Daily Homeschool Schedule

10 Ways to Add More Fun to Your Daily Homeschool Schedule [Infographic]

Daily Homeschool Schedule

From getting to spend more time with the kids, to hitting the snooze button as the school bus rolls by, the joys of homeschooling are many. But aside from all the perks of homeschooling your children, stay-at-home parents know it’s not always rainbows and butterflies!

There are quite a few challenges that come along with homeschooling. Parents have many different roles aside from just teaching, and one of those tasks is administration. It takes a lot of organization and creativity to plan an effective and engaging curriculum for your student(s).

This school year, try adding a few new activities into your week to make learning more fun and interactive. Incorporating any of these 10 ideas into your daily homeschool schedule will not only add variety to your routine, but many of them will also give you a much-needed break!

Daily Homeschool Schedule

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10 Ways to Add More Fun to Your Daily Homeschool Schedule

1. Invite a Music Teacher Over

Once or twice a week, schedule music lessons in your home so your child can pick up a new, beneficial skill. Music lessons can range from 30-60 minutes and many local teachers have their own studio, if you’d prefer to take a trip outside the house.

Learning an instrument isn’t all fun and games. The right instructor will teach your child discipline and perseverance. There are also numerous physical and mental benefits of learning an instrument, such as improved math and reading skills!

2. Have a Pre-Lunchtime Cooking Class

Home economics, or household management, is an often overlooked but necessary subject for any growing child. And what better place to teach valuable culinary skills than in the safety of your own home?

Take the 30-minute time block before lunchtime and use it to teach your child basic cooking techniques. Depending on your student’s age, you can show him or her how to properly peel vegetables, slice different kinds of fruit, read a recipe, or measure out ingredients. Who knows – maybe your child will become the next family chef!

3. Learn About Art at a Kids Museum

Add a museum visit to your daily homeschool schedule

If your child is a visual learner, this fun activity will be the highlight of their week! Get your student’s creative juices flowing by taking him or her to a kids museum. Most children’s museums offer free or discounted admission on certain days of the week.

Museums present the perfect opportunity for a hands-on art lesson. Make sure to browse the museum’s website ahead of time and discuss the exhibits with your child. After the trip, help your student recreate one of their favorite works of art!

4. Picnic at the Park

It can be easy to stay indoors all day when you homeschool, but never neglect the importance of getting some fresh air every now and then! Break up the day and take a trip to the park for lunch. Let the kids roam or play on the playground for a little while. They’ll get some PE time in, and you’ll leave feeling refreshed.

SEE ALSO: 14 Hilarious Signs Your Family is Ready to Go Back to School

5. Read at a Local Library

There’s something about visiting a library that makes reading more exciting as a kid. Take your child to the local library and let him or her choose from a seemingly limitless number of books in a variety of different genres and themes – it’s language arts paradise!

Having a library card is also an excellent way for your child to learn about being responsible and considerate to others. Pro tip: most libraries offer weekly storytelling programs or puppet shows where the pages really come to life!

6. Mix up your Math Media


Math can be a challenging subject for many children, but here’s an effective solution: try using a variety of media to boost your child’s progress while making learning fun at the same time. Use math games, YouTube videos, and catchy songs as teaching tools. You’ll be surprised how much mixing up your media can help your child more easily master tricky math concepts.

7. Take a Field Trip to the Zoo

Trips to the zoo are a blast for children of any age (parents included)! There are many learning opportunities at the zoo as well. Your child will have the opportunity to explore different habitats, learn about the environment, and pick up some new vocabulary. Many zoos also offer educational programs and discounts for kids.

SEE ALSO: 5 Must-Have Back to School Apps

8. Sign up for Online Language Classes

There are countless benefits of learning another language for young minds. Aside from learning to respect and appreciate other cultures, studying a foreign language has been found to increase attention spans, improve the memory, and boost problem-solving skills.

Other research shows that bilingual students score higher on standardized tests in the areas of reading, social studies, and math. Try the online language classes at TakeLessons Live. They’re free for your first month, and you get to choose from a variety of experienced instructors. It’s easy to find a class at any time of the day that works best for your child!

9. Do a Nature Walk in the Great OutdoorsAdd a nature walk to your daily homeschool schedule

Looking for a new science activity to engage the senses? Try doing a nature walk with your child in your community. Prepare a scavenger hunt, go bird watching, or see how many different types of plants your child can spot. For a list of great places to take a nature walk near you, check out TrailLink or NatureFind. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

10. Check out Indoor PE Videos

“PE videos” might sound a little contradictory, but in cold and rainy seasons, YouTube can be your new best friend! There are dozens of kid-friendly YouTube channels designed with the sole purpose of facilitating indoor PE sessions.

Just because you can’t leave the home doesn’t mean your child can’t get some much-needed exercise in. For starters, check out the GoNoodle channel to get your child dancing, stretching, and jumping.

Add any of these activities into your daily homeschool schedule and you’ll set your student up for a successful and fun school year! Looking for a way to organize all the details of your routine in one convenient place? Check out The Frugal Homeschooling Mom for free resources like customizable spreadsheets that will keep everyone on track!

Do you have any other ideas about how to add variety to a daily or weekly homeschool schedule? Share your suggestions by leaving a comment below!

 

best hobbies for your brain infographic

20+ Facts About Your Hobbies to Prove You’re Smarter Than Most

These days, we get a lot of messages about living your best life. Bloggers and books abound that offer tips for being happy, managing stress, and staying sharp.

Sometimes, it can feel a bit overwhelming.

So instead of forcing yourself to read more or do that Sudoku puzzle just because some article tells you to, how about doing more of the things you love?

Maybe that’s jamming on your guitar, cooking, or even doing art projects.

Well, guess what?

If you do these activities in your free time, you’re already ahead of the game. Dare we say… you may even be smarter than most?

Check out the infographic below to see if you’re already doing some of the best hobbies for your brain — and continue reading to learn how to exercise your brain and improve your skills even more.

8 best hobbies for your brain - infographic

Learn More: The Best Hobbies For Your Brain

best hobbies - benefits of sports

Sports and Fitness

Exercise your brain while you exercise your body! Breaking a sweat can improve your ability to multitask and boost productivity. Even just 20 minutes of exercise helps your brain process information and improves your memory functions. In another study, exercising boosted women’s performance on memory and problem-solving tests by 20%.

Plus, it’s great for your career: employees who exercise regularly are 15% more efficient and 23% more productive!

Fitness is also important for older adults. You may have heard about the hippocampus, the part of your brain that forms long-term memories — and that it shrinks with age. Good news: seniors who exercise for 45 minutes, three days a week can actually reverse that age-related shrinkage by one to two years. 

Try something new: Tennis, golf, and even ping-pong can keep you active.

best hobbies -computer skills

Computer Skills

Nowadays, our lives are pretty much all on computers and smartphones. But did you know that can actually be a good thing? Mastering new computer skills can have a big impact on your brain — and that goes for both young and old alike! 

For the younger generation, being comfortable with technology is a given. And don’t feel guilty about playing video games, either: certain games can even increase your brain’s “flexibility” and improve your eyesight. One study even showed that playing fast-paced video games can improve the reading skills of dyslexic children! Beyond the brain benefits, computer and technology skills can help your career prospects: by 2020, almost 80% of jobs will require IT skills.

And for older adults? You actually can teach an old dog new tricks. Researchers found that adults who regularly used a computer reduced their risk of mild cognitive impairment by 53%.

Try something new: Picture yourself working at Pixar? Find a teacher for animation, graphic design, or even web design.

2

Yoga and Meditation

Awesome news for yogis: centering your chi greatly reduces stress, fights off anxiety, and can lower your risk of depression. 

How does it work, exactly? GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a key neurotransmitter for stress relief. Hit a yoga class or do an hour of meditation, and you’ll increase GABA levels in your brain by 27%. In fact, one study reported that 60% of anxiety-prone participants showed improvement after 6-9 months of meditation. 

Don’t have an hour? Research has shown that even 20 minutes of Hatha yoga improves participants’ speed and accuracy in memory and focus tests, helping your brain retain and use new information.

Try something new: Nervous about putting your moves on display at a studio? Take an online class from the comfort of your own home, or work with a private yoga coach.

best hobbies - cooking and baking

Cooking & Baking

Whipping up a tasty meal can help develop your cognitive skills and improve your overall well-being! As you cook, you’re working on your motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and improving your problem-solving skills every time you improvise with an ingredient.

Make it a healthy meal, and you’re serving up a double-whammy: not only are you keeping your brain active, you can add some important nutrients to your diet. (One study found that people with a Mediterranean diet are 36% less likely to develop age-related memory loss and thinking difficulties!)

Try something new: Take a cooking class with your friends and family — the endorphins you’ll receive from spending time with loved ones can do wonders for reducing stress.

best hobbies - music

Music

The benefits of playing an instrument are amazing — and this goes for any age! While there’s a lot of research about music education and kids, it’s never too late to start playing. Did you know, for example, that drummers’ brains release feel-good endorphins immediately after playing? Or that playing any instrument gives your brain a full workout, since it uses both hemispheres? 

Outside of the brain benefits, you’re also improving your motor control, exercising your creativity, learning about time management and perseverance, and boosting your self-esteem as your practice and perform for others.

Plus, even just listening to music can be beneficial to your health. Listening to your favorite songs can increase your brain’s production of dopamine (the “feel-good” neurotransmitter) and decrease your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Try something new: If you think of yourself as tone deaf (tip: you’re probably not!), don’t give up just yet. Working with a music teacher 1-on-1 will give you the personalized attention and lesson plan you need to succeed — so take the plunge!

best hobbies - crafts

Crafts

Did you know that crafts like knitting and scrapbooking also benefit your brain? In a way, it’s much like meditation: when you sit down with those knitting needles, your mind focuses on that, not the stress from the day. Doing this calms you down, and all the while your brain is releasing dopamine, which acts as a natural anti-depressant.

Crafting can be especially helpful for older adults. Research has shown that several leisure activities, including crafting, can reduce your chances of developing mild cognitive impairment by 30-50%. This means you’re at a lesser risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Time to break out the scrapbook!

Try something new: Are the DIY Pinterest projects not working out? Get some extra hands-on advice by taking a class in jewelry design, scrapbooking, or crocheting.

best hobbies - learn a language

Language

Learning a new language is another activity with tons of benefits. Not only will you be able to communicate with different people, you’ll improve your decision-making skills and enhance your ability to multitask. Multi-linguals are also typically better at focusing, as well as remembering lists or sequences.

Moreover, research has shown that bilinguals show Alzheimer’s symptoms about five to six years later than those who speak only one language.

Try something new: Languages are about communicating, right? So put down those grammar flashcards and textbooks, and spend some time simply chatting with a friend or family member who is also learning the same language. Spanish learners, here are some great conversation starters to try.

Bonus: Try out one of our live, group language classes to get even more practice!

best hobbies - art

Art

Channeling your inner Picasso can improve your problem-solving abilities and boost your memory. In fact, artists often have structurally-different brains, with increased neural matter in the areas related to fine motor movements. Research in Germany even showed that making art could delay or even negate age-related declines in the brain.

Much like yoga and meditation, it’s a fantastic way to calm your mind and take a break from a busy day. There’s a reason art therapy is a thing — and it works! You can even fit it into your work day: doodling while listening to information, like lectures and work meetings, can lead to a 29% increase in memory recall

Try something new: Adult coloring books are all the rage right now — pick one up and spend some time coloring! Or, try out a drawing, painting, or photography class.


How to Really Exercise Your Brain

The next time someone guilt trips you after spending hours on Pinterest, playing video games, or pulling out your coloring crayons after a hard day at work, use these facts to fight back.

All said and done, any activity that you enjoy will release dopamine in the brain. So don’t stress! The best hobbies for your brain are the ones you love.

And when you’re ready to really step it up, try something new! We’ll help you get started.

So just tell us… what do you want to learn? 

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5 Strategies to Make Learning Fun

make learning fun

Keeping students engaged and motivated can be a challenge, even for the best teachers. It’s easy to teach the same lessons year after year simply because they have worked in the past, without giving much thought to students’ current interest level. But even the strongest curriculum still needs some variety once in a while to make learning fun. Likewise it’s important for students to be aware of learning strategies that are both effective and fun for them. If teachers and students can stay conscious of improving the learning process ona regular basis, it’s much easier to work together to keep lessons engaging and motivating. Here are five strategies that can assist teachers and students with this process to make learning fun.

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3 (Fun!) Summer Activities That Help Your Child Grow [Infographic]

fun summer activities for kids

Summer is here! With school out and the temperatures rising, no doubt your kids are excited to play. But beyond the summer camps, sleepovers, bike rides, and water balloon fights, stealthy parents know how to encourage activities that can actually help kids grow and learn!

Don’t worry — that doesn’t mean workbooks or summer homework. We’ve got three fun summer activities in mind that kids will be excited to participate in, and ones that will build confidence at the same time.

  • First up? Music lessons! If your son or daughter loves to sing along to songs when you turn on the radio, music lessons are a natural fit. And there are so many different lesson types to consider, from piano to guitar to saxophone.
  • For the more introverted or bookworm types, learning a language — like Spanish or French — might be a great choice. Of course, your child won’t become fluent over the course of one summer… but it can be a fun introduction to new cultures! Plus, it’s easy to find fun games and apps that support language learning.
  • Finally, if your child can’t stop moving, sports like soccer and softball are a great way to keep him or her busy. They’ll never know they’re actually improving their teamwork and goal-setting skills!

Here’s a recap of all the surprising stats you need to know about these fun summer activities for kids.

3 Fun Summer Activities That Help Your Child Grow [Infographic]

Whether your child is athletic, musically inclined, or interested in learning another language, summer is the perfect time to enroll them in classes and nurture a new hobby. And knowing your son or daughter is also growing and learning, you can sit back and relax this summer — just as the season was intended for.

Ready to get started? Search for fun summer activities, classes, and lessons near you!

Photos by Philippe PutDark Dwarf, and l. c.

 

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ESL Learners: Are You Making These 21 Common Mistakes?

20 Words Most Misused By ESL LearnersSometimes people who have learned English as a second language confuse some basic English words — there are certainly some tricky ones! Here are the words ESL learners misuse the most:

Them, Those, and These

“Them” is a pronoun that stands in the place of a plural noun. It is commonly used as the subject of a sentence, as in: Did you see them? or Have you seen the scissors? I used them to cut the labels off my T-shirts; now I can’t find them.

“Those” indicates a group that is distant from the observer, for example: Those girls are the ones who found the missing keys.

“These” refers to a group that is near the observer: These pencils are the ones I use for drawing.

Their, There, and They’re

These three words are frequently mixed up – even by native English speakers, let alone ESL learners.

“Their” is a plural possessive, referring to something that belongs to a group the speaker is not a part of. Look at this sentence: A common characteristic of the members of the Red-Headed League was their red hair.

“There” is a location that is somewhat distant from the observer or speaker, as in: Put the suitcases over there on the bed. However, it can also be used to refer to a state of being: There are 12 items in one dozen.

“They’re” is a contraction of “they are,” as in: They are going to the store.

Similar/Similarly

“Similar” is used in the objective case, whereas “similarly” is an adverb that describes function. For example: Apples are similar to pears in that they are both fruit vs. Laptops function similarly to desktop computers.

Whether/Weather

“Whether” is used when there is a decision to be made, as in: I am not sure whether or not I should mow the lawn.

“Weather” refers to an external condition, such as rain, snow, or sunshine. Here’s an example of both: I’d better mow the grass, whether I want to or not, because the weather report is predicting rain for tomorrow.

To, Too, and Two

Again, these are homonyms (words that sound alike but are spelled differently) that are often confused by ESL learners. Here are some examples:

I am going to the store. – Indicates a desire to travel from one place to another.
I meant to do it. – Indicates intention.
If you are going to the store, I want to go, too. – Here, “too” means to be added on to something.
If the two of us go to the store, we can carry back the ice cream, and some soda pop, too. – “Two” is the spelling for the numeral two.

Of

“Of” often gets used when the correct word is “have.” For example: I should of done it. Instead, the correct written statement is: I should have done it, which is frequently contracted into: I should’ve done it.

“Of” also gets used interchangeably with “from”: My feet felt as if they were made of/from lead.

Affect/Effect

This is a word combination that will have native English speakers reaching for a dictionary. Simply put, “to affect” something is to change it (it’s usually used as a verb), but “effect” is the result or change that has been achieved.

Examples:
To affect change in the environment, everyone must work together.
Internal combustion engines have a negative effect on the air quality.

Lay/Lie

“Lay” always needs a direct object, whereas “lie” is used when there is no direct object.

Example: Please lay the suitcases on the floor, so that I can lie down on the bed.

Sit/Set

“Sit” doesn’t require an object and refers to live things—similar to lay/lie. “Set” is used when directing someone to place an item on a surface.

Example: Sit down in the comfy chair, and I will set the tea table in front of you.

With

“With” is often confused with “to” – and this is made even more confusing by the alternation sometimes being correct usage. For example: Ford Rangers, when compared to/with Ferraris, are a much better buy for a working man. However, even though you might say, I will go to the store, you would not say, I will go with the store.

ESL Learners

Looking to improve your speaking or writing skills? Search for a private English or ESL tutor today!

Cari Bennette is a blogger, content creator at custom writing service Jet Writers, and ghost author. Her favorite topics are academic writing, education, blogging, and career. Feel free to drop her a line on Twitter.

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Singapore- Study Abroad 2015

6 Fascinating Study Abroad Cities Worth Every Penny

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and unforgettable experiences of your life.

Students who possess a traveler’s spirit often deliberate for months on where exactly they should go, and can become overwhelmed by the variety of options. If you’re wondering about the best places to study abroad, here are six top destinations for students to help you make your decision.

Top 6 Best Places to Study Abroad

1. Montreal, Canada

Montreal- Study Abroad 2015

Photo by Michael Vesia

Montreal is Canada’s “cultural capital” and home to the city’s leading institution, McGill University – currently ranked 21st in the world. You’ll have a host of new experiences if you find yourself in the second-largest French-speaking city in the world – second only to Paris itself. It’s large, and its international student community enjoys a packed annual calendar of festivals and other foodie and music events. Beyond French and English, you’ll come across languages ranging from Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese to Arabic, Chinese, Greek, and Russian.

2. Paris, France

Paris- Study Abroad 2015

Photo by Lima Pix

Oui? Paris is ranked the 16th most livable city, according to a 2014 report from the Economist Intelligence Unit. Beyond the city’s world-renowned reputation for its history and cultural vitality, Paris’s low tuition fees make the city affordable for students. If you’re new to learning French, then the greatest yet most rewarding challenge, of course, is conquering the language barrier. Paris is an almost 100% French-speaking country, with a small percentage of German dialects, Celtic languages, and other Gallo-Romance languages spoken throughout the city.

3. Munich, Germany

Munich- Study Abroad 2015

Photo by Rami

With a population of approximately 1.5 million, Germany’s third-largest city weighs in on our top five list for a couple different reasons. First and foremost, Germany’s lack of tuition fees makes studying abroad in the city the most affordable option you can choose. Beyond that, Munich is ranked 8th in the 2014 Quality of Life Survey by lifestyle magazine Monocle. One of the many cultural experiences you’ll encounter in Munich is the famous Oktoberfest beer festival.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Most Beautiful Colleges of the World

4. Seoul, South Korea

Seoul- Study Abroad 2015

Photo by slack12

Seoul is the most densely populated city of South Korea. With mostly Korean and English spoken throughout the city, the language diversity here isn’t as pronounced as in other countries on this list. However, even if the lack of language diversity bores you, you’ll surely find enough to do in this city that never sleeps, with its unprecedented mix of tradition and modernity – from cutting-edge technology to Buddhist temples and royal palaces.

5. Singapore, Southeast Asia

Singapore- Study Abroad 2015

Photo by Mac Qin

Officially named the Republic of Singapore, this island country close to the equator is known for its tropical rainforest climate (where temperatures range from 72–95°F year round), four nationally-recognized languages (Mandarin Chinese, English, Malay, and Tamil), a low crime rate, and a slow and steady rise in education. Singapore has two top universities, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, ranked 22nd and 39th in the world, respectively. Though Singapore is ranked as the world’s fourth most expensive city in Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living survey, Lonely Planet ranked them the top travel destination for 2015.

6. Seville, Spain

Seville Spain

Spain has so much to offer for study abroad students! Spaniards are friendly and laid back, the cost of living is affordable, and there are plenty of beautiful places to visit no matter what your hobbies. The rich culture can easily be enjoyed wherever you choose to travel on your days off, including the Feria de Sevilla, Parc Guell in Barcelona, or el Prado and Paseo del Artes in Madrid.

There are plenty of internship opportunities as well. As an intern, you’ll get to experience the Spanish Siesta and long lunch breaks (who doesn’t like to enjoy a 3-hour break with friends and coworkers)? Check out Adelante Abroad for affordable summer and semester programs in Seville, as well as internships in Barcelona and Madrid.

Not only does studying abroad look great on your resume, but it also serves as one of the greatest opportunities to help improve your language skills. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons students participate in study abroad programs – no other experience helps you develop unparalleled fluency in a foreign language. So now you have all the reasons you need to go abroad! Enjoy your trip and let us know which location you chose in the comments section below!

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Is Japanese Hard to Learn? Find out the Truth

is japanese hard to learn

Learning any new language can seem difficult at first. If you’re feeling apprehensive about learning Japanese, these tips from language tutor Carol Beth L. can help.

Is Japanese hard to learn? Many people say so. I believe the answer can be yes or no—or both—depending on the individual. Japanese is often said to be a logical language that does not have anywhere near the whimsical inconsistencies or notorious exceptions of languages like English or French.

English, in fact, can be very difficult for some foreigners to learn. This is a result of the inconsistencies stemming from its numerous linguistic influences from historic groups that inhabited, invaded, or came in contact with England, such as Anglo-Saxon, Welsh, Scottish, and French. For most people reading this article, however, English is probably not difficult. In fact, it’s likely to be your first language. If it’s not, you have most likely mastered it to a reasonable level. Japanese can be mastered to the same degree English can, given reasonable time and effort. So why do people say that Japanese is so hard then? Here are a few often-cited reasons:

1. Time Required to Learn

Japanese is often considered to be one of the most different languages linguistically from English. As a result, it takes more time for English speakers to learn Japanese. Our way of thinking has been shaped by our native English language, and we must teach it to conform to a different way of organizing our thoughts.

2. New Characters

The Japanese writing system borrows a lot from Chinese, but the characters (kanji) are not always used the same way. As English speakers, we are used to phonetic—not pictographic—language. Japanese has two syllabaries, or sets of written symbols,  hiragana for native words, and katakana for foreign words. These syllabries provide ways to write without knowing all the characters for what you are writing. The pictographic kanji and the phonetic hiragana and katakana are regularly used side by side in writing. Using more kanji, however, will help you look more educated.

3. Japanese Grammar is Very Different From English

In Japanese, the verb is always placed at the end of the sentence. For an English speaker who is accustomed to putting the verb right after the subject, it can take time to reorganize the parts of the sentence in his mind so that everything comes out in the right order. Japanese grammar is, nonetheless, very logical. In this respect, it’s not really so difficult as it is different. Differences usually mean added learning time for students. The same is true for most non-Japanese speakers, too, because Japanese is related to very few other languages. French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese speakers can learn other languages in this group very easily because all are Romance languages stemming from common Latin origins. French also strongly influenced English after the Norman Conquest of the 11th century, making all of these languages easier for English speakers, too. The only widely-recognized language thought to have common roots with Japanese is Korean.

4. Phonetics

Phonetics are not actually as difficult as people sometimes make them out to be. The R sound—really between an R and an L—is one of the most difficult for an English speaker to get exactly right, though probably not as difficult as it is for a Japanese speaker to distinguish between the English R and L. The long vowels can also take some time. For example, kawai and kawai’i have two very distinct meanings: scary and cute respectively. Not words you’d want to mix up! Yet the only phonetic difference is the long “ee” sound in kawai’i to contrast with the short “ee” in “kawai.” Note that “long” and “short” are not used in the same sense we use them with our English vowels. A long vowel in Japanese really takes more time to say; it isn’t a reference to a phonetic difference. Most Japanese syllables are quite simple: one consonant sound plus one vowel sound. Chinese pronunciation with its tones and unique sounds (zhi, chi, shi, and ri) is probably more difficult for most English speakers.

So is Japanese hard to learn? Yes and no. It will require time and willingness to think differently, but learning Japanese can be fun, and the language is logical and consistent. If you’re willing to commit your mind and your time, then you can master it.

Carol Beth

Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She  also studied Japanese in high school and college.  She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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5 Best Apps for College Students

Best Apps For College StudentsBeing a college student in 2014 has its pros and cons. The competition is fierce and college courses are more challenging and demanding. However, coupled with these expectations come a ton of technological tools and apps that can help make your life easier and more efficient. Here, tutor Natalie S. has picked out a few of the top apps for college students that you should download right now!

1.  Dropbox

This app and desktop tool enables you to back up all of your documents and easily share them with others. You’ll never struggle with emailing large attachments again, and you’ll never have to worry about losing all of your documents if your computer crashes. You can download Dropbox to your desktop, so you can save all of your files to this location instead of on your computer. Then, all of the info in your Dropbox syncs to the cloud and when you log into your account online, the account mirrors whatever you have saved on your desktop Dropbox. If you’re responsible for a group project, you can create a Dropbox folder and invite all of your group members to join. You can save all documents there and any updates will be seen in real time.

2.  Mathway

This app is a great tool for students who are not mathematically inclined and who need additional help navigating homework and prepping for exams. You can utilize the Mathway app to check many math concepts, including your algebra, geometry, or calculus math homework. Also, if you’re stumped on a problem, Mathway will show you step by step how it can be solved.

3.  iTunes U

This is a fantastic app to use in conjunction with your class lecture notes. iTunes U features lectures on all subjects by professors from leading universities, including as Cambridge and Yale. You can download lectures that correspond to the subjects you’re studying, and use iTunes U to supplement your lecture notes and in-class seminars.

4.  SelfControl

This app is designed to block certain websites like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites that take your attention while you’re studying. Just download the app and tweak the settings, so you can block specific websites for a specific amount of time. Once you finish studying, SelfControl will turn off, and you will gain access to your favorite time-consuming social media sites once again.

5.  EasyBib

This app is designed to help you correctly format all of your sources, so you can easily create your bibliography page for your research papers. Formatting bibliographies can be a daunting, time-consuming challenge. This app helps you create citations in multiple different styles, including MLA and Chicago. All you have to do is either search for the book or article you want to cite, or enter the basic information manually, and EasyBib will instantly create the correct citation.

Whether you’re struggling with citations, self-control, math or file sharing, these apps for college students are must-haves to download right now!

Natalie S.Natalie S. tutors English, ESL, History, Phonics, Reading, and Test Prep in San Diego, as well as through online lessons. She received her BA in English Education at the University of Delaware, and her MA in English Literature at San Diego State University. Learn more about Natalie here!

 

 

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How to Measure the Success of Your Child’s Tutoring Program

8066863117_61b1ccbd93_zHow do you know if you’ve chosen the right tutor for your child? Check in with these helpful guidelines from San Diego tutoNatalie S

If you’ve arranged for your child to receive academic tutoring, you’re already well on your way to ensuring your child’s success in school. But how can you tell if your child’s tutoring session is on track, or if you are wasting your time and money? Whether your child is working with a tutor in one specific subject, for a particular test, or just for general upkeep and review of material, it can often take a while for you to see tangible results. Here are some quick, monthly check-in tips to help you identify if your child’s tutoring program is a success.

One Month

After initially finding a tutor, one of the first things you and your child should do is create a list of realistic and specific goals. For example, if your child is getting assistance with essay writing, one of the goals might be to clearly write a thesis that includes all of the necessary elements for a cohesive statement. At the one month mark, check in to make sure your child is making progress toward these goals. Having a physical list of what your child wants or needs to accomplish will help you determine if your tutor is truly helping.

Three Months

Check your child’s academic grades, and review your tutor’s study tips and teaching process. Part of the reason you initially started to work with a tutor is presumably to improve your child’s grades or test scores. After he/she has spent a few months with the tutor, take a look at exams, essays, and homework during that time. Are your child’s scores improving? Does your child connect with and respond to the tutor’s teaching practices? If so, then your child and tutor are probably right on track. Remember to be realistic with the amount of improvement you expect after only three months. Remember, academic improvements take time!

Six Months

By this point, the majority of your child’s major tests, homework assignments, or classes are close to finishing for the school year. This is a good time to revisit that list of goals your child made at the beginning of the tutoring process. Has your child accomplished or come close to accomplishing all of the goals? Has your child been able to implement on his/her own a few of those study tips that the tutor has provided? If not, discuss with your child and his/her tutor, and make a plan together for how to successfully move forward and accomplish all of the goals.

One Year

The number one way you can check the success of your child’s tutor after a year of working together is to simply talk with your child. Ask him/her if the last year’s worth of tutoring sessions was helpful, and check in to see if he/she is interested in extending the sessions into the next academic year. Subject matters change from school year to school year, and it’s possible your child won’t need a tutor anymore. However, if they find having an outside source to be helpful, then you know that your child’s tutoring program is a success.

Ready to connect with a tutor now? Check out TakeLessons to find a tutor with the qualities and credentials that meet your and your child’s needs.

Natalie S.Natalie S. tutors English, ESL, History, Phonics, Reading, andTest Prep in San Diego, as well as through online lessons. She received her BA in English Education at the University of Delaware, and her MA in English Literature at San Diego State University. Learn more about Natalie here!

 

 

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Why Childhood is an Important Time to Learn a New Language

Importance Of Babies Learning New Languages

Should you teach your infant multiple languages? Read on for some insight from Linthicum Heights, MD tutor Tirina S...

Early childhood represents a period of time when growth and development happen at an extremely rapid pace. From infancy to about the age of two, there is no other stage of development when the brain has the greatest capacity to acquire and retain information, which includes learning a second language. Research has confirmed that the best time to introduce a new language is during this early stage of development. Learning a new language is important for babies because it is during this time of development that the child is most capable of achieving natural fluency; it helps to strengthen proficiency in their first language and it has been found to positively effect intelligence.

There are three main reasons why learning a second language is important for babies:

1) It is the best time to achieve natural fluency.

During the “baby stage,” a child’s mind is like a sponge. Babies are extremely perceptive about things and the people around them. This is easy to see as babies quickly recognize and identify the difference between mommy (or their primary caregiver) and other family members. They are able to receive information easily and learning is effortless. When it comes to languages, babies are able to distinguish even the slightest inflections of tone that exist between words. As we get older, learning a second language is more challenging, because our brains are not as perceptive when it comes to hearing different sound inflections. Some adults find it impossible to learn a new language. So the earlier a new language is introduced, the more naturally fluent the speaking will be.

2) Learning a new language helps to strengthen a baby’s proficiency of his or her“mother tongue.”

The term “mother tongue” is just that — the language of the mother. This term comes into play when a child is born to parents who speak different first languages. While teaching in Thailand as a preschool teacher and ESL coordinator, I was often asked by my bilingual parents, “Will our two-year-old become confused if we speak a different language in the household?” My definitive answer was, “No, the more the merrier.”

In class I taught in English, but I always encouraged the parents to teach their native languages to their children. I had one toddler who didn’t speak any recognizable language — just jibber-jabber. His mother was concerned that his speech development was late, possibly due to language confusion. As she explained to me, he hears English in class, is spoken to in Thai by his family, and loves watching Japanese cartoons. I assured this worried mom that soon all the pieces would fall in their proper place. And sure enough, within a few months, he was speaking clearly and understanding everyone who spoke to him.

Early on in the language development, a child exposed to different languages may mix them when speaking. But as the child’s language begins to develop, he or she will easily sort out the differences. As vocabulary, tones, and meanings are sorted, his or her understanding of the “mother tongue” is enhanced.

3) Learning a new language positively effects a baby’s intelligence.

Learning languages stimulates the brain and causes it to work more effectively. There has been extensive research done on the subject of language learning and early childhood development. Studies have shown that children who learned multiple languages during their early stages of development tended to achieve higher marks in other academic areas like reading and mathematics. Learning a new language as a baby will greatly affect their academic abilities and overall intelligence.

There are many products on the market geared toward language learning for babies in the form of musical CDs and videos. Exposure to a new language is most effective the earlier that it is introduced. If you are a bilingual parent, speak to your baby in both languages. He or she may seem confused in the beginning, but when it is all said and done, your child will acquire great fluency and get a boost in his or her intelligence.

Is your child older, and can handle more one-on-one guidance in lessons? Find a language tutor in your area here!

TriniaS.Tirina S. teaches ESL in Linthicum Heights, MD.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Early Childhood Psychology. Tirina spent the past seven years living in Thailand teaching the English language to Thai students. Learn more about Tirina S. here!

 

 

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