Archive for the ‘professional tutoring services’ Category

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.

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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.

Some “Timely” Tips for Improving Your Productivity

March 9, 2014

busterclock3We all have the same number of hours in a day, yet some of us accomplish a lot and others very little.

Following are some simple changes you can make in your daily routine that are sure to give your productivity a boost:

Plan ahead—A little planning can go a long way and keeps you from constantly being in reactive mode. Take 15 minutes each Sunday night to review the week ahead. Then take just 5 minutes each evening to review the next day’s schedule. You’ll be more efficient and less anxious about getting things done.

Take care of the most difficult tasks first—When we procrastinate and let the most challenging projects hang over our head, the resulting stress hurts our ability to focus on what we’re trying to do currently. Tackle the big things first and you’ll be energized. The momentum will carry you forward through the rest of the day.

Focus on one thing at a time—Multitasking reduces focus and robs each task of your undivided attention, making it harder to do your best work.

Reduce touch points—Try to avoid going back-and-forth between tasks before finishing them. The fewer times you touch an item, the more productive you become.

Learn to say “no”—Your time is your most important resource. Say no to less important things, so you are free to conquer those that matter most.

Take a break—Our bodies are built for intense periods of performance, followed by a little rest—ideally 90 minutes of total focus followed by a 10-minute break.

Reduce distractions—Carve out distraction-free time, and put aside anything that can be dealt with later. You don’t have to answer every incoming text or email immediately.

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; and “like” us on Facebook.

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.

Einstein’s Brain

December 23, 2013

Einstein3An analysis of recently unearthed photos of Albert Einstein’s brain indicate that the father of the theory of relativity had a colossal corpus callosum. That’s the brawny bundle of white matter that carries electrical signals between the brain’s right and left hemispheres, making brain regions with different functions work together.

Scientists believe this fact is part of what made Einstein’s brain so creative. When the corpus callosum works well, the human brain is a marvel of social, spatial and verbal reasoning.

While Einstein’s corpus callosum at the time of his death at age 76 was much better connected than those of similarly aged men, it was not as strikingly more connected than those of healthy young men in a control group.

So what the findings suggest is that Einstein’s extraordinary cognition was related not only to his large corpus callosum but also to enhanced communication routes between some parts of his two brain hemispheres. This might reflect the fact that Einstein continued to exercise his brain strenuously—more like a young person—forestalling much of the atrophy that comes with age.

Check out Optiminds’ programs for adults and seniors, designed to increase mental capacity, process information better and faster, and get your memory up to its peak performance.

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.

Brain Exercises for Families on the Go

December 16, 2013

Keeping children occupied and happy while you are driving can be a challenge for busy parents.

Following are some suggestions for engaging the kids mentally, whether you are making the rounds in town or on an extended road trip. Obviously, it’s better and safer if some of the games are conducted by the adult who isn’t the driver.

  • Have your children write down the license plate numbers, make and model, and color of passing cars. Two or more kids can compare who has the most entries in 10 minutes.
  • Ask your children say the alphabet backwards, spell their full name (first, middle, and last) backwards, or recite the pledge of allegiance backwards.
  • Try “category” games. For example, have the kids list—in one minute—all of the colors they know. Try other categories such as breeds of dogs, words that mean red, words that mean small, etc. Make the task harder by having them clip paperclips together while listing things in a category.
  • Make several lists of common words. At first, only one word and ask your children to repeat it. Give them two words and ask them to repeat both words. Keep adding additional words until it looks like the children have reached their capacity for remembering.
  • Keep two or more identical U.S. maps in the car. Starting with your home state, give your kids directions and ask them to follow on the map. Then move to the two states to the east, west, etc. Ask them to find the capital city of the state you are traveling to.
  • Using paper and a pencil, give your children a time on the clock, such as 11:15 am. Ask them to draw that time on a traditional clock face with minute and hour hand, and then show how the same time would appear on a digital clock.  Next tell them to draw the clock as it would appear in 6 hours and thirty minutes. Draw the clock as it appeared 2 hours and 10 minutes ago.

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.

Link Between Healthy Lifestyle and Fewer Memory Complaints

July 25, 2013

While research has shown that healthy behaviors are associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, less is known about the potential link between positive lifestyle choices and milder memory complaints—especially those that occur earlier in life and could be the first indicators of later problems.

In a recent study, researchers examined the impact of lifestyle choices on memory throughout adult life, surveying participants about both their memory and their health behaviors, including whether they smoked, how much they exercised and how healthy their diet was.

As researchers expected, healthy eating, not smoking and exercising regularly were related to better self-perceived memory abilities for most adult groups. Reports of memory problems also increased with age. However, there were a few surprises.

Older adults (age 60-99) were more likely to report engaging in healthy behaviors than middle-aged (40-59) and younger adults (18-39). (For example, only 12 percent of older adults smoked, compared with 25 percent of young adults and 24 percent of middle-aged adults.) So this finding actually runs counter to the stereotype that aging is a time of dependence and decline.

In addition, while 26 percent of older adults and 22 percent of middle-aged respondents reported memory issues, it was surprising to find that a higher-than-expected 14 percent of the younger group complained about their memory too.

multitask1It’s possible that older adults may participate in more healthy behaviors because they feel the consequences of unhealthy living and take the advice of their doctors to adopt healthier lifestyles. At the same time, memory issues in younger people could be due to stress and the increase in multitasking that comes with the use of technology.

These findings reinforce the importance of educating young and middle-aged individuals to take greater responsibility for their health—including memory by practicing positive lifestyle behaviors earlier in life.

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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