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Math learning toy numbers counting

It’s common to hear preschoolers reciting alphabet letters and even numbers. Many can even recite or “count” to 10 on their own. But is this really counting? Does it actually teach them anything about math? Recent research shows that this ability is simply memorization and doesn’t teach them to count or learn differences in amount any more than reciting the alphabet teaches phonic sounds. So, what should you teach them?

Give Real Examples

To actually learn any real math skills at a young age, a child needs to experience actual number sense. This means that instead of showing them the number, having them trace it and repeat its sound, they are given one object, like a toy car. Then give them another one and so on, counting as you add or subtract. When they begin to learn in real life situations like this, they begin equating a specific situation or setting to a specific number.

Sort

By age two, toddlers have the ability to sort or organize and even subitize. This helps to teach them comparisons and form the ideas of patterns and relationships. You will see them separate toy animals by kind, color, or size. By teaching your child to count and recognize the number of objects in those small groups and how they relate to one another, you are building their scientific inquiry skills.

Measure

Measurement Concept

This is continued even more when we draw on a child’s attraction with size. As we work with them to form relationships of bigger and smaller, we can begin to introduce the concepts of measurement, such as miles, inches, and/or pounds. This is one of the best and simplest ways to teach your child about math, as we use size constantly in every day life. And this helps to create a more compounded sense of logic and reasoning in children.

Speak of Space

Also important to early math skills is the language of space. Words like behind, over, under, in, circle, deep, next, front, triangle etc., not only allow children to understand the world around them better but also teach them spatial representation, giving them a foundation of math vocabulary terms. Make sure to point out spatial relationships when reading books, walking through the park, or even eating dinner.

Picture Patterns

Patterns are largely impactful on a young child’s mathematic abilities as well. Things like dance, visual art and movement patterns such as stop, drop, and roll help children to learn about making predictions, guessing and understanding what may come next and using reasoning skills, which is the basis of multiplication.

Encourage

The most important factor for any child learning math, or any subject for that matter, is a can-do attitude. If a child is to learn and master any skill, they need to be encouraged that they have what it takes to succeed. This attitude of self-efficacy that is learned as a child will most often carry them through their entire life, no matter what situation or subject they are dealing with. Be a constant support and place of encouragement to help them along.

Give your child the skills to succeed, give them encouragement and you will constantly be surprised at the accomplishments they can make. Sometimes, it all begins with just a few math lessons taught at a young age.

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How To Teach Persistence

At some point, every student finds a subject, an activity, or a situation that they no longer want to continue. It could be the new book they have been assigned in class or maybe the algebra problems they were sent home with. Maybe it’s a sport or musical activity. But we can’t let them simply quit. This is their education and it's too important. A little persistence can go a long way, but how you can get your middle or high school student to understand that and put it to good use?

Don’t Rush to the Rescue

As parents, it is difficult to see our children struggling, no matter what it is. And often times we find it tempting to come to their rescue and make it all better. However, that doesn’t teach them persistence. We all learn by trial and error. That means we have to give them a chance to fail and succeed on their own.

So instead of doing it for them, work through it together and ask them to do the thinking. If they never learn to do it on their own, they will never be able to solve their own problems. Life, in general, isn’t always fair or easy. Letting them work through these situations will teach them to persevere even if life isn’t being gentle.

Don’t Rush to the Rescue

Talk About it

Sometimes the best way to help them understand is to just talk about it with them. Hearing about the importance of persistence often can greatly benefit your child. If they are constantly hearing phrases such as, “I can do it,” “I won’t quit,” or “It’s always hardest the first time,” it’s much easier for them face problems with your positive voice in their heads. You might think of a family persistence mantra to say often, such as “Mistakes won’t get us down.”

Give them a Gentle Nudge

Pushing your child can be difficult for both parents and children, but it can make a world of difference. As creatures of habit, many of us, including our students, tend to stay in our comfort zone without straying too far. However, you can help your child by pushing them to try just a little harder, practice a little longer, and make it a little more challenging.

The key is to not push too hard or make expectations too great. A child will easily get discouraged and the lesson will be lost to them if are never able to reach your goals. A simple kitchen timer can work wonders here. For example, instead of only practicing their band instrument for 10 minutes, add another five minutes. And when they complain or grumble about it, remind them of their past achievements and give them encouragement.

When your child is feeling defeated and begins to say he can’t, make sure to remind him of all the times that he has. Use your family persistence mantra and give her a little nudge in the right direction. Your child needs to hear this from you and will benefit greatly from these persistence lessons that will last a lifetime.

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Math Practice

When we talk about teaching math concepts and ideas, repetition is the most common method used. Children are given sheets of the same type of problem to figure out, having them repeat the same actions over and over again. But is this the best way to learn such things?

Repetition and Simplest Form Learning

It’s a proven fact that learning happens as synapses fire. The brain does change structurally when we revisit ideas and learn deeply but repetition is not the only way to learn. Recent studies show that practicing the same functions over and over is, in fact, not helping you to learn the concept as a whole.

Those who are taught primarily this way learn to apply those concepts to one situation type only and it typically causes students to dislike the subject altogether. They learn to produce mindless and impractical answers and relationships, instead of being able to connect and reason as a whole.

This is further complicated by the fact that many teachers and/or text books only offer the most simplified version of the concept in isolation to anything else. These simplified versions are then practiced and drilled, causing boredom in most students as they learn to just accept the concept and repeat it, instead of learning the why behind it and where it might actually be used in the real world.

This can be seen when we look at how simple shapes are taught as well as mathematical equations and more complex ideas.

For example, students were asked to name the following shape.

Hexagon

It is a hexagon (a six-sided polygon), but most students couldn’t give this answer because they were taught that the proper shape of a hexagon looks like this.

Regular Hexagon

They were taught the simplest form of this concept and not to relate it to any other form. Over half of all students who took part in this study couldn’t give the correct response to this and other questions about similar shapes and concepts. When students only learn these simplest versions, they are not given the opportunity to really learn what the concept or idea is all about and easily form misconceptions about it.

Non-Example Learning

Teaching a variety of situations and definitions is important to learn and master each concept. So is the teaching of “non-examples.” These are definitions of what a concept is not. For example, when teaching the concept of the above-mentioned hexagon, teachers should also include examples of other polygons or shapes that are not hexagons. When teaching about mammals, giving examples such as a sparrow and teaching why it is not can be much more efficient than simply showing many examples of dogs and cats.

Giving students a more comprehensive and comparative learning method teaches them to differentiate between what is and what isn’t in a realistic way. They can then learn to apply that method to multiple situations and not just the simplest form or a perfect model.

Let’s make sure to teach in a way that gives children realistic expectations of what they can apply these important math concepts and ideas to. To learn more about Math help click here.

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I Love to Write Day

Writing is a huge part of education. During your child’s academic career, they will have written tens of thousands of words. These may be simple answers to everyday questions. They may be poems, short stories, letters, essays, and/or and thesis papers. And for school purposes, most do not like the task of completing them.

However, if you can instill in your child a love of writing or even a mild tolerance, you will be amazed at what they can create. I Love to Write Day is to use this and expand it. While it's not every child’s dream to write for a living, everyone does have dreams they want to see unfold. Many times, writing them down helps to solidify those aspirations and make them come to life.

History of I Love to Write Day

This day was started in 2002 by John Riddle, a non-fiction and self-help, Delaware-based author. John has been writing for over thirty years, with a total of 34 published books in his name. As many authors do, he has a great love of writing and the creativity it creates. Also, like many authors and writing-lovers, John would like others to take part in and learn to enjoy his passion as well.

That is why he created this day. It is a call to action; however, it is not meant to be overwhelming or too audacious. John stated that his goal for this day is to simply get all peoples from all ages and walks of life writing. It can be any length, any genre, and anywhere. Just something that puts your thoughts onto paper or in a computer and gets you writing. Who knows, this could be the start of your New York Times bestseller.

How to Celebrate the Day?

History of I Love to Write Day

Many different organizations including community centers, churches, schools, and even stores celebrate this day and use it to strengthen a child’s skills in writing and putting their thoughts into words.

Celebrating this day for yourself and your children is just as simple as it sounds. Write something. Don’t put limitations on it, such as length, style, or genre. Don’t think too hard about it, just write. Start a journal, write a poem, a letter, or a simple greeting or thank you card for your child’s teacher.

And don’t worry if it doesn’t sound amazing. Everyone has to start somewhere. J.K. Rowling didn’t imagine everything in her Harry Potter series in one writing session. She didn’t submit her work and get immediate approval. And she didn’t become a world-renown writer overnight.

If you or your child has big dreams, they will take time and effort before they may come to light. But the time to start is now, with just a line or two. Get those creative juices flowing. Before you know it, you may just have a masterpiece in your hands.

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Boy Doing Homework

We can all recognize the benefits of homework, even though we do not like it. We know it can help teach children about time management and give them a good foundation of study skills, as well as give them continued practice on subjects they are learning in class. But is there a point where we say it is too much? Or a child is too young?

Parents around the country are asking the same question. It comes as a response to seeing their students come home with what seems like mountains of homework and some of them are only just beginning their academic careers. Many parents and teachers alike are seeing some pretty negative results to this.

Some parents have reported their kindergartners coming home with up to 25 minutes of homework every day, their first graders seeing about 28 minutes of daily homework, and some second graders spending approximately 29 minutes a night on school work. It may not seem a like a lot of time compared to what some middle school and high schoolers see. But for a five-year-old who doesn’t have the capability to sit still for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time, this can be overwhelming.

And studies are proving it. Kids who report having over the recommended amount of homework on a regular basis tend to have more of a dislike for school, more behavioral problems, and more physical health issues as well, such as migraines, sleep deprivation, ulcers, and weight loss. Homework is literally stressing them out and making them sick.

Early education children should be spending far more time with their families, playing outdoors, and learning about life in general than stuck in a chair being drilled on math concepts. A healthy early childhood needs a balance of the two, proving that more is not always better.

How Much Homework Should They Have?

Homework doing by school student

The National Parent-Teacher Association or PTA and the National Education Association or NEA both agree on what is called the “10-minute rule.” This suggests that children should have no more than 10 minutes of homework each night per grade. So, first graders should have no more than 10 minutes of homework time, second graders should have less than 20 minutes of homework, and so on up to 120 minutes of homework time for high school seniors.

Luckily, we are not seeing an overabundance of schools giving too much homework yet. Recent studies show that only about 20% of schools report an average homework time over the recommended amount. These schools are most generally those in affluent communities, where parents and teachers are more likely to push students into the top schools in the country.

If you find that your child has what seems to be too much homework, there are ways to help them out without doing the work for them. Check out some ideas to help your child succeed here.

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Break Time

If you’ve ever helped a child with their homework, you’ve probably wished you could find ways to help them focus for longer periods of time. Focusing on a task is important to students’ success. However, research shows that taking frequent breaks can also help students process and remember material better than if they just powered through without a break.

As students get older, the amount of time they spend on homework increases. By the time they’re in high school, the average student is spending more than an hour a night on homework. We might think that the best approach would be to “focus” so that students sit down with their work and don’t get up until they’re done. But research has found that taking a mental break improves our performance even if a task is as short as 50 minutes. This is because looking at the same material without a break actually causes our brains to stop noticing the details of what we’re doing. So staring at an algebra problem for half an hour can actually make it harder for a student to figure it out. On the other hand, stepping away from an assignment to take a quick walk or have a snack helps to restore our focus on the details of what we see.

If we want children to develop healthy homework habits, it’s important to teach them the importance of taking effective breaks. The key is to build breaks in responsibly. It can be tempting to give children permission to step away from a project when they feel tired or when they become frustrated with an assignment. Although these are important times to take a break, students shouldn’t necessarily wait until they’re feeling negative emotions to try to relax. Instead, students should get used to working for a set period of time and taking scheduled breaks to help stay motivated and focused throughout a project.

So what’s the optimal time to work before taking a study break? Well that all depends on the student. Some students do well with a 5-minute break every 20 minutes. Others can study for an hour or more before taking a well-earned 10-minute break. If students are working on a long-term project, like SAT/ACT prep, they might take a short break after completing a certain number of problems. This can help them stay motivated and avoid burning out during the long months of study. (For additional help with studying for standardized tests, Best Brains offers specialized SAT/ACT instruction. )

The key is to be flexible. If you notice that your child focuses well for a little while and then struggles to stay attentive to tasks, perhaps the answer is not more focus, but more effective breaks. By giving them time to refresh between tasks, you can help ensure that they’re clear-headed and ready to tackle the next project.

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Clock image

There has been a recent shift seen in the starting times for many schools throughout the U.S. hundreds of schools have chosen to begin the school day much later than they previously had. Instead of starting the day at 7:30 or 8am, these schools are beginning classes closer to 9am. And the results are astounding.

Health Affects

It is a proven fact that children need more sleep than most adults. A healthy sleep schedule is important to the health and success of any child. Yet, most schedules do not allow for this. The recent changes to the school day allow for children to get participate in a sleep cycle that is healthier for them. This leads to better overall health such as a reduction in weight gain, diabetes, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, behavior problems, and mood swings just to name a few.

Safety Affects

These later start times allow for many students to travel to school in the light of day, whereas before they were getting up and walking or driving to school when it was still dark out without much adult supervision. This also means that students are not getting out of school as early, which decreases the amount of time they are left unsupervised or in the care of daycare or latchkey facilities until an adult gets off work. Starting school later has led a decreased number of adolescent students who get into trouble because they are not properly supervised or are still tired from their early morning.

Academic Affects

Studies have shown that students who don’t get enough sleep cannot do their best at school. It impairs memory, learning, and attention as well as their overall health and well-being. Schools that have chosen to start later are seeing a massive improvement in their students’ academics. This is shown not only in their overall grades but they are less moody, more alert, and much less likely to get into trouble and/or fall asleep in class.

Less Achievement Gaps

Those students that come from disadvantaged families may have even harder time with early mornings. If a parent has a fixed work schedule and/or no transportation, students who are tired and get up late may have no choice but to show up late to school or not be able to get there at all. Reoccurring tardiness, absences, and truancy lead to higher dropout rates in schools. As a result, the achievement gap becomes even larger and the cycle is bound to continue. With later school start times, these students are able to make it to class at the right time everyday with very little problems. Their scores improve and studies find that they are more likely to move on to successful careers as adults.

Could a later start to the school day be beneficial for you and your children? What about the area or school district as whole? Talk to other parents in your area. Maybe something can be done to help your students to succeed even more.

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Chinese New Year 2017

We just celebrated the New Year a few weeks back, now it’s time to celebrate one more new year.  Do you believe it? Yes it’s true, we are going to celebrate one more new year.

It’s the time to celebrate Chinese New Year, it means the year of the Rooster. It begins on Saturday January 28th and the year ends on February 15th, 2018. These dates change from year to year according to lunisolar Chinese calendar. The New Year is also called a spring festival.

These celebrations start the day before the New Year on Friday January 27th and will continue until the Lantern Festival which will be the 15th day of the New Year. The lantern festival is the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations. People walk under a Chinese lantern during these celebrations.

Each New Year is characterized according to Chinese zodiac signs. Chinese zodiac has twelve animal symbols and every year is characterized by one animal. This New Year is characterized as the year of the Rooster, which is the tenth animal in zodiac cycle. Since there are twelve animals in the zodiac the next year of the Rooster will again come in 2029.

Here are the Zodiac signs

Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

Significance of this New Year

Kids born during this year are described as confident, energetic, flexible, honest and intelligent. This is the generic characteristics of the people who were born during the year of the Rooster. People also carry the image as talkative and they will engage in activities which makes them familiar among people. They always enjoy the spot light and they feel happy when they are part of a group or a team. Apart from so many advantageous skills these people also have some disadvantages. The downsides are people will be seen as arrogant and rude and have the tendency to boast about their achievements.

Strengths & Weakness

People who are born in this year of the Rooster will be healthy, self assured and sporty. Weaknesses are they will be moody, sensitive in nature and stressed.

Lucky signs of year of Rooster

5, 7 and 8 will be their lucky numbers. Gold, yellow and brown are considered as lucky colors.

Southeast and South are the lucky directions. Gladiola will be the luckiest flower.

Famous people born during the year of the Rooster are Benjamin Franklin, Serena Williams, Eric Clapton, Roger Federer and Beyonce.

Things to be avoided during New Year celebration

Breakfast: People do not eat porridge on New Year’s Day as breakfast. Because of the reason that poor people eat porridge; people don’t like to start their New Year breakfast with it.

Medicine:  It is considered that people who take medicine on the first day of the new year will get sick for rest of the year.

Laundry: The first and second day of the year is the birthday of Water God Shuishen, so people do not wash clothes.

Washing Hair: People think that if they wash their hair on New Year’s Day that they are washing their fortune away.

Damaged clothes: wearing damaged clothes may also cause bad luck.

Certain Gifts: giving scissors, clocks and pears as a gift on New Year’s Day is bad culture.

Killing Things: Blood is Omen, so people don’t kill anything on this day. Killing things may cause misfortune and knife wounds during the rest of the year.

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Time Person of the Year - 2017

Person of the Year was called as Man of the Year until the year 1999.It is ayearlysubject of the United States News publication Time which features and projects a person, a group,an idea, or an object so as tofor better or for worse; has done the most to influence the proceedings of the year."

History

The process of selecting the "Man of the Year" has startedsince 1927, with Time editors by taking a look at the news makers of the year. This idea was also an effort to change the editorial discomfitureof the previous year of not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover upsubsequentto his historic trans-Atlantic flight. But, by the end of the year, it was determined that a cover story featuring Lindbergh as the Man of the Year would serve both the purposes.

Process of Selection

In spite of the name, the title is not just decided to individuals. The selection process not only included singles, whereas many pairs of people; such as married couples and supporting opponents, classes of individuals, even the computer ("Machine of the Year" in 1982), and "Endangered Earth" ("Planet of the Year" in 1988) have also been selected under the special year-end issue.

U.S. Presidents

Since the beginning of the list every serving President of the United States has been nominated as a Person of the Year and won the title at least once with the exceptions of Calvin Coolidge. Most of them were named Person of the Year either the year they were voted or while they were in place of work.

However the only one to be given the title prior to being elected was Dwight D. Eisenhower, in the year 1944 as Supreme Commander of the Allied Invasion Force, this happened eight years before his election. Eisenhower subsequently received the title again in 1959, while he was in the office. Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only person to have received the title three times, first title as president elect in 1932 and later as the incumbent president for the years 1934 and 1941.

Women who were in this part

During 1999, the title was changed to Person of the Year. Women who have been chosen for identification after the renaming include "The Whistleblowers" - Cynthia Cooper, Sherron Watkins and Coleen Rowley in the year 2002, Melinda Gates along with Bill Gates and Bono were jointly selected in 2005, and Angela Merkel in 2015. Earlier to 1999, four women were selected for the title as individuals: three as "Woman of the Year" amongst them were Wallis Simpson (1936), Queen Elizabeth II (1952) and Corazon Aquino (1986) and one as partially of the "Man and Wife of the Year", Soong Mei-ling (1937). The American Women" were acknowledged as a group in 1975. Other classes of people of the time comprise both men and women, such as "Hungarian Freedom Fighters"  in 1956, "U.S. Scientists" 1960, "The Middle Americans"  in the year 1969, "The Inheritors" in 1966, "The American Soldier in 2003, "You" in 2006, The Protester in 2011 represent on the cover by a woman, and "Ebola fighters" 2014. Though the title on the magazine remains "Man of The Year" for both the 1956 "Hungarian Freedom Fighter" and the 1966 "Twenty-five and Under" edition which featured both the women standing behind a man, and "Men of the Year" on the 1960 "U.S. Scientists" edition which absolutely featured all men on it's cover up. It wasn't until the 1969 edition on "The Middle Americans" did the title hold"Man and Woman of the Year."

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