Help For Homeschoolers

By some estimates, there are over two million homeschooled students in the United States, and that number grows by about 2.5% annually. There are quite a few studies that show homeschooled students fare better than their traditionally-schooled peers in nearly every metric. Families that choose homeschooling often have a variety of motivations. Many want greater control over the curriculum used in their child’s education. Some choose homeschooling to allow a broader religious element as part of the student’s studies. Some families find themselves in school districts where homeschooling is just a better option due to local conditions.

One undeniable benefit of homeschooling is the flexibility. It’s a wonderful thing to plan day trips and excursions, and even family vacations where the homeschool experience is not interrupted by the change, but actually expanded. Many churches and communities have homeschool groups that meet regularly and work together to plan bigger events and help each other through the process.

Homeschooling is a big commitment for families. It typically requires at least one parent to stay home full time. Parents are not required to have any specific training or college degree to homeschool. And the outcome for homeschooled students appears to be pretty much the same regardless of the educational level of their parents.  The clear advantage for homeschoolers is the unbeatable student-to-teacher ratio. Kids flourish in an environment where they have much more individualized attention.

As students progress to high school, some parents find topics to get increasingly rigorous. It’s not uncommon for students to outpace their parents especially in the areas of math and science. This is one area where targeted tutoring can be a big help, and a natural extension of the homeschool experience. Regularly scheduled tutoring can be a great addition to your homeschool regimen. It functions very much like a college schedule for the students. Once or twice weekly meetings with the tutor server to further the student’s studies and check progress. At Academic Learning Labs, our tutors are available for virtually every subject, and we’re ready to work with you using your curriculum. We’ll work with parents to keep them apprised of their child’s progress, and stand ready to expand or diminish our role as your family sees fit.

Homeschool families face unique challenges, but also offer their kids some great advantages. Whether your child attends a public, private, charter school or is homeschooled, we’re ready to help. We will work within the specific curriculum your child uses, and we offer our students tutoring done on an individual basis. Academic Learning Labs is located in Rancho Santa Margarita, and our one-on-one approach assures every student our time with them is dedicated solely to their specific needs. Whether your child is ahead of their class, behind their class, or ready to start studying for the SAT/ACT, our tutors are here to help move them move forward and equip them for the journey. For more details on how our tutors can help your child, give us a call at 949-546-0800.

 

 

How Technology Helps and Hurts Your Child’s Grades

The proliferation of technology has entirely changed the environment in most homes. There are more things competing for your child’s attention than ever before. This is a two-edged sword in most cases.

The Good and the Bad Aspects of Technology

Access to information is easier than ever before. Time spent researching topics in the library has fallen significantly in favor of online resources. And most schools are on board with many assignments being turned in via email. The sheer volume of information available can be daunting, but part of the learning process now includes learning to sift through sources to identify the most reliable ones.

But with the expansion of technology, the level of distraction has increased exponentially for most students. A recent study out of Cal State University Dominguez Hills found that 80% of all students across every grade report that they “somewhat often to very often” switch between homework and their tech devices. The study also showed a correlation between GPA and how frequently students interrupted their studies with texting or Facebook. The students who performed the best consistently had the greatest focus with least interruptions in their studies. It’s not a surprising study, but it is troubling. Exactly how can families get a grip on this more negative aspect of technology?

Open a Conversation and Set Boundaries

Though many parents today grew up without the wealth of distractions available to children today, the core issue of dedicated homework time free of distractions has not changed. A couple of decades ago the boundaries were little more than turning off the television and staying off the phone during homework time. The concept has not changed, and that’s a conversation we need to have with our kids.

In your house, the boundaries may be just leaving cell phones in the kitchen during homework time and positioning your child’s computer so you can easily see what’s happening. Other families may want to take more active approaches with WiFi routers that can be programmed to shut off the Internet connection for blocks of time. But through each of these steps, it’s important to keep the conversation going with your kids. Make sure they’re part of the process and help them understand the benefits they’ll see with their school work.

Get Help When Needed

At Academic Learning Labs, we incorporate homework training as part of our tutoring in most subjects. Teaching students to focus and work through distractions is essential. There’s a real benefit when we can help our students overcome challenges with their work and simultaneously equip them to be more effective in their homework. Many school problems are resolved in part simply by overcoming distractions and helping students focus.

We’re pleased to offer our students tutoring done on an individual basis. Academic Learning Labs is located in Rancho Santa Margarita, and our one-on-one approach assures every student our time with them is dedicated solely to their specific needs. Whether your child is ahead of their class, behind their class, or ready to start studying for the SAT/ACT, our tutors are here to help move them move forward and equip them for the journey. For more details on how our tutors can help your child, give us a call at 949-546-0800.

The Quest for Balance in Your Child’s Life

One of the big struggles that every family faces is achieving a balance. Our lives are filled with competing priorities and we often need to make choices that can disrupt our family’s balance. Work schedules, family time, school, and outside activities all tug at us. And it’s not hard for any one of the many elements of our daily lives to have a problem appear that takes us away from our routine. With our kids, it’s important to keep track of their schooling, and help them keep their emphasis focused. Sometimes, we need to get help to overcome a rough patch.

Maintaining a sense of balance is something that we seem to get a better sense for as we get older. It’s something parents can and do help their kids understand, and keeping on top of schoolwork is one of the most important pursuits in your child’s life. Though time with friends, sports, games, and work will often compete, it’s vital our kids keep their schoolwork as a top priority.

When your child falls behind on schoolwork, it can create a ripple that impacts the balance across much of the rest of their activities. Facing poor grades, many kids will start withdrawing from other activities and have noticeable changes in their behavior. They may be slower to get started in the morning and seem to lose enthusiasm for school. Homework may take much longer and become less productive as they spend more time working on overcoming the problems without much success. It can be a perplexing time for parents, especially if your child tends to withdraw when under pressure.

A parent’s role in maintaining this balance is usually as simple as keeping an eye on your child’s grades. Small changes in grades can signal a need for a course correction. With Academic Learning Labs, we offer free diagnostic testing. This will give you a better understanding of where your child stands with their studies, and help plan a course of action to remedy any problems.

At Academic Learning Labs, we’re pleased to offer our students tutoring done on an individual basis. We’re located in Rancho Santa Margarita, and our one-on-one approach assures every student our time with them is dedicated solely to their specific needs. Whether your child is ahead of their class, behind their class, or ready to start studying for the SAT/ACT, our tutors are here to help move them move forward and equip them for the journey. For more details on how our tutors can help your child, give us a call at 949-546-0800.

Nurturing Your Child’s Enthusiasm

There are a lot of parts to being a good parent. We take on the responsibility to keep our own lives running smoothly enough to nurture and encourage our children as they grow. And when you add in the pressures of finances, family relationships, and job pressures, it can be a challenge to keep things balanced. But one area that our kids will often want to help with is with choices about their academic and professional futures. This is where parents have the exciting opportunity to nurture their child’s enthusiasm.

With many kids it’s easy to see the pursuits that capture their interest. They’ll gravitate toward specific topics in their reading and hobbies. It may be a special relationship with a family friend or relative that nurtures the interest. These interests often start very young.  Just spend an afternoon talking with people in professions like veterinarians, fire fighters, writers, and musicians. You’ll often find people who had a passion for these things from childhood and pursued them through their youth into adulthood. Not every childhood interest may end up becoming a life path, but it’s fun as a parent to help your child explore these things. And the exploration process often plays a key role in exposing other pursuits that may spark your child’s interest. Parents seed their child’s journey with exposure to as many different paths as possible, and watch for the seeds that take root. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of parenthood.

Kids are increasingly finding themselves drawn to the sciences, and this can present a challenge for some families. It doesn’t take very long for a child’s depth in some technical areas to exceed that of their parents and peers. This is an area where targeted tutoring can be invaluable. At Academic Learning Labs, we can help your child focus their studies and excel in ways that simply cannot be offered in a typical school environment. And these preparations can prove to be a great asset when your child looks to pursue their education at the university level. We can help them every step along the way.

At Academic Learning Labs, we’re pleased to offer our students tutoring done on an individual basis. We’re located in Rancho Santa Margarita, and our one-on-one approach assures every student our time with them is dedicated solely to their specific needs. Whether your child is ahead of their class, behind their class, or ready to start studying for the SAT/ACT, our tutors are here to help move them move forward and equip them for the journey. For more details on how our tutors can help your child, give us a call at 949-546-0800.

Race to the Finish of the Term

Are things getting a bit more tense around your house? It’s something we see happen quite a bit as we get into spring and head toward the summer break at school. Deadlines for projects and finals start appearing on the horizon, and many students start to feel the pressure of both procrastination and the typical stress associated with finals. Combine this with approaching test dates for the SAT and ACT, and it can create a perfect storm of academic pressure. Most kids weather the storm just fine, but many can use some help along the way.  And as with most situations where help is needed, the earlier it arrives, the better off you’ll be. At Academic Learning Labs, our tutors are ready to help the students in your family race to the finish of the term.

Free Testing For SAT and ACT Preparation

If the SAT or ACT is on your list before the end of the term, we have a great solution to help you prepare. We’re coming up on our final round of free practice tests. These are a great opportunity to give students a measure of their progress and familiarize them with the test environment. Based upon your student’s test results, we’ll create a personalized tutoring course to remedy any problems.  Another great benefit to these practice tests is they help they offer overcoming test anxiety. By familiarizing students to the format, timing, and content, there are fewer surprises on actual test day. This command of the environment goes a long way toward helping students approach the tests with greater confidence.

Finals on the Horizon

Finals are a pretty big deal. That’s not news. Breezing through finals with minimal stress might be really big news in your house. One-on-one tutoring with Academic Learning Labs can completely transform this time into something more manageable. Our personalized approach gives you the assurance that each hour of tutoring is dedicated to your child’s specific needs. And unlike many tutoring services that cover just a single topic, our staff of tutors are qualified to cover virtually every topic your child faces at school. From foreign languages, math, science, and english, we’ll work with your child to craft a course of tutoring to see them through finals and beyond.

At Academic Learning Labs, we’re pleased to offer our students tutoring done on an individual basis. We’re located in Rancho Santa Margarita, and our one-on-one approach assures every student our time with them is dedicated solely to their specific needs. Whether your child is ahead of their class, behind their class, or ready to start studying for the SAT/ACT, our tutors are here to help move them move forward and equip them for the journey. For more details on how our tutors can help your child, give us a call at 949-546-0800.

Breaking Through With Confidence

There’s a downward spiral we often see when students first come to us for tutoring. Students see their grades slipping and it’s seldom an isolated event. It’s not unusual to see the struggles impact across much of the rest of their lives. The signs are easy to spot, but often difficult to remedy. Parents may be confronted with a kid that resists doing homework, has lost enthusiasm about school, and me even be withdrawing from friendships. This is why its vital for parents to step in and help find a way through the difficulties.

The loss of confidence is one of the most insidious byproducts of school struggles, and its one that can produce a variety of responses in our kids. Thankfully, restoring confidence will usually see a reversal of these bad effects and can help propel your child toward better things. At Academic Learning Labs, we’re prepared to help you take on this challenge and guide your child through the struggles.

The first step in our help with your child is to get an accurate assessment of where they stand academically. Our diagnostic testing will give us a detailed understanding of your child’s strengths and weaknesses and help us plan a course of tutoring for their specific needs. And unlike many tutoring services that handle just one or two topics, we have tutors trained in virtually every subject. We’ll plan a course of tutoring and draw from our staff of tutors to address the specific areas that will see your child through.

One of the best elements of our tutoring is the sense of hope it gives our students from the very start. Just knowing they’re not alone in a difficult process is a huge relief and makes them eager to work toward the solution. Combine this with our exclusively one-on-one approach, and we see results from the very first meeting. Our tutoring is built recognizing the power of encouragement, and we see our student’s confidence grow rapidly. And with renewed confidence, there always follows a break out of better grades, better attitudes, and a renewed excitement about learning.

At Academic Learning Labs, we’re pleased to offer our students tutoring done on an individual basis. We’re located in Rancho Santa Margarita, and our one-on-one approach assures every student our time with them is dedicated solely to their specific needs. Whether your child is ahead of their class, behind their class, or ready to start studying for the SAT/ACT, our tutors are here to help move them move forward and equip them for the journey. For more details on how our tutors can help your child, give us a call at 949-546-0800.

Enjoy Spring, But Plan For Summer

We’re a few days away from the official start of spring, and it’s a great time for most families. You may be planning something fun for spring break, and that’s always a good idea. Time away to just relax and recharge will help you be more effective going forward. But with spring, our thoughts also turn toward summer, and there are some important things to keep in mind about how summer break impacts your child’s learning.

If you google “summer learning loss,” you’ll see there’s a very real problem that happens in the lives of most students over the course of the summer. A recent report by the Brookings Institution shows some real cause for concern. Among their findings were, “(1) on average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning, (2) declines were sharper for math than for reading, and (3) the extent of loss was larger at higher grade levels.”

Schools have long recognized this phenomenon. As a result, the first several weeks each fall is typically delegated to remedial studies designed to bring students back to the level they were at prior to the break. It’s not very productive, and increasing numbers of parents and students are taking steps to alleviate the problem.

One of the obvious remedies is to this problem is to keep students engaged in learning over the summer break. If the idea is simply to avoid losing ground, this means the approach does not have to be overly intense. And whatever approach you choose, you can be assured that efforts to keep your child on pace with their studies will help.

At Academic Learning Labs, we’re aware there is a bit of tension between the notion that summer is for having fun and summer is a time to keep a student’s studies refreshed. We meet that tension and overcome it with our exclusively one-on-one approach to tutoring. We’re pleased that one of the most frequently overheard sounds in our Dove Canyon tutoring center is laughter. Our tutors cultivate a relationship with their students that is attuned to their specific academic needs. Unlike a small group setting where a tutor divides attention among several students, our tutoring time is devoted solely to the needs of each individual student. It’s a friendlier environment that completely eliminates peer pressure and competing needs that must be met. This sort of relaxed environment offers proven results with virtually no pressure and lots of opportunities to laugh while learning.

We’re currently enrolling in our summer program, and you can get more information by calling us at 949-546-0800.

At Academic Learning Labs, we’re pleased to offer our students individualized tutoring done on an individual basis. We’re located in Rancho Santa Margarita, and our one-on-one approach assures every student our time with them is dedicated solely to their specific needs. Whether your child is ahead of their class, behind their class, or ready to start studying for the SAT/ACT, our tutors are here to help move them move forward and equip them for the journey. For more details on how our tutors can help your child, give us a call at 949-546-0800.

 

5 Tips For Working Out Your College Strategy

There’s a lot that goes into preparing for college. And some of the things involved go beyond academics. Here’s a quick list of some things you’ll want to keep in mind as the student in your family prepares for their college career.

Expand Beyond Academics

The ideal college education is one that not only equips the student for a specific field or profession, but also serves to build them up into a more complete person who is a positive influence within their community. Many colleges accept this role and place value on the trajectory demonstrated by incoming students regarding their community involvement beyond their studies. This is why it’s important for families to augment their student’s studies with activities to explore the student’s passions and other talents. Volunteering in the community, participating in the arts, pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities and similar activities all work to make a student more attractive to potential colleges. The specifics your child pursues will be as varied as their individual interests. But the important thing will be a real enthusiasm for whatever activity they pursue.

Don’t Shy Away From Advanced Placement Courses

Prestigious colleges and universities are placed in a difficult position regarding admissions. It’s not uncommon for top tier schools to reject more than 90% of all applicants. This competition is brutal, and a determined student must work to stand out in whatever ways possible. One element of this can be to excel in courses that are more difficult than their peers. When the finalists are narrowed down for admission, and grades are essentially the same across the board, one notable difference can be the difficulty of the classes. It’s one thing to be a fast runner; it’s something else entirely to run as fast as your peers, but while running up hill. This is the difference that advanced placement courses can make.

Start Early and Get Organized

Most students apply to multiple schools, and this can present a logistical challenge. Different schools will have different deadlines for milestones along the application path, and it’s vital to keep track of these to meet each one. A spreadsheet with deadlines can be a great help, but something as simple as a wall calendar devoted to noting specific dates can work as well. Be sure to do whatever work is required well in advance of your deadlines. Get your letters of recommendation, scholarship applications and other paperwork organized and ready to go, so the deadlines are met.

Meet With Your High School Guidance Counselor

High school guidance counselors can be a tremendous help in your college preparations. They can often be a source of great insight for your application process, and may be aware of scholarships and programs that are not widely publicized. And most are eager to play a role in your successful entrance into the college of your choice. Meet with your guidance counselor early in your planning process. Be sure to keep them updated on your progress, so they can offer advice along the way.

Commit to Earning the Best Possible ACT or SAT Score

When colleges are faces with huge numbers of applicants, standardized tests can be a real time saver. Grading at the high school level is almost entirely subjective, so admissions counselors can have no assurance that the grades your school district grant are equal to those offered in other school districts in other geographic locations. For this reason, standardized tests are a great tool. They cut across any regional differences in grading and offer a benchmark that is a reliable measure. For this reason, the SAT and ACT are one of the most important parts of your college preparations.

At Academic Learning Labs, we help our students keep their grades up and prepare them for success with the SAT or ACT. Our tutors work one-on-one with students, so our time is undivided. Each student’s specific needs is evaluated, and we tailor our sessions to meet your student’s individual needs. It’s the best value you can get with tutoring, and we’re committed to making it work to the maximum benefit of each of our students.

At Academic Learning Labs, we’re pleased to offer our students individualized one-on-one tutoring. We’re located in Rancho Santa Margarita, and our approach assures every student our time with them is dedicated solely to their specific needs. Whether your child is ahead of their class, behind their class, or ready to study for the SAT/ACT, our tutors are here to help move them forward and equip them for the journey. For more details on how our tutors can help your child, give us a call at 949-546-0800.

 

 

 

Free SAT/ACT Testing at Academic Learning Labs

We just finished our first sample ACT test, and we want to thank everyone who attended. It will take us a few days to go over the tests, and we’ll soon be giving the results out. Our next sample test will be for the SAT and is scheduled for February 17th.

Sample Tests Create a Roadmap for Studies

These tests are a great help for students in a couple of significant ways. They provide a roadmap to maximize your future studies. There’s no need to walk in on test day and be surprised. With our sample tests, you’ll get an accurate picture of where you stand, and which specific areas will benefit from increased study. And our one-on-one tutoring approach is a perfect way to target specific subjects and areas that need the most help. We’re pleased to see our students showing significant improvement with challenging subjects.

Sample Tests Help Calm Nerves

Students have been losing sleep over big tests as long as there have been big tests. Some students suffer from a very real test anxiety. This depth of worry over tests can become a form of self-fulfilling prophecy that works against students at test time. It can actually hurt their test scores. This is a significant problem that our sample tests can help combat.

We strive to recreate the test environment as closely as possible for students. We follow the same time constraints, and our tests cover the subjects in the same manner as the actual tests. Regardless of their actual score, the experience serves to familiarize them with the process. This familiarity can be a big help for the jitters that students face on test day. While the SAT or ACT will always be a significant challenge for most students, the burden is lighter when the student is prepared both academically and environmentally for the event.

The Test Is Free with No Obligation or Hard Sell Afterwards

Many students will learn from our free testing that they’re right on track for the score they hope to achieve with the SAT or ACT. Others will benefit from targeted learning as part of their preparation for test day. We’re confident that we have a great solution for these families, but there’s no hard sell after the test to rope you in. Take a look at what we offer, the plan we have to help your student, and then decide for yourself. Call us at 949-546-0800 to reserve your spot for one of our upcoming tests.

At Academic Learning Labs, we’re pleased to offer our students individualized tutoring done on an individual basis. We’re located in Rancho Santa Margarita, and our one-on-one approach assures every student our time with them is dedicated solely to their specific needs. Whether your child is ahead of their class, behind their class, or ready to study for the SAT/ACT, our tutors are here to help move them forward and equip them for the journey. For more details on how our tutors can help your child, give us a call at 949-546-0800.

 

How One-on-One Tutoring Can Help Your Child’s SAT/ACT Scores

Every family planning for their child’s college future is faced with the SAT or ACT. These tests represent an important benchmark colleges use to get a better picture of your child’s academic standing. In this week’s blog, we’re going to take a look at how one-on-one tutoring can help your child’s SAT/ACT Scores.

Colleges seeking a better tool to gauge the aptitude of potential students were much of the driving force behind the increased importance of standardized testing. Grade point averages can be a very subjective measure, so the appeal of these tests makes sense. But the advantage for colleges presents a challenge for students. Getting the best grade possible can be elusive though, and that’s where we can help. Our proven method of one-on-one tutoring can make a huge difference for your child’s SAT/ACT scores.

Test anxiety is a very real problem, and it’s one that we will help students conquer in the coming weeks. One of the best ways to prepare for any stressful experience is to familiarize yourself with as many aspects of it as you can. Practice makes perfect, and we’re offering practice versions of the SAT and ACT in the coming weeks. These are given free of charge and without any obligation.  Students will be given sample tests that will recreate both the timing and content of the actual ones. This has proven tremendously successful in helping students prone to test anxiety. The test dates are shown below, and please give us a call at 949-546-0800 to reserve your spot.

After the tests are completed, we’ll offer each student a complete rundown on their performance. This will help your family create a plan going forward. If you’d like to book some tutoring hours with us, we’ll utilize this plan to target the specific needs of your child. And since all our tutoring is done individually, each hour of tutoring with Academic Learning Labs is dedicated solely to your child’s specific needs.

At Academic Learning Labs, we’re pleased to offer our students individualized tutoring done on an individual basis. We’re located in Rancho Santa Margarita, and our one-on-one approach assures every student our time with them is dedicated solely to their specific needs. Whether your child is ahead of their class, behind their class, or ready to start studying for the SAT/ACT, our tutors are here to help move them move forward and equip them for the journey. For more details on how our tutors can help your child, give us a call at 949-546-0800.