When Will I Use This? Applying Math in Everyday Life

Math is a core subject that students take every single year in school. The concepts that they learn continue to build on one another and become more advanced. But while students are solving for X or plotting points on a graph, they wonder when they will ever use these skills in real life. It can be difficult for them to find the connection to other situations.

Math is all around us, popping up in ways we often overlook. For instance, deciding whether you have time to take a shower before dinner or should wait until after. You need to know how to calculate the time it will take you versus the amount of time available. There are plenty of other areas that math is used as well:

Finances

Saving, spending, and budgeting money are a major part of life. You use math to figure out whether you have enough money to buy something and how much you’ll save if it’s on sale. It is integral in developing a budget and determining how you will divide up the money you have. If you use a credit card or take out a loan, you will want to calculate the interest to know how much extra you’ll owe. The same applies to investments – how much will they grow over time or fluctuate with the stock market?

Cooking

Every time you prepare a recipe, you are using math: measuring ingredients, adjusting cook times, and dividing out servings. If you need one cup of flour and only have a one-quarter cup measuring cup, how many times do you fill it? If the recipe makes four servings and you need eight, you use math to double the ingredients.

Decorating

Whether working in your bedroom, college dorm, or own house, your math skills are put to use when decorating. You’ll need to know the area of the wall to buy enough paint. Putting down a new rug? What size do you need? It helps to know the dimensions of different objects and spaces when trying to figure out where to put everything or if that new desk you’ve been looking at will fit. Even hanging pictures on the wall requires some calculations to space them evenly.

Travel

Going on a road trip can be exciting, but how long will it take you to get there? Which route is the shortest? Which one is the fastest based on speed limits? Suddenly plotting points on a map isn’t so irrelevant. You’ll also need to take into consideration the cost of gas, hotels, food, and entertainment to make sure you have enough money.

Sports

A lot of sports involve math and strategy. Whom should you pass the ball to in order to score? Can you make the shot from this distance? What angle do you need to hold the tennis racket to hit the ball over the net? Math is also involved in keeping score. It can help you decide whether you should go for a touchdown or if a field goal is enough.

Measurement. Probability. Statistics. Area and perimeter. Money. These are math concepts you come across every day. You probably figure out the answers in your head without even realizing it. But your ability to do this stems from a strong foundation in math.

Helping students to understand real-world applications can emphasize the value of what they are learning and increase their interest. Crafting Scholars works with students to ensure there are no gaps in their learning, and that they know how to correctly perform different math skills. No matter what level math course they are taking, we are here to help them master the standards through personalized tutoring. Contact us today to learn more!


Simple Changes to Boost Your Study Skills

Knowledge builds on itself. You are constantly expanding upon different facts and concepts you have previously learned. But in order to do this, you have to remember what you’ve done. It takes repetition to convert information to your long-term memory. Knowing how to study more effectively can help you be more successful.

Here are a few simple changes you can make to the way you study to get more out of your time and effort:

Remove Distractions

First and foremost, know what counts as a distraction to you. Some people actually study better with music playing, while for others it takes their attention away from what they should be doing. Turn your phone on silent or put it in a different room if you know you’ll be tempted to check every text or scroll through social media.

Consider changing locations if there are people, pets, or other activities around you that will catch your eye or make distracting noises. Putting up a trifold display board around your workspace can help remove visual distractions. Also, clear your desk of any items you don’t need and may be tempted to play with.

If your mind is racing, that can be a distraction as well. Grab a piece of paper and do a quick “brain dump” where you write down everything you’re thinking about. Getting it out of your head and onto paper can help you to concentrate better.

Start Small

Break down bigger topics into smaller parts. Focus on one concept at a time. Work through that information until you have a firm understanding before you move onto the next one. It doesn’t help to rush ahead if you can’t recall what came before. It can be beneficial to review your notes at the end of each day so you’re seeing the information again while it’s still fresh in your mind.

Schedule It Out

Instead of cramming the night before a test, use your planner to schedule out your study sessions. Look at the content that you need to know, then spread it out over several days. This can help you to keep from feeling overwhelmed which can detract from your studying. Give yourself plenty of time to go through the material and ask questions before the test if there is something you don’t understand.

Explain It to Someone Else

A great way to check for understanding is to try explaining what you’ve been studying to someone else. Are you able to clearly tell them how to do something, or how something works? Can you recall the correct order of events and their impact? If you’re struggling to remember key details, it’s a sign you haven’t quite mastered the material.

Go Back and Review

Once the test is over, don’t stop studying. Periodically review material that you’ve previously learned so you don’t forget it. Make sure you can still accurately answer your flashcards. There is a good chance you’ll see the information again, whether later in the year, or as part of another course.

If your study skills could use a little work or you’re not getting the results you expected, Crafting Scholars can help. We offer diagnostic testing and custom curriculum builds to support you in developing effective study skills and reinforcing essential concepts. Feel more confident in your abilities and make sure you don’t have any significant gaps in knowledge. Contact us today to sign up!


Healthy Foods to Fuel Students’ Bodies and Minds for In-Person Learning

As many schools begin to shift back to in-person learning, gone are the days when students are home with free access to the kitchen. Instead of grabbing a snack when they want or need one, they’ll have to become more focused on eating a filling breakfast and lunch to stay energized throughout the day. There are plenty of delicious foods that can help fuel your child’s body and mind as they prepare for a full day of learning and activity.

Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

Start the day off right with a nutritious breakfast. Get in the habit of waking up a little earlier and getting school supplies ready the night before so there is time to sit down and eat. Skip the sugar-laden processed cereals and focus on incorporating fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Some great breakfast options include:

  • Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Greek yogurt
  • Fresh fruit
  • Milk

Whole grains break down more slowly to reduce spikes in blood sugar (and energy). Protein and complex carbs also help your child to feel fuller longer so lunch time doesn’t seem so far away and they can concentrate on their classwork instead of the clock or a grumbling stomach.

Pack a Colorful Lunch

Once again, try to get an assortment of lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats in your child’s lunchbox. Even if they buy their lunch, you can make sure they have some healthy snacks on hand to supplement.

Prepare sandwiches on whole wheat bread, pitas, or wraps. Add some lean meat such as turkey, low-fat cheese, and maybe even some veggies such as tomatoes, spinach, or cucumbers. Hummus can add some extra nutrition as well.

Chop up fresh fruits and vegetables as a side such as carrots or green peppers and hummus, celery or apples and peanut butter, or even assorted veggies with ranch or yogurt dip. Whole apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes travel well too. Frozen fruit can keep their lunch cold and will be thawed by the time they’re ready to eat.

If your child likes a little crunch, mix up some trail mix with nuts, seeds, raisins, and some dark chocolate as a tasty (yet still nutritious) treat. This can make a good alternative to granola bars or other processed foods that can be high in added sugar and low in vitamins and nutrients.

Encourage your child to make healthy choices in the lunch line as well and pick a variety of foods that they will eat and that will fill them up. Opt for milk or water over fruit juices or soda. If they don’t like what is on the menu, plan ahead so they can pack a lunch.

Staying Energized

Eating a wide range of foods that are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can help your child stay healthier, support brain and heart health, and give them the energy they need to do their best in school. When they come home, have some nutritious snacks ready to go so they can grab a piece of fruit, some fresh veggies with dip, whole wheat crackers and cheese or peanut butter, or a cup of yogurt and get to work on homework or studying.

Crafting Scholars can support your child in improving their study skills and reinforcing learning so they can feel more confident in their abilities. We offer diagnostic testing to identify gaps in learning, subject-area tutoring, test prep, study skills, and more to help your child be as successful as possible. Contact us today to learn more!


4 Tips for Ending the School Year Strong

There is no denying that this school year has been one unlike any other. As spring break wraps up and summer is in sight, it can be difficult for students to stay as active and engaged as they once were. They are ready for school to be done. But the school year isn’t over yet, and these last few weeks still matter, so make them count.

1. Get (Re) Organized.

Dump out your bookbag and sort through all of your materials. Make sure that papers and notes for each subject are all together. Do the same with your desk or workspace at home. If you need more paper, pens, pencils, notecards, or other supplies, restock so you’re ready to go when school returns after spring break, especially now that so many schools are back to full-time in-person classes.

If you’ve been saving electronic documents to a flash drive, ensure that there is still enough room for the last few weeks. Take the time to organize your Google drive too if that’s what you’ve been working from.

2. Follow Up on Assignments.

Go back and check your grades. Do you have missing assignments or projects? Find out if there is still time to turn them in for full or partial credit. If your grades are not where you want them to be, be more mindful about completing assignments correctly and thoroughly and turning them in on time. Even if tasks are listed online, it may help to write them down in a planner so you can cross things off as you go and schedule your time accordingly to fit everything in.

3. Stay Focused.

It can be so hard to maintain your focus during the last few weeks of school, but you have come so far, so don’t throw away all that hard work. Set goals to keep yourself motivated and so you have something to work toward. Schedule in some breaks and downtime so you don’t get burned out at the last minute – maintaining an organized schedule can help too, so you’re not cramming in a lot of assignments and studying all at once.

4. Identify Gaps.

If this year has been challenging for you with remote learning or shifting between online and in-person instruction, you are not alone. It was a lot to adjust to. With finals coming up and registering for courses for next year, you may be concerned that you didn’t learn everything you needed to know this year in order to be ready.

Crafting Scholars offers diagnostic testing for math, reading, writing, and study skills to identify any gaps and course correct to help you get back on the right path and build a stronger foundation for upcoming classes. Contact us today to learn more and sign up!


How to Improve Your Child’s Problem-Solving Skills

How to Improve Your Child’s Problem-Solving Skills

Problem solving is a skill that will benefit children not just now, but for the rest of their lives. No matter their age, they will be faced with issues they need to figure out how to work through. Teaching and supporting them as they grow will help to build a strong foundation and give them more confidence in their own abilities.

Tackle Problems One Step at a Time

Help your child learn how to break down problems so they can come up with an effective solution. Whether they are having difficulty with a class in school, want to get on the soccer team, or keep forgetting to turn in assignments, the steps to find a solution are similar:

· Identify what the problem is. Have them put the issue into words and talk it out.

· Brainstorm solutions. Encourage them to create a list of different ways they could solve it. Remind them that there isn’t always just one right answer. They can achieve the same results following many different paths, so write down whatever they think might work.

· Weigh options. Compare each idea and the pros and cons. What is realistic? Are they actually able to follow through? What might the positive and negative results be?

· Take action. Let them pick what they think is the best solution and try it out. If it doesn’t work, they can always try another one.

Give Your Child Space and Independence

Resist the urge to jump in and solve every challenge for your child. They don’t have as much life experience, so it might take them more time to figure out what to do. Give them that space. Let them try different solutions and see what happens. You won’t always be there to do things for them, so help them build their independence and realize that they can solve problems on their own.

Allow for Natural Consequences

Not every decision your child makes will be the best one, but they have to learn from their choices. Instead of stepping in and preventing something negative from happening, let them experience the natural consequences (as long as they remain safe). Forgot their homework even though they were supposed to put it in their backpack? Maybe they’ll remember tonight. Didn’t study for their test because they wanted to hang out with friends? Receiving a poor grade may be motivation for next time.

Set a Positive Example

When you’re faced with challenges, let your child see you work through them. Ask for their advice about what they think you should do. Brainstorm solutions together. Tell them why you picked the solution you did and how it turned out. Discuss what you could do differently next time if it didn’t go as planned.

Be Supportive

Children are faced with opportunities every single day to problem solve in all aspects of their lives. Be supportive and guide them through the process while also letting them take the lead and become more independent.

If they are struggling to stay organized in school or understand certain concepts, get them the help they need to be more successful at Crafting Scholars. Our learning specialists work one-on-one with students to develop their skills and focus on individual areas of need. Show your child that it is okay to ask for help when they need it, and that can be part of solving the problem. Learn more about available services by contacting Crafting Scholars today!


The Cumulative Nature of Math and Why it Matters

The Cumulative Nature of Math and Why it Matters

Math is a subject that a lot of students struggle with. Sometimes just the look of a problem can make them think it is too difficult before they have even tried. Plus, the fact that answers tend to be right or wrong with no middle ground can be frustrating. Students who did well in math in lower grades may find that in upper grades they are not doing as well.

What many people fail to realize is that math is a cumulative subject. Concepts build on one another. Understanding the basics is a key building block for future success. When students do not have a strong foundational knowledge, more advanced concepts are harder to make sense of. For instance, students must understand addition before moving on to multiplication, which is repeated addition (at least when it comes to whole numbers).

Memorization is Not Enough

A lot of students skate by because they are good at memorization. But that does not mean they truly understand the concept. They can recite multiplication facts and formulas, but do they understand that 3x4 equals 12 because you are adding together 4+4+4? They know that PEMDAS stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction, but do they know how to correctly apply that when presented with a problem?

It is hard to apply concepts to a wide range of problems when students do not actually comprehend what they are doing or why it works. They need to know which operation or formula to use and why.

A Rush to Move Ahead

Teachers also have limited time to cover a lot of information. If most students seem to get a concept, they move ahead. But if a student starts to fall behind and does not have a solid grasp on the material being covered, the next topic will likely be more difficult because they don’t understand the basics. Slowly this gap widens, and math becomes more and more challenging and confusing.

Continuous practice and reinforcement of skills are important. Moving on too quickly only causes more issues. For instance, a student who barely passed pre-algebra is more likely to struggle in algebra I because they are missing some of the fundamental building blocks needed to be successful. Advanced courses are an extension of concepts that were learned previously.

Closing the Gaps

Recognizing where there is a disconnect and what material students don’t thoroughly understand is essential for helping them to be more successful in the future. The switch to remote learning has made some parents more aware of some math skills that their child may be lacking as students had to work more independently. It requires a lot of practice and reinforcement to master one concept before moving on to the next.

Crafting Scholars emphasizes the importance of developing a strong cumulative understanding of math and is aware of how gaps in knowledge can create problems later on. That is why we offer a math diagnostic test to identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses. We are able to see what concepts they still have to work on. Then we use that data to create a customized learning plan to help them master the fundamentals they need before moving to the next level.

If you are concerned that your student is missing key skills and may not be as prepared as they should be for next year, contact us to schedule diagnostic testing and personalized tutoring. We support students in boosting their academic performance and developing the knowledge they need for higher level courses.


How to Use Learning Style to Improve Study Habits

How to Use Learning Style to Improve Study Habits

We are constantly absorbing information from the world around us using all of our senses. You watch people around you, listen to what they are saying, touch different objects, smell a variety of scents, taste flavorful foods — and it all contributes to what you remember. However, each person tends to have one learning style that is more dominant than the others and how you make sense of information most effectively.

The three most common learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Understanding how you learn can help you develop strategies for taking notes in class, organizing your materials, and studying for exams.

Visual Learners

Visual learners can’t just sit and listen to a lecture and recall the information. They may remember some important points, but there is a lot that is forgotten too. If you’re a visual learner, it helps to see the information. That is why writing down notes as the teacher explains things is important so you can go back and look at them later. When reviewing what you’ve learned, it can help to:

· Create your own diagrams and visuals. Draw pictures, outlines, mind maps, flow charts, or timelines. Organize material in a logical way that you can see.

· Watch videos to see concepts in action and connect pictures with what you are learning.

· Use colors. Highlight vocabulary, main points, cause/effects, dates, etc. in different colors so they stand out. You could use different colored flashcards for different types of information. If allowed, mark up the text using colored pens or pencils.

· Re-read your notes and charts so you see the information multiple times.

Auditory Learners

Auditory learners are able to better recall information when they hear it. That means finding a spot to sit in class where you can listen attentively and are not distracted by things around you. It may help to sit up front or close your eyes so you can focus on what you hear. You may also find it beneficial to:

· Ask if you can record lectures to listen back to them later. You could also record yourself reading notes or text.

· Listen to videos or podcasts.

· Read your notes aloud to yourself.

· Have someone ask you questions out loud and discuss the answers.

· Create songs or rhymes to remember facts.

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners do better when they can move around and interact with information. Flexible seating can be helpful to allow more movement, as well as small fidgets to play with while listening. Keeping your hands busy can help focus your mind. Other strategies include:

· Using manipulatives to work out problems. Write important facts on sticky notes that can be physically rearranged to create a flow chart, timeline, or graph.

· Move while you are studying. Read or listen to your notes as you walk. Flip through flashcards while riding a stationary bike. Act out an event or term.

· Re-write or type your notes while you study. The physical act of writing them out again can help you better retain the information.

You may find that different strategies are effective for different classes, so adjust according to what works best for you. Try out a variety of study techniques and see what you like. Understanding how you learn and process information is essential for getting the most out of your classes.

Crafting Scholars creates customized curricula and lessons based on your individual learning style to help you better engage with content and retain information. Whether working on a specific subject or preparing for the SATs or ACTs, we provide individualized support to help you maximize your potential. Contact us today to learn more or get started!


What to Do if You’re Worried Your Child is Falling Behind in School

What to Do if You’re Worried Your Child is Falling Behind in School

A major concern on the minds of many parents as we pass the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic is learning loss in students. As schools work to safely reopen, many students have spent months engaged in remote or hybrid learning. Learning over the computer is not the same as learning in person, and some students have faced a variety of challenges accessing classes, materials, and information.

While some students are thriving, others are struggling. This has led to valid concerns about students falling behind in certain subjects. Many subjects, such as math, build on previous knowledge. Mastering foundational skills is essential as concepts become more complex.

So what can you do if you’re worried your child is falling behind?

Get Organized

It is easy to fall into a routine become less vigilant about ensuring that your child is attending all of their classes and keeping up with assignments. Go over tasks with them to see what is missing and what is due soon. Help them prioritize what they need to be working on.

Students will often put off assignments they may not understand or think are too hard. Set aside some time to review them together and see if you can offer any help. Talking through assignments aloud and discussing what to do may enhance clarity and reduce confusion.

Break Things Down

Work on one subject at a time and one task at a time. If your child is getting overwhelmed with an assignment, break it up into smaller tasks. This can help them to focus and realize they actually do know what they are doing when they slow down. In addition, they can make sure they understand the first step before moving on.

Buddy Up

Encourage your child to find another student in their class who they can ask questions to or study with. Since both students listened to the same lesson, they may be able to explain it to one another or fill in information the other missed. The students can also motivate and challenge each other to want to do better.

Ask About Resources

Talk to your child’s teacher — or have your teen talk to their teacher — and let them know they are struggling. Find out if they have recommendations to support your child’s performance, such as encouraging them to ask questions during or after class, being more strategic about who they work with on assignments, or providing clearer instructions. The teacher may be able to check in more often or adjust how they present information or assign work.

You can also ask about additional resources to supplement what your child is learning in class. Perhaps there are websites where they can get more practice, worksheets or workbooks you can use, videos to watch, or other tools to help.

Work with a Tutor

Working with a tutor can also be advantageous because they can provide one-on-one help tailored to your child’s specific needs. Crafting Scholars offers diagnostic tests for math, reading, writing, and study skills to determine where your child may have gaps in their understanding. These gaps may be contributing to their current struggles because topics such as math build on themselves, so not understanding one concept makes it harder to learn a related concept.

Based on the test results, an individualized learning plan can be created to focus on areas of need and reinforce key skills. This can enhance their gains and help them to stay on track with grade-level standards so they are ready for next year and more advanced courses. The further they fall behind, the longer it can take to catch up, so addressing problems early on is essential.

Help your child overcome some of the challenges they may have faced through remote learning by scheduling a diagnostic test today to see where they are in their learning and where there are opportunities for improvement. Contact Crafting Scholars and start boosting your child’s academic performance and confidence.


Helping Students Work Through Remote Learning Frustration

Helping Students Work Through Remote Learning Frustration

It has been nearly a year since the coronavirus took hold of the world and turned everything upside down. Schools had to figure out how to quickly shift learning online and teach students remotely. While some in-person learning has resumed, remote learning is still happening as well.

It comes as no surprise that some students have become frustrated with this approach and are having trouble staying engaged. Hybrid and remote plans are not the same as learning in person, and not ideal for all students. But it is important to make the best of the situation and help your student work through their frustrations:

· Validate their feelings

Sometimes students just need someone to listen and reassure them that what they are feeling is normal. Give them the chance to vent and be mad or sad or disappointed or whatever else they are feeling. But then encourage them to also see the positives, brush themselves off, and keep trying their best.

· Remind them that it is only temporary

Things will not be this way forever, even if it seems that way right now. Students will eventually return to the classroom, though it may not look exactly the same as it did before. Be patient and trust that schools are doing their best to get students and teachers safely back to in-person learning.

· Try a different approach

If your child has been following the same routine all year, maybe it’s time for a change. Let them set up their workspace in a different spot in the house for a change of scenery. Try creating a standing desk so they have more flexibility to move around. Let them read Shakespeare to the family dog or draw pictures on their flashcards to help with studying.

· Take a break

Working on a difficult assignment that your child doesn’t understand — or doesn’t think they understand — can certainly lead to frustration. Let them get up and take a short break. Listen to a favorite song, make a snack, go get the mail, or just stretch outside in the fresh air. Something to calm their mind. Work on a different task instead where they will be more successful, then come back to the challenging one.

· Team up

Have your child pair up with a friend who has the same class and study or work on homework together. They can compare notes and explain things to one another. If you feel comfortable, they can do this in person, or over a video call. Collaborating with a friend can make things more fun and less stressful.

· Find other resources

Help your student make sense of what they are doing by finding different ways to present the material. Do (safe) science experiments in your kitchen. Practice math skills while baking, calculating how much money they need to save for something they want to buy, or figuring out if there is enough space to reorganize their room. Read books, watch videos, or take a virtual fieldtrip to expand on what they are learning.

· Participate in tutoring

It might not be that your child doesn’t understand the material, just that they are having trouble applying what they have learned, or taking effective notes. A tutor can help them stay organized, find strategies that work for their learning style, and give them one-on-one attention to ask questions and prepare for tests.

Crafting Scholars works closely with each student to determine how they learn best and what areas they are struggling in. We collaborate with teachers to integrate custom lessons with their current unit of study to provide additional support. We show students that they are capable of more than they realize. If your child is frustrated and having trouble academically, contact Crafting Scholars to learn more about how our learning specialists can help. We meet your child where they are at and offer both in-person and online sessions.