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Problems with Homework

lead_960From time to time you may have concerns about homework. Meet with teachers early in the school year and ask them to let you know if difficulties arise.

Some problems which may arise are:

  • the homework can regularly be too hard or too easy
  • your child refuses to do assignments despite encouragement
  • your child has problems completing assignments on time
  • you would like your child to do homework missed through illness
  • neither your child nor you understand the homework
  • Read more …

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How To Help Your Child Develop The Right Mindset For Math

Math is a part of our lives, whether we are getting groceries at the supermarket, doing the housework at home, cooking or planning a picnic. Few of us actually realize that we are using math more often than we realize. However, it’s sad to say that many children grow to dislike math for many reasons. Working with math problems can help your child become an independent thinker, effective problem solver and one that does not give up easily when faced with challenges. Help your child develop the right mindset and attitude towards math and they will learn to appreciate it.

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Develop the right attitude

Parents can be a positive force in helping their child learn math, but they can also affect their child’s perception and attitude towards math. If you are someone who constantly say things like “Mathematic is hard”, “I don’t like math too” or “I never did well during math tests”, chances are your child will not grow to like math too. You can’t make your child love math, but you can encourage her to develop the right attitude towards math by helping her to see how mathematics can change or improve her daily life. Direct her attention to the interesting and fun things she can do with math and be mindful of what you say around your child.

Take risks

Raise a risk-taker who is not afraid to try new experiences or solve a tedious problem by themselves. When working on math questions, give your child ample time to think and try. You can also encourage him to share with you on how he derives at the answer. It is a good way to help your child reflect back on what he did to solve the questions. You can also clarify and explain further on the areas that he needs help with. This will strengthen his cognitive ability and groom him up as a problem-solver.

Make mistakes

Children and sometimes, even adults are afraid of making mistakes. The fear of failing may hinder your child’s enthusiasm to learn or try new experiences. Help your child develop a love for learning math by telling them that making mistake is a way to improve their capability. Celebrate and acknowledge when they succeed, and encourage and guide them when they failed to do it right.

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Don’t Compare

Some parents can’t help it, but compare their child to the older sibling or to their friends. When you compare your child’s performance or results with others, it will tend to diminish her confidence and develop insecurities for that subject. It doesn’t matter if your child can’t count better than your neighbour’s child. Every child is special in their own ways, your child will have something they are good at too. Tap on their interests and ability to improve their mathematical awareness. Be more patient.

Balance

If you want to help your child succeed in school, you need to strike a balance between your child’s ability and your expectations. When guiding your child, be a supportive figure that guides them to perform up to their capability without placing too much pressure on their little shoulders. How can you strike a balance without pushing your child too hard?

1. Be a parent that is involved in their learning, but never overly involved.
2. Encourage your child to improve, but don’t overly stress them out.
3. Set limits for them to achieve, but provide them with the guidance they need.
4. Be there to guide them and yet still allowing them rooms to make mistakes.

Parents are the child’s first educator, and one that understands them better than anyone else. Use a variety of fun techniques like games, engage in math related conversations and plan a series of engaging math activities to teach and talk about math. Help your child develop the right mindset and a love for learning, and it will lead them towards success!


What Are The Important Skills My Child Needs For A Smooth Learning Journey?

The development of your child in the primary school years is fundamental as it lays the foundation for formal education.

For our younger students, it is really about growing their sense of curiosity, nurturing a love for the subject, and a passion for learning. Elements of play and games are infused into classes to make lessons more fun and enjoyable.

At the same time, we will also introduce hard skills such as listening, taking instructions and communicating effectively to instil confidence in your child and prepare him for the formal learning journey ahead.

For the older students who are in the kindergarten levels, we emphasize more on honing hard skills like reading, writing and problem-solving to set them on the right course for primary school.

What Can Parents Look Forward To In SMART Early Years Programme?

At Smart Excel, the focus for our Early Years curriculum is to help your child learn better, as we know that every child has different learning needs.

IDENTIFYING YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE

For a start, our programmes expose your child to various learning styles to help him or her better grasp new concepts. A healthy balance of skills and component mastery is also introduced to your child, depending on his or her academic level.

CELEBRATING YOUR CHILD’S MANY FIRSTS

We also recognise the importance of bringing out your child’s personal bests so that he or she can become a confident learner. Whether it’s witnessing your child independently writing his or her name or seeing him or her construct his or her first full sentence, every achievement is celebrated at Smart Excel.

BRINGING THE WORLD INTO THE CLASSROOM

To encourage curiosity in the classroom, we introduce captivating, real-world content to your child from an early age. Through our English, Math and Malay (available from K1 onwards) lessons, we develop your child’s awareness of the world through a range of topics such as Technology, World Cities and Animals. With our passionate and engaging teachers bringing each lesson to life, your child can look forward to hands-on activities and fun components that will make academics seem like play.

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Our K2 students who graduate from the SMART Early Years programmes often find their transition into Primary 1 a breeze. Many of them are adequately prepared for the rigours of Primary 1, not only in terms of subject mastery, but also emotionally and mentally.

If you are interested to speak with our enrolment specialists about our programmes, please email ask@SmartExcel.sg or call us at 9457 5811 and we will be happy to assist.

Registration for our classes is ongoing. | See Schedule Register - Free Trail


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Student and Learning Affirmations

Today’s Thought: 

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” ~ Robert Frost

In our modern, fast-changing world, learning is no longer confined to a period of years that we call “formal education”. The world where that was possible is long gone. We don’t learn information once and it lasts us for our entire lives or careers. In fact, learning is a life-long endeavor that lasts far beyond the classroom.

Most careers require continuing education and re-education as fields change, expand, and cease to exist. Some fields change so rapidly that the information by a college freshman is out-of-date by the time that student reaches his or her junior year. This is what it means to live in the information age. We are in a constant dance with information through its conduit learning. In fact, the most successful and happiest people are those who become students of life.

They understand what Frost meant in the quote above. Frost was articulating what Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” Life is the THE teacher. Experience is THE teacher. Our “teachers” and “gurus” are merely facilitators opening our hearts and our minds to be good students of these great teachers. Knowledge is just knowledge.

It is the role of the student to  be a visionary, to use knowledge to transform and transcend experience. The affirmations in this article are targeted at the student, the learner. They encompass everyone from the second-grader learning math to the student of life seeking the meaning of life. There will be more added to this list, but this is a good start.

Student General

  1. Today and every day, my thirst for learning is alive and well in me!
  2. I can learn anything! I can know anything! I can be anything!
  3. This semester is MY learning experience and I take from it what is useful to me.
  4. I love the challenge of finals! I am acing all my finals this semester.
  5. I am a student and being a student is ALL about the possible!
  6. I am a great student and getting better each and every day!
  7. Learning new things is a challenge and I love challenges!
  8. I am prepared for my tests. I love taking tests. Tests are a breeze for me.
  9. I thrive and I succeed at school! Learning is my gateway to an abundant future.
  10. When I am exposed to information that benefits me, I absorb it like a sponge!
  11. Learning is life. I love learning and I am good at it!
  12. Today I study hard, so tomorrow I can make my difference!
  13. Education is the gateway to my future! Today I make the most of my academic opportunities.
  14. Today I take charge of my education. The more I learn, the more I achieve.
  15. As my demand on my thinking grows, my learning expands.
  16. I am the engine of my learning!
  17. I am a good learner. Learning comes easy for me!
  18. My life is what I make of it and today I make it a great place to learn!
  19. Today I set aside my fears and achieve all my educational goals.
  20. I am smart and today I prove it!
  21. A great student lives within me and today that student shows up in my classes.
  22. I grow and I learn at my own pace.
  23. I value my education because it prepares me for a bright and successful future.
  24. I value my education because it creates a more complete me.
  25. This semester is MY semester! I succeeding at a whole new level!
  26. Education is the path to freedom and today I walk that path with confidence.
  27. Education is my way up! Education is my way out! Education is my way through!
  28. I am bigger than this test! I am better than this test! I AM acing this test!
  29. I contribute to the learning environment in every way that I can.
  30. I set high standards for my educational experience and I achieve them.

Student by Category

  1. Math is fun for me! Math is easy for me! Math is fun and easy for me! (Substitute class of choice)
  2. In those moments when I want to give up and quit, I remember this doctoral dissertation is a doorway to my dreams.
  3. I am easily and effortlessly gathering my research and documentation for an outstanding dissertation.
  4. I am writing a groundbreaking dissertation that receives high praise.
  5. I easily and effortlessly learning new processes at work.
  6. English to Spanish! Spanish to English! I am quickly learning and applying the Spanish I learn. (Substitute your foreign language)
  7. Uno, dos, tres. Spanish is as easy for me as one, two, three!
  8. Grad school is the gateway to my dreams. Today I am claiming my dreams!
  9. I have outstanding credentials! Any grad school would be lucky to have me!

The Seeker

  1. What is mine to teach, I willingly share. What is mine to learn, I eagerly absorb.
  2. Today I find the pearls of my enlightenment scattered along my path.
  3. Love is my teacher and life my classroom. Today I am an honor student.
  4. I am always open to learning a better way.
  5. A chance to learn is a chance to grow. I love growing!
  6. Learning from my morning, I make adjustments to my afternoon.
  7. I hear and I know. I see and I can. I DO and I achieve.
  8. Ordinary thinkers conform to the tribe. Extraordinary thinkers transform it.
  9. As I transform my thinking, I make it easier for those around me to do the same!
  10. Today I pledge to learn from what I don’t understand rather than fearing it!
  11. I learn from every experience. I grow from every experience. I thrive on every experience.
  12. I CHOOSE to move forward every day, growing and learning as I go!
  13. Today I release my either/or thinking and open my mind to new possibilities!
  14. I refuse to unconsciously become the past! I choose to consciously become the future.
  15. Whatever I need to learn always comes my way at just the right moment.
  16. Today I am choose to learn my life lessons the first time. I refuse to waste my energy learning them over and over.

Original Quotes

  1. One empowered mind changes a life. Many empowered minds transform the world.
  2. Every new experience is a new opportunity.
  3. The world is built from ideas, as surely as it’s built from atoms. The world can be transformed by rearranging either.
  4. Some days our progress is small, but our learning is much.
  5. A lesson learned is a heartache missed.
  6. A lesson learned is
  7. As an open leaf collects the morning dew, an open mind collects wisdom.
  8. An open mind opens worlds. A closed mind stifles them.
  9. An open mind is a growing mind. A closed mind is a conquered mind.
  10. An open heart opens the mind. An open mind opens the world.
  11. A closed mind gathers no light. An open mind thrives on light.
  12. Education that flows one way is conditioning, not education. True learning is always collaborative.
  13. The dogmas that you hold, hold you.
  14. A little vision takes you further, faster than a lot of knowledge.
  15. Actually, great minds don’t think alike. Great minds innovate and transform the status quo.
  16. In every moment, your thoughts are transforming your world consciously or unconsciously. It might as well be consciously.
  17. Big questions are scary things, but their answers can bring big transformation.
  18. Experts tweak the status quo. It takes visionaries to transform it.
  19. Authentic learning is about staring big truths in the face and refusing to blink when questioning them.
  20. The tribe will always conform you until you have the courage to transform you.
  21. The great learner transcends then transforms the group by pursuing truth, even at the expense of the group’s most cherished dogmas.
  22. One empowered thought is the birthplace of a life transformed.
  23. Do you create your own paradigms or are you a tenant farmer in someone eles’s paradigm?
  24. Your paradigms should serve you, not the other way around.
  25. Unless you awaken and think for yourself, those who control your paradigms will control you.
  26. Bigger thoughts change me. Bigger actions change my life. Bigger paradigms change everything.
  27. A paradigm tested by questioning is a fortress. A paradigm untested and unquestioned is a house of cards.
  28. Learning is not a period of years in your life. It is your life. The classroom never closes.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss. – Siti

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How to Encourage Your Child to Love Learning

So your child has grown older, and you’re ready to give them a head start in getting ready with math. Well, that’s great! This article will give you some tips and ideas on how to best instruct your child while not making them fall asleep.

  • Part 1 of 4: Offering encouragement

(1) Encourage your child. What do you think would make for a more enriching class-time experience, an excited and ambitious one or a defiant, uninspired one?

(2) Keep teaching the child at a consistent pace. Sit down with them daily or at least biweekly to fuse the concepts into their minds. Never forget to keep it fun!

(3) Begin teaching your child with an interactive activity. There’s so much of options. you can use flashcards or a simple sheet of problems. Give them a handful of small objects and let them use those to count out the answers to the problems. Make sure you also have them learn to use their fingers in case no objects are available.

  • Part 2 of 4: Teaching concepts

(1) Teach concepts, not just memorization. While memorization can certainly be helpful, it’s even more helpful to have the child learn exactly how mathematical functions work. This way, they can also begin to apply their knowledge in other ways. That will help them when they begin to move on to more complicated math.

  • Make multiple activities that show how the concept works.

(2) Always make sure that your child completely understands a concept before moving on. If you skimp out on anything, it will be confusing for them and they will not be able to work as well as they should be able to when you apply it in other ways.

  • Part 3 of 4: Making math real

(1) Enhance the learning experience by playing games with the things around you. For example, ask them to say how many more pictures on the wall there is in the living room than the dining room. Have them count them both, then subtract.

(2) Continue to incorporate the concepts you’ve taught into fun things in real life. For example, measuring fractions when baking cookies, asking how many cats are at the pet store or how many showings of their new favorite movie are playing that day.

  • Bring up problems when you’re out with your child. In the grocery store, for example, ask them how much money out of $10 you’d have left if you bought green beans for $1. This will also help make the connections in their mind to help them to become better at math.

(3) Play board games. Board games with two dice rolled instead of one can be a good application for learning basic addition. When they get older, games that use play money, like Monopoly, can help them learn more about adding and subtracting money.

  • Part 4 of 4: Keeping it up

(1) Reward your child. At the end of your time sitting down to work with them, reward them somehow. Whether you give them a small piece of candy or you just hug them and express how smart they are, it will give them confidence and help them strive to do better.

(2) Don’t quit! Teaching your child math isn’t something that happens overnight. Skills need to stack up in their minds like building blocks, and while schools are a primary educator in your child’s life, you are one of the most important!

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44 Proven Ideas Parents Can Use to Help Their Children Do Better in School

DadSonReadingMaking Time Count

1. Put specific times on your calendar each week when you will spend time with your children. During that time, focus your love and attention on your child.

2. Use car time to talk with your children. There’s no phone or television to interfere. No one can get up and leave. And kids know they really have your ear.

3. Plan to eat at least one meal together as a family each day.

4. Look for things to do together as a family. Get everyone involved in choosing how to spend your time together.

5. Try giving children television tickets. Each week, each child gets 20 tickets. Each ticket can be used for 30 minutes of TV time. Any tickets remaining at the end of the week can be cashed in for 25 cents each. Parents can still veto a certain program, of course.

Reading to Your Child

6. Try relaxing your family’s bedtime rules once a week on the weekends. Let your children know that they can stay up as late as they want, as long as they are reading in bed.

7. Help your child start a home library; paperback books are fine. Encourage your child to swap books with friends. Check used book stores. Give books as gifts.

8. Want your children to be good readers? Let them see you read.

9. Try holding D-E-A-R times at your house. “DEAR” stands for “Drop Everything and Read.” During DEAR time, everyone in the family sits down for some uninterrupted reading time.

10. With young children, try reading to them during bath time.

11. Use the “Rule of Thumb” to see if a book is on your children’s reading level: Have them read a page of the book aloud. Have them hold up one finger for each word they don’t know. If they hold up four fingers and a thumb before the end of the page, the book is probably too hard for them to read alone. But it might be a great book to read aloud.

Building Self-Esteem

12. Have children make a “book” about themselves, with their own illustrations and wording. “A Book About Me” is a great way to help your child see themselves as “somebody.”

13. Help your child discover their roots by talking with family members during holiday and other visits.

14. Constantly look for ways to tell your children what you like about them, and that you love them. There is no age limit on this. “When I do something well, no one ever remembers. When I do something wrong, no one ever forgets.” Those words were written by a high school dropout.

15. Let kids overhear you praising them to others.

16. Try “King/Queen for a Day” for good report cards.

17. Help kids learn from problems, not be devastated by them. Many parents don’t ever use the word “failure.” They may talk about a “glitch,” a “problem,” or a “snag.” But even when something doesn’t work out as they’d planned, successful people try to learn something from the experience.

Discipline

18. In good weather, put two angry kids on opposite sides of a strong window or glass door. Provide each with a spray bottle of window cleaner and a rag. Then let them “attack.” Their angry words will turn to laughter…and your window or door will be clean!

19. Try role playing to eliminate constant fighting. For five minutes, have the fighters switch roles. Each has to present the other person’s point of view as clearly and fairly as possible. Odds are, they’ll start laughing and make up. Better yet, they may come up with a compromise solution that both parties like.

20. For better discipline, speak quietly. If you speak in a normal tone of voice, even when you’re angry, you’ll help your child see how to handle anger appropriately. And if you don’t scream at your kids, they’re less likely to scream at each other or at you.

21. Try a “black hole” to keep toys and other belongings picked up. All you need is a closet or cabinet with a lock—the “black hole.” When something is left out that should be put away, it gets put into the “black hole” for 24 hours. Once a favorite toy or something your child needs is locked up for 24 hours, there is greater incentive to keep it where it belongs. This works best when the whole family participates.

Solving School Problems

22. Try looking over children’s study materials and making up a sample quiz as they study for upcoming tests.

23. Visit your child’s school in a time of peace before major problems develop.

24. Make report cards a positive experience. Preparation: Ask, “What do you think your report card will tell us?” Getting ready is helpful. Perspective: Understand that a report card is just one small measure of your child. A child with poor grades still has plenty of strengths. Positive action: Find something to praise. Focus on how to improve.

25. Be aware that your attitudes about school affect your child. If you hated math, be careful not to prejudice your child.

Motivating Your Child

26. In addition to the three R’s, children need the four A’s: Attention, Appreciation, Affection, and Acceptance.

27. Some researchers believe every child is gifted, if we will just look for the ways. Helping children see their giftedness is very motivating.

28. Encourage children to read biographies about successful people. As children learn about the traits that made others successful, they are often motivated to adopt those same success patterns in their own lives.

29. Motivate your children in math by challenging them to figure out how much change you should get back from a purchase. If they get the amount right, they get to keep the change.

30. Praise children constantly.

Building Responsibility

31. Try a simple cardboard box to help make your children responsible for school belongings. Have them choose a place for the box, perhaps near the door or in their room. Every afternoon, their first task should be to place all belongings in the box. When homework is finished, it goes in the box, too. In the morning, the box is the last stop before heading out the door.

32. Help children understand, and take responsibility for, the consequences of their choices: “I chose to do my homework; the result was that I got an ‘A’ on my math test.” “I chose to get up 15 minutes late; the result was that I missed breakfast and nearly missed the bus.”

33. Try giving your child the responsibility of growing a small garden, even in just a flower pot. The positive and negative results of carrying out their responsibilities are very clear.

34. One way to keep children moving in the morning: After they wake up, begin to play their favorite CD. Give them until the CD plays through to get dressed for school.

Reinforcing Learning

35. Encourage kids to collect things. Whether they collect rocks, shells, leaves, or bugs is not important. By collecting, children are learning new ways to make sense of their world.

36. Estimating is an important math skill. We estimate how much our groceries will cost. We estimate how much time we’ll need to complete a project at work. You can help your child learn to estimate at home. Here’s one idea: As you’re driving, estimate the distance to your destination. Then estimate how much time it will take to get there. Use the odometer or a map to check your work.

37. Talk about geography in terms children can understand: Go through your house and talk about where things came from. A calculator may have come from Taiwan. A box of cereal may have a Battle Creek, Mich., address, or White Plains, N.Y. Talk about where the wheat for your bread came from. Where was the cotton for your blue jeans grown? Tell your children where your ancestors came from. Find the places on a map.

38. Show your child that writing is useful. Have them help you write a letter ordering something, asking a question, etc. Then show them the results of your letter.

Homework

39. Try playing “Beat the Clock” with your child during homework time. Look over the assignment and figure out about how long it should take to complete it. Allow a little extra time and set a timer for that many minutes. No prizes are needed. There is great satisfaction in getting the work done on time.

40. Teach your child to use the formula “SQ3R” when doing any homework assignment. The letters stand for a proven five-step process that makes study time more efficient and effective: Survey, Question, Read, Restate, and Review.

41. Here are tips to make homework time easier for you and your child:

  • Have a regular place for your child to do homework. Use a desk or table in a quiet room. Be sure there’s plenty of light.
  • Find a regular time for homework. You may want to make a rule: “No television until homework is finished.”
  • During homework time, turn off the TV and radio.
  • Help your children plan how they will use their time.
  • Set a good example. While your child is doing homework, spend some time reading or working yourself. Then when homework is done, you can both talk about how much you’ve accomplished.

42. Nitty gritty homework tips:

  • Do the most difficult homework first. Save “easy” subjects for when your child is tired.
  • Do the most important assignments first. If time runs short, the priorities will be finished. Do what’s required first.
  • Finish the optional assignments later, even if they’re more fun.

43. Look over your child’s homework every day. Start at an early age and keep it up as long as you can. Praise good work. Your interest will encourage good work.

44. Try having your child teach you the homework. The teacher always learns more than the student.

Author: Dr. John H. Wherry. 
Source: The Parent Institute.