# Tag Archives: peter kenyon tutor

## “U” is for Understanding the Curriculum￼

There has been some talk of late about the school curriculum and the changes it is going through.  These changes, like any change, cause ripple effects of anxiety on students, teachers and parents.  But what are the learning expectations of our young students?

I have been looking at www.australiancurriculum.edu.au for some guidance just so I, as a tutor, am aware and aligned with expectations.  I would advise popping onto the website and having a look.  Meanwhile I will give a brief summary focusing on maths as this is the area parent seek the most guidance from tutors.

# Year One

By the end of Year One a school student is expected to know the numbers to one hundred; skip count by 2, 5 and 10; and be able to locate numbers on a number line.  Simple addition is accomplished by counting on, re-arranging or performing partitioning.  Fractions are introduced as they learn to recognise “1/2″ and be able to tell the time to the half hour.

I mentioned only a small area of the curriculum as these are the areas I see most when a student is presented for tuition.  At this stage of learning any short coming in these areas may be made up by parents sitting down with their little one and turn learning into some form of game.  There are several aids available from various websites and suggestions on the Australian Curriculum site.

## Year 2

If you are a parent with a young student in Australia, then chances are you have your mind in a muddle as to education expectations.

In Year 1 students have mastered the numbers up to 100 and skip counting by 2, 5 and 10.  This year sees them progress even further on the number line as they move towards recognising and placing order to the numbers to 1,000, and investigate the number sequences of 2, 3, 5 and 10.  It is this year they explore the connection between subtraction and addition.

By the end of this year they will master reading a clock (analogue and digital) to the quarter hour using the words “to” and “past” appropriately.   They will be able to name the months of the year in the correct order as well as the seasons of the year.  They will be able to use a calendar to find the date and know the number of days to the month.

This is only a small amount that is on the curriculum and only relates to maths as this is the area, as a tutor, I see the most problems.  How can you help your child with their studies?  Do you remember this:“Thirty days has September, April, June and November,all the rest have thirty-one days clear,except February alone which has twenty-eight daysand twenty-nine each leap year.

## Year 3

“These are the best years of your life.”, self-assuring words spruiked by many a parent and teacher to seven-year-old students who don’t need reassurance after remembering their potty-training years.  They have just cruised through the first two years of primary school, they know all the numbers, the alphabet and can write their name; what else is there to learn?

Year 3 is where many young students realise their world will never be the same again.  It is during this year they discover numbers do not stop at 1,000 but continue all the way to 10,000 and they must know their order, place value, and be able to recognise if they are odd or even!   Not only that but there are numbers smaller than one that no-one told them about as they are introduced to the fractions 1/2, 1/4, 1/3, and 1/5.

When learning the multiplication table by heart for 2, 3, 5 and 10 no-one warned them about having to manage multiplying a two-digit number by a single digit number, without a smart phone.  In fact, they are expected to develop strategies to perform addition and subtraction in their head (mental maths).  Counting on, regrouping and partitioning are all strategies employed to perform mental maths.

It is during this year our students are introduced to metric measurement.  I hear very few complaints from students in our tuition centre about learning measurements.  I simply remind them that learning 1,000 metres equals one kilometre is much easier than remembering there are 1,760 yards to a mile, 22 yards to a chain, or 16 ounces to a pound.

Yes, there is a lot to learn in Year 3 (and this is only maths) and yes, these may be the best years of their life because Year 5 is ahead of them, but we won’t tell them about that yet.

By Peter Kenyon – Online Maths Primary Maths Tutor

## “S” is for Stressed Students

The ABC of Building a Better Student –

## Daily Diary Does the Deed

The year is going to progress whether we become involved with it or not.  Those students who don’t take control of time will have time controlling them.  It is these students, particularly Secondary School 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 or 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 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.

By Peter Kenyon: Online Tutor

## “R” is for Readiness for School

“A stitch in time saves nine.”  How do you know if your pre-schooler is ready for their 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, however 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 directions if they do not understand the words from the list above?  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 two decades?  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.

By Peter Kenyon: Online Tutor

## “Q” is for Questioning What the Eyes See

The Eyes Have It When 5 + 1 = 5

Some students are behind at school through no fault of their own.

They look at the work and don’t understand what is going on.  They ask themselves “Why am I the only person in this class who doesn’t get this?”  Eventually they begin to believe “I must be a real dummy I just don’t understand why I keep getting this wrong!” Their self-confidence disintegrates and at times their behaviour will follow.  After all, “What is the point of turning up every day if I can’t learn this?”

What is happening with this student?

What would happen if you saw the number zero as a one?  For one thing sometimes five plus one will equal six and other times it will equal five.  When you are in primary school and just learning about numbers and maths, things will become almost incomprehensible.  You won’t understand why sometimes ten is ten and sometimes it’s eleven.  Everything will become an exercise in guess work for you.  These students will also have trouble seeing decimal points, and fractions are just another language when your eyes skip over the line between the numerator and denominator.

That’s just maths.  When they read, “was” can become “saw” and whole lines are skipped because the eyes didn’t see the line to read it.  By the time they are Year 7 their reading comprehension is extremely low and there are gaps in their mathematics understanding because fractions and decimals don’t exist.

The problem is with their eye tracking.

Eye Tracking issues occur when the two eyes don’t move smoothly and accurately across a line or from word to word.  The student will often lose their place while reading, skip lines, misread short words as in “was” and “saw” and cut off the beginnings and endings of words.

Eye tracking issues are usually corrected by visiting a Behavioural Optometrist who tests for the condition and prescribes glasses that are worn until the condition is corrected.  Normal optometrists don’t usually check or test for this condition, so if your student has glasses and their schoolwork has not improved it may be time to visit the specialist.

By Peter Kenyon: Online Maths Tutor

## “P” is for Planners

Quite often students begin the year in a casual stride and who is to blame them? After all, they have just come off holidays (about 1 ½ months’ worth).

I come from a sports training background and understand that an athlete who wants to perform well will not take six weeks off their training year.  The repercussions are too great as they will lose too much form.  They must work too hard to get back to square one.

A dedicated rugby player will be maintaining his/her aerobic fitness with moderate exercise during the off-season.  When January comes around, they are ready to start full swing on improving their strengths, building on fitness and working on skills.  That is how you stay ahead of the pack.

Most learners will forget the last four weeks of learning over the six weeks of Christmas break. Pretty much everything learned in November is lost by the time they go back to school in January/February.

I often wonder why students don’t undertake the same planning when it comes to academic performance.  Most students and parents of students are willing to let the achievements of the final months of the previous year disappear through resting the brain after the school year.

The brain doesn’t need that much time to recover.  In fact, that length of time of recovery is detrimental.  The last month of knowledge learned prior to exams has been lost and must be relearned in the first month of the new year!

During the last two weeks of the Christmas holidays many students maintain their academic conditioning by working with their Academic Coach at after-school tuition.  Some use their coach (their tutor) to work on their weaknesses from last year while others use the time to get a head start on the subject they know is in the next year.

These guys, like their athletic counterparts, are staying ahead of the pack.  Is it worthwhile?  You bet it is.  They will go into the new year confident and stress free.  They have locked in with their coach who is helping them to perform at their peak.

We live in a competitive world and those who rise to the top are those who are willing to go the extra mile to achieve that result.  Time and effort are often put into young people with their sport, but will that effort bring a return on investment for them? Will these skills bring them an income? Most likely not.

If the same effort was put into their academic ability, or at least more evenly distributed well……

By Peter Kenyon: Online Maths Tutor

## “O” is for the Over-Worked Student

Many parents don’t realise they may be setting their children up for burn-out later in the year because they, as their child’s coach, have not planned their activities so their academic athlete may peak at the appropriate times (exams).

It is with the best intentions that many parents will fill almost every minute of their little one’s waking hours with sport, training for sport and transport to and from sport.  I am amazed at how many children are undertaking more than one sport a school term.  If you are a parent who is building a champion, please remember three things.

1. Training and playing sport are tiring, very tiring.  That is why great coaches don’t over-load their prized athletes.  They allow down time for recovery and for their protégés to spend time doing non-competitive recreational activities.
2. A tired student will find it difficult to concentrate in class.  Many students who participate in after school sports are still running around during the day at school.  Play is how they socialise with their friends.  An over-loaded student will take the  inactive time in the classroom to recharge the batteries with rest.  This will affect their learning.
3. In today’s world a person has a much better chance of achieving a high-income future with good grades than becoming a highly paid athlete.  It is best to plan a balanced week for your child.  Yes, sport is important, but it should not be the only focus to your child’s development.

Children are growing and that takes energy.  You can help by planning their week to include some down time when there is no running around, high energy sport or study.  Sometimes, it good to let them be themselves to develop their own interest.

By Peter Kenyon: Tutor

## “N” is for Nutrition

A child of any age is growing rapidly and needs plenty of food for energy and nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) to help supply the body with the building blocks to allow the cells to multiply and the body to grow.

The inability to concentrate, feeling listless, unenthusiastic and headaches are all signs of insufficient nutrient intake.  The body begins to slow down by mid-afternoon after a day of high activity and little nutritious food.

The best way to maintain high-energy output is to ensure a nutritious breakfast, a healthy lunch and perhaps morning and afternoon tea.  A healthy round of vegemite sandwiches with a glass of water or milk will ensure the B Vitamins for energy production are in the body to spur the brain into motion.

The chief function of B Vitamins is to act as spark plugs for the body to assist in converting glucose into energy for fuel.  They are also important for the functioning of a healthy nervous system and in helping to promote relaxation in stressed individuals.  Very few vitamins are found in a packet of potato crisps and a can of coke.  A person will literally obtain more miles out of a banana than soft drinks and chips.

The importance of Vitamin C can’t be over-looked.  The highest concentration of vitamin C in the body is found in the adrenal glands because it is required to make cortisol and adrenalin for conditions of stress.  But the next highest concentration is found in the brain.  Why would the brain require vitamin C?  So, the body may produce dopamine, serotonin and melatonin.  Vitamin C helps to keep your sanity as well as your collagen intact.

There are five essential nutrients for effective brain function, and this includes memory.  Many teenagers are low in iodine, as can be said about the general population.  It is readily found in some seafood but if you do not eat seafood then you must obtain it from another source.

Decades ago, iodine was placed in table salt so inland populations may have a non-seafood source of the nutrient.  If your family eats salt, then it may be beneficial to purchase iodised salt.  Other nutrients are omega-3 (from oily fish), iron (meat), zinc (almonds) and the B vitamins.

Two herbs gaining respect for their ability to aid memory are Ginkgo biloba and Gotu kola.  Ginkgo increases blood flow and fluidity to the brain.  Improved circulation aides brain function.

The quality of food is so important.  We do no good for our children when we give into their tantrums for low nutrient junk food.  Be parents to your children now and their friends when they grow up.

According to Henry Osiecki (B.Sc. Grad. Dip Nutr. & Dietetics) some symptoms of ADHD are like those of essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiencies.  Behavioural and learning problems, tantrums and sleeping disorders are common to both.  Supplementing with omega 3 has been shown to improve learning and concentration behaviour.

Other Nutritional Deficiencies in Learning – if your diet is inadequate then consider a quality multi-vitamin because:

B Complex

The functions of the B vitamins in mental alertness and energy are well established.

EFA – Omega 3 & Omega 6

Introducing fish oil into a youngster’s diet may do wonders for concentration.

Zinc

The functions of zinc and the immune system have been known for over 100 years.  Knowledge of its other functions is relatively recent.  Low levels of zinc are associated with low alertness, inability to think along abstract lines (learn a language e.g. English), mood and memory problems.

Magnesium

One of the most deficient minerals in the modern western diet.  Low brain magnesium gives unrefreshed sleep, causes easy fatigue (important for the Krebs Cycle of energy production), poor concentration and daytime sleepiness.

By Peter Kenyon: North Brisbane Online Tutor

## “J” is for Just in Time

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
―
Nelson Mandela

Is there a good time to seek out tutoring?  Does your son or daughter display any of these?

• Lacks confidence with schoolwork
• Becomes distraught about going to school
• Struggles with Maths
• Reads without interest or understanding
• Reads through punctuation marks or skip lines completely

Of course, these indicators are not the only signs for a cry for help.  Any change in behaviour or mood may be an indicator that moves you to further investigation.

One thing you should not do is shrug off these indicators as, “Oh, it is only a phase they are going through.” because chances are it is a phase they will not get through.  The cause, or trigger, of the change may vary from changing teachers to taking your children out of school for off-season holidays.  The latter has a considerable effect on children in Year 3, 5 and 7.

Years 3, 5 and 7 appear to be the years when new concepts are introduced in Maths, and probably other subjects.  But we, at the tuition room, see these years as the most influential to the student’s development.  Basically, a lot of new stuff is taught in Maths during these years.  Missing one or two weeks during the school period has a lasting and recurring effect on that area of knowledge through the following years.

Back to our original question, is there a good time to seek out tutoring assistance?

You would think Year 1 students would not require tutoring assistance, after all they have just started school and what have they learned?  Prep is used to prepare children for Year 1 and it is at this stage they learn the simple things like singing the alphabet, counting to ten or twenty and spatial skills such as left, right, in front, under, first, second, last and inside and outside.  Even colouring in pictures helps to develop the fine motor skills required to hold a pencil to form letters while learning to write.

Sometimes children miss some concepts, and this puts them behind during the first year because there is assumed knowledge in Year 1.  Yes, tuition does help to restore confidence to a Year 1 student.

It is always easier to help students who are in Year 2, 4 or 6 because these are the years before the next knowledge jump.  Catching them up in these years aligns their Maths knowledge for the next year jump in concept learning.  We have noticed the most distressed students who come to us are in Years 3, 5 and 7.

When is the best time to bring a student for tuition?  When you notice a change in behaviour that continues for more than two weeks.  There is generally a reason for that change and if it is related to learning then tuition may be your answer.  Having said that, it is never too late to seek out tuition.  We have had students in Year 8 that have received tuition to cover knowledge short falls from Year 5.  No, it is never too late to help a student who wants to be helped.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
―
Confucius

By Peter Kenyon: XtraMile Tuition Strategies Tutor

## “F” is for Foundations

If your child was an average student last year, chances are they will be an average student this year.  If they struggled with maths last year, they will probably be struggling with maths this year.  Nothing changes unless something changes.  What must change to improve your child’s grades?

The first thing that must change is someone’s attitude.  Children are children and they will not change unless they are given a reason to change.  Telling them to do better or to change their ways will probably not get the result you, as a parent, desire because they do not know how to change.  They are children, they are young, and have a limited frame of reference when it comes to change.  They must be taught how to change.  At this stage, the biggest change must be in you as a parent.  You must make the decisions for them, and then guide them along the path.

One of the biggest issues seen with students is they have problems with weak foundations.  They simply don’t know their multiplication tables up to their year level and they don’t have in place a memory of subtraction and addition of the numbers up to twenty (20).   No matter how well a student understands the mathematical concept they are being taught at school, if they can’t perform the foundations, they will not be able to solve the maths problem.  Continually getting the wrong answer whittles away their confidence.

Every student needs to build strong foundations.  You can’t have lasting structure without strong foundations.

By Peter Kenyon: Online Maths Tutor

## “E” is for Enough Sleep

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

And on the other side of the coin insufficient sleep will make children:

• Hyperactive.
• Lacking in confidence.
• Irritable.
• Inattentive; and
• Fall behind in class

If this sounds like your youngster then it is so easy to fix.

Much study has been devoted to knowing how much sleep is needed, or not needed, to remain healthy and productive.  The conclusion being “…. there is a lot of individual differences in what children and adolescents need to sleep to be at their best.” (Australian Centre for Sleep Education).

As a general guide, primary school students require between ten and twelve hours of sleep per day, while secondary (higher) school students get by with eight to ten hours each night.  Research has indicated children of any age will arise at about the same time each day so the difference in hours of slumber occurs at the time of going to bed.

What time should a child go to bed to be at their peak the next day?  To make this exercise easier and because Australian schools commence at 9:00 a.m. let’s assume our children get up at seven to start their day during the week.  This would require a primary school student to be in bed by 7:00 p.m. and no later than 9:00 the night before, and our secondary student in bed by 9:00 pm no later than 11:00.

The younger the child the more sleep required.  Students from grades one to three require closer to twelve hours of sleep each weeknight while those from grade four to six/seven may drop to needing ten hours of sleep.

Problems occur with teenagers as their bodies are not ready for sleep when the clock says it is time for bed and they stay up whiling away the hours until slumber overtakes them.  Unfortunately, the activities they do while waiting to sleep may not be conducive to bringing sleep on and they miss out on their required sleep quota.  They then go into sleep debt which they try to reclaim on weekends by sleeping in.  This problem may be compounded by staying up later during weekend nights to interact with friends and sleeping even more of the morning away to further knock the body clock around and make sleeping during the week more difficult.  As a parent, you must take control of this situation.

Children deprived of sleep, like adults, are hard to rouse and will feel sleepy during the early part of the day.  Unlike adults, primary school students will become more active during the day, though still be less able to concentrate.

Because they have become more wired, they will be less likely to fall asleep easily, thus becoming more sleep deprived.  Parents may have trouble identifying a young child who is not getting enough sleep because they are active.

Some home factors compound sleep deprivation in children.  Families in general are not going to bed as early as they need.  For one reason or another, parents are staying up later and as role models may be setting poor examples of a healthy lifestyle.

We see how the concentration of a child who has insufficient sleep is affected in our tuition room.  A student who the previous week was performing wonderfully on our program suddenly has low scores and answers very few questions.  When asked what they did the previous night the answer always involved a late night of movie watching, game playing, internet surfing or social media.  We have also seen how a poor student changes so quickly when they stop being tired.

You can take steps to create good sleep habits by cleaning up the bedroom and time leading up to retiring.  Some good sleep hygiene habits are:

• No T.V., computer, mobile phone or exercise 1 hour before going to bed.
• No T.V., computer, mobile phone in the bedroom.
• No coke or caffeine drinks 2-3 hours before sleeping.
• Set bedtimes and wake times and keep them to form healthy habits.
• As a parent, be a good role model and lead by example.
###### Visit the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep website for a more comprehensive read.

By Peter Kenyon: Tutor