Archive for the ‘metro Detroit tutoring’ Category

Start the New Year with a Gift of Cognitive Training

December 23, 2014

Optigift2Do you have a family member who is struggling at school or who could use a little help sharpening their memory skills? Why not gift them an Optiminds cognitive training program to give them a little boost in the new year?

At Optiminds, you’ll find individualized tutoring and brain training programs tailored to people of all ages—from children to high school and college students to baby boomers. We can customize a program to address specific issues ranging from ADHD and Alzheimer’s to math, memory, reading and home schooling.

Optiminds also offers ACT and SAT testing assistance. And we’ve recently added College Counseling and Athletic College Prep counseling to our offerings.
You might also want to give the gift of summer camp with our Optiminds Cognitive Camp, designed to help students keep their brains in shape over the summer.

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 in the metro Detroit area. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

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Games That Help Enhance Cognitive Skills

December 9, 2014

inchimalsResearch shows that learning skills can be taught—and therefore improved. So if you are looking for some ideas this Christmas for games that will help your children’s learning skills while providing hours of entertainment, here a few affordable ideas to get you started:

For ages three years and older:
Inchimals—Good for teaching young children basic addition, subtraction and measurement skills while reinforcing their ability to count. Includes 12 wooden blocks and a spiral-bound, dry-erase notebook with 100 puzzles.

For ages seven years and older:
Kanoodle—two brain-twisting solitaire games in a pocket-sized case. Kids use combinations of colored connected beads to construct designs from the enclosed puzzle book. Because the game is portable, kids can Kanoodle anywhere.

Double Bananagrams—This award-winning word game needs no pencil, paper, or board. It’s great for travel and with 288 tiles, this version of Bananagrams can be played with up to 16 people.

For ages eight years and older, one or more players:
Bop It—This modern-day, handheld version of “Simon Says” stimulates social interaction plus thinking and motor skills. It also helps children listen and follow directions. Comes in many versions and makes an excellent family or travel game.

Looking for a tutor in the metro Detroit area? 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.

Educated Guessing and the ACT and SAT

November 9, 2014

takingACT1If your child will be taking the ACT or SAT, they will of course want to be as well-prepared as possible to answers as many questions correctly as they can.

But there are always those instances where you don’t know the correct answer for certain. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out an answer, your student needs to know that on both the ACT and the SAT it is more advantageous to make an “educated guess” than to leave a question unanswered.

On the ACT, there is no penalty for wrong answers on the ACT. If you answer a question wrong, it does not subtract from your overall score; you simply don’t get credit for the question.

On the SAT, you lose ¼ of a point of raw score for wrong answers, and earn one full point for each right answer.

Educated, or strategic, guessing means choosing the best possible answer based on all the information available. It’s the best way to find the right answer when you’re really not sure which choice is right.

Here are some tips for educated, or strategic, guessing:

  • To formulate an educated guess, you must have good information. So read test questions carefully.
  • Rule out the obvious bad choices.
  • Pay attention to details. Look for a tip-off within a test question.
  • Look for patterns. Use your experience in similar situations to predict the outcome of another.
  • Consider the simplest, most obvious solution as the best. Don’t overanalyze or consider information that isn’t relevant to the matter.
  • Use common knowledge and what you know. Practical wisdom goes a long way in making an educated guess.

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.

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.

Working Longer May Improve Cognitive Health

September 16, 2014

boomerworking1While some baby boomers may be finding it necessary to continue working beyond age 65, they may be benefiting their cognitive health as well as their financial health.

Researchers are finding that continuing to engage in intellectual activities and new experiences keeps the brain running efficiently. They have developed the theory of “scaffolding” which holds that in such situations the aging brain develops new circuits that help people respond to cognitive challenges.

The scaffolding theory suggests that the aging brain, when confronted with the joint challenge of declining neural resources and a cognitively demanding task, develops “scaffolds”—new circuitry that helps maintain task performance. Evidence for neural scaffolding emerges from functional imaging studies showing that older adults typically engage more brain tissue than young adults when performing a demanding cognitive task, and that this additional activity is in a region in the opposite hemisphere from an area active in young adults as well or in an area larger than that seen in the young adults. It is believed that this additional scaffolding is compensating for areas of the brain that are functioning somewhat less efficiently than in younger adults.

We have a long way to go in learning about the aging mind and how to preserve its vitality. New imaging tools are allowing us to take giant steps as we examine these questions further. One of the premier challenges of the 21st century lies in determining what behaviors will protect neural health and then developing public health initiatives to encourage these behaviors in our communities. Sound social policies that encourage older people to keep working could have direct benefits to our economic system. It could even result in later onset of dementing illnesses, an outcome that offers gains for society thanks to reduced caregiving and health care costs, as well as extended time with beloved family members.

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.

About Parent Coaching

September 9, 2014

parentcoach2Optiminds founder Dr. Jane 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.

Parent coaching gives parents the tools they need to cultivate a better relationship with their children and steer them in positive directions. A parent coach addresses issues such as problems with routines and transitions (morning and night, for example), power struggles, parental anger, discipline, homework challenges, chores, and “disrespectful” behavior.

Coaching starts with creating a parenting plan followed by supporting parents as they implement the plan.
Because children and families can be complex, the parent coach helps the parents solve problems as challenges arise. Parent coaching looks forward, deals in the present, seeks to educate, and does not diagnose. Parent coaching uses tools and the most current research to help you gain the skills you need to parent your child.

You may benefit from parenting coaching if you experience any of the following:

  • You have had the same fight with your child over and over, and you are physically and mentally exhausted.
  • You know that what you are doing isn’t working, but you don’t know what else to do.
  • You have had the same conversation over and over with your partner or yourself.
  • You are beginning to feel hopeless about your parenting life.
  • You have read stacks of parenting books without any long-term success.
  • You want to get on the same parenting page with your partner.

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.

Help Your Child Concentrate Better

August 23, 2014

At a time when multitasking (texting, listening to music, surfing the Internet)— is becoming the new normal, you may find that your child is having trouble focusing on the task at hand.

If you can establish effective focus strategies and concentration skills at an early age, you will have provided a foundation for long-term success in high school, college and the professional working world.

Here are some practical and manageable tips parents can use to help their children focus:

Set expectations early—Explain to your children that just as you have many important responsibilities (at home, at work, in your community, etc.), learning is their most important “job” right now. Establish a routine for homework and studying by including younger children in homework by having them color or look at books while older children are doing homework.

Divide big projects into small tasks—Big projects can overwhelm. Splitting the task up will give your child the feeling of progress as the pieces are completed.

Manage distractions—Set up rules such as: no television, phone or computer until homework is done. Research has found that certain types of music such as classical and instrumental help people concentrate better, so consider playing Bach, Mozart or Beethoven.

Use time to increase focus— Sometimes setting a short period of time will help a child focus longer. Set a timer for a particular task that your child can work to “beat.” One rule of thumb is that a child can focus on a single activity for about one minute per year of age.

Establish rules for doing homework—Make a rule that your children’s homework and studying be completed (neatly and correctly) before going out to play. As seasons and activities change throughout the year, be flexible and adapt to changing schedules.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Optiminds Cognitive Camp for 2014

May 9, 2014

Once again, Optiminds is offering our popular Cognitive Camp in 2014. The camp is a fun way to keep your brain in shape over the summer, and features individualized and customized programs by skill level.

New Location–This year, the camp will take place at the Optiminds office at 29688 Telegraph, Suite 400, in Southfield.

We are excited to be offering a new session this year—Expressive Writing: Stories and Poetry—that we are sure attendees will enjoy. Students will also have the opportunity to experience our regular Cognitive Camp lineup of classes, including:

  • Cognitive Training
  • Math, Science, Language Arts, & Social Studies
  • Social Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • PCI© Reading Program
  • Orton Gillingham© Phonics
  • FAST© Phonics Program
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Using Puzzles & Games

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. Please call us at (248) 496-0150 for Cognitive Camp hours and pricing. Or email Dr. Jane Stewart at jstewart@optiminds.com. Be sure to ask about our Family Discounts. We hope to see you there!

Visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Get Moving to Strengthen Your Brain

April 14, 2014

As we age, our brains shrink a little, but they continue to create new neurons and fine-tune neural connections as long as we are alive. So if you want to increase the new growth, start exercising.

Aerobic exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, which encourages the release of a chemical called “brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF stimulates the formation of new neurons near the hippocampus, which is the area involved in memory, learning and the ability to plan and make decisions. It also repairs cell damage and strengthens the synapses that connect brain cells.

In short, exercise reduces the level of brain loss, keeps us cognitively sharp and reduces our risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And regular exercise can pump up your brainpower regardless of your age. So if, for example, you are 55 years old and have never exercised, it’s not too late.

In a classic study, people aged 60 to 79 were asked to complete a six-month walking program. At the conclusion of the study, participants showed an increase in the size of the hippocampus, and levels of BDNF comparable to levels normally found in people almost two years younger.

Aim for about two and a half hours of brisk activity a week. Walking is great but if you have mobility issues, try walking in the pool, riding a stationary bike or practicing yoga or tai chi.

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.

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.

 


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