Category Archives: Posts

The Dragon That Awoke – Luca (aged 12)

DragonLong ago when dragons ruled the world, a big blue egg cracked open and Fredrich emerged in a cave. He was a big, black dragon with red eyes and razer-sharp fangs.  The first thing he did was cause mayhem on the town people because it was in his dragon blood to do such a thing.  Next he ate 12 people, 4 sheep and one rabbit.  Long ago when dragons ruled, a young dragon called Fredrich fell asleep.

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The Big Escape – Jemima (aged 7)

dog,pig,goatThe goat, the pig and the wild dog escaped from the barn at the same time and they went to hide behind the little apple tree that was near the farmer’s house.  The dog was named Emma and she was friends with the goat named Lolly and her friend named Penny the pig.  After the man left to look for them, they ran quickly to the scary forest because the farmer would be scared to go in.  They slept there for two weeks and picked apples for food. The goat, the pig and the wild dog went back to their home in the nice warm barn.

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Tuition Tip – Early Steps To Avoid Stressed Students

Daily Diary Does the Deed


The year is going to progress whether we become involved with it or not.  It has been my experience with students, particularly at secondary school level, that those who do not take control of time will have time controlling them.  It is these students that display symptoms of stress as the year progresses.

Students who learn how to use a diary and planner at the beginning of the year are more likely to feel relaxed as the year progresses.  Keeping a written diary/planner appears to be almost a lost science.  Everything today seems to be electronic with touch pads for keying entries and apps that help to link all the diaries together and co-ordinate your appointments.  This is all very impressive but is it helping your student?

At the beginning of the term or semester your student is given their assignments and due dates.  They are also aware of sports training and events they should be attending; forthcoming birthdays and family events; and school activities.  Showing your son or daughter how to use a diary is a valuable life skill to pass on to them.  Sitting down once a week (my wife and I use Sundays) and running through that week’s entries helps to co-ordinate lifestyles.

Remember: We are all given twenty four hours a day, how you use them is up to you.

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Tuition Tip – Let The Things Before School Be Play

Baby ReadingAre there things you can do to help your prodigy to become a person who thirsts for knowledge?

Lately I have been reading a book, “Proust and the Squid’ by Maryanne Wolf which addresses this question.  I would like to share some information with you.

THOUGHTS FROM THE BOOK – Reading and Learning

“The more children are spoken to, the more they will understand oral language.  The more children are read to the more they understand all the language around them, and the more developed their vocabulary becomes.”

“… many efforts to teach a child to read before four or five years of age are biologically precipitate and potentially counterproductive for many children.”  The reason for this is the myelin sheath (fatty coating around nerves to help electrical information to flow) in the angular gyrus (that part of the brain related to language, number processing, spatial cognition, memory and attention) is not sufficiently developed until five to seven years of age.  It develops in all children at different rates and in girls faster than boys.

Sometimes your five year old is just not ready for school and your young lad may not be ready until seven years of age.  By that time they are in year two or three and maybe well behind at school.  It is not that they cannot learn, it is just their brain was not ready for them to learn.  They can catch up, but by this time they may need some assistance.

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The Big Black Dog – Steffani (aged 10)

DogToday, at our school, it was sports day and we had a two hundred metre run and a long jump.  When it was a break a big black dog wandered in.  First thing the dog did was chase a group of kids around.  The dog also sat down with a group of girls and started to bark.  Eventually the dog was taken away.  At our school the fastest animal was the big black dog.

by Steffani (aged 10)

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The Blacksmith – Jack (aged 10)

blacksmithAs the village woke to the sound of a rundown crow the sun started its slow journey across the sky.  A fire started in the grimy blacksmith’s shop as a poor but honest man began his dawn to dust effort.  He passed a dirt encrusted window and in the corner of his eye observed the familiar castle that loomed over the poor village and was surrounded by a ten metre stone wall.  An old widow draped in a thread bear sack begged the blacksmith to fix her rusty hole-ridden cauldron.  “I can’t pay you.”  she said, but the blacksmith followed quickly by saying “Pay me when you can.”  As she hobbled away the blacksmith sighed and thought to himself that the only reason the village could not pay for his services was because of the dreadful king’s exorbitant taxes.

by Jack (aged 10)

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The Bad Day – Jemima (aged 7)

KoalaOne day a pretty koala climbed out of her eucalyptus tree, chewed some leaves and had a baby koala.  She named her baby Alexandra and together they went on a walk to visit their friend Jemima the possum and found her in the tree house having tea.  Alexandra and her mum were about to go home but the house was on fire and so they waited.  Three minutes later Jemima found a new house near a lovely waterfall, squeezed inside and they all had leaves for lunch.  One day Jemima and Alexandra and her mum played.

by Jemima (aged 7)

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The Rainbow Fish – Jack (aged 10)

Rainbow FishAt dawn deep in the ocean a submarine and ship collided attracting all the fish, especially the rainbow fish.  This curious fish swam up to the submarine and looked for an entrance.  He found a small crack and swam in.  He heard noises from inside a vault.  The noises startled him so he swam away quickly, accidentally bumping a lever.  To the sound of air rising, he realized that the submarine was resurfacing so he swam away.  Early in the morning the ocean was filled with cheers of relief.

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Tuition Tip – Write Because It Is Fun

Recently I purchased an electric bicycle after many years of riding a conventional push bike.  I also had some time on my hands and sought out Henry Lawson for some inspiration for a reply as to why I bought an e-bike.  Here is what we came up with:

My solution for "When my knees begin to go"  - An electric bike

My solution for “When my knees begin to go” – An electric bike

When Your Knees Begin To Go

When you doubt that rising road and the gears just don’t seem right,

And the fear of climbing keeps you tossing through the night.

You don’t know how to take it, or whether your mates would care;

Because in the past you were fast; the cyclist with all the flair.

There were no mountains, just long hills with every one to win,

No ride too long, no wind too strong; you took it on the chin.


Of late things have altered and they create a troubled mind

As you start to run out of steam and are being left behind.

I’ve noticed without exception, as no-one escapes this devil’s play

“The gears are wrong”, “The wind is strong”, “Was that a fast kay?”

Coaxing words to lift you from friends that gather around;

Are to no avail, your breath still fails as you give to them more ground.


When laborious legs toil the thoughts of torturous reason

The mind seeks solace of just what might be sports of a lighter season.

Is there a way a cyclist may still ride with the pack;

Or is there a time you will find you just can’t wind it back?

You too will face the passing of the people that you know

When the rides are long, the wind is strong and your knees begin to go.





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Tuition Tips – Getting Your Child Ready For School

Tutor and student

Small group tuition, it’s almost one-on-one


“A stitch in time saves nine.”  How do you know if your pre-schooler is ready for the next big jump into primary school?

Does your child understand these words – “above” “below” “on” “in” “before” “after” “beside” “first” “second” “last’ “stop” “go” “left” “right” “top” “bottom” “middle”?

Pre-school education should help young learners with their spatial skills and prepare them for primary school, but there are times when these skills are not acquired.  This is no reflection upon the child, though not having an understanding can place the young learner at a disadvantage when they first attend primary school.

Can you imagine the difficulty a young learner will have following the simplest of directions if they do not have an understanding of the words from the list above?  In our tuition room we are seeing more instances where the parents of children in Years 1 and 2 are seeking help because their little ones are not keeping up at school.  How can a student fall into difficulty at such an early stage of their education?

Let the early years be play.  Young children learn through play, being read to, and through song.  Have any of these three things changed in the last decade?  Do children play with other children or with their parents like they used to?  Are they being read to by an adult?  Do the songs they listen to teach them about the spatial world around them?

The things we do with our children before they attend school are just as important as the education they receive before they become adults.  If you can get the foundations right the structure is strong.

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