closures are also present across the country in Quebec, where schools will remain closed until at least May 1st and all Quebec provincial exams have been cancelled, Alberta (until further notice), British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and other provinces. 

This cancellation is meant to encourage the social distancing between children and adults alike to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus. These moves are necessary for the safety of both the public and the health care system, which is why parents, educators, and the school board are all coming together to create an alternative option for continuing education at this time.

At Prep Academy Tutors, we are offering online tutoring to help students continue their education in the safety of their homes. Our tutors across Canada are making themselves available to provide personalized educational support and resources online to help students continue their education at this time.

Learn how our private tutoring services can help to maintain student’s educational progress at this time.

Although school may not be on everyone’s mind at this time, there are many reasons why continuing education is crucial right now for students:


Education & COVID-19

Global News has reported that Doug Ford has confirmed schools will likely not open on April 6th,  but the provincial and federal governments continue to look for ways to maintain education at this time. 

Toronto’s Minister of Education has shared in a statement that they “are working to ensure that students will be able to continue their coursework and credit accumulation, even when we aren’t able to be in a classroom setting.” They are expecting to do this by expanding existing online learning tools.

Educators are looking for digital ways to provide assignments, and even lessons, to help students to continue their learning. Online tutoring will help support your child with any of these online tasks and will continue to act as an educational resource.


Consistent Knowledge & Development

The reality is that not all schools and teachers will be able to continue education digitally, which means that many students’ learning will come to a halt. Even the suggested online learning assets from the school boards may take a while to establish and develop as rules and regulations have not yet been set, and different schools accommodate different needs. 

Children are constantly learning and developing, and this progress is important to maintain. By pausing learning for two weeks (or longer), it will be that much harder for students to retain information and build upon information they’ve already been taught. Continued knowledge is essential for the academic fulfillment of students

Our tutors teach material that aligns with curriculum material taught in the classroom so that the billions of students who are no longer in school can continue to learn while being in a safe and familiar setting.


Routine

Routine is essential for children. It keeps them on track, organized, and helps them to space out their daily tasks and responsibilities like meals, education, chores, and downtime. Education is not only essential for the knowledge and development of your child, but it also provides a sense of structure in their day to day schedule. 

A lack of daily structure can make it challenging to get your child to focus on a task, and will make it that much harder for them to get back into their daily routine once school starts back up again. That said, there is no perfect routine for everyone. 

There is no right or wrong way to react in this situation, and by bringing education into your home through online tutoring, you will have full control of your child’s new routine and educational progress. The thing is, any routine will provide them with a sense of normalcy, productivity, and empowerment. 
Even if you integrate a couple of hours of learning into your child’s daily routine, it will be beneficial. With online tutoring, you can implement a schedule that will ensure your child is learning at the times that work best for you and them. This way you can also facilitate other elements into your child’s schedule like downtime, reading, crafts, meals, etc.


Challenge Their Minds

It is important for your child to continue to challenge themselves. As much as it’s nice to give your child the opportunity to escape by playing video games and watching Netflix, it is also important to keep them thinking and mentally challenged.

This will help them to continue to develop their cognitive skills and abilities so that they can continue to problem solve, think, and both apply and develop their knowledge consistently.


Unknown Timeline

The state of COVID-19 and the government’s responses are changing every day. There is no knowing how things can change and when students will be able to get back into their school routine. 

To ensure your child is still getting the education they need to expand their knowledge and build the skill for future educational success, plan ahead. Find a means to continue education like online tutoring.


Education is still Feasible

It’s important to continue education during this time because, bottom line, we can. The internet and online resources make it possible to connect with professionals like our certified tutors through online tutoring, find resources like worksheets, and submit assignments. As long as it is possible to maintain education, albeit with a shifted approach, we can all play a part in helping your child to continue their learning.


Plan For Learning in Different Circumstances

There are a variety of reasons why a child may need to shift their approach to education in the future whether it be due to homeschooling, injury, illness, or safety reasons. By introducing (or continuing) at-home education, your child can learn how to accommodate and facilitate learning in various different scenarios. 

Circumstances are always changing, and online education is becoming increasingly more prevalent as an alternative educational resource. It is important for both children and parents to be able to pivot and continue education in different scenarios. 

Continuing to learn at this time is about ensuring your child can still get the educational support they need to learn, achieve academic goals, develop their mind and skills, and maintain physical and mental health. Incorporating a routine into your child’s life by integrating education at a pace that works for both parents and children helps students to continue to learn and creates a sense of normalcy for them.

Special Announcement – Online Tutoring Services are Available

Current families:

Prep Academy’s in-home tuition services are suspended until further notice to protect our clients and tutors. We will be continuing with all lessons online, using an easy to use teleconferencing, screen-share and white boarding application, until further notice. 

Your tutor or local Education Director will be in contact for set-up instructions for your virtual classroom.

Prospective families across Canada:

You are welcome to sign up for our private online tutoring services.

Find your local service area by using “Find Your Local Tutor” or call 1.888.995.7382 to speak with a live person or email info@prepacademytutors.com.

Our local Education Directors will be happy to discuss your student’s requirements and match them with the perfect online tutor.

More About Our Virtual Tuition Services:

Finally, we are using an excellent, highly secure screen-sharing technology solution that will enable students to continue learning, socialization, and development from home.

Familles actuelles:

Les services de tutorat à domicile de Prep Academy sont suspendus jusqu’à nouvel ordre afin de protéger nos clients et nos tuteurs. Jusqu’à nouvel ordre, nous continuerons toutes les leçons virtuellement en utilisant une plateforme virtuelle sécurisée et une solution de partage d’écran.

Votre tuteur sera en contact avec vous pour fournir des instructions de configuration pour votre classe virtuelle.

Nouvelles familles à travers le Canada:

Vous êtes invités à vous inscrire à nos services de tutorat en ligne

Trouvez votre zone de service locale en utilisant «Trouvez votre tuteur local» ou appelez le 1.888.995.7382 pour parler à une personne en direct ou par courriel à info@prepacademytutors.com.

Nos directeurs de l’éducation locaux seront heureux de discuter de vos besoins en éducation et de trouver le parfait tuteur. 

Plus d’informations sur nos services de scolarité virtuelle:

Nous utilisons une plateforme technologique de partage d’écran hautement sécurisée qui permettra aux étudiants de continuer à apprendre, à socialiser et à se développer de la maison. En cette période où les étudiants ne peuvent pas avoir autant d’interaction avec les autres étudiants, nous espérons que ces leçons virtuelles fourniront une interaction positive et stimuleront leurs humeurs.

How Students in Ontario Can Master High School French

Because Canada is a bilingual country, acquiring a high level of French fluency while in high school can be an essential stepping stone toward careers in politics, public service, academia, law, and medicine — not to mention unlocking incredible opportunities for travel and personal development outside of work. 

But for parents raising kids in heavily Anglophone parts of the country, like Western Ontario, it can be hard to know how to make dreams of bilingualism a reality.

After all, the nature of Canada’s education system is such that the resources available in some areas — French immersion programs and robust community support for language learning — simply aren’t available in others.

If you want to help your high schooler get the most out of their French curriculum and achieve the kind of fluency that will prepare them for success in university and the workplace, here are four ways you can help them tap into their full language-learning potential.

1. Get Extra Support

Probably the first thing you need to understand about your child’s high school French curriculum is that it is not really designed to produce students who are able to communicate like native French speakers. Instead, it is meant to provide a strong foundation in the kind of skills students can learn most easily outside a French-speaking context — grammar and writing being the most significant.

This means that helping students really master French is generally going to require doing additional language-learning outside of school.

This isn’t always easy: in Toronto’s downtown core, there is significant access to French language cultural institutions that can help you enhance your child’s education prospects, but in other parts of the GTA they are not so readily available. 

For this reason, you may need to consider engaging private help to provide the educational boost that one-on-one conversation and grammar work with a French expert can provide.

A private tutor can provide many benefits for people learning French as a second language, including but not limited to:

  • Targeted support that deals with individual learning obstacles
  • One-on-one help that lets students move at their own pace
  • A safe environment where students can make mistakes and build their confidence without fear of judgement
  • Expert education help that understands the pedagogy of linguistics and can incorporate modern methods for language acquisition into private lessons. 

Fortunately, if you are looking for a French tutor in Mississauga we can put you in touch with highly qualified instructors who can help your child get the extra support they need.

2. Understand the Difference Between Academic Success and Fluency

In Ontario, most students who are not from Francophone families will first encounter French when they start school. While access to primary and secondary education in the French language is one of the key benefits of living in a bilingual country, the downside is that young students quickly come to think of French as a subject of study rather than a mode of communication.

While it is certainly true that academic success in French is extremely important — and language acquisition unquestionably relies on intensive, rigorous study — a language is a living thing, and simply memorizing vocabulary and conjugation patterns will never get you to full fluency.

This is why it is important to find opportunities for more creative language use outside of school. This could mean getting involved in an extra-curricular language club, or it could mean finding a pen-pall to communicate with via social media.

One of the major advantages of learning French in the twenty-first century is that it is easier than it has ever been to find authentic French language resources on the internet, and to gain exposure to French film, television, and news outlets online, no matter where you live.

If you want to augment your school’s language curriculum and go beyond academic mastery of the language, here are a few helpful tips for engaging with French on your own time:

  • Public screenings of French films (or watching French movies online)
  • Following French language accounts on social media
  • Reading national news stories in both languages
  • Reading French translations of your favourite books

A good education plan will involve both tips to improve your SSAT scores and maximize your chances for getting into a good post-secondary program and providing you with the tools you need to communicate effectively with native speakers.

3. Make it Social

Unless you’re studying a dead language like Latin or Ancient Greek, you will never be able to attain fluency on your own. Languages are inherently social, and language acquisition relies on a number of social factors — not least of which being a student’s opportunities to engage with other people who speak the language they are trying to learn.

Students now have an unprecedented number of options for learning not just French, but any major language they have an interest in. Education apps like Duolingo and Busuu make it possible to study your language of choice in engaging and stimulating ways whenever you want, wherever you want.

But while these apps can play an important role in increasing exposure and helping you master new vocabulary, without regular interactions with other language students or native speakers, there is a hard ceiling limiting how far you can go if these are your only language-learning tools.

This can pose a problem, especially for students who don’t have the option of spending summers in a French-speaking environment or attending French-language summer camps. As many experts have noted, because of the social interactions that come with it, immersion plays an outsized role in helping students become confident and practiced in a new language.

Without opportunities for immersion, it can be extremely difficult to truly attain fluency. So what should people with limited options to use French in their daily lives do to overcome this obstacle? 

There are no easy answers to this question, but it is important to remember that fluency and academic success is a team game — and if you’re going to succeed, you need to find a team. Tutoring is helpful not just because it gives kids an opportunity to correct their mistakes and practice their speaking, but also because it can help them plug into a wider network of language learners who can help them find out about French language speaking opportunities that exist in their own communities.

Languages are social tools, so building a community of language learners who will help you use that tool in social ways is essential if meaningful language acquisition is actually to take place.

4. Do a Little Every Day

Probably the best piece of practical advice for language learners is also the simplest: do a little bit of work every day. Time and time again, research has shown that there is simply no substitute for steady, incremental progress in language learning, which is why it is so important that students practice their French every day — even if it is only for fifteen minutes to half an hour.

When you learn a second language, you are essentially reprogramming your brain, and this takes time. Apps and services that promise to help you become fluent in a matter of weeks are making an impossible pitch, for the simple reason that it takes most of us years to be able to meaningfully communicate in our own language, let alone a second one.

This shouldn’t be discouraging: like physical fitness, the key is to make language learning part of your routine, so it becomes as familiar and comfortable as the drive to school. Just like exercise, problems tend to come when the routine is disrupted.

One of the reasons why tutoring has proven to be such an effective method for helping people learn new languages is that tutoring builds language learning into the schedule of every week, increasingly the likelihood that students will keep up with their homework and continue to learn a little bit every day.

If you want to learn more about us and how our approach can help your kids improve their French, and even achieve fluency by the time they graduate, get in touch with us today to find out how our unique, hand’s-on approach helps students build confidence and master the studying techniques that will help them become independent learners.

More than simply increasing earning potential or giving students a shot at getting into better schools, learning a second language is one of the great intellectual pleasures of a fulfilled life — a good that is worth pursuing for its own sake.

If you want to give the gift of bilingualism to your children but are worried that you don’t have the necessary skills or tools, call Prep Academy Tutors today!

Why Calgary Parents Should Get Their Children Extra Help with English

If you live in Calgary and have children in the public school system, there is a good chance you have already heard about the recent government cuts that will be hitting the Calgary Board of Education starting in 2020.

Many teachers have already warned that these cuts could have a negative effect on the quality of education Calgary schools are able to offer, and while the education system as a whole will likely be able to absorb this unforeseen budgetary shortfall, individual students may be seriously impacted.

This is likely to be a special concern for people with children at critical stages of development, who are trying to master vital skills like literacy.

As recent reports out of Ontario have shown, provincial education systems across the country are struggling to impart basic life skills like literacy and numeracy, and employers are starting to worry that even students coming out of higher education institutions like universities and colleges often struggle to read and write at a sufficiently high level to achieve success in the workplace.

So what can parents do to make sure their kids don’t fall behind? English is a bedrock skill for Canadian students, one they will rely on every day of their personal and professional lives, and it is important to make sure literacy development is not impeded by budget cuts.

Here are just a few reasons Calgary parents should consider getting extra literacy help for their kids during this difficult time.

1. Literacy is a Gateway Skill

Imagine to yourself, if you will, what your daily routine would be like if you couldn’t read or write. Think about the thousands of small transactions and interactions that are only possible for you because you are able to read street signs, follow directions, and understand menus.

Now think about what your knowledge of the world would be like if you couldn’t read books or understand written text.

Without the ability to read and write at a reasonably high level, it is very difficult to attain a whole range of other skills and knowledge bases. Even in our media-saturate twenty-first century world, being able to understand the written word is fundamental.

Making sure your kids learn English at an early age can prime them for greater academic success later on, as it will empower them to follow their interests by reading books and web articles and exploring the world through the texts they encounter.

For this reason, you may want to engage an English tutor in Calgary if you want to ensure that your kids are getting the literacy help they need during critical stages of their development.


2. Learning to Read and Write can be Difficult

As anyone who has ever worked with a child learning to read or write knows, these tasks which come so naturally to us as adults actually take a good deal of time to learn as children. This is in part because the human brain is not hard-wired to read the way it is hard-wired to listen and speak.

Most children learn to read around the age of six, but there is a huge range of variance within what can be considered normal: some children are reading as young as four, but it isn’t unusual for seven- or eight-year-olds to struggle to understand basic texts.

Literacy is simply not something that comes naturally to every child, and one of the fundamental purposes of a primary education should be to help make sure that even kids who find reading extremely difficult have the opportunity to master reading and writing.

A great deal of research has gone into understanding how humans learn to read and write, and one of the reasons literacy rates are so high is because modern pedagogues have an unparalleled grasp on how to make literacy education effective and efficient.

Unfortunately, this requires that teachers have the time and resources to pay proper attention to each individual child, and this is something that becomes exponentially harder to do with each addition student who is added to the class.

Uniform education solutions simply don’t work when it comes to helping kids overcome personal barriers to learning, and as funding gets tight for Calgary schools, many of them will have fewer resources to offer the hands-on help children need.

One of the reasons why hiring a tutor to help your child improve their literacy skills is because tutors work with students on a one-on-one basis and provide the kind of personalized help that most children struggling to learn to read or write need.

The 4 Habits All Successful Students Share

The 4 Habits All Successful Students Share

The way we learn new information and skills may have changed significantly over the past twenty years, but no matter how many new technological tools we acquire, basic study skills are still a central part of education at all levels.

Consistently, the most effective students — the ones able to rapidly master new disciplines and incorporate new information into their understanding of the world — are those who have built a reliable set of habits that help them synthesize new information quickly and to retain what they have learned over the long run.

Good study habits can:

  • Make studying easier
  • Make studying faster
  • Reduce the time needed to synthesize new information
  • Improve grades
  • Lock information into the long-term memory

So what are these habits, and how can students who want to study more efficiently acquire them?

In this article, we’ll go over four of the most important study habits a high school or college student can develop and explore some of the strategies that can help you make them part of your daily life.

1. Regular Goals

When you start out in a new subject or discipline, learning is often stimulating and fun — after all, it’s empowering to discover new things about the world. But once the initial excitement wears off and your realize just how much you don’t know, it’s easy to get discouraged. Learning a handful of words in Japanese makes you feel smart and accomplished: putting in the hard work to master the language’s complex grammar is another thing entirely.  

We often imagine that the thing that separates students who learn a few words and then give up from those who go one to achieve a degree of fluency is simply a matter of motivation and dedication. But motivation is about more than just drive, and motivated students tend to be good at providing themselves with incentives.

Setting regular goals is an essential part of this, because regular goals help students to feel that they are making a progress. Learning a language or mastering calculus takes a long time; if you are constantly measuring yourself against some kind of perfect ideal, it will be hard to stay the course.

But if you find ways to set regular goals — learning a cluster of words every week and a grammatical tense every month, for example — you can measure your progress more effectively.

Having outside help can make this a bit easier, which is why you might want to find a tutor near you if you’re worried that you won’t be able to hold yourself to your stated goals on your own.

The 4 Habits All Successful Students Share

2. Good Time Management

We tend not to think of time management as being a studying skill, per se, but effective studying is all about making the most of the hours available: the problem most students face is not that they can’t master the material, but that they struggle to balance all of their different time commitments, and can’t dedicate the time a given learning task requires.

For this reason, becoming a better student typically means finding ways to use one’s time more efficiently.

One common problem students run into with time management is that they aren’t sufficiently realistic about how long certain tasks will take. This leads to forms of magical thinking whereby students convince themselves that they can do more with their study time than is actually possible.

It is important to find out how long certain routine learning tasks actually take (how long, for example, does it take you to read a page of a history book, or write a thousand-word position paper), and then base your study plan on realistic metrics regarding what you can accomplish with the time you have.

Time management isn’t just about allocating yourself enough time to complete a learning object, however. It’s also about using that time strategically.

Cramming is an excellent example of where this often goes wrong: if you have four hours to prepare for a major test, that time will be far better spent in half hour or forty-five minute blocks of studying time spread out across the week, rather than a single intensive session the day before the test. 

While certain mnemonic techniques can help you remember key information more easily, scientists who study how memory works know that there are no real shortcuts for mastering complex material: you need regular exposure over time in order to lock major and minor details into your long-term memory.

Again, when you find your local tutor they may be able to help with time management simply by virtue of requiring you to do regular, weekly work, thereby keeping you on task and not giving you a chance to fall behind in your studies.

3. Willingness to Use the Resources at their Disposal

We are living in a time of unprecedented access to educational tools. Companies like Udemy, Duolingo, Masterclass and other online learning sites have all become massively popular by making learning software, games, and lectures widely available to the public. You can now receive high-level instruction in everything from German and literature to cooking and coding on your phone.

And the resources that are available are not only digital — even small Canadian cities now feature thriving innovation hubs that can help students of all ages connect to quality instruction and learning opportunities. And of course, tutoring services like Prep Academy Tutors can help students get hand’s-on help with English, French, math, science and other challenging subjects.

The most effective students don’t just set regular goals and manage their time well — they also look beyond the textbook to find resources that can help them learn more effectively.

Studying is, for many people, a deeply social act, and using the resources other people provide to make learning easier is an important way to make the information really stick. After all, a student who is regularly meeting with tutors and peers will have new material regularly reinforced, which plays an important role in locking it into the long-term memory.

If you want to find out how tutoring can help you meet your learning goals, contact us to learn more about our tutoring services or take a look at the tutoring opportunities we offer in your city or community.

tutoring tips

4. Routines

Study habits are just that: habits that form an almost unconscious part of our everyday lives. The routine nature of habits is part of what makes them so effective. Once you have developed good study habits, it is easy to make learning a regular part of your life even when you aren’t preparing for final exams.

But developing good study habits is easier said than done, especially for busy high school or college students who have a lot of activities to schedule in every week. For this reason, building these studying routines into your life requires an intentional and strategic approach, one that avoids overly optimistic thinking and focuses on what is doable.

There are plenty of tools online that can help you create a study routine that works for you, but here are five easy steps that can get you started:

  1. Make a list of your learning goals for the month.
  2. Determine how long each of these goals will take to complete — and be realistic.
  3. Sit down with your calendar and map out what your week and month look like. What activities and events are locked in? Where do you have time to spare?
  4. Portion out your study time into twenty-five minute blocks, with five minute breaks between, and see how many blocks you have over the course of the week.
  5. Allocate the tasks you need to complete to these time blocks, being sure to spread out major tasks like exam prep over a few days.

Like many things in life, there are no shortcuts when it comes to studying. If you want to see positive results, you just need to put the hours in.

But this can also be a liberating thing to realize. After all, if acquiring a new skill, learning a new discipline, or mastering a new language is simply a matter of studying smart enough and long enough, then the only thing holding you back from achieving your goals is proper planning.

One of the most important benefits that comes with professional tutoring is the feeling that you are not alone. Intellectual work can be tiring and isolating, and working with a tutor is a great way to feel not only that you have the expert help you need to overcome the obstacles in your path, but also have the human support you need to stay motivated.

If you want to overcome your personal learning challenges in 2020, get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors today and find the tutor in your city who is right for you!

How Students in Ontario Can Master High School French

How Students in Ontario Can Master High School French

Because Canada is a bilingual country, acquiring a high level of French fluency while in high school can be an essential stepping stone toward careers in politics, public service, academia, law, and medicine — not to mention unlocking incredible opportunities for travel and personal development outside of work. 

But for parents raising kids in heavily Anglophone parts of the country, like Western Ontario, it can be hard to know how to make dreams of bilingualism a reality.

After all, the nature of Canada’s education system is such that the resources available in some areas — French immersion programs and robust community support for language learning — simply aren’t available in others.

If you want to help your high schooler get the most out of their French curriculum and achieve the kind of fluency that will prepare them for success in university and the workplace, here are four ways you can help them tap into their full language-learning potential.

1. Get Extra Support

Probably the first thing you need to understand about your child’s high school French curriculum is that it is not really designed to produce students who are able to communicate like native French speakers. Instead, it is meant to provide a strong foundation in the kind of skills students can learn most easily outside a French-speaking context — grammar and writing being the most significant.

This means that helping students really master French is generally going to require doing additional language-learning outside of school.

This isn’t always easy: in Toronto’s downtown core, there is significant access to French language cultural institutions that can help you enhance your child’s education prospects, but in other parts of the GTA they are not so readily available. 

For this reason, you may need to consider engaging private help to provide the educational boost that one-on-one conversation and grammar work with a French expert can provide.

A private tutor can provide many benefits for people learning French as a second language, including but not limited to:

  • Targeted support that deals with individual learning obstacles
  • One-on-one help that lets students move at their own pace
  • A safe environment where students can make mistakes and build their confidence without fear of judgement
  • Expert education help that understands the pedagogy of linguistics and can incorporate modern methods for language acquisition into private lessons. 

Fortunately, if you are looking for a French tutor in Mississauga we can put you in touch with highly qualified instructors who can help your child get the extra support they need.

2. Understand the Difference Between Academic Success and Fluency

In Ontario, most students who are not from Francophone families will first encounter French when they start school. While access to primary and secondary education in the French language is one of the key benefits of living in a bilingual country, the downside is that young students quickly come to think of French as a subject of study rather than a mode of communication.

While it is certainly true that academic success in French is extremely important — and language acquisition unquestionably relies on intensive, rigorous study — a language is a living thing, and simply memorizing vocabulary and conjugation patterns will never get you to full fluency.

This is why it is important to find opportunities for more creative language use outside of school. This could mean getting involved in an extra-curricular language club, or it could mean finding a pen-pall to communicate with via social media.

One of the major advantages of learning French in the twenty-first century is that it is easier than it has ever been to find authentic French language resources on the internet, and to gain exposure to French film, television, and news outlets online, no matter where you live.

If you want to augment your school’s language curriculum and go beyond academic mastery of the language, here are a few helpful tips for engaging with French on your own time:

  • Public screenings of French films (or watching French movies online)
  • Following French language accounts on social media
  • Reading national news stories in both languages
  • Reading French translations of your favourite books

A good education plan will involve both tips to improve your SSAT scores and maximize your chances for getting into a good post-secondary program and providing you with the tools you need to communicate effectively with native speakers.

How Students in Ontario Can Master High School French

3. Make it Social

Unless you’re studying a dead language like Latin or Ancient Greek, you will never be able to attain fluency on your own. Languages are inherently social, and language acquisition relies on a number of social factors — not least of which being a student’s opportunities to engage with other people who speak the language they are trying to learn.

Students now have an unprecedented number of options for learning not just French, but any major language they have an interest in. Education apps like Duolingo and Busuu make it possible to study your language of choice in engaging and stimulating ways whenever you want, wherever you want.

But while these apps can play an important role in increasing exposure and helping you master new vocabulary, without regular interactions with other language students or native speakers, there is a hard ceiling limiting how far you can go if these are your only language-learning tools.

This can pose a problem, especially for students who don’t have the option of spending summers in a French-speaking environment or attending French-language summer camps. As many experts have noted, because of the social interactions that come with it, immersion plays an outsized role in helping students become confident and practiced in a new language.

Without opportunities for immersion, it can be extremely difficult to truly attain fluency. So what should people with limited options to use French in their daily lives do to overcome this obstacle? 

There are no easy answers to this question, but it is important to remember that fluency and academic success is a team game — and if you’re going to succeed, you need to find a team. Tutoring is helpful not just because it gives kids an opportunity to correct their mistakes and practice their speaking, but also because it can help them plug into a wider network of language learners who can help them find out about French language speaking opportunities that exist in their own communities.

Languages are social tools, so building a community of language learners who will help you use that tool in social ways is essential if meaningful language acquisition is actually to take place.

How Students in Ontario Can Master High School French

4. Do a Little Every Day

Probably the best piece of practical advice for language learners is also the simplest: do a little bit of work every day. Time and time again, research has shown that there is simply no substitute for steady, incremental progress in language learning, which is why it is so important that students practice their French every day — even if it is only for fifteen minutes to half an hour.

When you learn a second language, you are essentially reprogramming your brain, and this takes time. Apps and services that promise to help you become fluent in a matter of weeks are making an impossible pitch, for the simple reason that it takes most of us years to be able to meaningfully communicate in our own language, let alone a second one.

This shouldn’t be discouraging: like physical fitness, the key is to make language learning part of your routine, so it becomes as familiar and comfortable as the drive to school. Just like exercise, problems tend to come when the routine is disrupted.

One of the reasons why tutoring has proven to be such an effective method for helping people learn new languages is that tutoring builds language learning into the schedule of every week, increasingly the likelihood that students will keep up with their homework and continue to learn a little bit every day.

If you want to learn more about us and how our approach can help your kids improve their French, and even achieve fluency by the time they graduate, get in touch with us today to find out how our unique, hand’s-on approach helps students build confidence and master the studying techniques that will help them become independent learners.

More than simply increasing earning potential or giving students a shot at getting into better schools, learning a second language is one of the great intellectual pleasures of a fulfilled life — a good that is worth pursuing for its own sake.

If you want to give the gift of bilingualism to your children but are worried that you don’t have the necessary skills or tools, call Prep Academy Tutors today!

5 Things to Look for in a Math Tutor

5 Things to Look for in a Math Tutor

For thousands of years, mathematics has been central to education. Ever since the Greek philosopher Pythagoras set about trying to discern and codify the underlying scientific laws that govern the universe, mathematics has been an essential tool for understanding the world around us.

For some students, math comes easy — the beautiful symmetry, the unambiguous nature of the answers, and the simple puzzle-solving pleasure that comes from getting a question right make learning fun. For others, even basic arithmetic can cause anxiety.

Even if a student isn’t planning on going into a mathematics-related discipline like engineering, mastering basic math and succeeding in the math curriculum at school can open lots of important doors. Math and numeracy skills can help provide:

  • Improved financial literacy
  • Greater independence in business accounting and filing taxes
  • Improved capacity for everyday tasks like home renovations to calculating exchange rates
  • Better problem-solving skills

For these reasons, investing in tutoring that can help students who are struggling with math excel can be essential in helping them overcome obstacles and develop a healthy relationship to math.

But if you want the best results, it is also important to make sure that the tutor you hire has the necessary skills to help your child succeed. If you live in Ontario and you’re looking for a math tutor for the coming year, here are just a few qualities you should look for in potential candidates.

1. Knowledge of the Local Curriculum

If you are hiring a math tutor to help your child improve their math skills, there’s a good chance it is because you want to make sure they can succeed in school and build the kind of transcript that will give them plenty of options when it comes time to graduate.

For that reason, you are probably looking for more than just a candidate who knows math well — you also want someone who can tailor their approach to the particular curriculum your child is using at school.

While it is possible to find tutors online who offer a range of different educational services, when it comes to hiring a math tutor, you should look for someone who:

  • Has experience with the Ontario education system and the local math curriculum
  • Is able to provide lessons that complement what is being taught in primary or secondary math classes
  • Is able to prepare students for upcoming challenges they will face in future modules and grades

At Prep Academy Tutors, we understand how important it is for tutors to work alongside the curriculum a student is learning in school. If you are looking for a math tutor in Kitchener for example, we can make sure to provide someone with the detailed, specific knowledge that can help augment what your child is learning in their regular classes so that when test time rolls around, they are equipped for academic success.  

math tutor tips

2. Familiarity with Pedagogical Methods

The world has changed significantly since the days when elementary math classes were mostly about memorizing times tables and regurgitating formulas, and a lot of progress has been made in math education in recent years.

Pedagogical experts have broken new ground in figuring out how it is we come to understand abstract mathematical concepts, and how we can master these ideas more easily. These insights are having a huge impact on how math is taught at all levels of school — which is why, when it comes to finding a tutor, you should make sure that the individual you hire has a good working knowledge of the latest teaching methods.

One particularly striking example of this is the way educators prepare students for the jump between more basic mathematical concepts, like arithmetic, and more complex ones, like algebra.

In the past twenty years, researchers have found that the kind of rote teaching that works rather well when teaching addition and subtraction does not actually prepare students for the more sophisticated thinking that algebra, trigonometry, and calculus requires.

This has led to a shift toward dynamic and engaging education methods designed to help students approach math more creatively, and to prepare them for more sophisticated forms of problem solving. 

Another example is the massive strides that have been made in understanding how to deal with math anxiety in young learners. If you want tips for beating math anxiety that will actually work, hiring a tutor who understands the psychological and emotional reasons that math anxiety happens in the first place is essential.

3. A Supportive Attitude

A good tutor has to know the curriculum and has to know their subject: but they also need to know how to work with students.

As anyone with teaching experience knows, education is about a lot more than imparting information and developing skills. It also requires a supportive attitude that can help students become more confident and master the study strategies and problem-solving skills that will help them prepare for a life of learning.

One of the frequently-cited benefits of tutoring for elementary school kids is that it helps them learn how to learn, insofar as it helps them develop tactics for dealing with unknown information and the temperament to approach new problems methodically and rationally.

For example, tutors can help young children discover:

  • How to learn from mistakes
  • How to handle negative emotions that come from difficult material
  • Where to go for help (dictionaries, reference works, etc.)
  • What resources are available when they are struggling

Adults often take for granted that children have the tools they need to face down the often bewildering learning challenges they face over the course of their primary school years. Not all parents are themselves equipped to guide their kids through the difficulties of these years.

One of the reasons tutoring is so effective is that it helps students build confidence in their own problem-solving skills, so that when they come across something they don’t know, they know how to break the learning task down into manageable pieces and approach it in ways that help them overcome it.  

4. A Student-Centered Approach

5 Things to Look for in a Math Tutor

As parents know very well, every student is different. An approach that works for one kid won’t necessarily work for others, and the learning goals of one child may be very different from those of their neighbour — or even their sibling.

One of the challenges that seems to be baked into modern education systems is that the people staffing them and providing primary services like teaching tend to be people who place a lot of value on higher education and abstract thinking.

This can mean that students who don’t necessarily want to go on to university are given less attention and support than their more academic peers — there are plenty of students who simply need a math education that will help them go about their daily life, and these students deserve just as much attention as the future astronomers do. 

A good tutor understands that their role is to help each individual student achieve their potential, even if that simply means helping them achieve sufficient grades to get their diploma so that they can enter a rewarding and valuable career in the trades.

At Prep Academy Tutors, we believe very strongly that no matter what a student’s goals are, they deserve the support and instruction that will help them to realize them. If you want to learn more about our educational philosophy, you can get in touch with us today to find out how our one-on-one service works, and how you can find the tutor who will be right for your child.

According to the latest numbers, Ontario math students are continuing to fall behind in rankings. According to Ontario’s Education Quality and Accountability Office, less than half of Grade 6 students scored above the provincial standard for math in 2017-2018, down from just over half four years earlier. 

This alarming trend could have serious repercussions for these students down the road, and while the Ontario government has pledged to do something about the situation, there is no guarantee that a quick fix is available. Parents whose children are currently in the Ontario education system may want to consider alternatives that will ensure their own kids don’t fall behind.

Tutoring has consistently been shown to be one of the most effective tools for improving student performance in mathematics, in part because math tutoring provides the kind of one-on-one help and support that is becoming increasingly rare in Ontario’s under-resourced schools.

At Prep Academy Tutors, we work with well-trained, experience tutors across the province to help you get the best education results possible, so if you want to find out what math tutoring options are available near you, get in touch with us today.