“Have you done your homework?” or what else a parent can do to build student academic independence?

academic ownership Tired of asking your child about homework? All parents want to support their child’s academics. But they also want to be able to walk away and watch their child manage school on their own. It’s a tricky thing to find that right balance between helicoptering and watching helplessly from the outside. The one risks becoming nagging and backfiring while the other risks missing help that a child really needs. So how to find that balance? Student Ownership This term is so often tossed around in education so as to lose meaning. So let’s spell out what we mean by “academic ownership”: awareness self-advocacy problem solving will power executive function Awareness means knowing what’s due tomorrow or next, it means knowing the current grades, and, most importantly, it means knowing what is expected of the student by teachers, textbooks and assignments. Self-advocacy means standing up for oneself. It starts with knowing what you need […]

Parents, take the Academic Needs Survey to help identify your student’s academic situation and solutions

Do I really know where my student stands academically? When students struggle with one class, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s just that subject that’s the problem. A low grade in one class is frequently not an indicator of content knowledge but of a process or academic engagement that that particular teacher or class is requiring over other classes. In other words, the bad grade isn’t just because of that one subject or skill set. For example, Math is as much about consistent practice and learning how to engage teacher feedback as it is about the math itself. English is as much about identifying teacher expectations as it is about reading and writing skills. At the A+ Club, we work with students to identify what’s really going on with a student’s academic outcomes and what skills, processes and problem solving techniques could really help. We start with the Academic Needs Survey to help parents and […]

Why get a tutor at the beginning of school? How academic coaching is more effective – and affordable

A+ Club academic support opens future opportunitie for students

Helping your child with math tutoring or chemistry tutoring at the beginning of the school year isn’t a bad idea. Anything a student can do to get ahead of class and really make sense of the teacher when school starts is great. However, there are several important reasons why parents should be wary of starting tutoring early in the school year: 1. Direct tutoring, even online tutoring, can be very expensive. 2. Direct tutoring can backfire on a parent because once school starts some students come to rely on their tutors and don’t learn to act independently. 3. Academic success is a process, not an outcome. 4. Successful students overcome barriers and empower themselves to problem solve, negotiate with teachers and succeed on their own. Certainly it’s better to do something than nothing, and you don’t want to be one of those panicked parents who call us for help in February. We’d rather help your child […]

Mentors for Students: the power of guided reflection, goal setting & problem solving

A+ Club teachers, mentors & academic coaches

Having someone who cares gives students confidence and a sense of purpose The academic coaches and mentors at the A+ Club fill that role for our students. We call them “Student Supporters.” They are, actually, experienced educators who believe in and love working with students. Studies show that college students who engaged in a mentoring relationship find greater success in the job place after college. Makes sense to us! — which is why we built the A+ Club academic support program around a consistent, positive and non-judgmental mentoring relationship with an experienced educator for middle, high school and college students. The A+ Club student support program places each student with a professional educator who acts as academic coach and mentor. Our academic coaches care deeply about their students and want to help them flourish. A+ Club academic coaches guide students through the daily struggles of schoolwork and help them gain the skills and confidence they […]

5 Signs That Your Child Would Benefit From An Academic Coach

1. He struggles with procrastination. Many people (not just children!) struggle with procrastination at some point in their lives, but chronic procrastination is a sign of an underlying issue. Avoiding homework signals your child’s belief that the work will be difficult and thus unpleasant, so he chooses short-term satisfaction and diversions over long-term rewards. An academic coach can help your child recognize their patterns of procrastination and then combat them by going to the root of the problem: mastering the tough materials that create barriers. 2. He is disorganized. Organization is a vital for academic success. Poor organization can mean homework gets lost and he doesn’t study for tests because he didn’t remember he had one. An academic coach helps him learn how to keep track of their papers and assignments, so nothing gets overlooked. 3. He doesn’t test well. Poor performance on tests can happen for many reasons. Sometimes it’s just because he didn’t study, […]

Disappointed with your child’s school performance & grades?

What next? Try a free academic consultation from the A+ Club Final grades not what you expected? When we meet parents who are concerned about their child’s grades, we hear all kinds of reasons and excuses, such as “doesn’t test well,” “not good in math,” “disorganized,” “has ADD,” “is a procrastinator,” and, even, “lazy.” Parents are stuck in frustration, wondering what’s going on – and how to possibly fix it. The concern over student academic performance could be low or failing grades, a disappointing C or D, or that the student fell from straight As because of one tough class. Whatever the outcome, we can help parents get past the frustrations and focus on solutions that address what, really, is going on. It’s not the grade that matters, it’s what went into it that counts. Without the distraction and pressures of schoolwork, the beginning of summer is the perfect time to reflect, problem solve, and think about […]

How to avoid “summer learning loss” with math tutoring & enrichment

School's out doesn't mean the learning should stop, too Kids hate having to think about math during the summer. School\’s out and they just want to relax, so getting them to work on their summer math packets can be like pulling teeth. At the A+ Club we understand this, but we also know that summer math tutoring & enrichment is essential to maintaining skills and concepts. An entire school year of learning new concepts followed by three math-free months is like taking two steps forward and one step back. In fact, research shows summer \”learning loss\” in mathematics is equivalent to 2.6 months of school year learning (see \”Summer Learning Loss\” Wikipedia). Our summer math tutoring program will keep the math fresh and ready your child for the upcoming school year. We focus on skills that may need reinforcement from the previous year and prepare students for the coming year with new concepts and practice […]

How parents of teens can help their children help themselves with school and academics

Developing academic ownership & better grades At the A+ Club  our goal is student independence and academic ownership. When we take on a new student, we take the time to learn what’s going on. Usually a parent has reached out to us because of concern over grades — and it’s generally math grades. The parent may not feel capable of helping out with the math homework or other work, and even after reaching out to the math and other teachers, nothing has changed. What’s happening here is that this is not a “math” problem! Instead, it’s a process or “executive function” problem whereby the child doesn’t know how to go about classroom learning, doing the homework or studying. So rather than jumping into expensive math tutoring, we first want to know more about the student and his or her academic processes. Some questions might include: – Does the student track assignments effectively? – Does the […]

Ain’t June Grand? Congratulations to our graduating seniors & their parents

Woot! Wishing our graduating seniors a huge, smiley-emojis full 🙂 congratulations! And also for parents, as this has been your journey, too. All the teachers, tutors, “Student Supporters” and staff at the A+ Club are so proud of you! We’ve watched you grow, watched you challenge yourself, watched you test the limits, good and bad, scare your parents, scare yourself – scare us! And you have amazed us all with your unique brilliance and total dedication to walking that graduation stage. Our graduation wish for you is nothing but more of the same we’ve spoken about during your time with us: whatever it is, make it important get beyond workflow by turning it into goal setting identify teacher expectations be in control, be aware, and own it! We love you, and we congratulate you on your graduation and all your success beyond!      

Academic improvement is not easy!

Finally, all-round academic help for parents of teens! If a middle or high school student has a low grade in one or more classes, what can a parent do? You can’t just say, “do your work!” — kids often respond to that with anger and excuses. Plus, your parenting time is precious and you’ve got enough to do with work, extracurricular activities and other children. One option is tutoring: if a student is struggling in a class, you can hire a tutor, say for math or chemistry, who can show your child how to get the work done. But think about it: isn’t your child supposed to be learning from the teacher? Direct math tutoring, for example, can help a student start to make sense of what’s going on in class. We love it when that happens! But we worry that the same habits may lead to the same outcomes — and then the parent […]