The Future of Homeschooling in The New Normal

The new normal for education is reduced class times, online learning, and small group learning. This has made learning pods, blended learning, and homeschooling increasingly prevalent and likely a long-term solution.

Now, students and parents have the task of choosing between in-class and at-home learning. As a result, more are opting to select homeschool or e-learning as their primary source of education for the foreseeable future.

At Prep Academy Tutors, we provide both small group and online tutoring services to help support students on their educational journey and help them maintain momentum.

As many opt for remote learning, they are making the necessary accommodations for their students to continue with this style of education for what may be the foreseeable future. As we see a general push towards this type of learning, it’s essential to consider how this shift can impact the future of education.

From an Alternative Solution to a Primary Education Source

For a long time, homeschooling was an alternative option for students who thrived in a more personalized setting. Now, as our new normal encourages more at-home learning, a higher volume of students and parents see the value of remote online education and homeschooling.

The reality is that current circumstances have changed the educational journey of nearly 1 billion children. Now is the opportunity for students and their parents to identify the best learning atmosphere.

Homeschooling has gone from an alternative educational route to a more mainstream option that is beneficial and safer and more feasible right now. As educational institutions continue to adapt as data changes, and the government and school boards announce updates, homeschooling is a consistent solution that can help keep students on track.

image of ipad on book in classroom

More Technology in the Classroom

Many have long been skeptical of the role of technology in the classroom, specifically cell phones. Now, however, schools and teachers see how students and parents can use technology to eliminate distractions and facilitate a more flexible, personalized learning experience for students.

The World Economic Forum projects that the changes teachers have made to accommodate more virtual, and remote learning will likely result in technology playing a more substantial role in education in years to come.

The shift to e-learning has been an adjustment and learning curve for teachers, but school closures and the summer break have allowed teachers to acclimatize to this teaching style. Time to plan and accommodate has helped teachers to facilitate online lesson plans and, as a result, see the benefits that this style of learning presents.

Schools around the world are making adjustments to integrate technology into education better. For example, while the UK is facilitating at-home gym class through Joe Wicks, Japan is offering free online courses, and France has established a “Ma classe à la maison” (my classroom at home), which students can access on a laptop or smartphone.

person at home desk doing virtual learning

The Importance of Access to Technology

As the education system continues to recognize the importance of online learning and the ability to provide this alternative style of education, it also understands how important it is for students to have access to technology.

Inclusive education has become a hot topic as more and more are addressing how some students reap the benefits of having access to necessary technology while other students may not.

Peter Joshua, the Peel District School Board’s director of education, told CTV News that the board has been focusing on providing online resources and activities that require kids to have access to technology. He said that the board has about 157, 000 students and received over 20,000 requests for computers.

Governments and school boards are looking to address this disparity by providing students with the necessary technology like computers to facilitate their online learning. Additionally, companies with resources are also contributing assets to help facilitate this more inclusive learning.

For example, Ontario is distributing free iPads to kids who cannot access the province’s online learning tools, and Mississauga-based company Venture X donated 1,000 Chromebooks to the Peel District School Board for students who required access to technology.

 

A Consistent, Long-Term Solution

Regulations are changing both within and outside education, and it’s hard to know what state the world will be in in the next few months. As a result, parents are looking for a solution that provides consistency and flexibility for their child’s education.

Taking kids in and out of school can be detrimental to their mental health, and maintaining homeschooling measures is a consistent solution for the time being for parents who are sceptical about sending their kids back to school. With the possibility of future school closures and changes in numbers, this is a way to help students maintain a set schedule and a safe learning atmosphere.

two students learning outside together

The Importance of Personalized Support

With online learning and homeschooling becoming a new normal for a vast majority of students, students and parents alike are both adjusting to a new routine.

Prep Academy Tutors is providing online tutoring and small group tutoring to help facilitate support at this time when students may be struggling to adjust to remote learning and maintain academic confidence.

Our tutors are certified teachers and subject matter experts who provide curriculum-based education to help support your child in their educational journey and help them reach academic success and confidence.

Now is a confusing time for many students. Our experienced tutors can provide a personalized approach to education to help support them by acting as a “smart friend” who can explain things in a way that they can understand. Contact us to get paired with a tutor today.

Combating Summer Learning Loss

For decades, educational researchers have been talking about a phenomenon known as summer learning loss. In this condition, some students experience a significant decline in the academic skills acquired from the previous school year over the summer break. The research has shown that students experience an average of one month of learning loss over the summer break. This learning loss means that there is approximately one month of grade level equivalent skills and learning gains from the previous year lost for the average student.

Learning loss appears to have a more significant effect on students from a lower socioeconomic background; however, many children, regardless of their socioeconomic status, deal with this. Research has indicated that summer learning loss is sharper for mathematics than for reading; several studies suggest that the average student can lose up to two months of computational math skills over the summer break. Unfortunately, summer learning loss puts many students at a substantial disadvantage once the school year begins again in September. Teachers can typically spend between two to eight weeks reteaching lost skills from the year before. Unfortunately, the lost time spent reteaching means that there is significantly less time to build new skills.

The good news is that summer learning programs prove to prevent summer learning loss and, in many cases, can continue to build on the learning gains experienced from the year before. Quality summer learning programs that focus on regular student attendance, individualized instruction, small group, or one-on-one teaching, using quality instructors and alignment of school year curricula, positively affect a student’s learning by preventing learning loss. Prep Academy Tutors provides summer learning programs that meet all of these characteristics. Our certified teachers will assess your child’s strengths and needs and create an individualized plan to prevent summer learning loss and build upon the skills they acquired from the year before. Fighting against summer learning loss has never been easier! Call us today to get started!

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!

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.

Preparing Your Child for a Career in STEM

Preparing Your Child for a Career in STEM

In the dynamic, ever-changing economy of the twenty-first century, many parents are worried about whether or not they are adequately preparing their kids to succeed in the future. With young workers facing more pressure than ever before to develop the kind of advanced skills needed to compete in a world where automation is making entire industries obsolete, how can you make sure your kids are equipped to enter the economy when no one knows what the economy will look like in fifteen years?

While there is no sure-fire way to guarantee your child will sail smoothly from high school to college to a lucrative career, there are things you can do to give them better odds. One of the most practical is to hire math and science tutors in Toronto who can give them a strong grounding in the STEM subjects that are the foundation of the modern knowledge economy.

If you’ve never encountered the term before, STEM is an acronym used to refer to a cluster of subjects most students start studying in earnest once they reach high school. Conventionally, these are considered to be:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Math

But this can also extend to:

  • Logic
  • Statistics
  • Psychology

But it is also a teaching philosophy that views these subject areas through the prism of an integrated learning paradigm geared toward real-world applications like developing new products or finding new energy solutions.  

But what does a STEM approach to education look like in practical terms, and how can you give your children a chance to start developing their knowledge of this critical area of study early on? This article will provide an introduction to the STEM teaching philosophy, and provide you with some practical examples for how you can make STEM a part of your child’s education at the primary and secondary levels.

What is a STEM Approach to Education?

The acronym STEM was first coined in 2001 by a Judith Ramaley, an American biologist working for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The term quickly gained popularity over the course of the following decade as researches, scientists, and bureaucrats became concerned that children in the United States were falling behind their international competitors in these core areas of competency.

An emphasis on STEM education, therefore, grew out of a growing sense that these increasingly integrated fields played an essential role in preparing young people to compete in a globalized economy alongside countries in East Asia and Europe that had made significant investments in STEM education in their own countries.

For this reason, a STEM education isn’t just about science and formulas — it’s about prepare a equipping young people with a range of practical skills and the kind of broad knowledge base that will allow them to grow and adapt in a world where technology is evolving faster than ever before.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can get your kids started in STEM, read on to find out how to get them involved in this dynamic field during their primary and high school years.

Why STEM Education Should Start Early

Most discussions about the importance of STEM education focus on high school and university students. And while those are crucial periods in any person’s education, success in STEM-related subjects at the secondary level will only succeed if it has a solid educational foundation to build from.

This can pose a range of challenges to parents who want to be as far-sighted as possible about their children’s education options. Not many seven-year-olds have much of a sense for what kind of career they would like down the road, and the subjects they dislike most may well turn out to be the ones they rely on daily for the rest of their lives.

If you want to keep their options open later in life, you need to make sure they are developing their skills across the board, so that if they do fall in love with programming at the age of fifteen, they already have a knowledge base to work from.

But it isn’t just about knowing the math: STEM incorporates a lot of different ideas and branches of knowledge, and success in a STEM-related field means being able to digest and make sense of a lot of information. STEM education isn’t just about crunching numbers and memorizing facts: at its core, it is about creativity and critical thinking, learning how to interpret and apply data to solving real-world problems. 

One of the reasons STEM is such an important area of study in the twenty-first century is that the problem solving skills that are such an essential part of a STEM education are applicable to a wide range of different challenges students will face once they graduate from high school. Helping your child acquire the basic skills they need to excel in STEM will also set them up for success in a variety of other fields.  

For this reason, when considering the best way to approach STEM education you should also think about things like reading comprehension and creative problem solving. Hiring a reading tutor can actually be an important part of preparing an elementary school student for the kind of integrated learning they will need to master in secondary school and university.

How You Can Give Your Kids a Head Start in STEM

Clearly, a STEM education can be a huge benefit even for young children. But what can you as a parent do to help give your kids the opportunity to excel in this field? Aren’t you to some degree hostage to the classes, extra-curricular activities, and quality of teaching offered by your local school board?

While there are certainly limitations to how much control parents have over their children’s education opportunities, there are probably more options available to your children than you know. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, there are lots of resources for parents who want to get their kids excited about science — and as people become more aware of the importance of a STEM education, there are even extra-curricular STEM-specific opportunities available to parents of young children.

After school activities can provide a vital chance for elementary and secondary students to expand their horizons and discover new passions, and it can also play an important role in helping your child get ahead in school by strengthening their working knowledge of things like astronomy, ecology, and algebra.

You should also, of course, double down on making sure your child is mastering their regular school curriculum. The primary years are critical in terms of developing basic literacy and numeracy skills, so don’t let your young ones fall behind in difficult classes like science and math. If they are struggling with challenging concepts, you should connect with a tutor near you who can help them excel in subjects related to STEM.

Tutoring doesn’t just give students the formal knowledge they need to pass tests and get good grades, it can play a vital role in growing students’ confidence and sense of curiosity about the world. And when you work with a professional tutoring company like Prep Academy Tutors, you can make sure that the tutor you are working with is fully qualified to help your child take the first steps down the road toward a career in STEM.

According a Forbes article published last year, the five most lucrative college majors are all in STEM fields. And while STEM can be a great path toward financial security, this isn’t the only — or even most important — reason to encourage your kids to enter this field.

At its core, STEM trains young people to understand how the world works, and how it can be made to work better for all of us. At a time when concerns about energy, climate change, and environmental degradation are of paramount importance, it is worth remembering that the technical solutions that will play an important role in helping humankind meet these challenges will come from people working in STEM-related fields.

Because it brings together so many different branches of knowledge, STEM requires and encourages a great deal of creativity, making careers in these areas not just lucrative, but also highly fulfilling. Inculcating in your children a sense of what is possible through reason, inquiry, and hard analytic work is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. 

If you want to inspire your children with a sense of wonder while also building a strong academic foundation they will benefit from for the rest of their lives, then giving them the tutoring support they need to thrive in science and math is one of the most immediate things you can do.

Get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors to find out how we can help you give your child a head start in STEM today.