Finding Focus: How to Find a Distraction-Free Learning Area for Your Children

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by Susan Good retirededucator.org

Learning how to focus on the task at hand can take years to perfect, and for many kids across the US, it can be difficult to find a good balance between school work and homework. Moving from the classroom to all the distractions that home offers can be jarring, leading to a decline in grades and poor self-esteem. That’s why it’s so important to help your child find a distraction-free zone to do schoolwork in, whether it’s in a room that is isolated from the rest of the house or just a desk where they have room for all the tools they need to learn.

You can also make other areas of your home more conducive to learning, such as adding a reading nook that has good lighting and comfy chairs to sit in. This is especially helpful for kids who aren’t automatically drawn to books, and it can help them find a love of literature that will help boost their experience in school.

Keep reading for the best tips on how to create a distraction-free zone for your kids at home.

Find a Quiet Space

Whether the learning area you create is in a room by itself or is simply an organized desk for homework, it should be a quiet space that won’t allow for interruptions. This is especially important if you have more than one child. Look for an area that is away from the main part of the house, or one that can be closed off easily for privacy and quiet.

Create a Reading Nook

Even kids who don’t necessarily love to read will enjoy having a space of their own to sit and look through the books that interest them, so creating a reading nook could benefit your child greatly. Add a comfy chair or pillows, strong lighting, and storage for books, and make sure it’s in a spot that will give your child a little privacy, as it’s difficult to become engaged in a book when there’s a lot going on around us. Make sure you look for books that are both educational and fun, on topics that interest your child. If you’re unsure of how to get started, you might consider hiring a professional to come in and remodel the area; click here for more information.

Set a Schedule

Now that you have the space, it’s a good idea to set a schedule for your child to do his homework or to study. It can be hard to get into a rhythm when there are so many other things going on, such as soccer practice and afterschool activities, so help your child find a routine that will benefit him on a daily basis. Once he gets into the habit of starting homework at a certain time, he’ll be more likely to stick with it throughout the school year.

Turn Off the Devices

Whether your child loves the TV, computer, tablet, game system, or smartphone, it’s important to set rules about when he can use them when school is in session, as they can be a pretty big distraction. The area where he studies and does homework should be device-free, although some studies have shown that classical music played at a low volume can be beneficial for kids who are trying to focus on tasks.

Creating a distraction-free zone for your child can have multiple benefits, especially if he has a learning disability or finds it difficult to concentrate at home, where there are so many opportunities to do anything other than learn. It’s also important to make sure your child isn’t hungry, thirsty, or tired when he sits down to do homework, as being uncomfortable can be a distraction in itself.

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Help Your Child Ease Into the School Year with Confidence

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by Emily Graham, Mighty Moms

Almost one-third of teenagers feel sad or depressed due to stress. School has become more and more nerve-wracking, even for younger children, as the pressure builds from all directions. There are classes, homework, tests, extracurricular activities, and sports, as well as the constant need to be cool and hang out with the right crowd.

Now the first day of school is coming, and that can be downright intimidating, especially if your child already suffers from anxiety. It’s going to take some extra effort on your part to ensure they get through it with as little stress as possible. Here are some tips.

Adopt the Right Attitude

Your goal is to calm them, not deliver lectures when discussing school. In fact, Chris Palmer, the author of Raising Your Kids to Succeed: What Every Parent Should Know, urges you to be caring, empathetic and supportive. Listen to their problems and worries while letting your children find their own solutions. Above all, be sure to show your unconditional love.

Make Sure They Stay Fit

Healthy habits relieve stress, says a wellness coach writing for Verywell Mind. There’s not much time left before summer ends, so get them exercising and eating well so it becomes a routine. Encourage them to work a physical activity they enjoy into their schedule while you plan meals packed with vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. The last piece of the puzzle is a bedtime routine so they get enough sleep and wake up refreshed.

Get on Track Early

The first hour of the day sets the tone, so establish a morning routine that flows effortlessly from waking up to arriving at school with no hang-ups in between. Preparation starts the night before with packing lunches, laying out clothes, and even making breakfast. That will have the kids well-fed and looking good with no morning rush to set off their nerves.

Buy the Supplies They Need

They’ll struggle with work if they don’t have the right gear to get their homework done easily, and that leads to frustration. Start with the basics like a book bag, paper, pens, and binders before moving on to high-tech items like calculators. Among older students, more and more are carrying laptops to class, which are invaluable when researching and writing papers.

Stay Organized

It’s easy to fall behind with so many projects and papers to finish unless you have a system in place to keep your child up to date. A filing cabinet and labeled bins work wonders, along with Post-It notes to remind them what needs doing and when.

Learn Calming Strategies

Even if your child is prepared for the day, something is likely to get on their nerves, such as a classmate or a tough assignment. There are strategies to cope with this frustration, and using them properly could save a lot of trouble down the road. A writer at The Mighty recommends deep breathing, listening to music, and imagining a calm place to settle their nerves.

Talk to Them About Risks

Dangers lurk in between classes, especially for teens who may encounter classmates who smoke, drink, or use drugs. Your child may be tempted to do the same, either to deal with the pressures of school or just to be cool. Explain how this is never the right way to cope with anxiety, as it could lead to an addiction that ruins their health and their life.

Take It Easy

Classes start easy and get more difficult as the year progresses. This gives your child the opportunity to ease into their studies rather than take off at full throttle. Use this time to your advantage by encouraging good work habits and keeping to a schedule with enough breaks so they don’t get overwhelmed.

Healthy, organized, and informed, your child is ready to tackle the year with gusto. Any lingering anxiety should be manageable by staying positive and sticking to your routine. With a little effort, their school days will be as exciting as they are productive.

Image via Pixabay

Help Your Child Manage Homework

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The “looming threat” of another year of homework assignments—and potential battles—may overshadow the anticipation of a new school year. But homework routines don’t have to be a painful process, if you and your kids discuss and set the ground rules and expectations early on. Involving your children encourages them to take ownership of their success, too.

With the plethora of distractions to pull a kid’s attention in a million directions once she’s home from school, is it any wonder that — especially after a long day of learning — the last thing she wants to do when she walks in the door is homework? Instead of letting your temper get the better of you, try these suggestions for helping your child tackle homework.

Set the stage

Your children’s ages may determine the best place for them to work. You can easily supervise younger kids when they’re in the kitchen or dining room as you’re prepping dinner. Older kids might prefer to work in their rooms or the den. Decide what works for everyone.

Fill a well-stocked station with typical school supplies. When your kids need a computer, keep it in a central location where you can oversee their work.

Some kids work well listening to music. Others prefer silence. Either works, but keep the homework zone free from other distractions including the television, video games and smartphones or tablets.

Create a routine

You and the kids should decide whether homework’s top priority immediately after school or dinner. Some children need 30 minutes to decompress with a snack. Others want to jump in and finish everything immediately. Your kids’ homework schedules might change depending on the day, if they’re involved in afterschool or evening activities. Just continue to reinforce that homework is a priority.

Strategize

It’s never too soon to teach kids how to plan and strategize. Some kids tackle the hard stuff first. Others prefer to save it for last. Use a calendar to track long-term assignments and decide, with your kiddo, how to chunk projects so they’re not spending six hours working on it the night before it’s due.

Motivating reluctant students

Don’t nag! Creating a negative environment from the outset often backfires. Instead, cultivate a “We’re in this together” approach where you’re available to assist. Be positive. Buy into the assigned work and explain the value of each task.

Teach them to prioritize. Encourage older students with a heavier workload to take regular breaks. Set a timer for 15 – 20 minutes. It’s also never too early to teach your kids how to organize.

Link success to effort. It’s easy to cheer someone on with an “I know you can do it!” attitude, but if you remind her about that ‘A’ she earned after a week of practice, you’ll reinforce a very healthy message that effort and perseverance lead to success.

Know when to call the cavalry. If your child spends what you think is an exorbitant amount of time on homework, or is confused by an assignment, contact her teacher. You also might consider hiring a tutor. Both professionals are trained to handle multiple questions and explain the classwork.

Reaching the finish line

Sometimes, the best way to motivate a child to complete his or her homework is to offer a fun incentive. While some people may worry that offering rewards conditions children to do what’s required or requested only when there’s something in it for them, research disagrees. Using a reward system is not a bribe — and there are a variety of systems to try until you find one that works for your family.

When the weather’s nice, why not incorporate the outdoors into that reward, especially since your kiddo’s probably been sitting inside for most of the day, and studies show that outdoor time is critical to a young person’s development.

Take the whole family on a nature scavenger hunt or go bird watching. Pile onto the bikes and ride to the park to play. Or, if your kids love to learn, check out these fun outdoor learning activities.

Homework is meant to provide reinforcement and extra practice. Set a good example, too, by curling up to read or do your own paperwork during homework time.

Photo Credit: pexels.com

About the Author:

Emily Graham is the creator of mightymoms.net. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family.

Going Over Homework

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by Dr. Charice Hayes, CEO

Over the past few years, we have been asked by potential clients and clients for our tutors to go over homework. Our response to that is that we don’t go over homework, but we provide homework assistance/help. Let’s explain.

-Going over homework does not instill skills for autonomy.

-To promote autonomy, we promote and use effective research-based modeling.

-Once a client displays independence with that skill, he/she will be comfortable with doing his/her own homework assignment.

All of our tutors are trained in research-based techniques. We are in the business of not only improving content/skill level and grades, but character too.

How Do I Learn Best?

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by Dr. Charice Hayes, Founder

Have you or your child(ren) said, “I study, but I just can’t get it” or “I just can’t get what the teacher/professor is saying in the class?”

Perhaps your study habits or class attentiveness is not align with how you absorb certain information. Yes, learning styles can be good. However, a number of techniques maybe better, such as the use of mnemonics. This is can be very complex to teachers. Yes you want to be inclusive of every student. However, every student absorbs information differently. This is the main reason All 4 One Tutoring customizes each clients’ one-on-one tutoring plan, and our tutors are trained on research-based techniques. Feel free to leave a comment.

How EdTech Is Transforming the Remotest Districts

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by Anish Passi, Contributing Author

Education technology, commonly known as Edtech, is a revolutionary progression in the realm of learning and pedagogy. The undeniable skills of teachers and educators in various sectors can now be visited by a student sitting from anywhere in a world! So long as they have accessibility to the internet, nothing can stop these children from growing into their creative and intellectual potential.

Forget about learning through correspondence or swimming rivers across to reach a school, education technology helps you access school and learning in the palm of your hand. With methods like apps and video-calling, companies are using the most appropriate technology to create and promote ethically good learning material. With the help of the best teaching pedagogy from around the globe, its redefining learning using the same classroom approach except in a much more resourceful way. The best bargain through which students gain from the most is that now the remotest of districts can have access to the gem of education that otherwise wouldn’t reach it. Now even resources for competitive exams like IAS are also available online. Transformative practice, indeed!

  • Teachers from all around the world

Giving their audience an exhaustive list of teachers and mentors from different countries and coming from different spheres of education, education technology helps its audience and students to be with the one they connect the most to. Imagine the pure delight that it brings to a district that lacks public schools!

The demands of the society are hard to meet without a technical training or the right subjective knowledge one needs to make a place for themselves. It is indeed a pity that children either have to leave homes or travel a long way if they’re residing in a remote district.

So here’s solace for us all! Now one can easily manage not just work, but their daily dose of lessons to make up for years lost and to come. You wanted one centre with a teacher? Here, the genie lets you pick as many as you want.

  • Everybody is a student

Everyone from any walk of life or financial background can afford an education, it is mostly free of any changes or comes at a very nominal fee as opposed to private institutions. Who knew that the lack of infrastructure or tuition fee could be so beneficial? And you’re not losing the expertise that comes from certified teachers or professors.

This will come a long way in enhancing the life chances and transforming the literacy situation even in the remotest locations across the world.

  • Interactive classrooms

New age education is incomplete without seamless education through interactive classrooms. EdTech has pioneered distance education by providing a borderless system that integrates educators with any interested student.

There is no dearth of resources- all you need is an uninterrupted internet connection. Students are free to take up courses in line with their interests and find relevant courses; sharing a classroom that transcends nationalities. This form of hands-on teaching is also ideal for students looking for additional studying and tutoring to aid their college/school courses.

  • New hope for educators

The biggest benefit has been derived by the various educators and teachers who now have a relevant source of income, especially those with no means to access better jobs due to their location or other restraints. Many students have turned into proficient teachers through EdTech to support their own education as well. It is also a great way to bridge the ever widening gender as well as economic gap.

An interesting thing to note about Edtech is the difference in the business models in Asian and European Markets, keeping in view the various linguistic barriers in the East that are seemingly absent in the West. Education Technology has proved to be a burgeoning market, with start ups sprouting all over the world by the minute owing to the expanding middle class. Digitisation of education has reformed new age learning for all.

However, for it to sustain and grow at the same time, digital literacy should first reach all before digital education. If this perfect integration is attained, the quality of human life will improve exponentially with every passing year.

Fun, Technology-Based Activities for Your Kids to Do This Winter

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by Laura Pearson, Guess Contributor

Photo via Pixabay

Most kids love spending as much time outdoors as they can, but when winter rolls in, it can be difficult to fit in outside time. The coldest months can also be the most boring for young people, but fortunately there are plenty of online activities for kids that are also educational. Whether your children are interested in art, science, music, math, or reading, there are tons of fun things they can do when the snow begins to fall and they’re stuck inside for awhile.

It’s also important to look for ways your children can stay active when outside time isn’t a possibility, and there are options for that online as well. There are several dance videos, tutorials, and games on the Web that will help your children get up and get moving even when they can’t get active outdoors.

Here are a few of the best sites and apps to try when your child is tired of being stuck inside.

Check out some science projects

There are several ways your child can learn about science online, and many projects that can be completed with simple ingredients you already have at home. Try EarthScienceJr.com, where your kids can learn about how to make “lava” with items from the kitchen.

Learn a new language

Learning a new language can open many doors for your children, and it can help with comprehension in school subjects, as well. Talk to them about which languages they might be interested in learning, and look up some information on the best techniques. Duolingo and Stories by Gus on the Go are widely acknowledged as two of the best language apps for young people; go here for a longer list.

Have a dance party

Get your kids up off the couch by having a dance party that they can move to! There are several dance tutorials on YouTube, or you can look for video games that incorporate movement, such as “Just Dance.” All the music and videos may require a new television or sound system, which can really make a huge difference when it comes to getting your kids motivated to exercise. It’s important not to make any rash decisions, however, so do your research before buying. Click here for more information about home theater systems.

Make it age appropriate

It’s important to make sure your children have age-appropriate content when they use the computer or tablet, and there are some great sites that have a variety of games, videos, and music for all ages. For younger kids, PBSkids.org is a wonderful start because it has tons of fun activities that teach little ones about numbers, words, and colors. Click here to see more learning sites.

Boost confidence

If your children are having trouble with a particular subject in school, you may be able to find a site or an app that will help boost their confidence with it. There are even some that are used in classrooms, so your children can keep up with schoolwork at home and boost their confidence in the subjects that give them trouble.

Many kids these days are plugged in much of the time, whether it’s on a tablet or on the computer, so why not make use of it and help them move ahead? Try a few different sites and apps and help your children find the right ones for their needs this winter.