Archive for the ‘academics’ Category

Back-to-School Study Tips

September 23, 2014

Whether you’re headed back to college, high school, middle school, or elementary school, the back-to-school season is in full-swing! Start the new school year by adopting some sound habits for studying:

  • Avoid distractions in your study space. Choose a space that doesn’t have a lot of tempting distractions, such as TV, radio, cell phone, etc.
  • Keep all of your books, notebooks, binders, and folders for each class together on a shelf or in the same space. Labels things to make it that much easier to find the right materials.
  • Keep track of your assignments, deadlines, and appointments in one place. Prioritize tasks and set a study schedule.
  • Schedule time to complete your assignments based on anticipated time on task and urgency.
  • Divide your study time into blocks separated by quick breaks. It is most effective to study in 30-45 minute blocks of time, allowing yourself quick 3-5 minute breaks in between study blocks.
  • Create and save study guides and aids for each quiz and test you have, rather than waiting until the night before big tests to start creating study aids. You will already have your study aids created, which saves you valuable time that you can dedicate to studying.
  • Learn how to effectively communicate with your teachers. They want to see that you are interested in the class material and that you are driven to succeed. There’s a good chance that a portion of your grades will be based on your class participation. By effectively communicating with your teachers, you can help maintain and increase your class grades.
  • Reward yourself! When you have completed tasks, reward yourself in small ways, such as taking a 10-minute break or treating yourself to TV or a movie.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

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Some Facts About Home Schooling

August 16, 2014

homeschool1The U.S. Department of Education defines homeschooled students as: school-age children (ages 5–17) in a grade equivalent to at least kindergarten and not higher than 12th grade who receive instruction at home instead of at a public or private school either all or most of the time.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, approximately 4 percent of the school-age population in the U.S. was homeschooled in the 2011–12 school year. That amounted to more than 2 million U.S. students in grades K-12.

The rates of homeschooling were highest in rural areas where 4.5% of students were homeschooled. The homeschooling rate was 3.2% in the city, 3.1% in the suburbs and 2.7% in towns.

Parents choose to home school their children for a variety of reasons, including:

  • a concern about the environment (safety, drugs, negative peer pressure, etc.) of other schools
  • a desire to provide moral instruction
  • dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools
    a desire to provide religious instruction
  • a desire to provide a nontraditional approach to child’s education

Other reasons include: family time, finances, travel and distance, having a special needs child or a child with physical or mental health issues.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Call Optiminds for Credit Recovery Programs for Students

April 23, 2014

If your student has failed courses because of poor grades or absenteeism or dropped out of school, there is hope for getting them back on track.

Optiminds now offers accredited, individualized credit recovery programs for students. Credit recovery is the process of helping students recover the credits they have lost so that they can move on to the next grade and stay in school and graduate on time.

Our customized credit recovery sessions focus on helping students boost achievement levels, earn credit based on competency of the content standards for a particular course and gain the skills they need to succeed. After an initial assessment, they receive the intensive instructional support they need to master core subjects.

Please give us a call at (248) 496-0150 for more information. Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Redesigned SAT Takes Effect in 2016

April 9, 2014

SAT3In 2013, 1.7 million took the SAT, a globally recognized college admission test first introduced by the College Board in 1926. SAT initially stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test, later changed to Scholastic Assessment Test.

The SAT is intended to let students show colleges what they know and how well they can apply that knowledge. It tests a knowledge of reading, writing and math — subjects that are taught every day in high school classrooms. Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year of high school, and almost all colleges and universities use the SAT to make admission decisions.

Just recently, the College Board announced a fundamental “rethinking of the SAT” to make it more useful by reinforcing the skills and evidence-based thinking that students should be learning in high school. The new version will go into effect in Spring 2016.

Among the key changes are the following:

  •  The penalty for guessing, in which points are deducted for incorrect answers, will be eliminated
  • The test will not ask students to define obscure words (such as “depreciatory” and “membranous”), relying instead on vocabulary more commonly used in college courses (“synthesis” and “empirical,” for example)
  • Math questions will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking
  • The essay portion, required since 2005, will be optional and scored separately
  • Scoring will revert to the old 1,600-point scale (from 2,400); 800 is the top score on math; 800 is the top score on reading and writing

 Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

 

Monitoring Your Child’s Use of Media

February 23, 2014

KidsTech1Children today are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices.

Studies have shown that the excessive use of media can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. In addition, the Internet and cell phones can provide platforms for illicit and risky behaviors.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some recommendations that parents might find helpful in overseeing their children’s use of media and helping them make wise media choices:

  • Use established ratings systems for shows, movies and games to avoid inappropriate content, such as violence, explicit sexual content or glorified tobacco and alcohol use
  • Limit screen time and make educational media and non-electronic formats (books, newspapers and board games) readily available
  • Watch television with your children and put things you watch into context
  • Establish “screen-free” zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms
  • Turn off the TV during dinner
  • Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content
  • See that your kids spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play
  • Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

 

Get ACT Test Preparation at Optiminds

January 16, 2014

ACTtest1The ACT is a national college admissions examination that is used as a college admissions and placement test and measures the skills and knowledge needed for first-year college success. Additionally, the ACT includes a career exploration component that stimulates students’ thinking about future plans and relates personal characteristics to career options.

What is the difference between the ACT and SAT?

The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities. (See our January 9, 2014 post.) The ACT has up to 5 components—English, Mathematics, Reading, Science and an optional Writing Test. (You take the ACT Writing Test only if required by the college(s) you’re applying to.) The SAT has 3 components—Critical Reasoning, Mathematics, and a required Writing Test.

The SAT has a correction for guessing. That is, they take off for wrong answers. The ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers with no penalty for guessing.

The ACT has an Interest Inventory that allows students to evaluate their interests in various career options.

Upcoming ACT testing dates for 2014 are: February 8, April 12 and June 14. Optiminds’ ACT Testing Help and ACT Prep Classes are forming now.  Call our office at (248) 496-0150 for more information.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds by visiting our website at: optimindsct.com.

Optiminds Can Prepare You for SAT Testing

January 9, 2014

If you are a high school student, you will inevitably hear about SAT tests at some point. Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year of high school, and almost all colleges and universities use the SAT to make admission decisions.

The SAT is the nation’s most widely used college admission test, and the first step toward higher education for students of all backgrounds. It gives both you and colleges a sense of how you’ll be able to apply the thinking, writing and study skills required for college course work. More than just a test, the SAT also provides the opportunity for you to connect to scholarship opportunities, place out of certain college courses and learn more about your academic strengths.

The SAT doesn’t test logic or abstract reasoning but rather tests what you already know—the reading, writing and math skills that you learn in school and that are critical for success in college and beyond.

More specifically:

  • The critical reading section includes reading passages and sentence completions
  • The writing section includes a short essay and multiple-choice questions on identifying errors and improving grammar and usage
  • The mathematics section includes questions on arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability

The SAT is taken by more than two million students every year and is accepted by virtually all colleges and universities. It is offered seven times each year in the U.S.—in January, March, May, June, October, November and December. Upcoming dates are: Jan 25, March 8, May 3 and June 7.

At least half of all students take the SAT twice — in the spring as a junior and in the fall as a senior. Most students improve their score the second time they take the SAT.

Optiminds can help you prepare for the SAT. Call our office at (248) 496-0150 to find out more about our SAT Preparation sessions. Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds by visiting our website at: optimindsct.com.

Give the Gift of an Optiminds Program

December 9, 2013

Optimindsnotag3With the holidays just around the corner, most of us are wracking our brains to come up with gift ideas for our loved ones. Speaking of brains, you might want to consider gifting your child, spouse or parent with some brain training sessions at Optiminds.

Optiminds is a professional brain training and tutoring service headed by Jane Stewart, PhD. A brain development expert, Dr. Stewart has spent over 40 years helping people of all ages improve their cognitive and learning skills as a means to achieving their goals and success in life.

Optiminds offers something for everyone on your list—adolescents and teens, college students, adults and senior citizens. We will customize a course for sharpening specific cognitive skills, from memory and math and reading improvement to ACT and SAT test preparation. You’ll find brain fitness classes for baby boomers, programs geared to helping students qualify for college scholarships, and even a Cognitive Summer Camp. We also offer  life strategy programs, programs to facilitate home schooling and parent coaching, not to mention ADHD assessment and tutoring and working with Alzheimer’s patients.

Optiminds classes are held at our facility at 29688 Telegraph Rd. in Southfield. For more information on how we can customize a program for that special someone on your gift list, call us at (248) 496-0150 or email Dr. Stewart at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Girls Are As Good As Boys When It Comes to Math

November 23, 2013

girlsmath2Parents and teachers persist in thinking boys are simply better at math. But in the largest study of its kind, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found no difference in the scores of boys versus girls — not even in high school.

Researchers conducted a study that looked at annual math tests required by the No Child Left Behind education law in 2002. Ten states provided enough statistical information to review test scores by gender, allowing researchers to compare the performances of more than 7 million children.

Studies 20 years ago showed girls and boys did equally well on math in elementary school, but girls fell behind in high school. But according to lead researcher Janet Hyde, “Girls have now achieved gender parity in performance on standardized math tests.”

Girls who grow up believing boys are better at math wind up avoiding harder math classes, and ultimately lose out on a lot of careers, particularly high-prestige, lucrative careers in science and technology.

But things are changing, though slowly.

Women are now earning 48% of undergraduate college degrees in math; they still lag far behind in physics and engineering. In primary and secondary school, girls have caught up, with researchers attributing that advance to increasing numbers of girls taking advanced math classes such as calculus.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

 

Is Your Child Struggling at School?

October 23, 2013

School has been back in session for a few weeks now. If you are noticing that your child seems anxious, distracted, struggling at school or exhibiting poor behavior, Optiminds can help.

It’s a reality that schools are not equipped to handle the individualized demands that every student brings. As a parent, you know better than anyone if there are changes in your child’s behavior—impulsiveness, frustration, being overwhelmed. When a child struggles with these things, it affects his or her ability to process information properly. It is inevitable that they will have difficulty learning in school—unless they learn how to overcome these obstacles.

Dr. Jane Stewart realizes that often parents need help too.  Through Optiminds, Dr. Stewart offers coaching and parenting programs to help parents handle their children’s behavioral or educational issues. Optiminds gives parents the tools they need to make positive strides in their relationships as well as tools to steer their children in positive directions.

Optiminds’ individualized tutoring and brain training programs are designed to increase mental capacity, process information better and faster, and improve mental performance, cognitive skills and adaptability.

The Optiminds staff will consult with you and evaluate your child to identify problem areas or learning disorders. We will then design a plan that includes: mental exercises, visualization techniques and computerized drills accompanied by recommendations for diet and physical exercise. Call us today for an initial consultation.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.


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