Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
FDA looking at caffeine impact on kids after new Wrigley gum
Wrigley’s new Alert Energy Caffeine Gum has prompted the Food and Drug Administration to look into the potential impact added caffeine may have on children and adolescents. (via Reuters)
U.S.-born kids have more allergies, asthma
Kids and teens who are born abroad and immigrate to the United States are about half as likely to have asthma and allergies as those who are born in the U.S., according to a new study. (via Reuters)
New guidelines help pediatricians diagnose acid reflux in infants
The North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology is created a new list of recommendations for pediatricians to follow when diagnosing and treating acid reflux. (via Fox News)
Heart attack risk may start in early childhood
A new study suggests there is a simple way to assess a child’s arterial health with a calculation based on an often-overlooked component of cholesterol: triglycerides. (via Fox News)
Brain structure may influence a child’s ability to benefit from math tutoring
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Parents whose children are struggling with math often view intense tutoring as the best way to help them master crucial skills, but a new study released on Monday suggests that for some kids even that is a lost cause. (via Fox News)
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Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Andrew Geant, co-founder and CEO of WyzAnt.com, a site which helps parents find tutors for their children quickly and easily. WyzAnt.com currently has 60,000 tutors covering all 50 states.
Your kids may be back in school, but class size or struggles with basic concepts may mean they need extra one-on-one help. Finding the right tutor, one who you can trust and who your child can connect with, can be a time-consuming and expensive process. How then do you find the right tutors? Here are the five things to consider when looking for a tutor.
1. Find a tutor that caters to your child’s specific learning style.
Each student has unique needs when it comes to their learning process, and tutors who are successful with one student may not be as successful with another. First, ask the school counselor to help determine whether your child is an auditory, kinesthetic, or visual learner. Share this information with the tutor and discuss whether or not their teaching style and approach to lessons will be a good fit.
2. Request tutor credentials and client references.
Depending on the topic, it is important to understand your tutor’s mastery of the subject. Obtained degrees and studied coursework can help you understand the tutor’s capability, but objective anecdotes and recommendations from past clients can be even more valuable.
3. Think safety.
When working with a private tutor it is important to establish a safe, comfortable environment that promotes learning. Do not hesitate to perform a basic background check on a tutor you are considering. Some parents also choose to meet candidates in a neutral location such as a public library or coffee shop before inviting them to the home.
4. Require feedback and open communication.
Establishing a productive relationship between a tutor and student is an important process that may take time. Consistent communication among the parents, student, and tutor will facilitate this process and benefit the student. By providing feedback after each lesson, parents and students will have a documented history of the topics covered during the course of tutoring sessions. Consistent communication is also important to avoid misunderstandings that can damage the relationship, such as questions about billing or policies related to canceled lessons.
5. Set goals to gauge the impact of tutoring.
No two students are alike. A student’s initial understanding of a subject before lessons, in addition to her motivation to work hard and learn the subject, will impact the success of the tutoring relationship. Establishing healthy, realistic goals (classroom performance or general understanding and comprehension) before beginning lessons can generate motivation and help all parties appreciate the impact and value of the tutoring lessons.
Image: Cute schoolgirl writing a while via Shutterstock
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Monday, May 23rd, 2011
As more parents worry about how their growing toddlers will survive the educational system once they enter school, they’re enrolling kids in after-school tutoring and learning centers such as Kumon. The New York Times recently wrote an in-depth profile on how Kumon is becoming parents’ defense against a changing educational landscape that focuses more on studying, memorizing, and taking standardized tests for reading, writing, and math.
Originally started in Japan during the 1950s for school-age kids, Kumon has expanded in the U.S. since 1974, where it grew in popularity among mostly Asian students. Now, kids of all ages and ethnicities enroll in Kumon to help them get a leg up on school work and studies. In recent years, a Junior Kumon program was created to enroll children ages 3 to 5, though toddlers as young as 2 are welcome. Junior Kumon lessons cost about $200-300 per month, and toddlers and preschoolers are tutored twice a week for one hour each.
Some parents see Kumon as a necessary means to building their children’s self-confidence and academic skills; a way to give them the means necessary to advance later in life. (In addition to starting them in sports classes or having them read chapter books.) Others, particularly child experts and educators, aren’t convinced programs like Kumon are enriching experiences that will help kids become innovative, vibrant, curious thinkers; instead, it only stresses memorization, repetition, and a linear way of thinking.
When I was around 7 or 8 years old, I remember weekend afternoons at my local Kumon, huddled around tables working on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and long division on numerous worksheets. I remember storing my worksheets and multiplication charts in plastic pouches Kumon provided us. At that time, Kumon only focused on math, not reading. Of course, as a kid, I didn’t enjoy working on endless math sheets. And ironically, despite all the math lessons, I grew up to work in a field that focuses just on reading and writing.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t intrinsic value in enrolling kids in Kumon, though 2 years old may be a bit too young. There are still other ways to teach kids how to achieve their truest potential, as the Tiger Mother debate has illustrated. But, then again, who knows where I would be now if I had enrolled at 2 years old?
Would you enroll your kid in enrichment programs like Kumon? Are toddlers ready for the pressure to succeed?
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