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Top tips to keep kids reading over the holidays

It comes as no surprise that children love school holidays! Being free of the restraints of going to school every day and being able to relax is a valuable part of growing up. The regular reading that is a part of many children’s school day suddenly comes to an end as there are far more interesting things to do on vacation than read a book, right?

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7 Tips to Raise an Optimist

It’s every parent’s wish that their child is healthy, happy, and successful. Raising your children as optimists has many benefits for their physical and mental well-being. Optimists always have a positive outlook on life and make the best of every situation. To them, the glass is half full and dealing with life’s challenges is a no-brainer.
However, teaching your child to be an optimist is a process that takes time and patience, but it will help them immensely to grow into a responsible and self-sufficient adult.
Here are the top seven practices for beginners that will help you raise an optimist in your household.

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Term 4 tuition reinforces a year full of learning

Four or five weeks into the final term, formal school learning gives way to class trips, talent shows, prize giving and other less education-related activities. This change in focus can lead students and parents to feel as though the learning part of the year is over, so there’s no point in beginning or continuing after-school tuition. However we know from experience that our students make considerable gains during this time, setting themselves up for a flying start when next year kicks off. Here’s a quick summary of why term four tuition is extra effective:

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The power of a growth mindset: Part two

In our previous blog, ‘The power of a growth mindset: Part one’ , we introduced the concept of growth mindset, which is the belief that intelligence is not static, but something that can be developed. The idea came from Carol Dweck , a psychology professor at Stanford University. Her lifetime of research into mindsets identified and explored the opposition between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

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The power of a growth mindset: Part one

For the last couple of generations, parents and educators have been encouraged to recognise and reward achievement in children. Positive reinforcement was seen as the way to motivate learning, and at the time that meant celebrating what each child was good at. Some children were good at maths, while others showed ability in writing, arts or sport and so on. It was also widely accepted that each child has a particular level of intelligence and the important thing was achieving to their perceived potential.

The belief that intelligence is more or less static and some children are simply smarter than others, either in general or in a particular field, is referred to as a ‘fixed mindset’.

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Jobs in 2030: Skills You Need Now to Land the Jobs of the Future

Do you remember what life was like before iPhones existed?
What about before Uber?
The internet?
Can you imagine actually having to look up a word in the dictionary?
Or going to the library to rent the latest edition of Harry Potter?
Probably not.

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How to get your child through exams in one piece.

It’s the time of year that students and parents both fear: exam period is upon us!
With these exams comes stress, bringing with it some delightful side effects such as acne, insomnia, increased heart rate and bad moods — and that’s just you! There’s no doubt that your child is feeling the pressure as well, and they probably have their own way of coping, leaving you and your protective parental instincts feeling a little bit useless.

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Mindfulness for children

You may have heard people talking about the benefits of being mindful. It’s something that western cultures picked up from Buddhist traditions decades ago. Mindfulness is not a religion however; it is simply a beneficial technique or way of behaving that Buddhist followers use. A lot of scientific research has been done on the effects of mindfulness in adults and in the last decade or so this has increasingly turned to mindfulness in children.

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Parents and Children: How to Build Resilience

Every child has the potential for greatness. However, there’s no particular success or happiness gene, or a “one-fits-all” formula that does wonders. Being happy and successful means different things to different kids, but one thing that they all must learn is how to face struggles, failures and challenges, since they are an inevitable part of life.

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Benefits of Extracurricular Activities For School Students

The question is, what do extracurricular activities mean and why are they important?

Here’s a little secret: extracurricular activities are simply any activity you do outside of your school work. Easy enough, right?

Well okay, that’s great, but why are extracurricular activities important?

Isn’t getting great grades in school good enough? And if you do participate in other activities, why does it matter? Doesn’t everyone do at least one activity that has nothing to do with school?

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5 Steps to Teach Children the Importance of Education

From the earliest days of their school years, kids are exposed to a range of learning environments that will later shape them into well-rounded people, help them cope with real problems and grow up to become independent individuals.

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How children gain confidence and turn "I can’t" into "I can"

The single biggest factor for a successful school year is a child’s confidence and self belief. It affects every aspect of their lives, although it is most keenly felt at school, where differences are measurable against peers.

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Light bulb moments: Helping your child 'get it' with tutoring

Is your child feeling anxious about starting school? Do you know why? It could be because of a new class, new school or feeling overwhelmed. It’s seldom about lack of intelligence. More often than not, it’s because something just hasn’t clicked into place. The ‘aha’ moment didn’t happen.

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Sustaining high achievement

Most parents who have recognised a strong academic future for their child are keen to ensure that potential continues to be fulfilled. If your child is confident, happy and apparently performing well at school, it can be difficult to judge whether everything is as good as it could be, or whether it’s time for extra help.

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Restoring learner confidence

When a child’s self-belief and confidence decline, progress at school can quickly enter a downward spiral. You may notice your child starts to talk negatively about their teacher or a particular subject. They may seem constantly confused about homework or become frustrated and angry when working on it. Sometimes a child will carefully hide the problem, to avoid upsetting the family, then one day it just becomes too much and you find them in floods of tears, refusing to go back to school.

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When support becomes pressure: How to help your child achieve without stress

As a parent, you want your child to do the best he or she can in life. Whether it’s about academic, sporting or cultural interests, it’s normal for parents to have aspirations for their children. But when does support become pressure? And how does pressure affect a child?

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Giftedness: A blessing or a curse

When we think of gifted and talented children, we think of kids with high abilities, accelerated learning and exceptional performance. However, the truth is that gifted children can present complex challenges for parents. While gifted children have huge potential and exceptional prospects, the expectations of performance can result in problems.

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Helping your child to prepare for exams

Whether they’re facing practice exams or the real thing, most teenagers feel increased pressure as assessments approach. This can create added stress for students and others in their household. If left unmanaged, it may continue to build for some children, undermine achievement and, in the long-term, possibly cause health problems.

Here are some ideas for parents who want to support their son or daughter as they prepare for exams. Most are written as suggested tips for students, so you can share them with your teenager and find out which tips they think would be good for them.

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Help Your Child Do Better at School in 3 Easy Steps

As a parent, you have a key role in passing your educational values onto your children and motivating them to achieve success at school. If you aren’t involved in your child’s education, chances are that they will understand this to mean you didn’t value it at all, and won’t put any effort in studying and fulfilling their school duties. To motivate your child to do better at school, you shouldn’t nag and criticise them, but rather use the following, more constructive techniques.

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Is the education system letting your child down?

If the Australian education system received a report card, it would say ‘could do better’. The OECD Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is ranking Australia 14th, behind New Zealand and several third world countries, including Vietnam and Estonia . This drop in rankings is being blamed on a variety of failings, both systematic and cultural. While the government is slowly moving towards resolving these issues, if your child is in the schooling system now, it’s possible they’re falling behind their peers internationally. Education is critically important to ensure the very best opportunities for further education and future success in competitive job markets .

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Make Study Effective

With the recent interest in the brain and how it works, some new suggestions have come forward for better, more effective study. And some of them are in complete opposition to the study advice that has been given for a long time – advice that I have given to many a student over the years.

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Being Opinionated

At this time of year, many parents are wondering how they can help their child to do their best in the upcoming NAPLAN tests. The writing task may be to write a persuasive text. Students have to argue their own opinion in a convincing way.

You can help your child with this by asking them their opinion on any topic that comes up - from the news, events at school, the actions of a character in a story/movie. ‘What do you think about that?’ ‘Do you agree with what he/she did?’ ‘What would you like to happen instead?’

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Is OK good enough?

When we ask parents how their child is doing at school, we are often told – “They are doing ok”. My question is – is ‘OK’ good enough for you as a parent?

Is your child aware of the level expected of them this year? Are they working to their best ability? If they are at high school, are they planning their homework and study time to fit in with their assessments? Assessments are held throughout the year and success is not solely based on the exams at the end.

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Learning Styles

The importance of learning styles

Most educators recognise three broad learning styles in children - visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Each style refers to a preferred way of receiving and processing information in order to learn.

When you help your child to learn, you probably favour teaching methods that suit your own learning style. That’s because those approaches work for you and you believe them to be the most effective. Taking a moment to discover and understand your child’s learning style, as well as your own, can quickly turn hard work into plain sailing.

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Is tutoring right for my child?

With the introduction of achievement standards, continuous assessment and higher entry requirements for tertiary courses, parents are focusing more and more on their child’s academic performance at school. A generation ago most parents just let the school get on with it, but today they’re a lot more involved and naturally concerned about how to bring out the best in their child, whatever that may be.

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The power of digital learning

Digital learning refers to learning that’s assisted by computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Over the last 10 years, their contribution to education has grown significantly. How, where and when children learn today is very different from what you experienced at school.

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How Pocket Money Teaches Money Management Skills

Do your children receive pocket money? We believe pocket money should begin as soon as children start developing number skills – even if it’s just a couple of dollars a week. It’s never too soon to teach children how to handle and manage money.

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Seven Ways to Take the Stress Out of Homework

Whether parents like it or not, primary and secondary schools continue to send children home with work to do. We can’t see this changing in the not-too-distant future, but we can offer some strategies to take the hard work out of homework.

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For seniors, Term 3 is when the reality of looming assessments and exams begin to bite. Our experience has shown that senior students who have developed a well-organised study schedule by now are more likely to reach their exams feeling prepared and confident, able to achieve at their potential.

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Big Vocab, Better Stories

Lots of parents ask what they can do to help with their child’s English development, particularly their story writing. Consider this - If you want to build a fabulous house, you need fabulous materials. If you want to write a wonderful story you need wonderful words - and lots of them. In short, they need an extensive vocabulary

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School reports and interviews

No matter how well your child has been doing, school reports and parent/teacher interviews can be stressful for everyone in the family. If things haven’t gone well, or they’re just not quite as good as you expected, it’s important to avoid the blame game. The trick is to celebrate what has been achieved and focus attention on solutions to areas of weakness

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7 secrets to raising awesome, functional teenagers.

Teenagers are incredible. They are funny, smart, eager to please, and up for just about anything as long as food is involved. They have the most generous hearts and want desperately to be loved and validated. They are quirky and messy and have the best sense of humor.

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Helpful tips for exams

People practise content but they don't practise test techniques. The key criteria of tests are that they are unpredictable and timed. The work done in class and the homework based on class work is always predictable and rarely timed. Effective practice for a test will come from attempting unpredictable work in a timed scenario. At home, unpredictable questions might come from a different text book or past exam papers. Then you need to self-enforce a time limit during your practice. For exam practice, we are lucky to have past practice tests available for students to work through.

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4 Steps to a Positive Parent-Teacher Relationship

Teachers are wonderful creatures with an amazing insight into your child's development. To make the most of these interview sessions, I always tell parents to Accept, Help, Ask and Listen:

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Why parents should stop doing so much for their kids

According to a dietitian I heard on the radio recently, organic fruits and vegetables are healthier than produce grown with pesticides, fertilisers and other aids. The dietitian explained that because organic produce has to fend for itself, it has to work harder as a plant if it is to thrive and flourish.

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25 ways to ask your kids how school was today

... without actually asking them 'how was school today?'

It's the same every day - you collect your cherub from school and ask them how it went. The response rarely varies. 'Fine', 'Good', 'OK'.

You probe further, asking your mini munchkin what they actually did that day. 'Can't remember,' 'Not much, 'Don't know', 'Nothing really'.


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Change your words, change your world

I’m sure you’ve heard of this: ‘If you tell a person often enough that they are stupid, they will soon begin to believe it.’ The words we use, whether talking to others or to ourselves, have a profound effect on our mindset.

Mindset is, in effect, how you see the world and yourself in the world. With a negative mindset, the world seems difficult; small setbacks feel like failures; new situations feel daunting; trying feels hopeless. With a positive mindset, mistakes are for learning from; something new is an exciting challenge; hard work brings results; the world is a great place to be.

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Educationally rich activities for the holidays

I'm often asked by parents what they should be doing to keep up their children’s learning in the school holidays. The holidays provide an ideal opportunity for parents to encourage their children to view learning as a life-long activity, not just something you do at school. Just as much learning occurs informally as it does formally in the classrooms and children need occasionally to be left to educate themselves.

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Holidaying with children

‘To travel is to live’ said celebrated children’s author Hans Christian Anderson. Seeing new places and taking a break from routine invigorates, refreshes and inspires us. Of course, Hans probably never had to travel with kids screaming ‘Are we there yet?’ in the back of his horse and carriage! Travel can be one of the best experiences you’ll ever share as a family, but it can also be pretty challenging. Family travel requires a lot more planning than travelling solo, but the rewards are well worth the effort!

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Supporting Your Child's Study Habits

The first of the year’s exams are not far away and students and teachers are working hard at the College to revise learning material in class.

Of course we all know that you get out what you put in, so how can you assist your child with revision at home? We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks below to help you support your child’s success in exams.

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Parents are baffled by homework

According to the late, great Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Unless, apparently, you’re among the 17 to 30 percent of children who have maths anxiety! Or you might be among the parents who experience ‘maths homework anxiety’ when you try to help your child with the day’s assignment sent home from school. Trying to keep up with the multiple strategies that children must learn in order to do their homework is not an easy thing.

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Learning with fun

While popular slogans like ‘no pain, no gain’ and ‘genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration’ have some merit, there’s a danger they’ll send any kind of fun straight to the frivolous bin. And there’s a big problem with that, because fun is every child’s friend when it comes to learning.

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What do NAPLAN results show parents?

By now you will have received results from the 2015 NAPLAN
tests that were sat earlier in the year. Although these
tests are surrounded by some controversy, there is no
denying that the opportunity to compare your child's
progress with their national cohort only comes along four
times in their lives. You have the information, but what
does it all mean for us as parents?

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Two Teacher Tips

Recently, I cornered one of our English specialists and one of our Maths specialist and asked them, "What is one thing someone taught you that made a difference?" I thought I would share their responses. I hope it makes a difference for you like it did for them!

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Happy kids

The 4 ingredients that improve examination success

All over Australia, senior students watch with varying degrees of anticipation or despair as exams loom over the horizon.

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Big Decision Time - Tips to Help With Choosing a New School

Changing schools and particularly making the move to High School is always a big decision for you and your child. You will be faced with a barrage of information from school Open Days to take in about the next step in your child's education.

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Preparing for NAPLAN

So, you have a child sitting the NAPLAN test this year and are interested in them performing to their full potential. There are some things you can do now at home to make a difference!

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Name the picture

Study each picture and try and determine what it represents before looking at the answer below the picture.

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What you need to know about memory

If you want to commit multiplication facts to memory, it is worth taking time to look at some ways to make information easier to remember.

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Extending basic facts to estimating BIG number multiplication

This game is based on noughts and crosses, but can be played by 2 or 3 players. Instead of a blank 3 by 3 grid, draw up a grid of 6 by 6 squares and write into them (in a random order) the numbers: 70, 110, 130, 140, 160, 190, 210, 220, 260, 290, 300, 320, 370, 380, 420, 460, 470, 480, 530, 560, 610, 660, 680, 700, 750, 820, 830, 850, 940, 970, 1050, 1110 and 1250.

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Start with the answers

The common errors children make are mixing up the answers 63 and 64, and 56 and 54. If your child has a tendency to confuse the answers to 7x9 and 8x8 or 7x8 and 6x9, you can sometimes help them sort it out by working from the answer back to the factors.

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Patterns to make times tables easier

Some of you may find the pattern of the 4x table that I’m about to highlight so obvious that you wonder why I’m writing about it. Others will say “Wow I never noticed that” and the rest will probably think “But how could that help?”

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Spelling - Why is it so tricky?

Parents often say that they don’t understand why their child can perform so well on the school weekly test, but can’t retain the words for future use in written text.

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When reading predictions don't make sense

Read the following paragraph and reflect on your reading.

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Fostering a Love of Learning

Ultimately, we want our children to love to learn. A passion for learning is quite different from just studying to earn a grade or to please parents or teachers.

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Making the most of Parent Teacher interviews

Below are some ideas for questions to ask at parent-teacher interviews. If your child is in year 9 or above you could repeat the first five questions with each subject teacher, and the last three with their form teacher or dean.

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Our Children are Digital Learners

These days, digital media is one of the main conflicts between the adults in the house and the kids. Almost all houses ring with sounds of "Turn off the computer and come to dinner", "No, you've watched enough TV today", and "Tidy your room or I'll take away your favourite thing - Nintendo!"

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The Science Behind Learning and Having FUN!

EVERYTHING we experience is a form of 'stress' ... some of it good, a lot of it bad.

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Tips for sitting Tests and Exams

At the moment a lot of students are facing tests and exams. By now schools are well through the content they need to cover and are starting to revise for end of year assessments. How is your child’s study going? Does your child know their assessment dates? Do they have a study routine?

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Stop your child procrastinating over homework

Procrastination - we’re all guilty of it in some form or another. I believe it is human nature to procrastinate to some extent. In fact, if there was a Bachelor of Procrastination - I’d already have the certificate on my wall! I found this website very interesting as we consider how our children tackle tasks put in front of them. I've also summarised the main points below.

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Does learning stop when school stops?

Summer Holidays are fantastic! Remember that feeling of abandon as you raced out of the classroom on the last day of school, ready for those endless days of summer. No school, no homework, no assignments. Yesss!

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How can you help your early-primary child to master the basics?

To become proficient with both English and maths, there has to be an underlying foundation of basics permanently embedded in your child’s memory. While there will always be a need for figuring things out on the spot, your child can’t escape the need to rote-learn certain words and basic number facts.

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Back to School

A child that is mentally prepared, has all the right materials, and is supported by an organised parent from day one starts confidently!

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Apostrophes, and comma’s (spot the deliberate errors)

More than a hundred years ago, the great writer George Bernard Shaw refused to use apostrophes, however there’s still no sign of them going away.

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New School Year

Success for the new School Year

Most children begin the new school year with hope - either hope that this year will be as rewarding as the last or hope that things will be a bit better this time around.

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Spelling with meaning

Most children begin the new school year with hope - either hope that this year will be as rewarding as the last or hope that things will be a bit better this time around.

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