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    Maths & English Tutoring in Erina & Gosford
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    Every day can be a new beginning.

Home hints for parent tutors

Wednesday, Aug. 17th 2016

The following are some useful hints to be used by parent/tutors;

Utilisation of the Pause Procedure

Good parent-tutors are characterised by allowing their student’s voice to be heard more than their own. To ensure your child does not tune out and lose interest in what you are teaching, use frequent pauses to ensure the student has understood what you have just been explaining. For instance, ask them to summarise the idea you have just espoused and if you are teaching more than one child, ask them to summarise what they have just learned to each other. Alternatively, during pauses, ask children to answer a short test or complete a problem using the skills you have just explained.

Use of Fast-Paced Drills 

If you are tutoring your student in a subject that involves a significant degree of memory work (such as Biology), drill your students frequently on particular points to ensure they retain important facts and information.


Introducing humour into the tutoring session

Studies have shown that the use of humour can have highly positive effects on students, greatly increasing their level of engagement and interest. Encourage student to find comics, funny quotes or jokes to their learning session and dedicate a few minutes to having a good laugh.

Hints and tips for better organisation.

Tuesday, Aug. 16th 2016

One of the most often asked questions we’ve received over the years is ‘how can I get better organised?’. Wouldn’t we ALL love the answer to THAT question! 🙂

Below are some ideas, primarily for senior students, that can be a wonderful springboard for better organisation and therefore significantly less stress. In particular leading up to major assignment and exam time.

  1. Delete social media & email notifications. They just distract you and make every task take longer. Assign time to work in email & social media to avoid the multi-tasking habits that can come with responding to every ping.
  2. Set up your daily schedule and appointments/tasks in Asana, and link it to your calendar, so that you can keep your task management, systems and schedule all linked.
  3. Tidy your desk once a week (more if you need to!)
  4. Use Evernote to brain dump your notes, reminders, ideas etc – it’s much more reliable than your brain, and doesn’t fill up like a notebook!

If nothing changes, then nothing changes. I hope these ideas springboard you towards better organisation, better marks and more piece of mind.

Mindfulness in Schools

Monday, Aug. 8th 2016

Principals in Melbourne schools are now saying that meditation for children is more important than ever.   A recent report in the Herald Sun states that;

“Students as young as five are doing daily meditation in class as the mindfulness movement sweeps Victorian schools.  Wellbeing workers are becoming more common as schools integrate mental health into learning to improve student wellbeing, grades and social skills.”

In today’s high-tech, fast-paced world, it’s pretty easy to become over-stimulated and children as absorb the energy of the environment which they live in. We expect to concentrate and focus. Meditation brings about better concentration, increased focus, and boosts of memory.

So, so grateful that we share this wonderful practice with our students.

Be the change…:)

Thursday, Jul. 21st 2016

Matthew’s Journey…

This past February, we were contacted by Matthew’s (not his real name) mother, as he was having “loads of trouble with his learning.”  He didn’t like his teacher or the school and didn’t have many friends to play with at break times. Pretty sad space to be living in, when you’re only 9 years old.  Mum had tried everything she new or that was suggested to her; speech pathology, OT (occupational therapy), counselling, even spiritual balancing – nothing seemed to provide either of them with the constant outcomes they needed i.e. a nine year old boy who was happy to attend school and engage with a healthy circle of friends.

Matthew was referred to us by a client we hadn’t heard from in nearly 5 years. Matthew initially presented as an extremely nervous and quite agitated child. His eye-contact was good and his natural curiosity to examine the many puzzles and playthings in the room, indicated a robust intelligence. However, no matter how he tried, he simply found it difficult to stand still. Still enough even, to have a simple conversation. Still enough to look like he was even remotely connected to his own little body. I could see that this was quite involuntary and was very disturbing for Matthew too.

We administered all the usual academic testing with Matthew. As it turns out, his reading and especially his spelling, were better than age-appropriate. He could pretty much read whatever he needed to but was choosing to somehow be completely dis-engaged with the entire school process.

We established an appropriate learning support program for him. His program was primarily vertical in nature. Although still in Year 3, his thinking and reasoning skills were very advanced and often very intuitive. So, he focussed on skill-sets more appropriate to Year 5. We also exposed Matthew to a variety of texts that required some higher order critical thinking skills. Matthew seemed engaged enough in his program but one hour a week of intense focus wasn’t enough. Mum was increasingly concerned about Matthew somehow ‘wasting’ his other 30-odd hours of structured learning.

Who knows where, when or how, some things come from? Who knows where inspiration comes from? That spark of,  ‘Aha!’ That ‘out-of-the-blue idea’. No matter where  these things originate, when I receive one as download, I’m impelled to take action. Taking my surfboard off my car this morning, was my latest cosmic offering. I have absolutely no idea about the celestial link between Matthew and surfing but somehow, the planets aligned this morning. Years before, I had attended a workshop, where we were exposed to successful non-medicated, alternate methods of working with ADD/ADHD children and adults.

One of these strategies for learners like Matthew, was to eliminate as many static devices as possible and replace them with objects that engaged the body and the mind. Things like chairs replaced with inflatable gym/exercise balls; soft squishy hand-held ‘stress balls’; chewing something that required some type of mouth focus; soft 80 beats-per-minute music, specific essential oils; even creating a roll-around floor space so that Matthew ( and others if they chose), could literally roll around gently on mats, pillows and rugs.

I contacted Matthew’s mum and shared my insights. Most were implemented before the end of the day!

I’m delighted to say that Matthew is now fully integrated at school, has many friends (he was invited to one of his first birthday parties last weekend and was tickled pink) and is just loving working on ‘hard Year 6 stuff’. Matthew’s story reminded me of the importance in working with who we are and not what others want us to be. Being willing and humble enough to really ‘look outside the square’ for solutions. To embrace new ideas and strategies in our lives. We never know, we could even be the solution to many of our own problems. 🙂

From a parent…

Wednesday, Jun. 1st 2016


One of my friends asked “Why do you pay so much money and spend so much time running around for your daughter ?” Well I have a confession to make: I don’t pay for my daughter’s Maths and English tutoring. Or her pens, textas and text books. Or her scores of trips to the tutoring centre.

So, if I am not paying for tutoring, what am I paying for?

– I pay for those moments when my girl becomes so tired she feels like quitting but doesn’t..

– I pay for the opportunity to be influenced amazing teachers, that will teach her that Maths is not just about numbers but about life.

– I pay for my child to learn to be disciplined.

– I pay for my child to learn to deal with disappointment, when she doesn’t get that score she hoped for , or couldn’t attempt some of the more challenging questions in a paper, but still gets up and is determined to do her BEST next time…

– I pay for my girl to learn to make and accomplish goals.

– I pay for my daughter to learn that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours of hard work and practice to create success, and that success does not happen overnight.

– I pay so that my daughter can be learning some important study and life skills, instead of in front of a screen…

I could go on but, to be short, I don’t pay for tutoring; I pay for the opportunities that tutoring provides my child to develop attributes that will serve her well throughout her life and give her the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen for many, many years, I think it is a great investment!

Skimming and scanning basics.

Wednesday, May. 18th 2016

When studying, it’s not recommended that you read the textbook straight from the first page to the last. There’s just too much information, you’ll tire yourself out, and the worst part is that in most cases, you don’t need everything the textbook has to offer. That’s not to say the textbook isn’t helpful, but what you need to do is pick out the important points and remember those. So, what is skimming and scanning? Is there a difference? Skimming is quickly reading a piece of text to gain a general idea of what the information is about. This is used to summarise the main idea from large text blocks, or to determine if a paragraph is with reading into.

Scanning is reading a piece of text to find a specific piece of information, and is more used to find facts about a certain topic. Both techniques sound easy to do at face value, but it’s how you prepare to do these skills that will affect your skimming and scanning success. First, make sure you know what you’re expecting. Read the table of contents for the chapter, as well as any important headings and keywords. At this point, you can already start deciding which aspects you might avoid and where your attention might be needed more. When browsing through

First, make sure you know what you’re expecting. Read the table of contents for the chapter, as well as any important headings and keywords. At this point, you can already start deciding which aspects you might avoid and where your attention might be needed more.

When browsing through material, look out for core keywords. These might be emphasised words on the page, or terms you find to be important. These will usually help you locate helpful sentences of information about that specific keyword. You might also look out for listed items or information boxes on the sides of the page.

While these techniques to save time and effort in reading text, most textbooks usually have chapter summaries that already encapsulate the main ideas. So why not just use those? The problem with any summarisation technique, including skimming and scanning, is that they lack details. You’ll get the basic idea, but that’s more or less all you’ll get. Or maybe the summary doesn’t mention an idea that is crucial to your studies.

What you can do instead is to combine skimming and scanning with the text summaries your textbook provides. In this way, if you can use the textbook summary to fill in any gaps you missed when skimming and scanning, as well as pick up any details you might find important while reading through the textbook information.

While there’s much more to skimming and scanning, these basic tips should help you get an idea about how you might go about using these techniques. Perhaps as you practise skimming and scanning, you could apply these skills outside the context of study and become a more efficient reader in general.

What are your favourite children’s books?

Tuesday, May. 10th 2016

One of THE best ways to teach your child how to enjoy reading, is to model being a reader yourself. Whilst instructional, directed teaching of decoding skills is critical to young and developing readers, so too is the reading process itself. Especially if mum and dad are seen doing it and enjoying it.

ALL readers have favourite books and authors. As adult readers, many of us have very fond memories of discovering a new author, or a new series of books written by a new author. We remember the pure enjoyment of being unable to put the book down, often resorting to ‘torch-light reading’ in order to finish the next chapter.

Well, many of those authors and the magical stories they told, are still around and freely available.

One of the very best ways you can demonstrate the joy of reading, is to read to your child and be seen as a genuine reader, simply by reading.

This week’s reading tip, is to write a list of your favourite authors or children’s stories and place it on the fridge. This can easily become a springboard for discussion and maybe even a birthday present or two. Enjoy the memories. 🙂