Sneak In Summer Learning
Our last blog post was about Summer Learning Loss and how parents can combat it. One way to avoid this setback is to sneak in summer learning. Hiring a tutor is an excellent way to provide structure and support throughout the summer so your child retains what they have learned during the past school year however, there are many easy ways to sneak summer learning into your child’s day-to-day activities throughout July and August.
Sneak In Summer Learning: MATH
As discussed previously, on average, students can lose approximately 2.6 months of math learning over the summer, which can take up to six weeks of re-learning old material to make up for the loss. But math is also one of the most accessible subjects to sneak in summer learning, with opportunities to practice basic skills daily.
Host a Yard Sale:
Your kids will need to analyze what they are selling to set a price, be able to calculate change, and offer percentage or dollar discounts.
Having your kids help in the kitchen teaches them life skills and is an easy way to sneak in math, specifically when it comes to measurements. As your kids go through each recipe step, have them convert a measurement. For instance, if the recipe calls for three tablespoons, ask them how many teaspoons that would be.
Math Games for The Family:
Nothing sneaks in summer learning like family game night! Some of the best games that focus on math are:
Sneak In Summer Learning: SCIENCE
The wonderful thing about science is that even simple hands-on experiments requiring only a few materials can spark an interest in the subject for the upcoming school year.
You can create your own experiments or get inspiration here. This Prep Academy article also has three boredom-busting science experiments that will keep your kids engaged using basic household items you likely already have lying around.
Sneak In Summer Learning: READING/WRITING
Have your child delve into their creative side by making a scrapbook where they journal their summer adventures. Use everything you have on hand – magazine clippings, stickers, markers, and construction paper – the sky is the limit! Have your kids incorporate creative storytelling for a fun way to practice writing that also makes a memory book they can look back on in the fall.
Build up your kids’ home library by hitting local garage sales and having them choose and buy books they would like to read.
Rethink Screen Time:
While you don’t want your kids to be in front of a screen for an entire summer, you can turn television time into reading time by simply turning on the closed captioning when they are watching their favourite shows.
Sneak In Summer Learning: GEOGRAPHY
Latitude/Longitude Part 1:
Whenever your child reads a book, magazine or newspaper article, have them find the latitude and longitude of the location where the focus of the article takes place and find it on a map.
Latitude/Longitude Part 2:
Have your child find their birthday latitude and longitude on a map. Use the month for latitude and day for longitude. If the birthday is October 18, the coordinates could be 10°N, 18°E or 10°S, 18°W. To expand on this, have them find out facts about the area they found.
Take a Virtual Tour of the World
Google Virtual Tours allows you to visit thirty historic landmarks worldwide, including the Taj Mahal, Great Sphinx of Giza and Stonehenge.
On a final note, summer learning loss is not inevitable. A combination of at-home learning and working with our certified tutors will help your child retain what they’ve already learned and confidently start the school year.
How To Combat Summer Learning Loss
Summer is upon us, which means many children go from a structured school routine to a more
relaxed daily schedule. While downtime in the summer is great, the two-month gap in learning
can cause summer learning loss, also referred to as the summer slide, brain drain, and the
summer setback. This can be frustrating for parents. After watching their child struggle to
master vital skills like writing and math over the course of the school year, summer comes along
and seems to wipe the memory clean. In this post we will cover some tips on how to combat summer learning loss.
It’s the old adage of ‘use it or lose it’ come to life. Without regular practice, new skills and
knowledge fade. What’s even more worrisome is that these dips in learning can be even more
dramatic as kids enter middle school.
One area that is hit particularly hard is math. On average, students can lose approximately 2.6
months of math learning over the summer. These setbacks can take up to six weeks of
re-learning old material to make up for summer learning loss.
How Do You Combat Summer Learning Loss?
July and August are a chance for children to combat learning loss and stay academically
motivated so that, when they return to school in the fall, they’ll be more than prepared.
Bring Play Into Learning
Since math is an area with the most significant summer learning loss, one of the most important
roles you can play in how to combat summer learning loss, is modelling interest in the value of math. Instead of thinking about math as a
chore, connect it to your child’s real-life experiences.
Find something your child is already passionate about, then draw out the mathematical
features. It’s a great way to help your kids see that math touches everything. If they like to draw,
you can find books or videos to teach them the importance of ratios, scaling, and angles. If
they’re interested in sports, use the hockey rink, football field, or soccer pitch to show the
importance of fractions.
Games like Yahtzee, Monopoly, and Sequence utilize basic math skills such as counting, adding,
Hire a Tutor
A tutor can provide structure and support so your child will not only retain what they have
learned throughout the school year but can also improve their knowledge in advance of the
year to come. It’s also an opportunity to help your child overcome personal learning challenges
in a safe environment.
Make Reading An Everyday Activity
The results of a 2004 study suggest that the effect of reading four to five booksis potentially
large enough to prevent a decline in reading achievement scores from the spring to the fall.
Furthermore, children who reported easy access to books also read more books.
A few things you can do to make books more accessible are:
- Take a trip to your local library and allow your child to choose books of interest to them.
- Bring books on car rides or when you go to the park or beach
- Implement a quiet reading hour once a day
- Create a summer reading challenge
Journaling is an excellent activity for kids to develop as readers, writers, and communicators.
Have them write whatever comes to mind, whatever is bothering them, whatever they’re
curious about, or whatever they want to remember.
The Neverending Story:
This is a fun activity for middle-school children. In a notebook, write the line “Once Upon A
Each family member then adds a short paragraph to the story every day, with the next person
adding on to what was previously written. Not only does this help with writing, but it also helps
to inspire your child’s creativity and nourishes their imagination.
Write down vocabulary words on slips of paper appropriate for your child’s age/grade and have
them choose one word each day. The challenge is for both of you to use that word in
conversation (using the proper context) as many times as you can that day.
Summer learning loss is not inevitable. By incorporating math skills into daily life, reading
regularly, and encouraging your children to write and journal, you are setting them up for a
successful school year ahead.
If you want to explore the possibility of tutoring this summer, contact us to learn more.
How To React To Your Child’s Report Card
How To React To Your Child’s Report Card
The end of the school year is near, which means final report cards will be coming home. This can be stressful for kids, especially if they feel like they haven’t lived up to expectations. How parents react to bad grades on a report card is important as it can affect your child’s future approach to studying and attitude towards learning.
According to parenting expert Alyson Schafer, “When report cards come home, your child knows full well that they are being measured. They will be thinking, “Am I good enough?” Your answers and facial expressions need to convey that they are already everything they need to be, and a report card doesn’t say a wit about them.”
No parent wants to see poor grades on their child’s report card, but if you do, don’t react instantly while your emotions are running high. Poor grades aren’t a measure of your child’s worth or your parenting skills. Once you have had time to calm yourself, use this as an opportunity to communicate with your son/daughter and determine a path for future academic enrichment.
If your child does bring home a report card with unsatisfactory grades, here’s what you can do:
Focus on the Positive
Imagine going to work, and your boss only points out everything you do wrong. It would be defeating and unmotivating, not to mention a very stressful environment. It’s the same for your child. Yes, you want the grades to improve, but your child also needs to know what they are doing right. Starting on a positive note helps them understand that you care about all their accomplishments, not just the areas that need improvement. Involve them in the discussion and ask questions like which grade they are proudest of and why.
Listen To Your Child
Your child can give you good insight as to why they are struggling. Ask open-ended questions about what they think happened. Was the work too difficult? Is the subject being taught too fast for them to keep up? Are they asking questions when problems arise?
Talk To The Teacher
Since this is the last report card of the year, you may ask yourself why bother speaking with the teacher. However, this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about your child’s behaviour, habits, and performance in the classroom, which will ultimately help you develop a plan to improve your child’s academic performance.
Come Up With a Plan
Help your child set realistic and attainable goals for the coming year. Hiring a tutor for the summer months marks a chance for your child to combat learning loss and stay academically motivated so that, when they return to school in the fall, they’ll be more than prepared.
Last but not least, emphasize the importance of always trying their best and focusing on a love of life-long learning, not simply getting straight A’s.
Teaching Kids Problem Solving Skills At Home
As parents and educators, one of the greatest things we can do is provide our children with the skills to
solve problems by themselves. Kids of all ages face issues daily, and teaching them the process to solve
these problems will help them become confident, independent individuals.
If your child is struggling with a problem at home, you can do specific things to help.
Teach Your Child The Sequence To Solve a Problem
- Define the Problem: Defining the problem establishes a goal for what you want to achieve.
- Brainstorm Solutions: Create a list of possible solutions.
- Evaluate and Choose a Solution: The ideal solution will meet the goal, is efficient, and has the fewest
- Implement the Solution: This step is about testing and feedback rather than trying to get it ‘perfect’ the
- Review the Results: Review what worked and what didn’t work.
Other ways you can teach your children problem-solving skills:
Model Problem Solving Behaviour
Problem-solving is often done in steps that can be slow and sometimes tedious. Model patience and
perseverance as well as how to follow a structured method.
Ask For Advice
When you face a problem, ask your kids for advice. This helps them develop problem-solving skills and
learn that everyone encounters challenges.
Learn From The Past
Oftentimes children will have encountered a similar situation previously. Have them think about a
comparable problem they have experienced in the past and how they were able to solve the issue. Teach
them that it’s okay to re-use strategies.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
While the easiest solution would be to give your child the answer, it doesn’t help him develop the skills
he needs to problem solve when you aren’t around. Instead, ask open-ended questions to help him
elaborate on his thoughts and provide a more descriptive response. Open-ended questions typically
begin with words like ‘why’ or ‘how’. A few examples of open-ended questions are:
What do you think would work best in this situation?
Why do you think this solution is the one that will work?
What will you do differently next time?
Emphasize the Process, Not The End Result
When you emphasize the process, it helps your child improve their problem-solving skills through effort
and practice and encourages a growth mindset. It also teaches them that the first solution may not
always be the best, and that’s okay.
What To Do When Your Child is Feeling Unmotivated To Learn
The second half of the school year is when many students often feel unmotivated to learn,
especially this past year with the back-and-forth of online and in-person learning. If your child is
feeling unmotivated, the first thing to do is let them know it’s normal to feel this way sometimes,
and that feeling unmotivated is something they will deal with throughout life. The good news is,
you can change it!
Have Your Kids Visualize Their Goals:
A study done in 2011 at the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech showed the easier a
goal is to see, the closer it seems. For instance, if your child has a goal of reading a certain
number of books before the end of the school year, you can create a poster with the title of each
book that they can cross off when it’s done. If they are striving to get a certain grade in a
subject, create a chart where they can document the results of their exams and projects in that
Change Up Your Environment:
There are some things you can change and some things you can’t – like homework. If you can’t
change your to-do list, change where you get things done. Something as simple as finding a
new place you can study even if it’s just for one session can help your child feel more
motivated. Some ideas include:
- Moving to a new area in your home
- Take your homework outside to a local park or even just to your backyard or balcony
The local library.
Organize Workspace Both At Home and In School
Clutter affects not just your workspace but your mind as well. Our brains actually like order, and
if you are surrounded by clutter it drains your cognitive resources, reducing the ability to focus.
Go through both your at-home workspace and in-school workspace (including lockers) to get rid
of anything you don’t need and organize what is left. This is also a good time to create a
calendar on a device or utilize a planner to keep track of deadlines in each of your child’s
Teach Them To Take Care of Basic Needs
Kids are humans and it’s important that they are taking care of their needs like getting enough
sleep, eating well, staying hydrated, getting physical activity, and socializing. It’s hard to be
motivated to learn if you’re falling asleep in class, or can’t concentrate because you didn’t drink
Consider Getting a Tutor
If your child is unmotivated to learn and homework has become a battle, consider hiring a tutor.
A tutor can turn homework and study into a positive experience by applying lessons in a way
that works with your child’s strengths while also teaching him/her time management and
The Power of Play in Your Child’s Learning
We often think of academics and play as two separate entities but study
after study shows us that play is an integral component in a child’s learning. Play is, in fact, so powerful, it can
be used as an intervention to close achievement gaps between children ages 3 to 6. Learning is
not simply cognitive and academic but is broad, interconnected, and dynamic.
Did you know that play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized
by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child? Play allows
children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical,
cognitive, and emotional development. And as children master their world, play helps them to
develop new competencies which lead to enhanced confidence and resiliency. Our tutors often
see this boost in confidence when students grasp concepts that they were struggling with
What Play Can Do:
0 – 3 Years: Play at this age is about responsive social interactions that help children build
healthy brain connections.
3 – 12 Years: At this age, skills and concepts learned at school are deepened through play.
12+: Play helps kids to collaborate and problem-solve.
In addition to play being an integral component in a child’s learning, parents are an integral part of the tutoring process as well. How you reinforce the lessons your children
are learning through real-world practice is just as important as the learning itself. This doesn’t
necessarily mean printing out math sheets or having your kids write essays. A lesson on
fractions can be reinforced by baking cookies together. Playing a game of UNO with your kids
teaches them to strategize and match colours and numbers. What they learn with us, is
strengthened at home with you.
So this Family Day long weekend, don’t feel guilty about taking the time off to play. You’re helping to improve
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your Home Learning Plan
In Canada and around the world, parents have faced unprecedented difficulties over the past eight months as they have adjusted to a world of home education and distance learning. And with cases spiking across the country, there seems to be no end in sight.
Fortunately, ordinary people are rising to the challenge and finding creative solutions to education at home. From learning pods to hybrid online-offline education, parents are working hard to ensure that their children have a home set-up that is conducive to learning.
But in order to be truly effective, home learning arrangements need to be tweaked from time to time. It is important to be responsive to the evolving needs of children — particularly young children who may not be able to articulate frustrations with their learning environment in a straightforward way.
To this end, this article will provide a few points to help you figure out whether your home learning set-up is working or not, with some recommendations for giving your children the support that will help them focus at home throughout the coming academic year.
Home Learning Problems: How to Spot the Warning Signs
Even in the early days of the pandemic, it was clear that some students were coping better than others. Every child is different, and in a single family there can be wildly divergent responses to learning from home.
But if a child is struggling to keep up, or isn’t being sufficiently stimulated, or is simply bored of the material, there are generally a few consistent signs that learning isn’t happening. Here are some of the most common:
- Non-Attendance: as the pandemic rolls on, a growing number of students are failing to show up for their classes or submit homework. While truancy is often talked about as a disciplinary issue (and can simply reflect a desire to avoid schoolwork), it can also be a sign that kids are in over their heads and feel unable to keep up.
- Acting Out: Kids act out in all kinds of ways for all kinds of reasons, but researchers who study learning have found that children having a hard time in school often express it in roundabout ways, through aggression or attention-seeking behaviours.
- Listlessness: It’s easy to get into a rut when many of the leisure activities children rely on under normal circumstances are no longer available, but this is often exacerbated when kids are also facing an intellectual block of some kind.
- Spending too Much Time on Homework: It might seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes an overly assiduous attitude toward homework can actually be a sign of trouble, especially if this represents a departure from previous patterns of behaviour. If your child is spending hours a day on school-related tasks, this may be because they are completely overwhelmed.
Even under normal circumstances, it can be hard to tell the difference between ordinary frustrations with school and actual learning issues. But if your child is exhibiting any of these four behaviours, you may want to get in touch with their teacher for a second opinion.
How Tutoring can Help
One of the challenges of dealing with learning difficulties under the present conditions is that resources are already spread very thin.
On top of planning and teaching classes, teachers are in many cases responsible for ensuring a safe classroom environment and may have underlying conditions that keep them from being able to fully participate in school life during the pandemic. Teaching and support staff, already stretched thin before the pandemic, are not always in a position to offer extra help.
Unfortunately, in order to engage in effective learning, children really do need at least some one-on-one support from educators who can explain difficult concepts and provide the kind of nuanced feedback they need to make real progress.
For this reason, this might be the time to find your local tutor for subjects like Math, Science, French, and English so your children are able to get supplementary, personalized lessons that will complement what they are learning in the regular curriculum.
Instead of hoping it will all blow over so things can go back to normal soon, it only makes sense to start adapting to this reality now. With no end to the pandemic yet in sight, some education experts are advising that a mix of distanced learning and tutoring may be the future of homeschooling for all children.
Prep Academy Tutors is working hard to connect skilled tutors with children who need one-on-one or small group learning support during the pandemic, so look into the options available in your city for professional online and in-home tutors to see what kind of support may be available for your family.
Even at the best of times, kids struggle to keep up with their lessons and fall behind at times. To some extent this is simply normal for children of all ages, and shouldn’t be stigmatized. But for some children, the pandemic has created a perfect storm of isolation and anxiety that is only compounded by the difficulty of adapting to new learning styles, and in such situations an intervention may be necessary.
Evaluating the effectiveness of your learning plan, and adjusting it based on changing circumstances, is essential if you want to help your children make the best of this difficult time.
In some cases, bringing in added support in the form of tutoring may be one way to provide them with extra educational support. If you are interested in knowing more about how to find out about what tutoring services are available in your area, get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors today.
Keeping Students Focused with Homeschooling
Online learning and homeschooling are our new normal, which is why it’s essential to ensure that students have all the tools and resources they need to thrive in a remote learning environment.
As it stands right now, primary students and their parents are choosing between in-class and online learning. Prep Academy Tutors offers online tutoring services and small group tutoring to help students adjust to this new normal.
The reality is that parents are at different comfort levels when it comes to sending their students back to school, and more are turning to learning pods and other homeschooling alternatives to help continue their child’s educational journey.
Addressing the Question of Distractions
Distractions are not exclusive to home learning, as students can get distracted both in-class and at-home. Distractions are everywhere, which is why we provide personalized tutoring services. Our tutors teach students in a way that they will understand and provide them with the tools they need to set and reach their academic goals.
It’s a common misconception that homeschooling or online learning is ineffective due to home distractions. The reality is that all students learn differently, and many can thrive learning in a more flexible, remote environment.
While there are distractions everywhere, the home does pose some unique distractions for students. The good news is that, with the help of parents, teachers, and tutors, students can learn to focus and stay on task despite these environmental factors.
Some of the common distraction’s students experience learning from home include:
Electronics: Students have more access to technology when learning at home. It’s important to monitor access to technology and set boundaries.
People: Having everyone at home —parents, grandparents, and siblings alike — can distract students who want to spend time with their family or find it hard to focus when others are around.
Procrastination: When students procrastinate, even leaving a room to get a glass of water can be a distraction. When procrastinating, students will use everything as a reason not to tackle the task at hand
Noise: While some students may learn well with background noise, others can get distracted by noise from the television, room chatter, or general bustling. Consider the ways you can accommodate for the noise level that your student requires to be productive.
Limiting Your Student’s Distractions
The good news is that long time homeschooled students, and remote workers alike, have learned how to best combat the common distractions experienced at home to maximize their productivity.
With the right tools, students can thrive by learning at home. A CCHE study revealed that homeschooled students score 15 to 30 percentile points higher than public school students on standardized academic achievement tests.
Technology is becoming essential to students’ everyday learning due to the new normal of online education. That said, being on the computer can cause a student’s attention to waver.
The good news is that there are a few ways you can limit this distraction. Depending on how your student learns best, you can either block certain websites for specific periods or allot break times so that your child can look forward to 10 to 15 minutes of free time on the internet at certain hours.
It is up to you how you limit your child’s internet usage. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so work with your child to identify the most effective solution for them.
Setting Break Times:
According to Edutopia, breaks can help to improve your child’s focus. A 2016 study revealed that while young students struggled to stay on task, shorter lessons kept their attention high. Ultimately, students can focus better during shorter pieces of time offset by breaks.
Establish Set Working Hours:
A lack of structure can be distracting and make it hard for students to focus on a task. Allotting specific hours to work can help students better focus, as they will know to dedicate the time to schoolwork.
Setting this schedule can also help other family members to better plan their routines.
Establish a Workplace Set-Up:
One of the best ways to prepare your student for online learning and uninterrupted homeschooling is to ensure they have everything they need at their desk.
Consistently leaving a work area to find resources like textbooks, calculators, or water, can be distracting and hard for students to sit and dive into their work. Establish a workstation away from common areas with all the resources your student needs to work and be productive.
The adjustment to what education and learning are looking like in our new normal can be daunting and, in many ways, distracting for students.
Working with a private tutor like Prep Academy Tutors can help provide your student with the resources they need to fill in any gaps in their knowledge, form good habits for learning at home, and help them better adjust.
We offer flexible and personalized tutoring that caters to the needs of your student. We like to act as a smart friend who can relate with your student and explain things in a way they will understand.
Prep Academy Tutors Private Tutoring Services
Prep Academy Tutors is your source for professional private tutoring services across Canada. We know that the transition to remote learning is challenging for students, which is why we offer personalized tutoring services to ensure that every student is getting the tools and resources they need to succeed academically and maintain confidence in their abilities.
Remote learning offers ample flexibility. Our tutors work with your schedule to ensure that your student is getting the educational support they need when they need it — including tools to adapt to our new normal.
We accommodate your needs and can provide either online tutoring or small group tutoring based on your schedule. Consider how private tutoring can help your student succeed in a remote online learning or homeschooling environment.
Get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors today to get paired with any of our experienced tutors. Our tutors are certified teachers and subject matter specialists who teach based on the current curriculum.
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.