5 Ways to Help Prepare Your Teen for High School

hallwayHeading to high school is a big step. It’s a new chapter in your teen’s life with  new teachers, new classes, new hallways, new expectations… and that can be intimidating. Too many kids are totally unprepared for what awaits them at their new school in the fall and so their first experiences can be stressful.

We suggest that you help your recent elementary grads by sprinkling in some hidden skill-building fun while basking in the summer sun!  It’ll ease the stress of September and build confidence!


Write More!Creative

Letters might be a lost art, but I’m calling for a revival. There is nothing better than the joy of finding a letter in the mailbox. Encourage your teen to write postcards and letters while on trips or when visiting Grandma and Grandpa. Note: Texting doesn’t count as a letter.

Daily writing can be therapeutic. Suggest writing in a journal nightly. Learning to express yourself clearly through writing is a valuable life skill, so the content doesn’t really matter, it’s all about the effort. Sometimes kids need a little encouragement, so here are some summer journaling ideas from Simple as That.


Get an agenda

At the beginning of the school year, most schools will either provide each student with an agenda or one will be available to purchase.  However, many kids don’t know how to use it. Getting into a routine of using a calendar or an agenda is incredibly helpful for people of all ages, and summer is the perfect time to start.  Encourage your teen to begin by adding all of the fun stuff — camp, sleepovers, birthdays, trips — and then add tasks or chores they are responsible for. Check in once a week to see how they’re doing!


Visit the school

If your teen is expressing some anxiety about not knowing where things are in a new school, take a tour! Most schools are still open a week after the last day of school, and a week before the first day of school.  Squelch worry by brainstorming ways to make new friends, and how to ask for help from teachers!


Read… Anything!8435321969_c1eea0631a_o

This just in: reading books in the summer doesn’t cause allergic reactions! Not a single hive or rash to be found. Incredible news, right? Reading is a great way to relax, and a fantastically fun way to exercise those brain muscles. It doesn’t matter if your teen is reading Shakespeare’s folio or a favourite sci-fi author — just keep reading. Lead by example by bringing a book to the beach or have dedicated reading time at night.

Need some book suggestions? Check out our blog, Throwback Summer Reads — Tween Edition for some great titles.


Hone Those Skills

If your teen had trouble last year academically in any area or lacks confidence, find a program this summer that will help build the skills needed  boost confidence. Don’t wait until the middle of the school year!  There are so many wonderful programs and academic summer camps that foster and develop foundational skills.  Of course it is hard to hit the books while on summer vacation, but spending a week learning how to organize an essay will save your teen (and you!), from a lot of unnecessary stress during the year.

Don’t forget to get outside this summer and explore. Some of the best learning comes from exploring the world around you. Remember to enjoy your vacation — it doesn’t last forever, so make every second count.

There are a plethora of fantastic programs  and one-on-one classes offered by Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space to help your teen hone skills before high school. This summer we are offering two essay coach camps where teens can build the necessary essay-writing skills to help them confidently tackle any essay a teacher throws their way! Happy learning!

5 Strategies to Help Prepare for University

The change between high school and university is dramatic, no matter where you go to school. Many high school students feel a mix of excitement, stress, and fear in the months leading up to post-secondary.

Ease your anxiety by preparing for university with these five strategies:


Organize

Agenda
Agendas help to keep you organized!

Get a calendar or an agenda and start using it, daily. Incorporate it into your daily routine. Check your calendar when you wake up and when you hit the hay. Add appointments, dates with friends, and upcoming trips or events.  That way, when you get your syllabuses for your classes you can easily enter that information into an existing calendar.

If you don’t like using the antiquated method of paper and pen, look into calendar apps for your  smart phone. The teachers at RRLS are fond of iCal and Google Calendar.


Read 

Read with a buddy!
Read with a buddy!

Keep your thought-box in tip-top condition by reading a lot – all summer. Definitely pick books that pique your interest, but remember to challenge yourself by reading books with some unfamiliar vocabulary — it’s good exercise for that brain!

If you are taking classes in the humanities, try to find last year’s reading list. Professors usually choose a lot of the same books from year to year, so check it out and get a head start! It’ll save you a lot of time during the school year and your future self will definitely thank you.


Write 

Don’t let those writing skills of yours wane over the summer break — you will need them when September comes, no matter what your discipline of study is. We encourage you to journal about anything that interests you, blog about new movies, apps, or games, or write short annotations or opinion pieces about articles you’ve read recently. If you’re feeling really ambitious, write essays!


Goal-set

Take a day and honestly reflect on what you want to get out of your university experience. Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Attainable,  Relevant, Time-bound) and that you set a plan for how to achieve them. A good goal might be to improve your study habits, but unless you know how to do that, it’ll be frustratingly unattainable.


Strengthen Skills 

Tutoring
Foster the necessary skills over the summer

Taking the summer to fine-tune and foster important academic skills is smart. When you get to university, professors will expect you to already know how to research and write papers without being provided with scaffolding or graphic organizers. If you feel your skills aren’t up to snuff, or if you feel instant anxiety when you hear the phrase, 2000 word essay, find a program that will help you foster your writing skills before the school year begins!

The Essay Coach is a fantastic, online essay writing course designed to strengthen your essay-writing skills.  You work with a certified teacher one-on-one and leave with new strategies, skills, resources to use in the future, and a finished, polished essay! We are also offering group classes this summer. Contact us for more information. 

Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space Opens Summer Camp Early Bird Registration for Lively Little Learners: A Pre-Reading & Art Camp for Children Ages 3-5 in Toronto, Ontario

Grounded in Phonological Awareness Activities and Art Appreciation and Taught Through Songs, Movement, and Crafts, Classes Are Structured Around a Theme So Children Learn the Joy of Language and Art

By Ruth Rumack

Toronto, Ontario – After the first year of parental leave, there is a huge demand from Canadian families that need childcare for children from three years old until they begin school. These early childhood learning years are critical for preschoolers because research shows that children gain a tremendous advantage in their ability to learn when they are taught to develop not only academic skills, but also non-cognitive social and emotional skills and behaviors that lead to their long-term success.

Alpha-Mania Early Childhood Learning and Literacy
Alpha-Mania Early Childhood Learning and Literacy

There are many non-cognitive skills that are critical for an individual to strive for and succeed in when reaching long-term goals. Researchers have found that habits such as tenacity and perseverance can have just as strong an influence on achievement as intellectual ability.

What attitudes do children have about learning? Do they feel like their abilities in a subject are fixed — “I’m just not good at reading!” or do they recognize they can grow — “I can learn to read, but I need to learn some Alpha-Mania strategies to figure out tricky sounds and words in order to master the fun puzzle of reading.”

“Growth mindset,” for example, is more likely when students believe they can achieve and when they believe that intelligence is malleable rather than fixed. This also helps develop non-cognitive skills such as perseverance, self-regulation, and effective strategies for enhancing student motivation and engagement.

To offer parents and preschoolers this type of specialized education, Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space (RRLS) provides an in-depth portfolio of regular early childhood learning classes during the school year as well as day camps during the summer.

This summer two 5-day Lively Little Learner Summer Camps are being held August 24th and August 31st. During each summer day camp, RRLS will be teaching Alpha-Mania, a pre-reading foundation class, and Mini Masters, an art class, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Taught by accredited educators, Lively Little Learners Day Camp begins each day with Alpha-Mania, a theme based pre-reading program, where children explore the alphabet and learn to love their letters. Grounded in phonological awareness activities and taught through songs, movement, and crafts, the week is structured around a theme so children learn the joy of language while pretending they are in space, on a pirate ship, or exploring the rainforest.

The themes and activities relate directly to the Letter of the Day, so children learn seamlessly while engrossed in Alpha-Mania fun that not only boosts their pre-reading skills, but also prepares them for a classroom environment.

After lunch, children explore the world’s great artists in Mini Masters. Inspired by the inner creativity in all children, Mini Masters is an opportunity to delve into the minds and techniques of the world’s greatest artists, from Da Vinci to Henri Matisse to Georgia O’Keeffe. Once inspired by the artist of the week, the “Mini Masters” create their own dynamic pieces of art, which could include painting, sculpting, and crafting media arts and murals. Children are introduced to the idea that behind every great piece of art stands a great artist.

Registration is open now and classes will fill up quickly. The Lively Little Learners Summer Camp fee is $275 per child. Families that register more than one child before June 30th will receive a 10% sibling discount. Please visit https://www.ruthrumack.com/classes-camps/lively-little-learners-day-camp/ to sign up and pay online with any valid credit card.

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Planning for Your Essay

Photo Credit Deposit PhotosTime management is an important part of all aspects of life.  Knowing how long something will take you, and making mini-deadlines for yourself allows you to avoid late night anxiety-filled cry-fests.  We suggest a couple of fool-proof ways to keep organized when tackling a large assignment or essay.

Personalized Checklists

A personalized checklist allows you to adapt the checklist to things that you know you’ll forget. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that it feels awesome to check off boxes systematically — there is a great deal of satisfaction that you can get from it.  There are a variety of ways that you can use a checklist, and we suggest the following:

  • When you first receive the assignment, use a checklist to make sure  you fully understand what the expectations are

For example: Do I have a minimum of 3 sources?

  • After you have written the first draft, use a checklist to revise the flow and overall argument of the essay

For example: Does each paragraph have a suitable topic sentence and conclusion? 

  • After you have revised, use a checklist to look for specific grammar mistakes

For example: Did I look specifically for incorrect uses of apostrophes? 

  • After you believe your paper is completely finished, review the personalized checklist you made for yourself when you first received the assignment

For example: Did I include the correct style of title page? 

Mini-deadlines

Not everyone loves making deadlines, but for large essays they are essential.  We suggest making deadlines for when you should have your:Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

  • Research and/or reading complete
  • Rough thesis statement written
  • Rough outline complete
  • First draft complete
  • Bibliography complete
  • Essay draft edited and  proofread

 Backwards Planning

Backwards planning is exactly what it sounds like.  Start with a monthly calendar and record the essay’s due date. Then, add your mini-deadlines that we discussed above and start plugging them into your calendar!

Mapping out time to complete your essay will save you a lot of stress.  So many students want to write a 10 page essay the night before and panic when they realize it’s 4 a.m and they haven’t finished their research.  This can lead to unnecessary stress that you can easily avoid!  Next time you are assigned an essay, take a few minutes and plan!  Your future self will thank you!

Photo Credit: Deposit Photo
Dear Past Self, Thanks! Love, Future Self

Want to learn more about backwards planning and organizational strategies to help you with essay writing?  RRLS is now offering an online Essay Coach program to help you with all of your essay needs. A certified teacher will meet with you online and help you with the essay-writing process.  You will be left with invaluable skills and resources that you can use for a lifetime!  

Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space Offers Alpha-Mania Early Childhood Education Storybooks for Parents, Educators, Day Care Centers, Nurseries, Preschools and Franchises for School Readiness

Alpha-Mania Teaches Children Five Essential Predictors of Reading Success: Sound-Symbol Correspondence, Rhyming and Alliteration, Blending, Segmenting and Recognizing Sounds Within Words

By Ruth Rumack

Toronto, Ontario – For the past 16 years, the Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space (RRLS) has used Alpha-Mania storybooks to teach early literacy and phonological awareness skills to children in preschool through 1st grade via personalized one-to-one teaching sessions, interactive teacher-led group classes and licensed lesson plans. The company targets daycares, nursery schools and homeschools throughout Canada and is now taking new orders from the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Philippines, Australia and other English speaking countries. Please call (416) 925-1225 to learn more.

The Alpha-Mania storybooks encourage interactions between readers and children that promote the development of early-reading skills. They are colorful, animated adventures that take children on board pirate ships with the Alpha-Mania crew to sail the seven seas in search of consonants and vowels in a wonderful and intriguing world of sounds, symbols and words.

On their exciting adventures, captivated children are introduced to the five essential predictors of reading success in order to inspire reading confidence:

1. Sound-Symbol Correspondence
2. Rhyming and Alliteration (repetition of the first sound in a group of words)
3. Blending (combining individual sounds to make words)
4. Segmenting (separating words into individual parts and sounds)
5. Recognizing Sounds within Words

In addition to the existing Alpha-Mania storybooks, the RRLS staff will soon be conducting an Alpha-Mania crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo.com to raise money to take these important lessons into the electrifying new world of digital education technology.

The main goal of the crowdfunding campaign will be to make the Alpha-Mania early childhood literacy program available to schools, literacy centers and other organizations that educate children.

Alpha-Mania Early Childhood Learning and Literacy
Alpha-Mania Early Childhood Learning and Literacy

Students, parents, teachers and schools who donate money to the crowdfunding campaign will be able to enter a contest to name characters, animals, ships, islands, places and treasure coves throughout the Alpha-Mania storybooks that will be printed after the crowdfunding campaign.

Once the printed storybooks have been finalized, RRLS will use a portion of the crowdfunding proceeds to take the Alpha-Mania adventures into the world of digital media.

E-books and apps will come first, followed by a newly designed website and a web series that will allow parents and teachers to use smartphones, tablets and personal computers to download Alpha-Mania lessons and use them to teach children early childhood pre-reading, reading and other literacy skills.

Fun Early Childhood Learning with Alpha-Mania  at Ruth Rumack's Learning Center
Fun Early Childhood Learning with Alpha-Mania at Ruth Rumack’s Learning Center

If you would like to follow our progress, please click here to sign up for our free HeadTalker news alert, which will notify everyone via social media when the details of the new crowdfunding campaign are released on May 25, 2015.

The first storybook, Captain Ray and the Rhyming Pirates, is now available for purchase for $15 on the RuthRumack.com website. Volume discounts are available for franchises, pre-schools, day care centers, nurseries and other types of educational organizations that buy in bulk. Please call (416) 925-1225 to speak with Ruth Rumack for volume sales pricing information.