New Year’s Resolution

As we start looking to the New Year, many of us come up with resolutions to get 2014 off to a great start.  We sit down and start our lists: lose weight, work out, spend more time at home, and travel more.  The lists can go on and on.  This year, why not take this opportunity to sit down with your child and come together to make achievable academic goals.  Here are some ideas to help create and reach those academic goals together:

  1. Be a good role model:  Many times, as parents, we have little audiences who are taking notes from their greatest role model; their parents.  What a great way to show our children how to make and keep goals.  Model the process for them.  When things get tough, how do you keep going?  How do you succeed when faced with obstacles?  Take this time to teach your child how to set goals and find ways to keep them!
  2. Make good choices:  When sitting down to come up with academic resolutions, help your child to make good decisions.  When we as adults make resolutions, we need to make them reachable.  For example, I will lose 20 pounds in a week and go to the gym 2 times a day for 30 days.  These goals are more than likely unreachable.  In the same respect, help your child make clear, achievable, and measurable goals.  As you move forward, goals can always be adjusted!
  3. Help your child reach their goals:  This might look like making a quiet space available for studying and doing homework.  Another way would be to help set times to do homework.  By doing those things you can take guesswork out of the equation.  Finally, keep healthy snacks available for brain breaks.
  4. Give your child a reason to reach their goals:  It always helps to have an incentive to reach our goals.  That doesn’t have to cost money!  A reward could look like a favorite dinner meal or a family movie night.
  5. Finally, take time to connect as a family:  Share your experiences with resolutions.  Take the time to share how you find success.  And lastly, just have fun!

As we look to reach our academic goals this year, we here at Sylvan would love to help in any way we can!  As a partner in the New Year, let us work together to help your child reach their goals!!!

Summer Math Ideas

Can you believe summer is more than half way over?!  Time has flown by! As mentioned in previous posts on Summer Learning Loss, “brain drain” has kicked in by now and (whether they want to admit it or not) they are itching for some mental stimulation. Below are some Math games and activities that will challenge them academically! Let’s mold those little mushy brains before it’s too late:

At Home Math

  • Teach your child how to write out a checkbook.  Make it fun by allowing your child to choose what he/she wants to “buy” (ex: New pair of shoes, video game, etc)
  • Have your child measure ingredients as you cook together
  • Label a soccer ball (or beach ball) with the numbers 0-9 in each hexagon.  Stand apart from your child and pass the ball back and forth.  Whatever numbers your thumbs land on when catching the ball are the numbers that you will add, subtract or multiply!
  • Pass a ball back and forth and count by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, etc
  • Play “war” with a deck of cards–but add, subtract or multiply the two numbers together. Whoever says the correct answer first wins the cards
  • Play board games together!
  • Roll a double dice and have your child add, subtract or multiply the two numbers together
  • Let your child know what time you are leaving for an event, and have them calculate how much time there is between the current time and the time you are leaving
  • Start a change jar and at the end of the week, have your child count the contents
  • Pour different amounts of rice or water into three or four glasses that are the same size.  Compare the amounts of rice/water using terms such as more, less or same as

Math on the Go

  • Have your child count the items in the grocery cart. Have them tell you when you’ve reached a certain number
  • Give the child a set amount they can “spend” at the store. Have them add different items to reach the set amount
  • Have your child help by counting change
  • When at a restaurant, have your child find the most expensive item and the least expensive item on the menu.  Let them find the difference (subtract)
  • Have your child calculate the proper tip
  • Have your child write down license plate numbers. They can add, subtract and multiply the numbers. You can also have them put the license plate numbers in order from least to greatest
  • Have your child keep track of the time you left and the time you arrived, and calculate how long the trip took
  • If you are at the beach, have your child draw shapes in the sand

These are just a few basic ideas that you can do around the house and on the go!  Don’t let summer pass you by without some math fact practice and a few of these simple ideas!

Summer Learning Loss

Check out this recent post from our Sylvan Headquarters:

A Break From School Does Not Mean a Break From Learning

Within 24 to 48 hours after learning new concepts, students often begin to forget information. Unless academic theories are reinforced and applied immediately, even the best students may not be able to recall their classroom lessons during school breaks. Although a vacation from school is great for recharging your children’s batteries, it can often offset the learning process.

“Students can lose academic proficiency during school breaks, which could prove troublesome when returning back to school,” said Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D. and vice president of Sylvan Learning Center. “School breaks are an important time for parents to share in everyday learning activities with their children to enhance math, reading, writing, and study skills development.”

No matter what your schedule entails over the school break, whether you are traveling or staying home, it is easy to reinforce learning activities. The following tips are fun ways to help your child continue to learn while away from school.

  • Attend academic camps. To make the most of school breaks, look for camps that provide an academic focus. Programs should offer a broad selection of courses built to suit individual needs while targeting specific subjects and offering a small group environment. Camps can help a child better understand concepts, increase problem-solving skills, and sharpen overall academic development. When selecting an academic camp, look for programs with:
    • Proficiency in the subject of your choosing
    • Tutors with experience teaching children the same age as your child
    • Flexibility in scheduling
  • Write a story. To address writing development, encourage your child to keep a daily journal or write letters to family members to communicate weekly highlights. Encourage your child to read her writings aloud.
  • Create a budget. Ask your child to assist in the creation of a grocery budget. This will help develop math skills and allow children to plan for “extras” that they might want during their break.
  • Play a game. Promote imagination and create your own game. Board games and puzzles are not only fun, but encourage the development of analysis and logic skills. Play together as a family to double the fun.
  • Take a trip to the library. Local libraries offer infinite resources for families and many offer free children’s programs and clubs. Librarians can also help parents find books that are appropriate for your child’s interests and reading level.
  • Explore the Internet. There are an abundance of sites that provide educational enrichment for children and motivate students to study more often and for longer periods of time. For instance, visit to create personalized book lists from more than 7,000 recommended titles. Students in grades K-8 can take quizzes on the books they have read at home or at school and earn prizes for their comprehension.

For free guides and a variety of complimentary activity booklets, visit our Resources page!  Give us a call or fill out the Contact Us form for additional information!