Positive Study Habits Best Learnt Early in Academic Life

A study of Australian university participation rates conducted in 2018 found that one in five students are more likely to drop out than complete university. A number of causal factors were identified such as changing to a different university or course, deferring with the intention to return in the future and others. Sadly, failing courses was also a factor and this was tied to a student’s lack of readiness for university life. Many students, after being in a very structured and supported environment for the previous twelve years of their schooling, have simply not developed the self-discipline and the range of study skills needed for university level education.

There are a number of personal skills necessary for success at a university level that should be developed during primary and secondary school. Parents with children who expect to go through to university should be looking at using personal tutors to assist with establishing the routine and discipline needed in the years to come.

It is absolutely essential for young students to learn the positive study habits they will need to do well in an unstructured environment, both at university and also in the work force. Many workplaces these days are built around self-directed work teams, with generic overall targets the only guide what needs to be achieved. If people haven’t learnt self-management skills earlier in life, they can be left in a turmoil of indecision that affects their job performance.

Self-discipline is a major part of this equation, and personal tutors can provide young students with specific tools that help them develop this part of their study habits. Such tools as time management and timeline graphs to keep track of progress against a work rate calendar, keeping a study diary, regularly scheduling lesson and study time using modern technology such as Outlook, which gives reminders each time it is accessed, are all techniques that a personal tutor can demonstrate and assist the student to set up.

For a student, planning a study timetable and sticking to it is no different to the discipline required by elite athletes, musicians and other professionals who become expert performers in their field through constant practice, correction of errors and coaching by others. This is the same process that personal tutors use to assist their students to put some structure around their study and help them identify and acquire the additional skills needed to succeed.
While the study was not necessarily an overall black mark against Australian universities, as for example, financial hardship was also a factor that contributed to the high dropout rate, it highlighted an area that can be addressed earlier in a child’s study life.

Personal Tuition for the Overachiever

There are many students already at the top of their class who use personal tuition to achieve a level of education over and above their current grade. They may be aiming higher to get a scholarship or for the super-competitive, just to test themselves against their peers. As a professional sports person uses a trainer to hone their skills, a personal tutor can assist a student who is already performing to develop beyond their current level. The benefits of this type of support are immeasurable, and the rewards for the student include having access to opportunities and career paths that may have previously been closed to them.

By spending time with the student on an individual level, a personal tutor is able to develop a personalised study environment that suits the student’s learning style, and fits in around other activities in their life. The tutor can also assist to identify goals and encourage the student to develop a set of learning tools such as structured study habits, sound time management and the ability to prioritise.

It should be understood here that an overachiever does not necessarily equal happy and successful. It is possible to be academically brilliant at the expense of social and personal relationships. This is an area that a personal tutor could assist the student with, by helping them to identify the real driving forces in their life, and channel those energies into vocational and career choices that not only give them the professional accolades they crave, but also the personal rewards as well.

Overachievers often need a steadying force in their lives, as their core emotional drivers can easily overwhelm them and send them in a direction they may not really want to go. Sometimes a parent, older sibling or teacher can be that steadying force, but in the absence of any of these influencers, a personal tutor can provide valuable guidance in this role. The nature of the relationship provides opportunities for learning exercises that can not only enhance academic performance but also personal development at the same time.

It is important in these situations to ensure that the choice of a personal tutor is well considered and researched. A smart tutor is essential, but it is just as important to ensure a reasonable match of personalities and temperament between the potential tutor and the student.

There is no doubt that personal tuition can assist the overachiever to higher levels of academic performance. However, it can also, in the right hands, help to ground the student and provide them with self-management techniques that will be useful throughout life.

Reading – The Ultimate Escape

Have you ever felt bogged down, perhaps in a rut or maybe even overwhelmed with what life has dished up to you at the moment? Sometimes, and often without reason, people can be overcome with a desire to just run away, escape and hide from the world. For a lucky few the possibility of real, physical escape is a possibility, but fear not, there is an escape for the average non-millionaire also; perhaps even a better one. It costs nothing but time to visit a local library and discover the next reading adventure.

Books are so much more fascinating than films. Reading a book, there are no boundaries to imagination such as those set by movie directors, who engineer every scene to perfection which leaves no room for a personal idea of the character or the exciting mystery of imagining their voice, or mannerisms or everything about them. Reading, however, is a personal creation, guided by the words of an author but brought to life in vivid technicolour by the mind of the reader. The most magnificent scenery can be conjured up, the heroine can be as exotic, demure and as gorgeous as the mind’s eye can imagine and of course, the hero can be oh, so handsome and debonair. If the story is sad there is no rule against skipping to the end to ensure a satisfactory conclusion. Sometimes that is the best way to read some books as the only great part is how they manage to untangle their web of intrigue.

It is surprising how reading can develop someone’s outlook, broaden their horizons, and challenge their ideas and ideals. For many people it can be a dauting feat to attempt to conquer a novel 1200 pages thick, but therein lies the beauty of reading; there is something on offer for everyone. Stories of fairies and faraway places reach out to tickle the imaginations of some readers whereas other bookworms search for autobiographies to be inspired by the lives of real people. Either option can introduce new, rather more obscure people and their battles, scars and triumphs of life to those who flick through the pages of these stories. If one tires of a particular genre, there is infinitely more waiting to be discovered.

Reading truly is the ultimate escape. At the beginning it’s probably not all that significant what you read as long as you’re reading. It is as you read that you discover the world around you, its enchantment and the people who make it go around. Have an escape soon.

Personal Tutors Give High School Graduates a Flying Start at Uni

There are many challenges to be faced when undertaking university study for the first time. Of course, the obvious ones are all connected with the subject material, and the demands of studying and submitting assignments at a much higher level than required at the secondary education level. Some of the not-so-obvious challenges centre around a student’s personal level of preparedness, often associated with maturity but also with the student’s readiness to be self-directed for much of the time. This is a completely different environment to secondary school in which there is a consistent structure around timetabling and immediate feedback from teachers when assignments are not handed in on time.

University study is much more self-directed and requires a student to organise their own study and assignment preparation time. For a person recently graduated from high school, who is accustomed to being directed and prompted by teachers, this is a new experience, and one that would benefit from starting university with a personal tutor.

For a person new to tertiary study, there are several benefits of engaging a tutor very early in the university calendar to set the student off on the right path. An investment in a personal tutor at this stage could be the difference between success and failure, for both the gifted student and the average performer who has to work hard for every credit.

One of the most important attributes a student must develop to be successful at a university level is that of organisation. If the student hasn’t been well trained at high school in using standard time management tools, such as electronic calendars and organisers, task reminders, personal year planners etc., they are already at a disadvantage. One of the first tasks they must do is plan their university year, making sure all lectures are noted, assignment due dates identified and slotted in, and time set aside for study and assignment preparation.

Once this is done, they must develop the discipline to consult these tools every day to keep track of their progress. This is where a personal tutor is absolutely invaluable. Not only will the tutor assist with this pre-planning but will also support the student to manage the large study load. The tutor will check the student’s academic progress to identify any weak areas and ensure that the student is keeping up with the timetable.

Without the structure and immediate feedback from teachers that the student has relied on for twelve years of schooling, it is easy for a new university entrant to flounder. Having a personal tutor gives them an extra person to monitor their progress and takes the load off the parent or guardian.

Get a Head Start on the School Year with a Personal Tutor

We all know that the start of any new venture or experience is exciting but at the same time tinged with apprehension, as everything that lies before us is an unknown. When that start is a positive one, the rest of the experience tends to follow the same pattern; but if things go awry, it can be difficult to recover the situation. This applies as much to children as adults and with the new school year upon us, most parents will be looking for every opportunity to give their children the best possible start, as a negative one will be difficult to overcome.

With this in mind, many parents are getting ahead of the game by engaging a personal tutor for their children to kick off the school year. Rather than wait for the first reports to come back to them, which could be some months into the year, they are taking the proactive approach and starting good study habits up front.

This is an excellent strategy because often it is only in the first round of school reporting that many busy parents become aware that their child is not achieving at the level they had expected. The child may be doing their homework or set assignment tasks seemingly without difficulty, so the parent thinks that everything is going along smoothly. It is only when the reports start arriving home that they realise things were not quite the way they appeared. Unfortunately, by the time they become aware, several months of the school year have already passed, and bad habits or attitudes have become ingrained.

They may also find that their child is having emotional issues, but may not connect the changes in behaviour with academic issues until the first formal round of school reporting. This is very damaging for their child who, by this time, will have endured weeks of anxiety and feelings of helplessness when all they needed was some additional help with their studies during out of school hours. For example, if they are struggling with maths, a maths tutor will design a program for their needs that will build on what they are learning at school to reinforce the work being done with their teacher.

Starting the school year with a personal tutor gives a child confidence in their own ability, assists them to work through the parts of the curriculum that are causing them difficulty. A good head start, and development of positive habits, helps bring them to a point where they could actually be ahead of their peers. What better way is there to begin the school year?

Beating the summer slide

Summer holidays, a time when the kids lounge around the house all day, playing video games, watching TV, or generally being lazy. It’s great that they are having some downtime after a full on year of school, but too much brain-numbing activity can be damaging to their learning. A study by Oxford Learning claims that your child could lose up to a month’s worth of learning due to the summer holidays. So what can you do to stop all that hard work from being wasted? Here are a few ways to avoid the summer slide.

Get some toys for the brain 

A great way to make sure your kids are learning while having fun is to encourage them to play with toys that will also stimulate their brain. Put away the Xbox and pull out a puzzle or a Rubix cube.  These are activities that activate logical and mathematical thinking. If your kid insists on playing video games there are educational apps available. This is also a good opportunity for you to enjoy some bonding time together by engaging in some friendly competition and challenging your child to beat your high score.

Board games can be great for getting your kids thinking, plus they bring the whole family together for some wholesome fun. Try playing some Scrabble to work on word skills or modify some other classics like Yahtzee! by adding in some math problems.  

Read, Read, Read! 

 Oxford Learning found that over the Christmas holidays up to two months worth of reading skills can be lost. Making sure that your child continues reading over the holidays is important to their academic performance when they return to school. There are a few ways to encourage your child to read. One way is to read to your child. Show them just how much fun books can be. Don’t be afraid to be silly and act out certain parts of the book – just have fun with it. If your child is too old to be read to maybe you could show them a movie, such as Harry Potter or Lord Of The Rings, and see if that inspires them to read the books. Another fun way to encourage reading is through a library. Take your kids wandering through the aisles of books. Let them choose whatever interests them and borrow it out. Reading is fundamental to a child’s education so it is important to retain those skills during the holidays.

Try incorporating learning into day to day activities 

One point that comes out of our Making Math Fun blog, is that one of the best ways to stimulate learning is by making learning opportunities out of everyday life. Try baking with your child, and asking them to count and measure out the ingredients. Alternatively, create a scavenger hunt with education-based clues.

Get a tutor   

A great way to make sure your kids don’t experience the summer slide is to keep their education going through the summer with a tutor. A tutor can allow them to catch up on problems they may have had in the previous year and give them a head start on the next year. Tutoring doesn’t just have to be on curriculum material either. Your kids can use the holiday time to explore an interest in science or history not covered at school. Contact Grace Simpkins Personal Tutors today and see how else tutoring can help your child.  

The importance of continuing tuition when entering high school 

Your child has gotten through primary school and their academic prospects are looking up, so why continue tutoring? If you originally hired a tutor for your child because they were struggling, it may be tempting to stop these sessions when you see improvements in their grades. However, when it comes to tutoring, consistency is key. It’s not just about improving their grades, it’s about giving your child confidence and the chance to actually enjoy themselves while learning. Here are some more reasons why your child should continue tutoring into high school.

Moving into high school can be tough  

A lot is changing in your child’s life. The school work will be getting tougher, they are surrounded by new people in a new place and soon they now have to seriously think about their future. Keeping your child in tutoring can help provide a point of stability for them over this difficult transition.

Build Confidence 

Confidence is vital to your child’s future success. Confidence will help them build meaningful relationships and lead a happier life. Providing a safe environment for your child to build their confidence is important, and regular tutoring sessions can provide this environment. Personal tutoring can give your child a chance to ask more questions and gain specialised attention towards areas they may be confused with. A little confidence can go a long way when it comes to academic success.  Providing your child with regular tutoring sessions throughout high school will allow them to maintain their confidence even when schooling gets more challenging.

Broaden Horizons 

One unique benefit that personal tutoring offers for your child is the ability to go off the curriculum. A personal tutor can foster and grow your child’s interests in more specialty subjects. If your child has an interest in history, why not get a tutor that specialises in history allowing them to broaden their interest further than school ever could? Or if they have an interest in Japan, why not get a language tutor to teach your child Japanese? Customising your child’s tutoring to complement their interests and strengths is a great way to supplement their education and open doors for them in the future.

 Improve University Prospects 

Now that your child is in high school, it will be no time at all until they are applying for university. Depending on your child’s interests, a university course can be tough to get into with poor academic performance. That’s why it is even more important than ever to continue improving your child’s performance in school through tutoring. While tutoring can allow your child to go off curriculum and develop their interests, it can also allow them to focus on getting that prized place in their desired university course. Continuing tutoring can help your child achieve their dreams.  

 It is important during the shift between primary and high school to keep some level of continuity. The best way to do this is to continue your child’s tutoring. Tutoring will improve their confidence and their academic performance setting them up to succeed in university. If your child has already partaken in some tutoring sessions with Grace Simpkins Personal Tutors, give us a call today so we can discuss a tutoring schedule that will benefit your child in the next stage of their education.  

5 Ways To Make Maths Fun!

Everybody knows Maths sucks! It’s hard and boring and when in the real world will you need to know how to do long division? At least that’s how most kids think. But the reality is that maths is everywhere and it’s an extremely useful skill that helps us make sense of the world. Some kids may find Maths fun naturally, but for others it is just a drag that is hard to get through. With today’s education curriculum it is impossible to avoid Maths, so why not make it fun instead? Here are 5 ways you can make Maths fun for kids.


  1. Use Games

Kids love games, this is one of the best ways to keep their attention. You can use games to get kids engaged in Maths without them even realising that they are learning. Turn already well loved board games that revolve around numbers into a learning experience just by adding Maths problems. Take Uno for example. Have the students multiply, add, subtract or divide with the numbers on the cards whenever they play. Or you could play Yahtzee and get the kids to complete a maths question based off of the numbers on the dice. There are so many more games that you can augment with extra maths, and you can even make up your own. The kids won’t even realise they are learning they will be having too much fun!


  1. Utilise Screens

Screens are no replacement for pen and paper when it comes to learning. But they are everywhere, and when used well they can be a great way to make Maths fun. There are plenty of fantastic apps that will teach Maths while being fun for the kids. Apps like Dreambox or Mathville are fun ways to get kids to practice a range of Maths skills from the basics to more complicated equations. Games on the internet are great too and are generally free. Sushi Monster, AplusMath and Math Playground are three great games that can be found on the web.


  1. Use Food

Something fun to do for younger kids is learning with food. Let your kids play with their favourite foods by dividing it, creating fractions, adding or subtracting all on the plate. It’s hands on and a little bit messy but they will be enjoying themselves immensely. Another fun way to use food to practice Maths is by using recipes. There are plenty of great no-bake recipes, if you don’t want to use ovens, that are delicious and fun to make. Put Maths problems into the recipes and then challenge the kids even further by making them double, triple or even quadruple the recipe. It’ll be fun, messy, and best of all delicious, all while learning Maths.


  1. Get Outside

Outside play is fun, refreshing and healthy for kids. It can allow their imaginations to flourish, and can be a great time to learn some Maths while they are there. You can use some classic outside games here with a Maths twist to get the kids having a tonne of fun. Take hopscotch and turn it into a little Maths puzzle, or better yet set up a scavenger hunt. Create some clues that require a Maths puzzle to complete and place a sweet prize at the end of it. The kids will be be learning, while getting exercise and having the time of their lives. It’s win, win, win!


  1. Bring in Real Objects

Chuck the workbooks aside and give the kids some real objects to test out what they have learnt. A great way for kids to learn is through play, and if they can test their Maths knowledge on a physical object it will allow for a richer, more enjoyable experience. Bring in blocks, Playdough, or Lego and watch their imaginations go wild all while they test out new Maths problems. Set up some challenges and let them complete it in a practical hands on way. This demonstrates to kids that their are fun and practical ways to use Maths in everyday life.

4 Reasons to Get a Second Language Tutor

Learning a second language may seem like a daunting task for your child, but you will be surprised by how it can enrich their lives. It can be a fun and rewarding experience, building their character and widening their mind. When paired with the right tutor it won’t be as scary or difficult as you and your child may have first thought.

Here are four reasons your child should learn a second language.


  1. Increased cognitive abilities

Research by Harvard Professor Maria Polinsky has shown that learning a second language can provide a boost to your Child’s cognitive abilities. There could be a boost to creativity, problem solving and critical thinking, giving your child a head start in school.

Your child could also become a better multitasker as they are constantly switching between languages which builds this ability.  


  1. More open to diversity

Learning another language often comes with being exposed to a new culture. Your child will have the chance to explore the differences and similarities of this new culture compared to their own. This will allow them to be more open minded and develop their ability to put themselves in another’s shoes.

Learning another language will also enhance their sense of wonder and a desire to explore the world and better understand new cultures will pull your child into a brighter idea of the world.

With a second or third language, your child is better equipped to thrive in an increasingly global society.


  1. Higher self-esteem

Learning a new language will improve your child’s self-esteem. As they become more fluent and comfortable with the new language they will be able to feel proud of their skill and show it off to friends and family. It will also give your child more opportunity to connect and communicate with others as they grow and move in the world. Being able to connect is one of the fundamental elements of having high self esteem.  


  1. More vocational opportunities

Learning a second language opens the world up to your child. Not only does it allow them to become more “worldly”, it creates opportunities to work and study overseas. Your child will get a head start in their applications to world class universities allowing them to thrive in their future career. They can explore exciting new places in the world while studying, just because they can speak the language.

The earlier your child learns a new language the bigger the impact it will have on their lives. So get a head start on their future and get a great tutor that can help make learning a new language fun and start them on a path to success.

How choosing the right tutor can help build self-confidence

Most parents don’t need to be convinced that tutoring is important. Any parent who has seen their child’s grades improve after dedicated tutoring sessions will attest to it. However, choosing the right tutor has an impact on children beyond their next test or due assignment. The qualities and confidence that can be imbued into students with the right tutor will carry them through their entire academic career and beyond.

School is complicated.

Confidence can take a hit in the classroom. We’ve all been there – social pressures, large class sizes, a teacher who needs to move quickly through a set curriculum – there are plenty of factors working against students’ ability to reach their full potential.

When children begin falling behind, their frustration can lead to an unwillingness to try, and therefore an inability to catch up. Even students who aren’t struggling can experience anxiety when participating in class, preventing them from truly excelling.

To get the most out of the classroom, students need to have a solid educational foundation, and more importantly, the confidence and motivation to get fully involved. In last year’s National Tutoring Survey of Parents, 91% of parents believed tutoring boosted their child’s self-confidence.

But not all tutors are created equal.

Tutoring comes in all shapes and sizes. Tutoring sessions that focus too heavily on workbooks or computer programs can end up feeling just like another classroom, doing little to inspire.

Even in a one-on-one tutoring situation, inexperienced or uncaring tutors may be able to improve an assignment grade or help a student pass a test, but in the long term can reinforce a disengaged attitude. A student who is bored and uninterested in a tutoring session is going to be bored and uninterested in a classroom. A good tutor will endeavour to create a culture of excitement around learning, improving confidence. This leads to a more active and engaged student, one who participates and drives their own education. And the right tutor will build a personalised learning experience for each student, understanding their learning style, the gap in their knowledge, and what they want to achieve.

Improve a child’s confidence. Change their life.

Better grades are a great short term benefit of tutoring, but shouldn’t be the only focus. Whether they are struggling with a subject, or want to push forward to academic excellence, all students can benefit from the personalised attention that can only be achieved with one-on-one tutoring. This foundation can inform students’ development into adulthood, letting them pursue their dreams through tertiary education and out into a competitive workforce. Grace Simpkins Personal Tutors offers personalised, one-on-one tutoring all across the country – with in-centre, in-home and online options. Contact us now to choose the right tutor and start your child on their journey to higher confidence and a fully realised future.

How a tutor can help set realistic goals

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

In schools there is a keen focus on setting academic goals, though there can also beencouragement towards setting interpersonal goals or goals related to emotional resilience. What is important, however, is to understand how nurturing effective goal-setting behaviour from a young age can shape the rest of your child’s life. By knowing what they want to achieve, students know what they have to concentrate on and improve.

In a classroom with students of varying needs and with a limited amount of time to work with each of them, a teacher is sometimes hard-pressed to develop individual goals for each student. Your child could be relegated to achieving the stock standard goals for the whole class. This is where a tutor can help change your child’s life.

Create long-term vision and short-term motivation.

Tutors can help set goals that are focused on bettering the overall academic prowess of your child, but also, goals that are realistic and achievable. Having sharp, clearly defined goals with a plan towards achieving them, which students can measure, will allow them to take pride in accomplishing those goals. Teaching students how to set goals can be divided into three parts: first, students set realistic goals, then a step-by-step action plan is developed to help them attain their goals, and finally, students then reflect on their progression towards reaching their goals.

Why is teaching students to set realistic goals so important? If a child normally gets Ds in maths, then it may be overwhelming to suddenly be pushing for an A. The fear is that a child who makes an unrealistic or poorly defined goal will not be successful and then feel disappointed in their perceived “failure.” If a student receives Ds in maths, then it is probably more attainable to first try to achieve a B on the next maths test and then work towards the A after that.

Plan the work. Work the plan.

Once tutors have worked with students to set a realistic goal, the next step is to develop an action plan that makes the goal more achievable. A realistic plan does not not only include a set timeline and end date, but also “mini” goals to reach along the way. Finally, students are to reflect upon their journey and whether or not they achieved their goal. It is important to discuss with students that not everyone may reach their goals—this may be due to lack of effort, difficulties along the way, or circumstances beyond their control. The important thing is that they are accountable for their actions, and they shape their own journeys.

Too often, students only focus on the end point instead of considering the entire journey. The key lesson for students is that determination, hard work, and reflective thought is needed in order to recognise an area for improvement and actively work to accomplish a change. This helps them develop a more positive attitude towards any challenge that life might throw their way.

At Grace Simpkins Personal Tutors, your child is being set up for the future they want. With one-on-one tutoring, you can ensure that your child is getting the guidance they need to live out their potential. Contact us now to find the best tutor for your child, and set them up on a path to success.