Archive for the ‘back to school tips’ 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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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.

 

Keep Time On Your Side

November 16, 2013

Being able to manage time effectively can help reduce stress, improve productivity and give us a sense of having control over our lives.

There are any number of strategies you can experiment with to help you manage your time well whether you are a student, parent, retiree, self-employed, or a corporate executive. Here is just a sampling:

  • Focus on the big picture. Have and follow a personal mission statement and check occasionally to be sure that your activities are you helping you achieve your goals.
  • Get organized. Utilize time-saving tools such as appointment calendars, to-do lists, file folders.
  • Plan your day ahead of time. Prioritize daily tasks and keep a schedule of daily activities to minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.
  • Do the most difficult work first, perhaps breaking it up with some easier tasks.
  • Say no to nonessential tasks. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.
  • Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks. Work on them a few minutes at a time until you get them all done.
  • Limit distractions. Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off your phone and email.
  • Take a break when needed. Too much stress can derail your attempts at getting organized. When you need a break, take one. Take a walk. Do some quick stretches at your workstation.
  • Be flexible—The unexpected happens (sickness, car troubles, etc.); you need to be able to fit it into your schedule.
  • Know who and when to ask for help when needed.

Optiminds’ customized programs include time management training, as well as life strategy skills, problem solving and critical thinking.

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.

Advice on Beating Back-to-School Anxiety

September 15, 2013

The transition into a new school year can be a time of excitement . . . and stress. Children and adults can become anxious, irritable or depressed by this major change.

We’d like to share some tips for all ages from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

Kindergarten through fifth grade students:

Talk about it—Talk with your elementary age children about their excitement, stressing benefits of getting back to school such as seeing their friends again and playing sports.

Give them some control—Be firm in telling your children that they do have to go to school, but give them control over some simple choices, such as buying or bringing their lunch, or riding the bus or riding their bike to school.

Teenage Students:

Keep the lines of communication open—Teens want you to listen to their back-to-school concerns without judging them. Do everything possible to keep the lines of communication open at this critical age.

Look for patterns—A wild new hairdo? No problem. Purple hair and scary new friends and a drop in grades? This may be cause for worry.

Adult Students:

Focus on your goals—Remind yourself why you are going back to school (better job, more money, etc.).

Remember that you’re not alone—Remind yourself that other “non-traditional students” have made it through this, and that it’s normal to be a little anxious or fearful.

If your child continues to be anxious, distracted, struggling at school or exhibiting poor behavior, Dr. Jane Stewart and the Optiminds staff may be able to help. We will consult with you and your child to evaluate and identify problem areas or learning disorders that may be the source of the problem. We’ll design a customized program for improving your student’s cognitive skills, concentration, reading and other areas we have identified.

Dr. Stewart realizes that often parents need help too.  Optiminds offers parent coaching and parenting programs designed to instruct parents on how to handle their child’s behavioral or educational issues.  Giving parents the tools they need to make positive strides in their relationships as well as tools to steer their child in positive directions.

Call us today at (248) 496-0150 for an Initial Consultation or email Dr. Stewart at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by visiting the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Study Tips to Take the Stress Out of School

August 15, 2013

The new school year is just over a month away. If you are starting college or high school, you will be dealing with a totally new environment, a load of classes and mountains of homework that could be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan for dealing with it.

One of the biggest stressors is not having enough time to do everything, which can dramatically affect your ability to process what you learn in class.

Here are some practical study tips from Anne Crossman, author of Study Smart, Study Less for students of all ages:

  • Learn to manage your time. Map out a daily schedule, including school, sports or music practice, study time and free time.
  • Determine what time of day is your best in terms of studying, block it out and commit to it. Maybe your best time is right after school, or maybe you need a break first before you can hit the books again. Best not to put study off until it’s late and you are getting tired.
  • Create a study environment that is most efficient for you. Turn off your phone, don’t get on the Internet or get involved in social networking if it’s your designated study time. Turn off television and music. Contrary to what most students think, the brain works faster if it does not have to block out noise or images. Don’t study on your bed, either; your brain is programmed for sleeping and relaxing there.
  • As soon as you can after a class or lecture, find a quiet place where you can rewrite your notes and structure them in a way that makes sense to you.

If you feel that learning is still a struggle, consider enrolling in an Optiminds’ brain fitness program. We will customize a program for your specific needs that is designed to strengthen nerve cells and stimulate targeted areas of the brain to improve your cognitive and concentration skills.

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.

Summer Learning Loss

June 28, 2013

summerreading1The American ideal of lazy summers filled with fun has an unintended consequence: If students are not engaged in learning over the summer, they lose skills in math and reading. For over a century, scholars have recognized that summer vacation is a period when students’ rate of academic development declines relative to the school year. Summer learning loss varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income.

Research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation. According to a report by the RAND Corporation, the average summer learning loss in math and reading for American students amounts to one month per year. On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.

Furthermore, the learning loss is cumulative, summer after summer. It has a tremendous impact on students’ success, including high school completion, post-secondary education and work force preparedness.

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. Consider enrolling your child in Optiminds’ Cognitive Camp this summer to keep them mentally challenged. Or you might consider an Optiminds’ Reading/Writing or Math Strategies program.

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.

Early Tutoring Can Be a Real Asset

September 22, 2012

An important resource in ensuring your child’s academic success is getting the help of a tutor. Dr. Jane Stewart offers tutoring services for students of all ages at her two locations—Optiminds in Southfield and The Brain Development Center in Novi.

Tutoring used to be thought of primarily as a remedial tool. If a student was struggling or made some mistakes  along the way, working with a tutor was a way to get help and make a fresh start. But nowadays, working with a tutor is often treated like having an academic personal trainer and, as such, is enlisted by even the best of students. Good students know how to take advantage of the possibilities of good tutoring and to get started early in the semester before trouble starts.

With the new school year just getting underway, here are some reasons why starting tutoring early can help:

  • Real learning takes time and starting early gives your student a chance to learn concepts slowly and solidly.
  • By being proactive, your child has a chance to grasp foundational concepts on which more difficult work is built.
  • Student and tutor have time to get to know one another and establish the rapport that can make a difference in how they work together.  The more a tutor works with your child, the more they get to know strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.
  • Early work means that early homework assignments will be done correctly. This translates to a higher grade average and less jeopardy occurring later in the semester.
  • A tutor will hold your student accountable for completing work.
  • A tutor provides constant feedback on the work, which helps a student stay on track with subjects.
  • Tutoring builds confidence in a person’s learning abilities, increasing motivation to continue to do well.

Dr. Jane Stewart specializes in helping people of all ages improve their study, reading and cognitive skills at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield. Contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.

You can learn more about The Brain Development Center at: http://novipsych.com/brain_development and Optiminds at: www.optimindsct.com.

Some Back-to-School Tips for Grade Schoolers

September 5, 2012

By the end of the summer, many kids have put school and homework completely out of their heads. With school starting, here are some tips to make the new year run more smoothly for your child.

Develop good homework and study habits:

  • Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Youngsters need a permanent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study.
  • Schedule ample time for homework.
  • Establish a household rule that the TV set stays off during homework time.
  • Supervise computer and Internet use.
  • Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child’s homework for her.
  • Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying. It may be helpful to close the books for a few minutes, stretch, and take a break periodically when it will not be too disruptive.
  • If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren’t able to help her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your child’s teacher first.

Ease back-to-school stress—Switching from the laid-back fun in the sun of summer to rules, homework, and routines can be a big jump for parents and children alike. Try slowly switching to an earlier bedtime. Remember that children between the ages of 5 and 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep. Displaying a calm, positive attitude will also help. If you’re excited for school to start, your children will follow your lead.

Establish routines—Setting up daily routines at home at the start of the school year (or even before) can also help children adjust. Doing this directly benefits their work in the classroom where their day is full of routines.

Let your children know what’s expected of them every day. Creating a checklist or flowchart will help children get organized and stay on schedule, which also eases anxiety. Enlist their help in creating the schedule as a way to get them to buy into it.

Dr. Jane Stewart specializes in helping people of all ages improve their study, reading and cognitive skills at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield. Contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.

You can learn more about the Brain Development Center at: http://novipsych.com/brain_development and Optiminds at: www.optimindsct.com.


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