Posted in Online Tutoring, Resources, Tips for Parents, Tips for Students

The Best Online Tutoring Services Of 2018

Like many services and industries, tutoring is moving more online as people become more comfortable and familiar with digital communication and are able to appreciate the accessibility and selection of online tutoring.  One result of this is that the online tutoring industry has exploded, to the point where the sheer proliferation of services can be overwhelming.

That’s why I’m so glad that our friends at Reviews.com have created a guide to the best online tutoring services of 2018.  They have thoroughly researched the top platforms and written up a detailed report with their findings, but that’s just the start.  Their report goes on to explain what students should know before enrolling in online tutoring, the best practices for ensuring a positive tutoring experience, and much more.  The whole thing is chock full of incredibly valuable information and actionable tips for students and their families who are seeking help through online tutoring, and the best part is, it’s absolutely FREE!

Check it out here: The Best Online Tutoring Services Of 2018

Posted in Resources, Tips for Parents, Tips for Students

The Best Scholarship Search Platforms of 2018

With the rising costs of college education, scholarships are more important than ever for students and families who want to maximize the value they receive while minimizing their costs.  But there are so many scholarship options that the task of finding and applying for the best ones can be a daunting hurdle.  Of course, the solution is to use a scholarship search platform to help cut through the clutter.  The only problem with that is that scholarship search platforms themselves have proliferated as well, to the point where it’s hard to even make a decision about which platform to use!

That’s why I’m so glad that our friends at Reviews.com have created a guide to the best scholarship search platforms of 2018.  They have thoroughly researched the top platforms and written up a detailed report with their findings, but that’s just the start.  Their report goes on to explain what students need to know before they apply for a scholarship, a step by step guide on how to apply, and more.  The whole thing is chock full of incredibly valuable information and actionable tips for college bound students and their families, and the best part is, it’s absolutely FREE!

Check it out here: The Best Scholarship Search Platforms Of 2018

Posted in Inspiration, Tips for Parents, Tips for Students

Catch Up or Keep Up?

Something that I often find myself reminding students and parents alike is that “it’s easier to play keep up than catch up”. In other words, it requires less time, energy, and attention to stay current with your responsibilities than it does to get caught up when you are behind.

What it really comes down to is being proactive. Playing keep up means being proactive in your life, which corresponds to ease and and a positive sense of control. Playing catch-up means being reactive, which corresponds to feelings of helplessness and overwhelm.

If you’re a student, whether you’re constantly working a week ahead of your classes or a week behind, you have to maintain the same pace, but one position gives rise to a lot more stress than the other!

This is also why I counsel parents to have a conversation with their kids at the beginning of each semester where they look at their upcoming classes and consider whether the student is likely to need the help of a tutor in any of them, and be proactive about the hiring decision, rather than waiting until the student is struggling and lost before taking action.

Is “playing keep up, rather than catch up” something that you can relate to from your own experience? If so, let me know how in the comments!

Posted in Online Tutoring, Tips for Parents

What If I’ve Never Tried Online Tutoring Before?

I often still hear from people who have never tried online tutoring before and aren’t sure if it will work for them or their children. When they go to look for tutoring, they have the image in mind of sitting down at a table with the tutor. Given this expectation, the idea of sitting by yourself in front of your computer to receive tutoring may seem off-putting. However, I haven’t found that meeting with students in person allows me to provide any better service than meeting online does. In fact, just the opposite is the case; in my experience, online tutoring, by providing access to the learning tools of the PC and Internet, works better than in-person tutoring, convenience factor aside. And, one of the great things about online tutoring is that it’s easy to try out just a bit to see if it works for you, so you don’t have to take anybody’s word for it but your own.

Chances are your kids already use Skype to video chat with friends and relatives, and if they do they’ll probably take naturally to online tutoring. For those “noobs” still curious about how online tutoring works, here’s a link to a video demonstration.

Posted in Resources, Tips for Parents

Can Dyslexia Be Cured?

Learning Pathways is a Colorado-based educational intervention service that specializes in curing dyslexia. Their approach uses multi-sensory exercises based on the most modern research into neuroplasticity to develop fundamental cognitive abilities. While it was long thought that brain cells cannot be replaced, we now know that not only are neurons capable of forming new connections, new neurons can actually be created in the brain. This makes the concept of so-called learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD as being “hardwired” into the brain obsolete, and Learning Pathways’ success record of curing dyslexia proves it.

I have long observed that whenever we believe something is unchangeable, such as being “hardwired” or due to an innate “chemical imbalance”, we stop looking for answers. Instead of continuing to look for ways to solve the problem, we settle for finding ways to manage it. This obviously prevents us from finding whatever solutions might exist. In my opinion it is better to look for a solution when none exists than to give up on finding a solution when one does exist. That’s why I admire the customized, evidence-based approach Learning Pathways takes to helping students transform their conceptions of what is possible for them.

Posted in Educational Reform, Homeschooling, Inspiration, Tips for Parents

That’s Just The Way It Is…NOT, Part 1

So many aspects of our modern lives and the way society is structured are taken for granted, and we just assume things are the way they are because they have to be that way. This series of posts looks at a few of the hidden assumptions we commonly make about education.

Parents At Work, Kids At School

The fragmentation of family life is an artifact of corporate culture, but it’s not how most people truly want to live. It seems so normal now for parents to spend most of their day working outside the home and kids to spend most of their day at school that it’s easy to forget that this isn’t an arrangement ordained by nature.

In fact, many parents pine for all the moments they miss having with their kids, and miss having the chance to see them grow up. Most parents feel that they have no choice, and that leading separate lives from their kids is a matter of economic necessity.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way, and many families are proving that learning and life don’t have to be separate. Not only that, but work and life don’t have to be separate either. Go to school, get a job, work until you retire is still the dominant paradigm, but it is fading faster and faster as more and more individuals and families discover the alternatives made ever more accessible by the emerging connection economy. As the human family wakes up to its technological and social potential, the old assumptions about how we must organize our lives become more and more obsolete and less and less appealing.

Planning your life is no longer a matter of selecting from a menu of available options, it’s an open-source, DIY, choose yourself free-for-all. The bottom line is this: if you want to actually grow up with your kids instead of seeing it happen from afar, you don’t have to get permission, you just have to decide to make it happen, and get to work figuring out the nuts and bolts. If this family can do what they did, any family can equally well live the life they choose.

Posted in Homeschooling, Independent Education, Tips for Parents

Why Homeschooling Should Be Every Parent’s Dream

The joy of having children is not just in seeing them grow up, but in growing up with them. Seeing how they are coming along is fine, but it doesn’t compare to the experience of participating in their evolution, and expanding your concept of yourself as a person in the process.

As a society, we place a lot of emphasis on family values, but this does not mean that family is central to our lives. On the contrary, it is a reaction to the reality of emotional distance and physical separation that many families are experiencing. It is an expression of nostalgia. As a parallel, country music wasn’t popular in America when most people lived on farms. It started to become popular when more people started to move to cities, and it has become popular in other countries around the world that are experiencing similar demographic transitions.

Also by way of parallel, the Tao Te Ching says,

“When Tao is lost, virtue arises.
When virtue is lost, benevolence arises.
When benevolence is lost, morality arises.
When morality is lost, etiquette arises.
Etiquette is the husk of faith,
and the beginning of chaos.”

Similarly, it might be said that when familial cohesion is lost, family values arise.

“To spend more time with my kids” is the wish of every overworked parent. But more and more families are demonstrating that the demands of modern life don’t have to compartmentalize family members, that education can involve parents and children in a cooperative, mutually beneficial process instead of segregating and isolating them.

Millions of homeschooling families have found that it is possible to rewrite the societal script for how children should be raised, and eminently worthwhile. For the most part, they aren’t doing it because they have to, but because of the rewards it brings, because they find the role of parent-as-partner far more fulfilling than the role of parent-as-provider. In doing so they are rediscovering a meaning of family that goes beyond just sharing a home to actually sharing life. Children are not just an opportunity to teach, they are an opportunity to learn and to grow, if we are up to answering the call.