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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2017 Year in Review

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by Dr. Charice Hayes, CEO

It has been a joyous 2017. All 4 One Tutoring continues to make strides. In last year’s review, I stated that we have put some things in place to diversify and expand our company and services, and we began to reap the fruits of those seeds.

Contracts/Partnerships

In March of 2017, we secured a contract with Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). We are very elated to have this contract. Recently, we have submitted a proposal to secure another contract with MSDE. We are executing our current contract so well that we are optimistic that we will keep securing contracts.

In June of 2017, we obtained a business-to-business (B2B) partnership with SD Solutions. They help support us with e-learning. We look forward to a lengthy partnership.

Once again, we were able to hire tutors and instructors for our local face-to-face tutoring and our after-school program at the Empowerment Academy . This month, we have once again started the process of hiring an administrative assistant/marketing intern . We are looking forward to bringing more staff on-board the first 3 months of 2018.

Office Home

Last year (it was mentioned in our 2016 year in review), we closed one of our offices due to space and location. We are still looking for a larger center/office to call home. Over the past few months, we have been looking at buildings. We still have office space at The Empowerment Academy.

Afterschool Program

Our after-school program, at the Empowerment Academy , continues to get praises by administrators, community leaders, and parents. Even though we have lost a few of our loyal families and students for the 2017-2018 school year due to graduating and/or transfers, we continue with our project-driven instruction, STEM projects, and arts.

Workshops/Seminars

On the behalf of All 4 One Tutoring and All 4 One Learning Solutions, I was able to participate in a 3-day research seminar at Georgia State University via the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and Educational Testing Service (ETS). I was amongst some leaders in research. We came together to not only familiarize ourselves with the Program the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and its databases but to be on the path to help solve problems or close gaps in cognitive and workplace skills needed for successful participation in 21st-century society and the global economy. Since I am an employer, I wanted to use the database to acquire knowledge and begin research on average literacy skills of adults within two age groups. Hopefully this research becomes into fruition in 2018.

Mayor’s Office

I was elated and honored for All 4 One Tutoring to be approached by the Baltimore Mayor’s Office to participate in a well overdue employment event entitled Work Baltimore. This month long event was initiated to serve the City of Baltimore’s citizens and stimulate the City’s economic growth. Unfortunately, due to previous commitments, we were unable to participate in the seminars and workshops. However, we are very grateful for the opportunity. Hopefully, we will get another opportunity in the future.

First On-Demand Course

All 4 One Tutoring debuted its first on-demand Spanish I course in July. The course uses vocabulary and language structure through a series of activities designed for realistic communication. You achieve listening, reading, speaking, and writing language skills. You will develop an understanding of the Spanish language and culture.

Doing Business As (DBA)

In the last quarter of this year, we acquired a trade name (All 4 One Learning Solutions) with Maryland’s Department of Assessments and Taxation. All 4 One Learning Solutions has a different focus and operation than All 4 One Tutoring. The focus is solving problems with innovation. We look forward to what this new venture will bring in the future.

Accounting

For the fifth year in a row, All 4 One Tutoring‘s income and net profit has increased. We just celebrated our sixth year in operation in October. Our income has increased 30% this year from 2016 (a slight decrease from 2015’s report), and our net profit has increased 26% (a slight decrease from 2015’s report). What we have planned for 2018, we hope to keep this trend ascending.

What’s Next

Being the owner of such a blossoming, rewarding, and empowering organization is such an honor. We are proof that when we work together to achieve a shared goal, we can expand quality services so that everyone can be autonomous in positive social change. What we have planned for 2018 is:

  • to expand to the state of Georgia.
  • to develop more on-demand courses.
  • to begin a company book project.
  • to develop more partnerships.
  • to find our office home.

Special Thanks

I would like to give a special thank you to those who have contributed blog posts this year. Laura Pearson has been a huge help with contributing wonderful informative and innovative content. We will continue to open our doors for guest bloggers in 2018.

See you prosper in 2018!!

Bridging the STEM Gender Gap in the Classroom

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by Laura Pearson

@laurapearson1

Despite scoring higher than their male peers in problem solving related to engineering and technology, girls continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. While this is an issue well beyond the scope of an individual classroom, teachers have an important role to play in balancing the STEM gender gap.

Throughout elementary and high school, girls participate in science and math at approximately the same rate as boys, with some exceptions. While girls are just as likely as boys to take advanced classes in mathematics and chemistry, they’re less likely to enroll in computer science or engineering courses. And that same trend carries over to higher education.

Although the overall statistics look roughly equitable, with women earning 50.3 percent of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees, women’s participation varies significantly across different fields. While women account for more than half of all bachelor’s degrees in the biological sciences, they only receive 17.9 percent of computer science degrees, 19.3 percent of engineering degrees, 39 percent of physical science degrees, and 43.1 percent of mathematics degrees, despite representing nearly 57 percent of all college students.

According to Scholastic, girls’ participation in science starts dropping off in junior high, and the trend continues into high school and college. Since data shows that the difference isn’t in ability, researchers believe there’s something else at play. The National Science Foundation suggests much of the STEM gender gap can be attributed to a sense of belonging; specifically, that a lack of exposure to successful women in STEM causes girls to doubt their own abilities and opt for fields with larger proportions of women instead.

Elementary, middle, and high school teachers play a critical role in keeping girls in STEM.
By intervening before a stereotype threat takes hold, it’s possible to build girls’ confidence and keep them on track toward in-demand careers. Rather than teaching girls in a different way than boys, teachers should craft an approach that makes STEM welcoming and accessible to all. Here are a few ideas to get started:

1. Highlight potential career paths in STEM. Students can’t always connect the schoolwork in front of them to its real-world applications; even if they do understand its value, they likely aren’t aware of the full scope of career options available to them.

2. Incorporate lessons about accomplished female scientists and engineers in curricula. Research shows that exposure to same-gender experts provides girls with a sense of belonging. Rather than restricting lessons to historic women like Marie Curie, discuss women who are making a difference in today’s world.

3. When planning cooperative exercises, distribute class groups to have an equal balance of boys and girls. Assigning at least two girls to a group eliminates the feeling of being outnumbered, which can encourage increased participation.

4. Make sure lesson plans around STEM topics don’t only include stereotypically masculine topics. At the same time, teachers shouldn’t cater exclusively to female students and risk alienating males. Instead, opt for topics with broad appeal and real life relevancy. For example, a lesson plan that bridges a popular career with math, science, English, social studies and home economics skills. For more ideas, try Science Buddies’ topic selection wizard.

Diversity is essential for producing innovation in science and technology. When STEM fields draw upon a broad pool of perspectives and life experiences to solve complex problems, progress is made that much faster. When it comes to girls in STEM, the problem isn’t ability, but rather persistence in a field where they’re the minority. Overcoming the challenges of being a woman in STEM requires girls to feel confident about their place in science and engineering, and teachers are primed to plant those seeds of success.

Image via Unsplash

Six is the Number

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by Dr. Charice Hayes, CEO

All 4 One Tutoring™ has made it to 6 years in business. Just to think 6 years ago we were solely an online tutoring company mostly servicing international clients. Now 6 years later, we offer so much more (face-to-face tutoring, after-school programming, professional development and training, and writing services). Thanks to a team of people, we were able to expand our services both in B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business).

According to Forbes, 7 out of 10 new small business employer firms survive at least 2 years, half at least 5 years, a third at least 10 years, and a quarter stay in business 15 years or more. All 4 One Tutoring made it over the 5 year mark as a small business. We have so much in store over the next 4 years when we’ll be in our 10th year of operation. Thank you to every tutor, teacher, manager, and partner who have played an integral role. Happy 6 Years in Business!

Growth 

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by CEO Charice Wofford

As I sit here and think, in October of 2011, All 4 One Tutoring LLC was formed literally from my home office in my basement. When we were formed, we were strictly an online tutoring business that mainly focused on language learning and test prep with international clients. We then began to offer online tutoring services in other subject areas to people all over the world including the United States. 

During the next couple of years, we began to offer private face-to-face tutoring in Baltimore City and County. A year later, we began to offer the same service in Charleston, South Carolina. This was an exciting time for us. 

Since then, we continued to expand our brand and services through partnerships made possible through our wonderful board members. Those services include after-school programming, professional development and training, and writing services. With the growth, the company needed an official office. So, we opened up an office location in Pikesville, Maryland early 2015. In addition, we are looking to become an approved testing site for CASAS (Comprehesive Adult Student Assessment System). We hold sessions, trainings, and meetings at our office location.

With all of my hard work, dedication, and support systems (board members, family, and friends), I am truly elated with the growth All 4 One Tutoring LLC has experienced. All 4 One Tutoring LLC has been recognized two years in a row by the Baltimore Recogntion Program for “schools and instruction” and “educational services.” We also made it to the site visit stage for the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant in 2015. I just received a message that we have been chosen as a semi-finalist for a small business grant.(Vote for us) 

  
As we continue to grow, what’s more important are the clients that we service and have serviced. Their growth is our growth!! Each client that is serviced, is our drop in the bucket of positive social change.   

 

2015 Year in Review 

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by Charice Wofford, CEO

  
It’s been another fabulous year for All 4 One Tutoring.  This past year, we’ve diversified and expanded our company and programming. Within the first few months of 2015, we established an office in the Pikesville, Maryland area.  At our office location, we provide tutoring and training. 

In the summer of 2015, we were able to run a summer tutoring program. We also added new tutors to our family this past summer. The summer of 2015 was spectacular. 

During the last quarter of 2015, All 4 One Tutoring formed a partnership with another educational company in India. We’re looking forward to great things in 2016 with this partnership. 

Our after-school program continues to get praise by administrators, community leaders, and parents. This school year, we initiated more project-driven instruction and projects. We are looking forward to finishing the school year with a field trip to a STEM center. How exciting!!!! 

Last but not least, for a second year in a row, we’ve been recognized as the best in Baltimore for “educational services.” We would like to thank the Baltimore Recognition Program for such a prestigious honor. Being the owner of such a blossoming and empowering organization is such an honor. We are proof that when we work together to achieve a shared goal, we can expand quality education and learning so that everyone can strive for positive social change. We have more plans underway for 2016!!!!

  

Here’s a look at what’s coming in 2016:

-more partnerships (international and nationwide)

-becoming an approved testing site for CASAS testing (for adult education)

-offering more training and workshops 

I’d like to thank everyone who has had a positive impact and who has supported All 4 One Tutoring. Together we can reach the goal of educational EMPOWERMENT. 

We’ve Been Busy! 

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All 4 One Tutoring has been pretty busy since the beginning of this year. We have formed new partnerships with amazing people and organizations. We have also expanded our clientele. We are currently looking for another permanent location in the state of Maryland. In addition to finding a location in Maryland, we are also looking to expand in Georgia.

On the international level, we continue to service clients from various European countries. Our international team is focusing on building the international side of the company. We’re looking  forward to great strides and new heights!