How can I help my child succeed in school?

  • Model
  • Environment
  • Take advantage of learning moments
  • Be positive

These points are all related, of course.

Let’s look at each one.


No, you don’t have to be beautiful (though I’m sure you are).  By modelling, I mean portraying the behaviours you want to encourage.

If you read books, magazines, blogs (you are now!) and let your children see you taking pleasure in reading, this will encourage them.

  • Read for leisure
  • Keep reading material throughout the home
  • Talk about what your read – engage your young ones
  • Make use of your local library
  • Little free libraries (many communities have these now, including several in Guelph)

Make sure you have books at home.  E-books, iPads, etc. are fine, too – but there is nothing like having some real books available.  There is a tactile benefit and more personal involvement.


Let your children see you do math.

  • converting measurements for recipes
  • balancing a savings/chequing account
  • setting up a budget for grocery shopping
  • using flyers to compare prices.

Modelling how to work with math in real-life, can really help children and teenagers understand the purpose behind mathematics.

Modelling the entire learning process is also great.

I have students who come (and this can happen at any grade) with a project or assignment on a topic I know very little about.  There is nothing wrong with letting your child (or student) recognize that you don’t know everything.

Nobody knows everything.

This is a perfect opportunity to take on the challenge and model the learning steps – research, reading, taking notes, summarizing, brainstorming, etc.

When a student realizes that everyone needs to go through the process to learn, he/she feels more empowered.

This leads next to the Environment – the right space makes all the difference!

Want to get started right away – click to receive the 32 page booklet!

Click to register for BookletStudent Survival Guide


Setting up an excellent environment for learning doesn’t have to be fancy or costly.

The essentials include:

  • Desk and firm but comfortable chair (too comfy and sleepy sleepy)
  • Good lighting (straining to read makes you tired quicker)
  • Limited distractions
    • Electronic devices are great assets and nasty distractions at the same time. Monitor children who require it to be sure they are “on task.”
    • Music – only low level, preferably without lyrics. If you are singing along, you are not fully engaged in the science text!
  • Book shelf or baskets (plastic buckets, etc.) to hold supplies and files – organization is key.

My working place

You don’t need an entire office.  It can be a quiet corner in a multipurpose room.

Having a dedicated space is the best if possible because it reduces wasted time searching for resources.

The next tip is so important because a lot of moments are lost!

Learning moments

Every day there are loads of potential learning moments.  You probably don’t think about how many activities you do automatically that could be a learning point for someone younger or less experienced.   Here are only a few examples.

The store:

Trips to the store can have many awesome learning moments.  Instead of just having the children amuse themselves, engage them in the process.

Look at prices, compare quality along with price to make decisions.  Reading, math, and decision making skills are practised within this exercise.


Lots of opportunity here, including the obvious – they learn how to cook!

Math – measuring, adjusting recipes for different amounts or numbers of people, reading temperatures.

Reading – recipes, ingredient labels.

Writing – copy out favourite recipes, write a cooking blog or little comments on your favourite social media with pictures of the outcome.


There are obvious trips that encourage learning such as the museum and the zoo.  But be sure to take advantage of these opportunities.

Read the plaques

Discuss – encouraging your child or teen to put thoughts into words and express himself/herself is unbelievably beneficial.

Yard sale:

Pricing decisions, engaging with customers, making change, organizing products.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg.  There are so many more.

The next tip is a challenge.  Are you up for it!


Be positive

First – and this is going to be a difficult one for some of you – get ready ….

Try not to be negative about your “work!” 

Many students see their learning as “work,” and they see work as all negative.

We can’t really blame them.  After all, we say things like “Go do your homework.”

Then, they connect “work” with drudgery, boring, horrible, tedious, nasty, groaning, and moaning (Have you ever heard anyone talk about work this way?)

No wonder they hate school!  Or, at least, no wonder they tend to avoid the tasks or rush through them as fast as possible.

Learning is less about “work” and more about “engaging,” “succeeding,” “benefiting,” etc.   Help them see the world in a more positive way.

Who knows, this change of thought patterns might help you, too.

Encourage and use expressions that lead to the next step.

Coaches can be incredibly valuable.  Parents, teachers, librarians, tutors, and others can all help build that true learning environment.

Well, you know tutors have to be included.  After all, I am one!

While a parent may be the ultimate guide in a lot of cases, having someone outside the family who knows and understands the learning process is incredibly valuable.

They can often see and hear things that are missed in the close family relationship.

The student, also, has another outlet to express himself/herself. Students often feel less inhibited and more willing to take risks.

Not only that, but a good tutor can really help you, the parent!

When everyone is learning together – that’s when the magic happens.

If you think you or your child would benefit from having an educational coach / tutor or just want more tips to help you along, click below and register for the free 32 page booklet:

Student Survival Guide – How to Become an A+ Student

 Click to register for BookletStudent Survival Guide

Want to get started today? 

Phone or e-mail for your free information meeting.

Stay in touch and let’s keep learning!



Skype:     tutoringcentral

Free Webinar


Don’t miss out on the free webinar this week: Essay Writing Tips!

Writing is such a challenging task for most people.

Okay, writing might not be a huge challenge, but writing “well” is.

I will be discussing beginning strategies, structures (thesis, sentences, paragraphs, etc.), matters of form (continuity, interest, technical considerations), proofreading, and more.

All the tools you need to write almost anything are the same tools needed for essay writing.

Oh, and did I mention there are prizes ?   There are!

Hope to see you there!

Also – let your friends, students, colleagues, enemies (kidding) know about this Webinar.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


I hope you have an amazing St. Patrick’s Day.

Here are a few interesting bits of information about St. Patrick.

He was not an Irishman!

He was born in western Britain.

His father, Calpurnius, was a Roman official and deacon.

Patrick, while still a boy, was captured and sold as a slave in Ireland.  He escaped to Gaul.

He probably studied in the monastery of Lerina before returning to Britain.

He received a supernatural call to preach to the heathen of Ireland, so he returned to Gaul and was ordained deacon.

Finally, he landed in Wicklow, Ireland (432) and traveled north, converting the people of Ulster and later those of other parts of Ireland.

He died around 461 and may have been buried at Down in Ulster.

*These tidbits were primarily drawn from Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable.

Become an A+ Student!

Be A+ Student

The course is finally up and running!  Yeah.

Spread the news!

Students taking the course will gain insight into how to be far better learners – not only to make the grade; but, more importantly, to gain more knowledge for themselves from any course they take.

I do like making the online courses which is still relatively new to me.  They are time consuming, but there is so much one can do online now.   It’s amazing.

Please check out the landing page because you will receive a coupon for savings there!

Become an A+ Student!

But if you are eager to start without registering on my site, here is the link direct to the course:

Udemy – Become an A+ Student.

All best wishes – and let’s keep learning.


Teaching (ADD / ADHD) Students


Whether a student has been labelled with ADD, ADHD, or some other attention or focusing deficit, a lot of the necessary teaching and coaching skills remain the same.

In fact, a lot of the strategies promoted for such students would benefit any student.  It is just more essential for those with some such challenge to have intervention and, sometimes, accommodation.

I know, I know, some will argue that this is not the case.

I still believe it.  I have seen all manner of students improve enough times to know that it is true.  I always tell my students not to use whatever challenges they might have as a crutch.


Because we all have some weakness or learning challenge.  Sometimes, it isn’t an academic delay.  It can be difficulty in social situations, anxiety, anger, etc.  So, use whatever resources are available to cope with the challenge and work toward minimizing it whenever possible.

Not all the following tips need to be used in every case.  Different students respond differently and require their own combination – and these change over time!


  • Structure lessons in small stages.
  • Organization is very important for anyone with an attention issue
  • Have clear expectations & consequences
  • Divide tasks into small “chunks”
  • Provide seating arrangements that assist focus
  • Partnering can sometimes work well
  • Draw attention to positive accomplishments including appropriate behaviour
  • (Note:  Behaviour IS part of learning!)
  • Introduce material before reading assignments (like a preview)
  • Help underlining key terms

Computer programs

  • can be helpful
  • can be a problem!

I love technology, but it is just a tool.  It can be very distracting, particularly to those with limited attention spans.

Learning to use computers, iPads, cellphones – any technology or software has to be done in a thoughtful way.

I have found some students even today who do far better at least starting their written assignment on paper.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Use video, audio, text, and even kinesthetic methods to reinforce material.

Do not underestimate humour – including ridiculous comparisons and connections to help with memory.


Having a learning challenge is not an excuse – do not use it as a crutch.

You CAN…

Yes, you CAN!


Skype:          tutoringcentral

Ask Questions

Ask Questions!
Remember to ask lots of questions when trying to learn gold_question_marksomething – no matter the course.
This was not a strong area for me when I was younger. In grade school, some of the teachers thought I was mute because I never spoke!
So, you may need to work at it, but asking questions is essential to getting the most out of your lessons.
There is the obvious advantage of receiving a response to your question.
This can help.
There are, however, even more benefits to asking questions.
In order to ask questions, you need to devise questions. In other words, you are thinking about the topic and searching for answers.
You are taking an active role in your learning!
Asking questions is not a weakness but a strength. The responses can lead you to further investigation and a fuller understanding of the material. Of course, all of this will keep feeding your interest and engagement which can spur you on even further.
In addition, a student who asks questions shows the teacher that he/she is interested enough to be bothered to look beyond doing the minimum.
Teachers love to see students gaining knowledge and becoming engaged with the topic.
Teachers and tutors are human, too.
No – Really! They are!
They like to see that their hard work and effort is being valued.
If you are interested, this helps them to become even more ready to aid in your thirst for knowledge – a nice positive cycle.
Any questions?