Happy New Year & Making Resolutions

Happy New Year !

For many people it is the major “goal setting” time of the year – often called making resolutions.

People often see resolutions as different than goal setting, but I think they are the same in many ways.

Making New Year’s resolutions can be fun or it can be disastrous.  Many people become disheartened, discouraged, and even distraught after making and then breaking their New Year’s resolutions.

Here is how to avoid the downside of making resolutions.

  1. Make achievable goals.  Don’t simply say, “I will stop smoking on January 1st,” or “I non-smoking-2497308_640am going to drop twenty pounds,” or “I am going to get straight A’s by the end of the semester.”   Think about the steps you can take to get there, and make these separate, achievable resolutions.  There is no sense in setting yourself up for a fall.  Also, with a step-by-step plan, you have done the “legwork” necessary to get to the end. You know what you need to do.
  2. Write down your resolutions. Keep the list somewhere that you can access it frequently and check off the steps you made (note above). Writing things down seems to make them more tangible – more real.  Also, the act of writing out your goals allows you a chance to “think” about how you will make it happen.  It is easy for anyone to simply say or imagine becoming the next major movie star or adventurous astronaut, etc.  These are dreams until the plan is put into action.  Make it real!
  3. Jot down the positive aspects that you will receive when you reach your goal.  You need some motivators to keep you going.  For example, when you are not smoking – or even reducing those cigarettes, you won’t cough as much, you will have more energy and time to commit to more positive activities, etc.  When you lose the weight, you will fit into the clothes you’ve wanted to buy (or retrieve from the back of the closet), and you will feel more healthy and alive. Improved grades school-2.jpgcan get you into the advanced class, or into the college of your choice, and/or into the career you really want.
  4. Don’t let “slip ups” ruin your resolutions. Whenever you try something new, you are bound to have a few bumps in the road.  If that next test comes back with a C- on it, don’t despair, but do take steps to rectify the situation.  If you take a puff from another cigarette, or maybe a few at a party, don’t give up for another whole year! Get back on track and begin “working” your plan again.  (If you don’t have a plan, please refer back to step 1.) Recall how good it felt to make that resolution in the first place.  You can have that feeling again.  Pull out your list, see where you might have stumbled, and refresh your memory about the positive aspects you will get once you reach the ultimate goal. You will become re-energized to start again.
  5. Be positive.  Don’t keep thinking of the ways you will fail to achieve your resolutions.  Stay positive, think positively, and act in a positive direction.  Always focus on moving forward and taking the necessary steps.  If you need to revamp your plan – that’s fine.  Put in a few extra steps that will help you make those New Year’s goals a reality!

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the obvious way to avoid the downside of making New Year’s resolutions – don’t make them.  You don’t HAVE to make resolutions.  It isn’t a law or rule.  For some people, it would be best not to make them.  You decide what works best for you.  Just remember, that the points mentioned above also apply to goal setting which I think most people should do at various times throughout the year.

So – Have a Happy New Year and if you decide to make New Year’s Resolutions, do so in a responsible way.  🙂

Have a safe holiday – enjoy yourself – and look forward to all of 2018.

Website: www.tutoringcentral.com

Video:  Happy New Year

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Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy Friday!

Christmas is a wonderful time to enjoy family and friends.

I want to wish all of you the very best for the holidays.  I know everyone has different traditions and beliefs, but it is always a positive thing to reconnect with those you love, whatever the occasion.

The holidays are also a fantastic time for learning.

Xmas tree 2 2017 (2)

Our actual tree this year.

You knew I was going there.

Yes.  Learning can happen at any time, but it does not need to be academic learning per se. For example, you can teach your children how to be patient when you are assembling their toys – or trying to figure out why the (fill-in-your-own choice words) toy won’t work.

Perhaps it isn’t a toy.  If might be that new bookshelf or desk that needs to be assembled from a wide variety of parts. My wife once bought me a desk that needed to be assembled.  Believe it or not, it was fun!  (Yes – I read directions, but then I am a relic.) And, yes, reading directions and following them carefully is an excellent learning opportunity.  this can be applied to board games and other games as well.

Card, dice, and board games bring the family together and can introduce lots of learning.  If a die or dice is involved, there will be counting, possibly adding or other math skills.

Cribbage fans know all the combinations for fifteen, for example.

Uno players learn about quickly adding up amounts and making executive decisions about which play to pursue – and often which one to sacrifice.

Chess, of course, can engage the planning and plotting parts of the brain – looking forward, predicting, and recalling patterns.

Crazy Eights, Go fish, Euchre, and other card games, both easy to learn and more challenging, bring lots of laughter (done right) and chances to learn about combinations, counting, and related math skills; however, as with all games, there are life lessons, too.  Patience, fair play, following the rules, and kindness all come to mind.  Learning to share and learning to lose with grace are so valuable.

Monopoly teaches a bit about money.  It isn’t too realistic but the broader aspects are still useful.

Sports of all kinds open up learning opportunities.  Go skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, orski skating.  Body movements, balance, and coordination are all components of learning.  Of course, running, hiking, exploring, and even indoor sports can be done in winter, too.

Reading blogs, books, and magazine articles about a favourite sport can open up the mind to new possibilities, unknown rules, and original moves you’ve never tried before.

Speaking of reading, reading aloud is an awesome activity on the holidays.  Themed stories about Hanukkah or Christmas, are always interesting, but any stories or book will do.  There is nothing wrong with adults reading aloud to children or teens and vice-versa.  For that matter, there is nothing wrong with adults reading to adults either – think audio books.

While reading, you can discuss the book.  Talk about the characters, the plot, or make predictions. In other words, make it fun!

For the more adventurous, try writing a Christmas story of your own.  Remember that a holiday story can go in any direction.  It can be sweet and joyful, it can be mysterious and suspenseful, or it can take a frightening twist into horror.  (Ooohhh that evil elf!)

Cooking and baking all those holiday treats can be a super learning experience.  Think about measuring, temperatures, following directions (relic in training?), adjusting amounts, and so on.  Of course, eating the treats is a motivating factor. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Social gatherings, whether with family, friends, or a mixture (perhaps even a few strangers mixed in), provide learning skills that will serve people for the rest of their lives.  Social learning and social proficiency is often overlooked, yet it is so important -particularly in today’s society.  Some people who are brilliant academically are hampered by a lack of social ability.  It can be a real disability leading to failure in the job market, depression, addiction, and a much less joyful life.  Don’t overlook the importance of getting Johnny or Sally out and about, meeting people and learning to do a little polite small talk.  Many of the earlier activities mentioned have a social component as well.

You will have noticed that a combination of these activities would include visual, auditory, kinesthetic, speaking, reading, and writing.  All the different kinds of learning styles.

I could go on and on, but I won’t.

I promise.

Oh, wait, there is also…

No, I said I’d stop.  That’s my Christmas gift to you.  I won’t be so verbose – just this once.

Wishing you all the very best over the holiday,

Ron

Website: www.tutoringcentral.com

Video:  Merry Christmas!

You Be the Teacher – You Be the Student!

You Be the Teacher – You Be the Student!

Yes.

You can be both a teacher and a learner at any age, and you can do so at the same time.

What do I mean by this?

When you are trying to learn something, put yourself into the teacher’s role.  Pretend that you are teaching yourself.  Alternatively, you can pretend that you are teaching an learn-1996845_640imaginary classmate.  (Suggestion – pick someone you like!)

Use this method during your homework sessions to help you remember information.

This method is not only good for retaining information, but it will also help you learn how to explain concepts, plots for stories, themes, terms, etc.  When the test or exam, or even a pop quiz, arrives, you will have already had practice explaining in your own words – and you will remember!

Teaching others – even imaginary others – is a great gift to you.

You have probably already had this experience.

Have you ever taught a child, parent, sibling, or friend how to ride a bike, play a board game or video game, read, dance, play a sport and so on.  child-558798_640

I bet you have.

Remember that teaching (or learning) is not all about academic subjects.  In fact, you have many learning experiences long before you ever get to school.  Parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family members are your first “teachers.”  They help to get you sitting up, to turn babbling into single words, to stand, and to walk.  Many of the things you learned before you went to school were also learned – at least in part – with you being your own teacher.  Practice, practice, correction, practice, practice, tweaking a bit, practice, practice – mastery!  (Of course, the practice, corrections, and tweaking usually go on much longer.) There is a lot of trial and error learning going on right from the very beginning of your life.

You have probably taught yourself many things since then, particularly anything that you are very interested in doing.

The fact that you might not be completely enthralled with learning algebra, or history, or science, does not negate the fact that you can be your own teacher during practice sessions. Giving yourself permission to take over both roles will enhance the learning experience, make it much more interesting, help you remember, and may even make you a little more understanding and empathetic toward the classroom teacher who is trying to help you gain the knowledge.

So, give it a try during your next homework session.  Be the one to answer the questions as always, but try being the one who asks the questions as well.  Practice being the one who encourages you to learn, who directs you to the right pages, who points out the important bits, even the one who is stern when you go astray.

Wow!

I know you will be increasing your learning by a substantial amount!

If you need more encouragement or direction, I am always willing to help.julia-raasch-143428

Website:  www.tutoringcentral.com

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This weeks Video: You Be the Teacher – You Be the Student