Going to high school means your student will be able to make more and more choices than ever before about what classes to take and, by extension, what their future path looks like. While it might feel like your student is far too young to begin thinking about college and beyond, research suggests that students should start preparing for that journey no later than middle school.
Preparing your middle schooler to enter high school is no easy feat. Not only do you need to ensure they’re selecting classes that best suit their career goals, but you need to ensure that they’re able to handle independent learning. You might find that your student isn’t completely sold on a career path just yet, so how do you know what classes your child should take? It all can feel overwhelming at times, and without guidance can be a confusing journey for you and your student.
To give your student the best shot of success, there are a few things you can do to ensure they’re going to thrive.
Ensure They’re Ready To Study Alone
During elementary and middle school, students receive much more guided learning approaches. As parents, you are more likely to show them how a math problem is solved or explain an answer about a historical situation rather than encouraging your student to research for themselves.
During high school, students need to take on more challenges when it comes to independent learning. Because of this, parents should take a step back and encourage students to handle homework and assignments independently.
However, this doesn’t mean that you leave your student to their own devices while doing homework. One idea is to hold daily check-in meetings with your student to ensure they’re meeting benchmark goals with their homework and that things are being turned in on time. You can also write out an example study flashcard for your student to use an example to create more of their own.
Encourage Note Taking
Many students are underprepared to take notes during high school. While, for the most part, optional during middle school, a high schooler needs to be able to take detailed notes that they can use to study from later.
You can provide your student with examples of what good notes look like, but it’s hard for your student to take notes if their current classroom setup isn’t conducive for it. Try encouraging your student to take notes while watching TV shows or when attending religious services. By doing this, your student develops note-taking skills while doing something that’s already part of their routine, thus, making note-taking a habit, too.
By taking good, concise notes, your student will be able to recognize areas that they struggle in on their own. They can refer back to in-class lectures and identify difficult areas. Rather than saying “math is hard,” your student can explain that one type of geometry problem is complex. Identifying their problem areas is crucial for them to develop before entering high school, and note-taking helps.
Let Your Student Make Choices
While your student is still in middle school, involve your student in the decision-making process on their class choices. While you may not feel ready to let them handle class selection entirely, letting them have some freedom to select classes is one way to prepare them for the sudden independence they have in high school.
Not only is it an excellent way to let your student have some choice, but it can also allow your student to explore areas they may be interested in during high school and beyond. Testing classes in high school and college can often leave students feeling like they’ve wasted a semester’s worth of lessons.
Middle school is the perfect time to get your student caught up on the subject areas they may have fallen behind on and get them prepared for the more complex versions of those subjects offered in high school. Rather than allowing your student to continue to struggle, early intervention can help get your student back on track and even excelling in previously-difficult subjects.
One way you can do this is by enrolling your student in tutoring services. We at Mighty B Learning can help you and your student set an individualized learning plan that meets every need of your young learner.
Not only that, we can offer meeting times as short as 30 minutes to fit in any busy schedule your student has, either remotely or in person. We understand that you and your student have busy schedules and that schoolwork, while important, needs to fit into your day. We’re here to ensure tutoring is never a burden on your child or you. Reach out to us today and let us help you get your student the help they need in problematic areas.
Does the thought of teaching your student math give you chills? We all remember those sleepless nights with our parents scolding us for messing up on a math problem. You might even assume that your student will end up just like you--hating math.
Children aren’t born with an inherent hatred of math, though. In fact, they do math all the time in their head, just not in the formalized way we see on paper or the chalkboard. Encouraging them to continue using those habits helps them develop critical thinking skills, but how can you encourage children to love math when you aren’t the greatest at it, yourself?
There are a few tips and tricks you can utilize to impress upon your student that math is worth the struggle. Not only that, if you can convince your student to love math, you can open new career paths for them down the line and maybe even help them develop skills far faster than their peers.
Don’t Make Math A Chore
While it may seem natural to want to reward your student for their hard work in math, it can actually be detrimental to their enjoyment of it. Think about it like this: When your child does a chore, you reward them.
If you reward your child, say with a piece of chocolate--for instance--every time they finish a math assignment, you have now told your child that math is something they need to work through unwillingly to get a reward. Math becomes a means to an end and isn’t enjoyable anymore. The accomplishment of overcoming the challenge must be portrayed as a reward in- and of-itself in a way that builds your child’s confidence and reinforces their effort directly.
Math can be quite challenging, even for working parents. Your child will know if you doubt your own math skills. Think about how excited you were when you sat down to read with your child in their early years. Your child picks up on your enthusiasm and confidence and associates positive emotions with that experience.
If you sit down to help with math and are stoic, unsure of yourself, and lack enthusiasm, your student naturally won’t want to participate. They’ll see math as something boring and, worse, as something you don’t want to enjoy with them.
Bringing enthusiasm and confidence into sessions with your student will encourage them to enjoy the material. If you don’t know the answer to a question, embrace that shortcoming and research the formula or method to better demonstrate overcoming obstacles with education and practice. These elements go a long way in teaching your student that educational challenges are surmountable.
Make Math A Toy
Children often learn to love something by first toying with it--whether that be a block, a bicycle, or a concept. Toys like puzzles and building blocks help children understand concepts of structure and order in ways that are unassuming and fun.
Rather than simply being a way to fill time for a child, puzzles and building blocks encourage children to think logically and develop some of the crucial skills needed for mathematics.
Make learning fun. Allow imagination to play a role in learning mathematics and don’t be afraid to incorporate games that utilize math into your student’s learning routine.
Explore The Real World
Another way to make math fun for your student is to bring them out into the real world and show them what math tells us about the world around us. Show your student a fence and look at how all the triangles fit together into one large shape. Use the design of a bridge to explain the concept of weight distribution and structural strength. Use your imagination and make it a point to look for the mathematical elements that you take for granted in everyday life so that you can share these tidbits with your student.
Another fun way to help build these skills is through games you likely already have in your home. Board games are a great way to embrace math, as the majority of them utilize math to calculate victory points, count coins or tokens, and roll dice.
Familiarize Yourself With Standards
The requirements for your child’s education change every year, and knowing what it is your student will be learning this year in school is one way you can prepare yourself for whatever material is about to be thrown your way.
By knowing what’s in the pipeline, you can prepare yourself to help with homework and, by extension, remain calm while going over assignments and preparing for tests. You can even work with your student to expose them to material early and prepare them for what’s to come.
However, knowing all of these standards can be tricky for you, especially if you’re busy with work. Learning an entirely new set of standards on top of the ones you use daily in the office can be a chore. That’s where we at Mighty B Learning comes in.
Give Your Student The Edge
Mighty B Learning provides expert private tutoring and test prep services. Whether your child is struggling with their grades or they are an exceptional student, we're here to help.
Our test prep services include the SAT and the ACT as well as the PSAT, SSAT and ISEE. We also provide AP Test Prep services in areas like AP Physics, AP Literature, AP Calculus, and more.
At Mighty B Learning, we not only hire licensed teachers who excel in mathematics, but educators who know how to bring out the best in your student. We believe that every student can learn and we pride ourselves on finding the way each student learns. Let us help your child earn their success and impart the skills they need to succeed.
Students who are getting ready to take the ACT face extraordinary challenges. Not only have they had many of their social activities cut or reduced thanks to the pandemic, but they’re also finding themselves feeling underprepared for their futures.
Earlier in the academic year, ACT had announced that there would be significant changes to the 2021 examinations to accommodate students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the first day of winter examinations in February, ACT announced that it would rescind all of the changes it had initially proposed for the 2021 examination season. One of these changes for the winter examinations was the use of online tests instead of pencil-and-paper examinations.
The ACT rescind of 2020 means that many students prepared for situations they wouldn’t see on the examination. Students may have planned back in September to take the exam at home and are now finding they must report to a testing center for this examination. Not only do these changing policies leave families and educators confused, but they can also leave your student feeling lost and confused when preparing for this critical examination.
What Is The ACT?
The ACT is the American College Testing exam. Many colleges and universities use it to assess student readiness for university work. Most students take this exam twice — once in the winter of their junior year of high school and their senior year’s fall semester.
These test results can help students gain admission to highly competitive colleges and help secure scholarship money for students to reduce the cost of university attendance.
What Does “Normal Testing” Look Like?
The typical ACT is relatively straightforward. All students are tested with multiple-choice examinations in mathematics, reading, English, and science and are given the option to take a writing test.
Scores range from 1-36, with the national test average hovering around 20.6. The more competitive the college, the higher score asked of students; for example, the average ACT score of a student admitted to Harvard is 34.
These examinations usually take place either at an off-site testing center or at your student’s school. There are strict guidelines of what’s allowed in the testing room, including limitations on cell phones and backpacks brought into the test site.
What Was Going To Change in 2020?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was to be an option for students to take the winter 2021 exam at home. When the ACT announced this change in September, there was little information about what the take-home examination would look like.
However, many thought that there would be some opportunity for online and remote examinations for 2021. This would allow students who were uncomfortable with in-person testing and needed the option to take the test virtually from home.
The ACT notes that some of the changes planned to take effect in winter 2021 will begin to affect future semesters. While remote testing may not be an option right now, it will likely be offered to students in future testing seasons.
Also, the ACT plans on offering ways for students to retake only specific portions of their ACT to improve scores. For example, suppose a student scores exceptionally well in English but poorly in math. In that case, there may be opportunities for students to retake only the math portion of the exam in the future without possibly affecting their high English marks.
What Will My Student’s Testing Process Look Like?
Because of COVID-19, your student’s examination will look slightly different than in years past. Students must wear masks that comply with CDC guidelines, and the ACT ensures that all testing sites are clean and sanitary for students taking the test.
Also, there is a process for students to report if they’ve contracted COVID-19 within 14 days after taking the examination so proper contact tracing can occur. Students who discover they’ve contracted the virus before their ACT can reschedule their test at no cost and with no penalty, making it as easy as possible for students to both be safe and take the exam. Even if a student feels unwell on the exam day, students can reschedule after the exam with no penalty and no charge.
How Should My Student Prepare?
Despite the shifting policies around how your student will be tested, one guarantee is that your student should absolutely be taking the ACT. While the confusion over the details of the actual examination can cause you and your student stress, we at Mighty B Learning can help make the actual exam a piece of cake.
We offer individualized tutoring services designed to prepare your student for whatever examinations they’re about to face. Let us take some uneasiness out of this testing season and ensure your student is hitting every ACT readiness benchmark.
Contact us today to see how we can prepare your student with the tutoring and confidence they need approaching their upcoming ACT.
Testing season is upon us, and it’s never been more stressful for graduating seniors. Not only do students have to manage their classes in primarily remote settings, but they also need to prepare for their SAT and ACTs from afar as well. How are students supposed to balance the stress of standardized tests while also preparing for their advanced placement examinations?
This year, due to concerns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, AP tests could be either in person or online. The decision of how to hold AP tests is entirely up to your district and your school, which means their test may look very different from a peer’s exam who attends another school.
With all of the struggles seniors are facing while preparing for their AP examinations, there are a few things you should keep in mind as a parent to ensure your student is ready for academic success.
What Is AP?
Advanced Placement is a program run by the college board, the governing body that also oversees the SAT examination. AP classes are designed to prepare high school students to enter a college setting and make them competitive students for selective colleges.
In many cases, AP classes allow students to test out of some college requirements or receive college credits for work done during high school. To have AP classes counted by a college or university, the student needs to achieve a specific score on the end-of-program exam.
What Did The Test Look Like In 2020?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 winter examinations were held entirely virtually. There was some debate in the early days of the pandemic that schools should cancel the AP exams, and to determine the logistics of the 2020 exam, the college board surveyed students.
These students, who were slated to take the AP exams that semester, responded in massive numbers that they wanted to take the AP test even if offered slightly differently than in years past.
While this might surprise parents, it shows that the AP test does service many students’ needs. High-achieving students are often competing for very few spots at highly-selective colleges and universities, and AP exam scores can be a factor that sets them apart from their peers.
As a result of students’ desire to take their exams, the 2020 examinations were presented in a virtual setting. Many understood this would be adopted in the winter 2021 tests as well. Still, as mentioned earlier, it is now entirely up to your student’s school as to whether or not the exam would be offered in person or virtually.
This decision in 2020 was met with quite a bit of pushback. Due to limited time for students to prepare for a virtual exam and the fact that there were issues regarding accessibility to devices and the internet, some parents sued the college board for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This lawsuit was thrown out as “baseless,” though it likely is one of many contributing factors to the decision to allow schools to make decisions on exam formats this year.
What Changes Will Happen in 2021?
Even though testing could be either in person or virtual, there are a few standardized changes that came to AP tests this year. First, there are more testing dates than ever before, with these dates spread over a month’s time. Not only does this best encourage social distancing at larger in-person testing sites, but it also provides opportunities for students who happened to be COVID-19 positive during one test date to take the test at a later date.
Many students have noticed that a change already happening in the lead-up to the 2021 exam is that they feel inundated with higher levels of homework than ever before. Teachers are finding less and less in-class time available to teach content, leaving students to do a lot of work independently.
Finally, students may need to prepare to take their exams in less-than-ideal situations. For example, if a student is high-risk for COVID-19 and their school requests that the exam is held in person, students may be even more uncomfortable and nervous about taking the exam than in a typical year.
How Should My Student Prepare?
Given that many students currently feel lost trying to prepare for their AP tests, your student may find that they need some additional help in reaching their own goals.
At Mighty B Learning, we can help your student reach their highest potential on their AP tests and make it to their dream university. While this year may be throwing multiple curveballs at your student, we can help them practice their swing.
MIghty B Learning offers personalized tutoring plans, and we make sure that your student won’t be stressed with lengthy meetings--we can even set meeting times as short as 30 minutes to fit into your student’s busy schedule.
Reach out to us today to help your student succeed on this year’s overwhelming AP exams.
My name is Bethany, and I am professional tutor backed by over 10 years of teaching and tutoring experience. I have worked for some of the top names in the tutoring industry, and now I am ready to pass my experience on to you.