Study Environment


One of the most important parts of studying is the study environment.  Every student should have a place to study and do homework.  Some students prefer to work at school or at the library since it is quiet and there a less distractions.  However there are ways to create a perfect study area right in your own home.

  • Make sure the area has a desk or table and a chair. This is the easiest way to set up a work station.  This is also important so they can work with correct posture and not hurt their back from leaning over homework on the floor or in bed.
  • Make sure the area has good lighting. The area should have a nice light the student is able to turn on.  It is easier to read with light.  Also it will prevent eye strain from working in the dark.
  • Try to set up the study area in a room with a door or in the corner of a room. You want the child to be able to concentrate and not be distracted by other siblings or people in the house.  If the child is easily distracted and there is a window you might want to close the blinds.
  • Have a clock and timer available. Allow the child to see how long they have been working and how much time they have left.  Many teachers say the students should only spend a certain amount of time on the homework.  Use a timer to help them know how long to work. (If your child is having trouble finishing his or her homework in a reasonable about of time you should contact the teacher to see how you can help you child.)
  • If the child has difficulty concentrating for too long have a small non-electronic toy around he or she can play with to distract them for a few minutes. Some suggestions for toys are stress balls, a few Legos or blocks (not a full set), or a doll.  These toys ca be played with quickly and then they can return to their work.  Puzzles and games are not good if the child would have to finish it before they can return to their work.
  • Have a snack for the child.

For a free study schedule worksheet visit

Questions to Ask a Tutoring Company


With the school year beginning many parents look into hiring a tutor for their child.

Here is a list of suggested questions to ask a company before hiring them to tutor your child.

  1. How do you select the tutors that you hire?

You should be curious about the screening and interview process.  Some companies just conduct interviews while other companies have the tutor provide a mock tutoring session.  It is important to know if they company has seen the tutor actually tutor.

2. Are your tutors NYS certified teachers?

Certified teachers have gone through extensive training to learn how to teach.  They have learned many strategies to help students learn different concepts  They also understand differentiated instruction and will be able to customize the lessons for your child.

3. Are your tutors currently teaching?

The federal and state education standards are constantly changing.  If the teacher is currently teaching they are required to take professional development courses and will be up-to-date with the latest standards.  It is important for the teacher to understand the concept they are tutoring as well as how the students are expected to answer questions on the state exams.

4. What is the cancellation policy?

Occasionally something will come up and you might have to cancel a session.  You want to know if they are flexible with rescheduling.  You should also find out how much notice you have to give them if you need to cancel.

5. How many sessions do I have to purchase?

Some companies will require or recommend that your purchase a certain number of sessions up front.  As the parent it is important to be able to decide how many sessions you want to purchase.

6. Where are the sessions conducted?

Different children work well in different environments.  Some children would learn better in an office setting or a library, while others would prefer to learn at home.  Also think about transportation or supervision.  If the session is outside of the house someone will need to drive the child to the location.  However, if the session is in home an adult should be home.

7. Do you work with the classroom teachers?

The classroom teachers work with the child every day and constantly monitor the child’s progress.  When there is open communication between the tutor and the teacher it enhances the learning experience and gives the student as much support as possible.

8. How long is each session?

Each company has different session lengths.  Some companies provide 30 minutes, 1 hour, or even 2 hour sessions.  However, some companies include travel time and conference time in this session.  Therefore an hour session might only be 45 or 50 minutes.  Make sure you are getting the most time for your money.

9. What is the return policy?

You might purchase sessions and then change your mind.  Ask the company if they have a return policy and how long it is.

10. Do the sessions expire?

Sometimes something comes up and you need to stop tutoring for a period of time.  If you have already purchased sessions you would want to know when they expire.  Purchasing sessions in advance is only helpful if they do not expire too soon.

Math Reinforcement Ideas


Many students struggle with math. Math is a subject that needs to be reinforced often which can be boring.  Here are some fun ways to incorporate math learning into everyday activities.


Time: Ask your child to figure out what time you will arrive at your destination.  For example, if you are driving someone that should take 45 minutes and you leave at 2:30 ask you child what time you should arrive.  You can also have your child calculate it the other way.  Have them figure out what time you should leave to arrive to the destination on time.  If you have to be somewhere at 5 and it takes 20 minutes to get there ask them what time you should leave.

Percent: Ask your child to calculate tip at a restaurant.  You can have them calculate a tip of 15%, 20%, and 25%.  You can do this by having them calculate 10% by moving the decimal point one place to the left.  They can then find 5% by dividing 10% in half.  They should then add the pieces together.

Money:  Allow your child to pay for purchases at the store.  Give your child some $1 bills, $5 bills, $10 bills, and $20 bills.  Then allow them to figure out what to give the cashier.  If you are at a restaurant and have more time you can also allow them to use coins or figure out multiple ways to pay.  For example if the bill is $37, they can give two $20 bills, four $10 bills, one $20 bills, one $10 bill, one $5 bill, and two $1 bills, ect.

Basic Facts: As your child is learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division you can quiz them on basic facts.  You can ask them while in the car, waiting for an extracurricular activity, during a meal, ect.  These facts should be quick and easy like, 6+5, 23-11, 6 x 7, 24/2…

Identify Shapes: While your child is learning shapes you can have them identify or find certain shapes.  You can ask your child what looks like a rectangular or a circle.  A rectangular could be a menu, sign, or table.  A circle could be a coaster or table.  For older children you can ask about a cylinder like a glass or straw.

Patterns: You can have you child finish or create a pattern.  You can create a pattern at a restaurant using the sugar, Splenda, and sweet and low packets, milk and half and half, or utensils.

Create a Schedule for Your Child


There are so many extracurricular activities for kids nowadays.  It is hard to fit in the activities, homework, studying, and time to just be a kid.  Here are some suggestions to fit it all in and not overwhelm your child.

  • Allow children half an hour to an hour to relax and have a snack after school.  They are sitting all day in a controlled environment, give them a short break.
  • Leave one hour for elementary school students, two hours for middle school students, and two and a half hours for high school students to do homework each day. (These are general guidelines and are different for every child.)
  • Pick one weekday a week as a relax day.  It is good for children to have structure and activities but they also need some time to relax and be kids.  They still need to do their homework before they relax.
  • Allow children to try a variety of activities including team sports, individual sports, music, and art.
  • Most importantly, listen to your child. If they seem to be struggling or complaining about the schedule or workload, allow them to have more time to complete the work they have to do.
  • Older Children can do multiple extracurricular activities after school since the school ends earlier. Most sports have practice every day.  Try to keep their schedule after the sports lighter to give them time to do homework and relax.


Some Sample Schedules for Younger Children

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Gymnastics Flute Gymnastics RELAX Painting
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Guitar Martial Arts Martial Arts Martial Arts RELAX

Some Sample Schedules for Older Children

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
DanceRELAX DanceVoice DanceRELAX DanceTheater DanceRELAX
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
SoccerTrumpet SoccerRELAX SoccerLacrosse SoccerRELAX SoccerRELAX

Help Your Child Stay Organized This Year


Now is the time to buy school supplies.  Many stores are having back to school sales and discounts on school supplies.  Not every child is organized and many of them need help getting organized.  Here are some ideas to help your child become more organized.

  • If you child is slightly organized and is able to stay organized and remember what supplies he or she needs…

Have a 1 inch binder and a folder for each subject.  Each binder should be a different color and have a matching folder.  Make sure your child have plenty of loose leaf paper.  They should leave a package in their locker.  As the year goes on students might forget to ask for more paper so try to remember to ask them if they need more.

  • If you child is able to put his or her papers into the binder rings but will have difficulty remembering which binders to take each time he or she goes to the locker…

Have two 2 inch binders.  You can have an AM Binder and a PM Binder.  There should be dividers in each binder.  The plastic dividers that have pockets are great for them to put papers in.  Again, remember to make sure they have plenty of loose leaf paper.

  • If your child will forget to put the papers in the binder rings…

You should get zippered binders.  This will keep all of the papers in the binder.  It is a good idea to go through the papers either daily or weekly and put them into the binder, especially if they have an AM and PM Binder.  This will help the child find the papers he or she needs to study.

Always remember to make sure your child has:

  • A Binder Three Hole Punch
  • Extra Loose Leaf Paper
  • Reinforcements
  • Binder Pouch
  • Blue or Black Pens
  • Pencils (either mechanical or have a pencil sharpener)
  • Highlighters
  • Post-it Notes