Preparing Students for College

Preparing Students for College

With the sometimes overwhelming pressure for college-bound students to pursue Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and even dual-enrollment courses to better prepare for college, it can leave us parents and educators scratching our heads wondering, is it really preparing students for college? Or is simply adding more pressure and stress to our young people?

Students May be More Unprepared for College than We Think

As this recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education explains, many students are woefully unprepared for the rigors of college coursework, regardless of their efforts during high school. The transition from high school to college, for many, is complicated and overwhelming. Most students are facing their first real unsupervised educational environment – without the oversight of their parents, and the hand-holding from their teachers, it can be easy for students who performed well in high school to start seeing slipping grades, or struggle to keep up with the course load.

Can High School Students Really Know What Career They Want to Pursue?

A student preparing for college must also try to determine what type of career to pursue, as many colleges require students to declare a major, or apply to a specific area of study within the university when they submit the college application. But when you consider that this December 2017 report from Data Point shows that nearly 30% of students change their college major within 3 years of admission, it suggests that part of student preparedness for college should be exposure to different career paths and considerations.

What Can Parents Do Now?

How well a student adjusts to college, and performs on college-level coursework, relies largely on the individual student. Preparing students for college should follow a broad approach, including selecting appropriate, challenging coursework, visiting college campuses to get a feel for campus life, job-shadowing in various career paths the student is considering pursuing in college, and even a review of the college course catalog for incoming freshmen at the colleges your student is considering attending.

Need Help with Preparing Your Student for College?

If your student needs help increasing scores on the SAT or ACT college entrance exam, or help from an experienced AP or IB tutor, call Club Z! at 800-434-2582 to find an office nearest you. Club Z! also offers a wide variety of college admissions support and counseling services, including but not limited to help with selecting colleges, college majors, completing the college application, and much more!

10 Days of Family Christmas Activities

10 Days of Family Christmas Activities

The holidays are in full-swing, and for many families the month of December is overflowing with activities, from school pageants to work parties and everything in between! But everyone can agree that spending time with loved ones is one of the greatest gifts of the holiday season. So it is important to make time for the activities that draw your family and friends together this Christmas season. This article from FamilyEducation.com highlights several great family activities for Christmas; here are our top 10:

  1. Making gingerbread houses. For inspiration, look at these amazing gingerbread houses on GoodHousekeeping.com.
  2. Driving around town to look at Christmas lights on houses.
  3. Putting together Christmas crafts, like a wreath for the front door (or one to gift to a neighbor!)
  4. Having a Christmas movie and pajama night in with your family. To find movie listings in your area, check out the 25 Days of Christmas programming schedule from Freeform, or the Christmas movie line up from the Hallmark Channel.
  5. Baking Christmas cookies…or bread loaves, or savory side dishes. You get the idea.
  6. Going Christmas caroling through your neighborhood. Consider focusing on nursing homes, retirement homes, senior centers, hospitals, or other locations with residents who could particularly use some warmth and joy this Christmas season.
  7. Giving to those less fortunate! This can take the form of your local church or school’s “angel” gift tree, donating time serving meals to the homeless, or spending time visiting the elderly, sick, and shut in members of your community.
  8. Drinking hot chocolate. Better yet, make a whole hot chocolate bar at your home! Here are some fun hot chocolate recipes from Allrecipes.com to get your creative juices flowing (pun totally intended).
  9. Attending a Christmas concert at your local community center, school, or church.
  10. Having a snow day! Or if snow is too far out of your geographic area, create fake snow at home with some easy-to-find ingredients like baking soda. Check out this DIY video for fake snow-making directions.

However you choose to celebrate the Christmas season with your family, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year from all of us at Club Z! Tutoring!



3 Types of Students Who Benefit from Online Tutoring Most

3 Types of Students Who Benefit from Online Tutoring Most

We have spent a lot of time, and several blog posts, discussing the advantages of both in-home and online tutoring and test prep services. Obviously we are biased since we provide highly effective online and in-home tutoring and test prep to thousands of students each year. But as it turns out, there is no one-size-fits-all when determining which instructional model will best suit your child.

Will Online Tutoring Work for Me?

The general consensus is that as long as a student has an opportunity for direct instruction from a qualified tutor, and a proper learning environment is established, it should lead to positive results. But over the past 20+ years, we have learned some interesting facts about how students learn. How students learn directly impacts which instructional model (in-home tutoring or online tutoring) will work best in helping them achieve their goals. Here are three types of student learning styles that benefit from online tutoring and test prep services:

  1. Hands-on (or kinesthetic) learners.
  2. Auditory learners.
  3. Visual learners.

Understanding Different Learning Styles

There are five learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, sequential, and global. Most people learn best with a combination of these methods. The five styles can be broken into two groups: sensory learning and order learning. Your sensory learning style shows the best way for you to get information into your memory. Sensory learning styles include: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning. Visual learners mainly use their eyes to learn, auditory learners mainly use their ears to learn, and kinesthetic learners learn best with hands-on activities. Your order learning style shows the order in which you like information presented. Order learning styles include: sequential and global learning. Sequential learners understand best when information is presented methodically, when each step follows logically from the previous step. Global learners solve problems more easily when they grasp the big picture. Most students have at least one sensory learning style and another order learning style.

Why Online Tutoring?

So, why online tutoring for these three preferred sensory learning types? It’s no doubt that these same learners could benefit from in-home tutoring, provided by a high quality tutor, such as the ones offered through Club Z! Online tutoring, however, engages a different part of a student’s mind through hands-on activities, the use of a virtual white board, the use of both a written chat and video visual aid. Online learning environments can help keep sensory learners engaged, and ensure that knowledge is properly learned and retained. To find a Z Prep! Online tutor near you, call 800-434-2582 or fill out the online form at https://clubztutoring.com/online-tutoring/.

Preparing Our Kids for College

Preparing Our Kids for College

College preparation, for most parents and students, calls to mind the academic preparation that takes place when a student is in high school, and preparing to apply for college. This includes studying for important college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT, many meetings with guidance counselors to line up the classes that will best fit your college plans, taking on challenging Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes to improve your application profile, and just generally working hard to maximize your classroom grades. But for parents, preparing our kids for college involves more than just the academic aspect of preparation; we have to ensure that our kids are also prepared for the emotional and mental impact of this transition.

Helicopter Parenting – Good or Bad?

Helicopter parenting is a term that generally refers to a style of parenting where parents are overly focused on their children. The term “helicopter parent” was first coined in the book, Parents & Teenagers (1969) by Dr. Haim Ginott. Children used it to refer to a feeling that their parents were hovering over them constantly, like a helicopter. While many educators and mental health professionals may argue that helicopter parenting does not help a student transition well from high school to college, new research suggests that a healthy level of parental involvement has a more positive impact than an entirely hands-off approach when it comes to college freshmen.

How Can Parents Find the Right Balance?

It can be overwhelming for parents of college freshmen to strike a healthy balance between adequately preparing our children for college, and helicopter parenting. In this September 12, 2017 article published on Quartz.com titled, Helicopter parenting is bad for college kids – but a little hovering is just right, author and Licensed Clinical Social Worker F. Diane Barth offers these suggestions for healthy, positive parental involvement that doesn’t overstep into helicopter territory:

  • Guide your student, but don’t pressure them. Respect their point of view and their need to exercise their newfound independence. Listen more than you talk.

  • Ask open-ended questions, such as “What are you learning?” rather than closed ones about test scores or grades.

  • Actively express your interest in what they tell you by asking follow-up questions.

  • Share some of what is happening in your own life. Shifting to a more balanced, egalitarian model of conversation sharing is part of the transition to a more adult, mutual relationship.

  • Initiate conversation about your expectations for this new relationship. Be direct about your own thoughts about finances, contact, roommate arrangements, and drug and alcohol use. But listen to your child’s point of view on this matter, too. If you’re going to be honest, you have to expect them to be, too.

  • Allow for mistakes while encouraging them to recognize and respond appropriately to dangerous situations. Be available (and make it clear that you are available) when they need help rectifying a slip-up. You and they will both learn from these experiences.

  • Remind them that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. And if they need more than you have to offer, help them find and make use of mental-health services on or off campus.

  • Use college resources for yourself. Go to parents’ orientation sessions when you bring your student to college and attend some of the workshops specifically prepared for you on parents’ weekend.

How Can We Start Preparing Our Kids for College Now?

It’s never too early to start preparing our kids for college. Trust your instincts about when your children are mature enough to handle increasing levels of responsibility, and give them opportunities to exercise some independence, all the while knowing that you are there to help if and when they need it. If your children need help with the college planning and application process, consider enlisting the help of a professional college admissions consultant. The more time a student has to begin mentally and emotionally preparing for the transition to college, the better!

Meditation and Schools – A New Trend

Meditation and Schools – A New Trend

If you subscribe to the belief that there’s “nothing new under the sun” then this just might surprise you – some schools are setting a new trend by replacing detention with meditation, and the results are surprising, indeed!

From Detention to Meditation, a Paradigm Shift

For many of us parents-of-a-certain-age, detention was boring, quiet, and totally pointless, entirely by design. Students were not encouraged to talk through, or even think through, the behaviors that led to their detention. Detention was intended to be a punishment, lost time that kids would rather be spending anywhere else! But schools like Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, have replaced detention with a more purposeful Mindful Moment Room instead.  The Mindful Moment Room is described as being full of comfortable, purple pillows, lamps, and plenty of room for children to think about, process, and even talk through their disruptive behaviors. Kids are given an opportunity to practice breathing exercises and other meditative strategies to calm themselves and replace their disruptive behaviors with more appropriate actions.

Meditation and the Notion of Toxic Stress

Several non-profit organizations, such as Mindful Schools, offer training and courses designed to help educators bring mindfulness into their K-12 classrooms. These courses teach meditation as a strategy for helping students develop appropriate coping mechanisms for handling stress. The organization’s web site explains that students are often faced with “toxic stress” which is when “life’s demands consistently outpace the student’s ability to cope with those demands.”  The site goes on to suggest that this toxic stress “impairs attention, emotion and mood regulation, sleep, and learning readiness daily in American classrooms. Even more troubling, prolonged exposure to childhood toxic stress has lifelong impacts on mental and physical health.

Benefits of Meditation, Beyond the School

Although meditation has been around for thousands of years, it is gaining momentum as a way to help sharpen both body and mind, with some studies even suggesting that it helps improve attention span and focus. Programs like the Mindful Moment Room at Coleman Elementary are also reporting that students are taking this new mindfulness, and meditation strategies, home and sharing them with family members. In addition, Coleman and other nearby schools adopting similar meditation programs have reported decreases in school suspensions and increases in student attendance at school. It seems clear that the students who are learning to practice these meditative skills are seeing many benefits, at school and beyond.

More Resources

Targeted study skills programs like the Learning Built to Last series from Club Z! can also help students learn how to develop time management, organization, and other stress-busting skills. For more meditation resources for you and your students, check out these guided practices for mindfulness on Mindful.org.

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