No, I'm not talking about a Clint Eastwood western. However, I am talking about an honest discussion about schools. Schools of all types. I don't just mean public schools. I mean homeschooling, charter schools, private schools, schools in different countries. Any schools I've missed.
Read to learn the statistics about education in Finland, Private Schools, Public Schools, Homeschooling and Charter Schools. Not one of these schools fails 100% of the time. Not one of these schools succeeds 100% of the time. Instead of listing reasons to attend a certain type of school, let's talk about what really works or needs improvement in each type. Maybe something that works really well in a homeschool can solve a problem in a public school.
From your perspective, a parent, student or teacher, share your school experiences and what you feel works well for you. What do you think needs to change?
We want reading to be fun. It's important to instill this love of reading early. Once a child develops a distaste for reading, it becomes much harder (but not impossible) to "retrain" the child to love reading.
Below are 10 tips to give you some ideas of how you can help develop that love of reading at a young age.
We interviewed the founder of Dole Academy, Becky Dole, to learn more about her personal life and her future professional goals. Becky is an instructional tutor at Dole Academy as well as the director.
DOLE ACADEMY (DA): Hi Becky. Thank you for agreeing to talk to us today.
BECKY: Thank you for asking me. I’m excited to be here and talk with you.
DA: What can you tell us about where you were born?
DA: You haven’t moved far from home. What keeps you there?
BECKY: My family is an important part of my life. All my grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, aunt, uncle and most of my cousins also live in the St. Louis area. I have a 22 year-old daughter. Her name is Erica.
She’s still less than an hour away from me. She also enjoys working with children. She's considering a career in Early Childhood.
DA: What are your dreams for Erica? Anything you hope she will accomplish?
BECKY: Like any mom, I dream huge for her. I sometimes forget that it’s important for her to want it too. So I would have to say my biggest dream for her is that she’s happy. I want her to feel free to become what she wants in her own time frame and to enjoy the journey at least as much as the destination. Most importantly, I want Erica to love herself and never settle. I want her to be brave enough to always strive for more yet be satisfied with herself when she has done her best.
DA: Do you have any childhood memories that stand out?
BECKY: Most of my memories of my youth revolve around my family. Many of my memories include my older brother, Greg. He’s 16 months older than me. So I was always one grade behind him in school. That was a lot to live up to! Not only was he super smart, he was also outgoing and popular. It seemed to me he was good at everything he did.
Greg and I used to play war with the neighborhood kids. I’ve always been extremely competitive and hate to lose at anything. So when I played war, I always made sure to be on both sides! Everybody thought I was really on their side and just pretending to be on the other so I could get important information. It was my way to ensure I never got shot and never had to hide.
I also remember a time I was really angry with Greg. We were in elementary school, sometime around first or second grade for me. We lived in a four-room house, so rooms were scarce. My brother and I shared the only bedroom. My parents converted the dining room into their bedroom. Because of the close quarters, Greg and I got on each other’s nerves a lot! One time, Greg was aggravated with me and just wanted to get a rise out me. So he got my favorite doll and hung it by the neck. It worked. He got a huge reaction from me.
I was just as bad. One time I was making myself a bologna sandwich and asked him if he wanted one. When he told me he did, I asked what he wanted on it. Being no more than 6 or 7 years old, I had problems remembering the list of things he asked me to add. So I had to keep going back and ask again. Finally, after the fourth or fifth time, he yelled, “JUST MUSTARD!” So that’s what he got. A mustard sandwich. We still laugh about it. His wife loved to hear the story and now teases him about it.
DA: What was your favorite class when you were in school?
BECKY: I was one of those kids that liked being in school. I’m not very social so being in class and having everything structured meant I didn’t have to try to talk to anyone. So I really liked all my classes except P.E. I’ve never been athletic and never wanted to be. It was one thing that didn’t come to me easily so I didn’t try too hard.
But there were two activities I enjoyed much more than any of the others. They were: free-reading and Algebra.
I love to read. I could never get into the assigned books though. I enjoy reading because of the imagery and being able to get lost in the story. It always seemed to me that the assigned books weren’t interesting enough. I had problems creating mind-pictures about the story so I never could get involved. However, I was reading before I was in Kindergarten. I brought my book to school and read during recess. It was another way to keep from interacting with people. My teacher actually had to write home and tell Mom that I needed to leave my books at home because I was reading TOO MUCH!
DA: What did you think you would be when you grew up?
BECKY: When I was very young, I decided I would become a veterinarian. I’ve always loved animals and seemed to have a natural affinity with them. Of course at this time, I didn’t know all about biology and chemistry and that I would need to take a lot of it. These were two subjects I didn’t especially enjoy. So I had to rethink my career path before entering college. I still didn’t get it right but at least I was finally thinking about the requirements for my chosen field.
DA: What were your biggest professional influences?
BECKY: I would definitely say my fourth grade teacher and my first part-time job.
She even sent a graduation card to each of her former students a month after graduation. She became my picture of “Teaching at Its Best.” I still compare myself to her and continue to strive to emulate her.
However, in fourth grade I wasn’t considering becoming a teacher. In fact, I wasn’t even considering becoming a teacher when I entered college. While I was in my first year of college and studying pre-law, I took my first part-time job as a lifeguard and swim instructor at my local YMCA. I quickly discovered the joys of teaching. I continued to labor away at pre-law for another year but I eventually came to the realization that teaching was in my blood and I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. I changed my major and entered the world of education. I enjoyed that part-time job so much I continued working at the YMCA for a full 18 months after graduating from college and taking a full-time teaching position. Only moving to a different state convinced me to give it up.
DA: What does the future hold for you?
BECKY: My plans for the immediate future are focused on Dole Academy. We are planning to continue growing and reaching out to new students. As we grow, we will add additional instructional tutors. Beyond that, we are researching the idea of becoming a brick and mortar business. My vision for Dole Academy includes servicing over 200 students, hiring full and part-time instructional tutors and offering multiple choices of delivery.
As for myself, I want to return to school to earn a doctorate degree. I’m still researching different degrees but have considered eLearning, reading literacy and adult education.
DA: Do you plan to retire?
BECKY: I suppose at some point I’ll have to, but right now I’m having too much fun to even think about it.
Great way to improve your child's vocabulary. Make a point to use the new word throughout the day in different contexts. Allow your child to determine the meaning from hearing you use it. You can also turn it into a game! Create a Hidden Word Puzzle, Play Hangman, Matching Game or use Vocabulary Flashcards. Ways to use the new words are restricted only by your imagination!!
4th-6th Grade: chap
Definition: 1. to crack, roughen, and redden the skin. 2. to cause the ground, wood, etc to split or crack. 3. An informal way of saying guy
Example: The wind always chaps my face.
6th-9th Grade: ravage
Definition: to do ruinous damage
Example: The soldiers in the last war ravaged the ancient town.
Definition: Appropriate, fitting, relevant
Example: While Victoria's paper flowed well, it lacked sufficient supporting evidence germane to her thesis.
Adult: Mata Hari
Definition: Was a Dutch dancer executed as a German spy in World War I. Is now used to refer to any seductive woman who works as a spy.
Example: Sophia joins the war effort and embarks upon improbable espionage escapades, hoping to come off as a Mata Hari.
Parent involvement is seen as one of the most important factors to student success. You can help by being co-operative and organized so as to get the most out of your parent-teacher conferences. Remember that communication need not only take place at these events, but they are a great place to start!
5 Must-ask questions
1. What will my child learn this year?
2. How can I help?
3. How will my student be evaluated?
Know all upcoming assignments, tests and projects
4. What additional preparation can my child do?
It is critical that you work closely with your child's teacher to make sure they get the most out of their education. You both have information to add to the discussion. It's only when you work together that you can be sure to get the best experience for your child.
Listen as well as talk.
Let's talk specifics
If you and the teacher undermine each other's authority or ideas, your student will not be getting the support they need. Of course there are going to be differences of opinion, but handle these professionally for best results.
Tomorrow is Christmas! Whether you will be staying at home, traveling, or not celebrating, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very safe and happy Christmas!
Welcome back to our Homework Helps series. As stated in Part 1, homework is one of the most beneficial aspects of learning. However, parents must make appropriate preparations beforehand to maximize the benefits children receive from their homework/study time. In this segment of Homework Helps, we focus on a variety of tips to help parents prepare.
Tip #1: Location! Location! Location!
You have probably heard this popular phrase as it relates to real estate. It emphasizes the importance of a property’s location in determining its value or worth. This concept should be considered when selecting a location for your child to study, complete homework assignments, and review concepts learned during the school day. After all, a child’s education is extremely valuable. Some would even say it’s priceless.
What are the best aspects for a child’s homework location? What increases its value?
A Quiet Place
Provide a quiet place for your child to study. It should be free from distractions such as people going in and out and sounds from televisions, video games, and cell phones. Eliminating distractions improves a child’s ability to focus on homework.
A Well-lit Place
Provide a well-lit place for your child to study. Eliminate eyestrain and headaches and decrease the occurrence of errors due to misreading by selecting a homework location with sufficient lighting. A window for natural lighting or a lamp or ceiling fixture with ample wattage should suffice. Be sure the light shines in front of your child where it will illuminate the homework. Lights shining over the back are less effective because they cast shadows and decrease the amount of light that reaches the books and notes.
A Clean Place
Provide a clean place for your child to study. Clutter is a distraction and minimizes a child’s ability to focus. Stains from food, makeup, and pet paws look terrible on homework assignments, as well as on book pages. Teach your child to take pride in the appearance of his or her homework assignments. Be sure the homework location is clean and clutter-free.
Thanks again for visiting our Homework Helps series. Come again soon for more amazing homework tips for parents. Until next time, Happy Homework!
HOMEWORK!!!!!!! No school-related task is dreaded more by both parents and students; yet it is one of the most beneficial aspects of learning. According to the U.S. Department of Education, benefits of doing homework include the following:
Benefits for Students
· Improving memory and understanding of schoolwork
· Developing valuable study skills
· Realizing that learning can occur both inside and
outside the classroom
· Fostering independence and responsibility
· Learning time management skills
Benefits for Parents
· Improved communication between the school and the
· Increased clarity of what is expected of students
· Consistent awareness of what students are learning
· Accurate knowledge of how well their child is doing in
Maximize the benefits of homework by knowing its purpose. There are four general types of homework. It is easy to remember them by the acronym, PIPE.
· Practice—reinforces learning; helps the students master
· Integration—requires the student to apply a variety of
different skills to a single task
· Preparation—introduces material to be taught in future
· Extension—asks students to apply their skills to a new
Knowing these purposes of homework can help in choosing the best study and homework completion strategies.
Another way parents can help with homework is by knowing how to help. Increase your involvement if your child is having difficulty in school. Support your child’s approach to completing homework if your child is doing well in school.
Be sure to stay tuned for the next part of this Homework Helps series to learn some amazing homework tips for parents.
I recently had a father come to me and ask me to work with his seventh grade son. His son was failing in all except two classes. Of the two classes he was passing, one was P.E. and he was receiving a D in the other. The father wanted me to work with his son to raise his grades and help him become better organized.
The first thing I did was speak to the child's teacher. She gave me information about his performance in school and told me specific areas in which he struggled.
According to the teacher, although he did struggle in academics, one of his major difficulties was turning-in homework. We devised a method to help him keep track of his homework and to get it turned in everyday. The teacher and I began communicating daily through his agenda. All his grades rose at least one full letter grade.
I sat with him every night as he did his homework. Some nights we only worked for an hour, other nights we worked over two hours. However, he did all the work and he learned to do the work correctly. He was soon doing much of his homework at school before coming home.
When it came time for tests, I studied with him. I helped him
learn more efficient ways to study and helped him learn new ways to study. For the first time ever, he earned an A on a major science test.
I taught him how to efficiently and effectively read textbooks. We worked together and improved his reading comprehension. I showed him how to be prepared to learn during classtime. According to his teachers, he began to participate in class. He was answering questions AND asking appropriate questions.
After working together for three months, he raised his grades to mostly A's and B's with just one C.
When I first went into college, I wanted to become a lawyer. That all changed after just a few months on the job at my local YMCA. You see, I was a swimming instructor.
I enjoyed helping others overcome their fears and helping others learn something new. I came to look forward to the excited looks on my students' faces when they first went underwater, swam across the pool by themselves, or became a certified lifeguard. It didn't matter the age of the student or the task, I got great pleasure from helping others accomplish something new.
I also discovered I have an ability to break difficult tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. To a child, going underwater can be extremely frightening. To also have to breathe out while underwater just serves to make the whole process more difficult. However, the process can be broken down into steps such as: getting in the water and becoming accustomed to just being in the water, holding on the edge of the pool and dipping the chin in the water, holding on the edge and letting the water cover the mouth, blowing bubbles in the water, and so on.
After working at the YMCA several months, I changed my college major to education.
I didn't realize how much I relied on this website until it went down! Sorry for the inconvenience everyone. But we're back now!
Dole Academy is thrilled to announce that we're now offering Tutoring On-Demand. Our main methods of delivery continue to be in-person and online, however we recognize that sometimes you can't find time for tutoring in your busy schedules and just want to study alone. But who has the resources to know what to study? Even if you knew the topics to study, where are you going to get the material? Ask Dole Academy for help!
Dole Academy will work with you individually to determine exactly what you want to accomplish. After gathering the needed information from you, we'll help you define your topics and we'll prepare your materials. What could be simpler?
Ask Dole Academy about Tutoring On-Demand pricing!
You've found the perfect tutor! Did you ever think this day would come?
While it's impossible to prepare for every possibility, there's much you can do to prevent misunderstandings in the future. Before that first lesson and before you say, "You're Hired" take the time to talk about a few things. You'll be glad you did.
Of course you'll want to talk about the location, time, and frequency of the lessons. But here are a few very important topics that often get overlooked.
Rate: Yes, the tutor probably has a listed rate (and if not, you might be able to negotiate the rate). Be sure to ask about discounts. Many tutors will offer discounts for things such as: Military, pre-payment, lessons scheduled during off-peak hours, and multiple hours at once. Even if the discounts aren't advertised, it can't hurt to ask!
Cancellation Policy: What happens if you need to cancel a scheduled lesson? How much advance notice is required? If you are charged for a lesson, can that charge be applied to future lessons? What happens if the tutor cancels a scheduled lesson? Does the tutor respond with a free lesson?
Payment Policy: What methods of payment are accepted? You might be surprised. More tutors are now accepting methods of payment besides cash. Some even offer PayPal. If checks are accepted, what is the policy if a check bounces? When is payment accepted? Most tutors expect to be paid at the time of the lesson. However, if you schedule frequent lessons, you might be able to arrange to make payments less often. I have many students that pay once weekly.
You've narrowed your field of prospective tutors down to just two or three. It's time to meet! A meeting will give you information about the tutor that can't be determined from e-mails alone. Plan to meet in a public location for safety.
Things to look for:
Your tutor should dress professionally. You want a tutor that takes this job seriously and promotes themselves as a professional.
Your tutor should be friendly as well as professional. You don't want someone who shows no personality. The learner will respond better to someone who is friendly and caring. On the other hand, you don't want someone so friendly and relaxed they are like another child. The tutor needs to demonstrate an ability to take charge when needed.
Your tutor needs to ask questions. Is the tutor curious about the learner? Does the tutor want information about the learner's needs before beginning lessons? Questions asked by the tutor will demonstrate how interested the tutor is in being prepared to teach and tutor and how well the tutor knows what information would be needed (would demonstrate application of experience and education).
On-the-spot responses. While it's great that the tutor can answer questions in an e-mail, can this tutor answer questions on-the-go? A good tutor needs to be able to immediately respond appropriately during lessons. Tutoring happens now! Not tonight, after the tutor e-mails you.
Join us tomorrow as we conclude the series Choosing A Tutor...Decisions, Decisions! when we talk about Hiring Your New Tutor.
Armed with some solid information, it's time to start contacting tutors. WyzAnt and Craigslist both allow you to place your own ads looking for tutors as well as respond to individual tutors. WyzAnt specializes in tutors that will meet you. Some will come to your home, others work out of a library.
When you write your ad, include all specific information. Give the age/grade level of the learner, the subject(s) in which you need tutoring, and details regarding your needs. The details should include information about overall learning (such as is the learner doing well in all other areas and just struggling in this/these area(s) or does the learner struggle in all areas), how long the learner has been struggling (the learner has been doing well until this year, the learner has been struggling for a number of years), the degree of difficulty (the learner is able to keep up grades but spends four hours every night doing homework, the learner does hours of homework but can't pass any test, the learner can't understand any of the in-class work), the learner's general attitutde toward school, and any other specific information (the learner has been diagnosed with ADHD). The more information you give at the beginning, the more information you should expect in your first dialogue with the tutor and the more time you'll be able to cut-out of your search.
A response from a prospective tutor should address everything you included in your first ad or e-mail. Look for those tutors that took the time to fully read about your needs and tell you what they would do. Narrow your list down to the top two or three. These would be the tutors that responded appropriately, you felt a connection with, have teaching techniques that match the learner's style of learning, are prompt with their responses, are friendly, and match as closely as possible the list you created before you began. Ask the tutors to meet with you (do not choose a tutor based solely on e-mails!)
Our next installment of this series will help you through the interviews with tutors. Join us tomorrow for Choosing a Tutor...Decision, Decisions! Part Four - Interviewing Prospective Tutors.
Now that you've made some important decisions about your tutor, it's time to do a little research. The first question is: Where should I look? You actually have a lot of options. Just like when you go shopping for a new car, you shouldn't limit your options just to what's available in one location. Instead, you can begin your search by talking with your child's teacher. They may be able to give you suggestions for a good tutor in your area. If not, they may be able to give you some ideas of places to look and things to look for.
Craigslist is a great resource (http://stlouis.craigslist.org/ for the St. Louis area. (For those of you outside the St. Louis Metro area, there are links on this page to take you to the listings for your city and state.) Of course, the downside to using Craigslist is that everyone can hide behind anonymity. However, you will be interviewing your prospective tutors before you hire them, so that doesn't have to be a problem. Another great source is WyzAnt.com. WyzAnt is a well-respected directory of tutors. There are tens of thousands of tutors listed. A tutor's profile can include information about the tutor's experience and education, as well as a picture of the tutor and a description of what they do. You will see the rate the tutor charges, the subjects offered, and their location. You can check out my WyzAnt profile at http://www.wyzant.com/Tutors/B_D_Tutoring. There are many other, less well-used used directories of tutors. Some of these are https://www.uniiverse.com/, https://www.care.com, https://www.sittercity.com, https://apps.facebook.com/youandischool/, and http://www.geektutors.com/ to name a few. If you decide to go with a chain, some of the more popular and larger chains in the St. Louis area include: TutorDoctor, Sylan Learning Center, Kumon Center, and Mathnasium. There are many smaller companies available.
Now that you have a few places to look, should you jump in and start contacting tutors? NO! Before even speaking to one tutor, you need to see what's available. After seeing what your options are, you need to do a little comparison shopping. What's the going rate for tutors in your area? What's the difference in rates between those that are certified teachers and those that aren't? Between tutors with degrees and those without? Between private tutors and companies? See if you can find tutors that do most of the things you listed yesterday. Will you be able to find what you're looking for? How much should you expect to pay? If you can't find tutors that are offering what you want, are all the things on your list non-negotiable? Are you willing to accept less than you originally planned? If you do find tutors that offer what you want in your area, you're ready to start talking!
Join us tomorrow when we talk about what you should expect when you talk with and meet your prospective tutors.
With the choices among tutors seemingly endless, the task of choosing the right one may seem overwhelming. However, there are several things you can do to help make your decision a little easier and help you choose the RIGHT tutor for you.
One of the most important parts of the tutor search is done before you even start looking. Before you begin looking for tutors, you need to spend time considering exactly what you want. Determine your goals. Specifically, what do you want the tutor to accomplish? Common goals include homework completion, raise grades at school, shorten the homework time, and teach a skill. Of course there are many other possibilities. If you have multiple goals, be sure to identify them. The answer to this question will help determine the answer to the other questions you need to ask. Other questions to ask yourself: Will you provide the material or do you want the tutor to provide the material? Do you want private lessons or group lessons? In-person or online? Will you go to the tutor or do you want the tutor to come to you? Do you want a tutor that is just available when scheduled, or will you want additional access? If the tutor comes to you, where do you want to meet? Do you want a private tutor or a chain?
You may be thinking all this is unnecessary. All you want is some help. Consider the employer who needs some help at the office. Would they send out a general request for help, or would they write a complete job description? You are the employer. You need to know exactly what you want. Any warm body shouldn't be good enough to provide your (or your child's) supplemental education.
That's a lot to think about! But, once you have definite answer to these questions, you're still not quite ready to look for your tutor. Now that you have this information, it's time to start your research. Tomorrow, we'll take a look at some of the research you should do to prepare yourself to talk with tutors.
In the past, we've taught SAT preparation. However, I didn't feel we were as successful as we could be so that option was removed. I see a great need for preparation assistance for standardized testing. Therefore, I am actively working to prepare Dole Academy to be able to successfully help prepare students for the GED, SAT, and ACT. Look for us to add GED, SAT, and ACT prep to the Compas test prep very soon!
A current student is learning computer basics. Although the topic is somewhat simple, my biggest task has actually been in gearing my instruction to him. He is not able to hear any thing and has difficulty seeing well.
I've been having a lot of fun using different Windows7 tools to make computer use easier for him. He's learned to use the magnifier and how to change the color and size of the mouse pointer.
Dole Academy is now offering assistance with preparing for the Compass test. The Compass test is the placement test given at area community colleges. Two main areas tested are reading and math.
Don't walk into your Compass test confused! Call Dole Academy today to find out how we can help you get ready.
Stay tuned for more additions!