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Blog

Have You Been Told Your Child Has Attention Problems?

Posted on April 9, 2016 at 6:29 PM Comments comments (11)
           I have moms and dads come to have a consultation with me regarding their child, who tell me that they have been told that their child has attention problems. It has been recommended to them, that they get testing done to see if they are ADD or ADHD. Most of them are not in agreement with this viewpoint.
       Our current state curriculum, Common Core, is a very difficult, hard to understand program, at best. I personally feel that it is dragging down our students and causing hardships for them emotionally. We do have a few states who have opted out of Common Core, but the majority of the states are using it currently.

       I wanted to share a success with you all, regarding one of these students who was told that there were attention problems.
We will call him Quinn. Quinn is a very nice, polite 4th grader. He is having trouble with math and language arts mostly. I have been working with him for a couple of months now. Let's start with his math. He was very overwhelmed with all the new concepts and was definitely feeling that he was not so smart.
His mother had asked me to let her know my opinion on his "lack of attention".

       I worked with Quinn the first hour, and found a few things we needed to review that would help him understand his work.   I found no problem with a lack of attention. He worked right along with me and paid total attention. Multiplication and some math terms needed to be worked on, and some language art words, but at the end of the hour he was happy and bright and was willing to work through the whole lesson.

       His mother asked me again about the "attention problem", and I gave her my opinion on the subject. Quinn was only suffering from not understanding his work, not understanding the terminology, not yet mastering multiplication, but NO attention problem, if he was helped with these things and gently walked through his homework.

        I see this again and again. The "attention problem", is a lack of understanding the work that needs to be done, or the words used to explain it, or simply that for too long things have not been understood in class. What does an adult do when in a seminar and fails to understand the speaker? He doodles, he talks to his neighbor, he tells you that the speaker is boring, he plays on his phone, etc. Does he have an attention problem, or maybe just that he is NOT understanding the materials!

       I hope that some of you out there will have a lightbulb go off  in regards to your children and the possibility that this might be happening with your sweetheart. Words, regular words, math words, language arts words, all create confusion, and what do we do when we are confused? Many times, adults, and of course children, tune out, space out, lose interest and the list goes on and on.

          I am happy to answer questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!

With Love,
Patt Condiotti
Pattschats
mrspattstutoring.net








SIMPLE WAYS TO HELP YOUR STUDENT LEARN TO WRITE!

Posted on April 2, 2016 at 5:59 PM Comments comments (4)
            Does your child HATE to write? Is it a dreaded subject for you too? Do you feel your child lacks the imagination necessary to write well? Do you cringe when he or she comes home with an assignment?

            Working as a writing tutor, I hear many parent and student complaints about writing and how hard it is. It can be overwhelming for a student, if they are missing the basics of organization and the awakening of their imagination.

            One exercise I do to help open up the imagination is to have the student pick a time that he had an amazing day doing something. For example, one student picked going to Sea World.  Next, ask them to write down things they experienced, what did they see, hear, smell, touch, etc. Use a lot of adjectives! For example, I smelled yummy popcorn, stinky fish, mouth watering corndogs, and oh so aromatic ocean water. Get the idea. Do that will all the senses. Next, in order, write down what he or she did there, in order. These are notes for later.

            This of course is a very simplistic view of writing, but with a little practice and self confidence, your child can springboard into other more advanced writings.
           
             Remember that all stories begin with a Topic sentence. Break the mold, do not make it an ordinary one. You can open with a question? Example - "Have you ever had a killer whale so close to you that you could almost touch it?" or, "Have you ever seen a talking bird that could pick your pocket?" Get the idea!
Next, detail sentences, 3, 5, 7 or whatever is needed. Juicy sentences, amazing information. Quick tip - If writing things in order for your story or assignment, DO NOT use words like
next, then, finally and in conclusion. These are used way to much! Also, get a dictionary with synonyms. That way you can use many cool words! For your last and final sentence, make it special. The purpose of the sentence is to wrap up what you wrote and comment on it! You want the reader to be involved in the paragraph or story. Leave them happy or educated or with some kind of emotion! 

          Hope that helps a bit! Please email me with questions or topics of interest!

With Love,
Patt Condiotti
Pattschats
mrspattstutoring.net




IT DOESN'T TAKE MUCH TO RUIN EVERYTHING!

Posted on April 2, 2016 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (9)
               My youngest daughter went to a private school in Kindergarten, and unfortunately due to financial changes was put into a public school in first grade. I am not remarking against public school, but rather a certain teacher who in just a few short months, took away my daughter's love of reading. In a flash! This teacher was very strict and very uncaring and changed my sweet child into someone who hated school and reading. It doesn't take a lot to destroy the love of learning. She was failing in reading, something  that never happened before. I was very upset with the situation and vowed to help her and put her into another school the next year. I knew that there was a great deal of invalidation happening in the classroom.

          I started reading small books with her. I would read to her first. Then we would take turns reading to each other. I disregarded the teacher's homework and read the books I thought were appropriate for her. She started to respond to this and her want to read improved. We finished out the year reading the books that I chose and she repaired slowly but surely. My child was regaining her want and love to learn.

          She went back into a private school that next September and thrived. There she was loved, and validated for her accomplishments! Today she is a preschool teacher/private tutor and loves to read and help children. She is a new mom of a baby girl, 6 months old. Both are thriving!

         Moral of the story- Children are individuals, not all alike. With some extra TLC, some extra help, and some encouragement, all children can do amazing things! Being a teacher, and doing your job is good, but more often, thinking and acting outside of the box with extra care, helps get the job done the right way!

         Please feel free to email or call me with any questions or concerns. My BLOGS section in my website has more information on children, learning and much, much more!

With Love,
Patt Condiotti
Pattschats
mrspattstutoring.net






THE POWER OF A SIMPLE CONVERSATION!

Posted on March 27, 2016 at 4:01 PM Comments comments (1)
                 As always we need to let our children know that they are special and gifted with their own special talents and abilities. We all possess huge amounts of capabilities that sometimes get squashed or erased by opinions of others, whether they be teachers, friends or hopefully not, family. We either build our children or tear them down.
This is a short story of how a wonderful child was rebuilt, so to speak, by a simple conversation.

                Unfortunately as a tutor, I see this scenario much too often.
I young girl, 7 or so, comes to me for help with reading. She is sad, unsure and emotionally fragile regarding this subject. She is convinced that she cannot learn to read. She has had help reaching this opinion of herself from others. Her mother and father are huge supporters of hers, but unfortunately, she does not believe what they tell her regarding how capable she is.

               We will call her Lilly. I sat down with Lilly and we chatted about what was going on. She was close to tears as we talked. She was extremely hesitant to discuss the problem. I asked her to read a bit to me and to say the least, it was painful. She told me that she felt that she was stupid, and that she couldn't read and couldn't catch up and so forth, holding back tears.

               I looked directly into her little face, and with loving certainty and assurance, told her that all that was not the truth. I told her that she was a smart, smart, little girl and that we would be handling this reading thing  and that it would be done fairly quickly. I watched her little face brighten up and her demeanor change. She had taken to heart my assurance and belief in her and she knew she could do it.

             The best part was yet to come. Her mom came back the next time for her lesson and told me she was a changed child. She would come home and do her math homework by herself and looked forward to tutoring as she knew she was to be a great reader. I had to agree with mom when I saw her. She was different. She was confident! She was willing to read and practice and each lesson she got better. She was happy with herself.

             This is an example of the power of positive reinforcement and letting children know that you believe in them, even though others may not impart that same belief.

             These stories bring tears to my eyes. I would love to hear from you with your stories or requests or comments.

With Love,
Patt Condiotti
mrspattstutoring.net







Want to Better Your Child's Learning Abilities With Two Simple Steps?

Posted on March 17, 2016 at 3:59 PM Comments comments (10)
             We all want to help our children as much as possible with their learning experience and learning potential. It may seem like well known facts, but sleep and food are a major part of allowing children to reach their personal optimum learning potential.

             I know it can be difficult to get your sweetheart to eat breakfast in the morning, before school. It sets the tone of the day and starts them off right. Choices of foods for breakfast are of major importance also. Proteins like eggs, or even a good protein bar can work. Oatmeal with some milk or almond milk will also get them going. Toast with peanut butter or almond butter is a great choice. Go for a protein shake maybe, but make sure that breakfast is NOT a sugary cereal, with added flavors and colors. Your child may be allergic to one of the color additives and of course all the sugar will only give them too much energy and then crash them down, making them tired when they study. Of course there are good cereals out there to choose from, and if milk is a problem, choose almond milk. This way they can easily maintain until break time, when they can refuel with a healthy snack. More protein is great or maybe some nuts or healthy trail mix, or some nuts and fruit or crackers and cheese. If their energy stays constant, they will learn faster and easier. Hunger can make them sleepy or cranky or have a hard time focusing. It may seem that they are not listening, when in fact they are hungry and have a hard time paying attention.
I know that children can be picky with what they will eat, but try different things to form the habit of having a good breakfast. As a side note, make sure your sweetheart is drinking lots of water. Children get headaches from dehydration and other problems. Most of us walk around somewhat dehydrated and don't even know it. Water is dire when the weather gets warmer and the kids are outside doing their PE when its 85 or 90 degrees outside. All this is common sense for you mom and dad, but not so for your sweet children.

      Sleep is the next big thing that can have a huge effect on their learning. As an adult, we are sometimes forced to go to work with too little sleep. We do it, but we feel awful and things are harder to get done. Children are the same, but may not know it. A tired student will lay on their desk, stare at their reading, and seem uninterested in learning. I have 2 daughters and 3 granddaughters and am familiar with children NOT wanting to go to sleep. It can be a challenge for sure! I would suggest setting a specific bedtime for them. But an hour before that, start getting them to slow down and let their sweet little minds start to relax. Did you know that TV, phones, and computers all stimulate us and make it harder to go to sleep? If possible have them STOP using all these things an hour before bed. You too, mom and dad, see if YOU sleep better. Also, a colder room helps sleep, not a warm one. A dark room helps sleep, not one with lots of light or moonlight or a neighbor's porch light.

         When I had my classrooms, I would start the morning asking the kids what they had for breakfast and what time they went to bed and woke up. I could usually tell if they had too little sleep, as studying was harder than usual for them. If they arrived hungry, I would have them go to their lunchbox and get a healthy snack, and eat it before they started their lessons. I know that this is not possible in most schools, but handling this before school starts will also set them up for a great day!

          If you are wanting to hear more about healthy snacks and get more information on better sleep, I am happy to help. Please email me, and I will do my best to provide useful information.

With Love,
Patt Condiotti
Pattschats
mrspattstutoring.net 


Traditional Schooling???? Unschooling??? Whats the Difference?

Posted on March 3, 2016 at 4:31 PM Comments comments (60)
                  Education today, so many changes and so many new ways of thinking. Some of them are good and some of them are not so good! Because of these changes, many parents are looking to step in and take more control over their children's education. Homeschooling groups, charter schools, private homeschooling groups are popping up left and right.

            I run and own a small tutoring business and have worked in education for many, many years. I guess I am an idealist at heart, as I want each and every child to be well educated, but happy and definitely having great self confidence. A tall order, I know. Each student has their strong points, their interests, and their not so strong points. Adjusting to their needs is what is needed.

         Some of you may be familiar with the terms TRADITIONAL LEARNING AND UNSCHOOLING, some may not. I wanted to go over these ideas a bit to help clear up any misunderstandings. Traditional learning is what we see in public schools. Education is done by subjects, knowledge is given by the teacher to the student, goals are set by the teacher, there is a set curriculum and text books, and a specific time for learning to occur. This for the most part has been a plan of action that worked. What's missing from this format? What changes would make more intelligent and more capable students? What if the student had more responsibility in helping make the goals for themselves and their classmates and they got to include things that they cared about and were interested in? What if the teacher presented information and welcomed opinions of the students and encouraged their own personal conclusions and input on various subjects? What if, things like cooking, gardening, balancing checkbooks, and cleaning a house could be put in the curriculum?

          Unschooling, what is that? It is the counterpart of Traditional Schooling. What would that be like? Students would learn by picking things that interest them and that subject would cross over, for example, reading and reading comprehension.
Students would acquire knowledge and they would be overseen by the parent/ teacher. Goals would be set by the student, goals that they would be accountable for, willingly. Resources would come from books, parents, siblings, the internet, the outdoors, museums and actual life experiences. All this great learning happens year round, as life keeps going, just as learning does.
In your opinion, which of these models would allow for greater learning, or more responsible learning? Would you like your child to really know about cleaning a house, paying bills, buying groceries, taking care of younger children, and so much more?
Imagine a child who loves school. He or she can't wait to go and get started.

         Of course there are many great ways to help your child achieve all these good things. I see many parents who are very connected to their children and their education and provide outside classes or activities which encourage learning in other than traditional ways. Homeschooling is another great way, but that involves many family changes that can't always be done. There are group ways to homeschool also, which may be a solution for some of you!

         So, let's think outside the box here. How can we get the best of both worlds? What can we do to bring more joy to learning?

          I would love to hear from you and get your feedback.

With Love,
Patt Condiotti
Pattschats
mrspattstutoring.net 





How to Help Raise Confident Children!

Posted on February 28, 2016 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (3)
          Ever noticed how different children react to different situations or accidents?

          In my tutoring company we deal with many children, from all backgrounds. It is very enlightening to watch their reactions to different things that occur while they are here studying.

         On a minor note, we offer water to all our students and sometimes the water gets spilled. I watch the faces of the child to see if they are scared by this or worried, or not. Of course this is a very minor problem, BUT some students actually get afraid of what will come next. My response to the student is that it is only water and the paper towels are in the kitchen. No muss, no fuss. I can tell by some of the reactions that at some point in their lives, some things or accidents have been made a BIG DEAL with BIG CONSEQUENCES! 

         I am a mother of two beautiful daughters, and 3 beautiful granddaughters. I am very proud to say that they are all great people and very confident people. I truly believe that our sweethearts can be nurtured in many ways. By not making a BIG DEAL out of a small thing is one way. Teach them to handle their mess, and maybe to prevent it, but by no means make it important.  Your children need to be able to come to you with
ANY PROBLEM and know that you are SAFE to talk to and that you will understand. Of course we all lose our tempers sometimes briefly, but the most confident and amazing students and children that I have seen have been raised with a sense of what is important and if it is important that they can handle it or lean on you if needed for moral support.

        Unfortunately, I hear about instances in school where the teacher has knowingly or unknowingly bruised or shattered this confidence in a student. I have an awesome 8th grader who has been told for a few years now that he is a BAD BOY or that he is stupid. This breaks my heart. I get to see the real him when he comes as he is polite, and caring, and takes help very easily. A different picture is happening at school, as he has been branded as a troublemaker or "Not a good student". Respect for an adult is very necessary, but respect for a child is equally necessary.
Love and respect will build the most amazing adults. I work with students all the time who seem to be PROBLEM STUDENTS who in fact just need some help with their studies and their personal self esteem. If you sweetheart is having trouble in school, either talk to them or have them talk to someone who can help them figure out what exactly is going wrong. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a student, TURN AROUND, so to speak. I have a 7th grader who literally seemed half awake when his mom brought him for a free consultation. I have worked with him for a few times now and remarked to his mom how much happier he is and productive and even spoken to one of his teachers who is very happy with his current progress. It makes me very happy to see him happier!

        My friend, many years ago, was visiting us and I was having a conversation with my oldest daughter. I think we had had an argument, and I was apologizing for something I said or did. My friend was very surprised by this. Her mother had been raised in a different way and taught that a parent NEVER apologizes to their child! This was a first for her! For me, it is a common event. Mutual respect!   Caring and help breeds more caring and help! We need a lot more of both in this crazy world!
        I would love feedback or comments or questions! I can be reached at the email below:

With Love,
Patt Condiotti
Pattschats
mrspattstutoring.net

      

         


Summer School Options

Posted on February 20, 2016 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (222)
                 Summer School,  for students a time to get away from the day to day headaches and worries of school, for parents it can be a great time to work a little and catch up with some studies or get some ahead. Public schools run on a strict time line for curriculum, because it is a must that it all get delivered.
Daily lessons are changed and added to. Time for repetition or practicing is just not there. Parents are stepping in in the evening and helping as much as possible, but that is usually after a full day's work and other chores.

                Summer can be a great time to work on some catch up or review. On the last child report card, usually there are remarks as to what is needed to work on. Programs can easily be put together for each students and worked on at home or if possible with a tutor or with a small group with a tutor. A lot can be accomplished in a few hours a week.

              One company that can help with providing this, is the Time4Learning program. They do summer school programs.
I have written a earlier BLOG on them, feel free to read it. You can center the program on whatever the student needs work on.

             I personally am counseling some of my students to get signed up for this program, so that their child will feel ready to start their next grade.

            Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns. Do you want to get started homeschooling? Read my other BLOGS! 

With Love,
Patt Condiotti
Pattschats
mrspattstutoring.net






WATCH FOR THE LIGHT IN THEIR EYES!!! an excerpt from my upcoming book!

Posted on January 18, 2016 at 3:27 PM Comments comments (19)
                  I have a young man whom I work with who is homeschooled by his mom. She does a great job with him, but sometimes being mom and teacher gets a bit tough on both of them. He comes and works with me once a week or twice a week, mostly on math and reading. He is a great young man. He has a bit of a learning situation, as he gets rattled when something is hard for him to understand. He can get overwhelmed and want to stop working.

                I will call him Bob. Bob and his parents interviewed with me several months ago. Mom filled me in with what was going on and said that she needed some outside help for her homeschooled son. We started tutoring.

               Bob has been doing great! We work on multiplication, fractions and adding and subtracting. We write really big on the papers to make it very clear from him and give him lots of space to do the problem. If you are outside and it is a warm day, you can take chalk and make problems on the sidewalk for your child to do. It adds some fun to the task! Well, back to Bob. If a problem becomes very hard for Bob, he gets very upset, and seeing this, I need to help him. I back him up to a problem he knows how to do, and then part by part, start again on the type of problem that he had trouble with. I make lots of pictures of parts of the problem to show him what we are doing. Slowly the fear passes and after doing the problem a few times, I can see on his face that he understands and there is no longer any upsets regarding the math. When he fully gets the problem, I can literally see the light in his eyes, accomplishment!

                      Another great trick for reading, is having both parties take turn reading the pages. It takes the stress off of the uncertain reader and eases their fears. I do this with Bob, and he can't wait to come back to read the book again and see what happens next.
               I highly recommend that if you are a homeschooling mom or dad, invest if possible in having a tutor or someone work with your student, other than yourself. The benefits are enormous.
              Bob is a creative learner, as I talked about before.
It is crucial that you find the ways that your student can absorb his or her lessons easily. Love and patience are the only things necessary to find these personal learning techniques. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child's eyes light up because they have grasped a new concept, or accomplished another step of their learning.
              Well, that's it for now. I am here to answer questions or comments. Please feel free to email me. I would love to hear from you.

With Love,
Patt Condiotti
Pattschats
mrspattstutoring.net













      

Tears of Joy!! An excerpt from my upcoming book!

Posted on January 6, 2016 at 3:23 PM Comments comments (11)
              I wanted to take a minute to share a little note that I received from a former student of mine. We will call him Jim.
Jim came to me when he was in 3rd grade. When we interviewed I asked him to read to me and painfully he read 3 words and was done. He had just finished with a very expensive program for his reading that he admittedly did not like and said that he got nothing out of it, and his mom concurred. Needless to say, he was very frustrated with reading and hated it.

              Jim worked with me for about two and a half years, and to my great sadness left due to moving to another state. My sadness was equal to or maybe greater than his, as we had been through so much together. He is a great young man.

                    In my upcoming book I go over some of the tools we used to achieve his giant accomplishment, but I really wanted to share this little note he sent me after he moved. The title of this piece is "Tears of Joy", and believe me, each time I read the note, I cry for his success!

              Mrs. Pat,

              During my time with you I learned a lot. You were helpful and kind.
              Because of you I am reading better. In fact, to this day, I think if I hadn't met you I would not be reading.

Thank You     Jim


               The moral of this story - Never give up, it can be done! Yes, he worked very hard, but he did it!

               Please email me if I you have a subject you are interested in learning about, or a question regarding education.

With Love,
Patt Condiotti
Pattschats - a private group for interested readers to join
mrspattstutoring.net
[email protected]