Academics

A comprehensive look at high school academics. We cover grades, AP and IB courses, and the post graduate year. Learn the secrets of A+ students. Explore summer abroad programs, read interviews with experts and get valuable tips on excelling academically.
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How To Enrich Your Child's Education
We parents are responsible for expanding our children's horizons. We are responsible for showing and explaining things, concepts, and places they have never thought of. This article contains my roadmap for enriching your child's education.

It doesn't matter what grade your child is in or, for that matter, if she has not even started formal schooling. We parents are responsible for enriching our children's education. We are responsible for expanding our children's horizons. We are responsible for showing and explaining things, concepts, and places they have never thought of. What follows is my roadmap for enriching your child's education. While I am not a psychologist, I have raised four amazing children following the principles which I lay out in this essay. I was raised this way. So was my late wife.  We knew our method worked.

The Early Years

Playing classical music and reading are the foundations of an infant's education as far as I am concerned. I never believed that classical music made my children smarter. Indeed, The Mozart effect: Classical music and your baby's brain debunks that notion. But I do know that the music of Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven soothed my girls when they were infants. Furthermore, I continue to hear from listeners at the classical music radio station with which I am affiliated about how our classical music programming lulls their children to sleep.

In this video, Erica Goms fromeHow Health discusses how cognitive development in babies can be stimulated by simply playing with the baby and showing them toys.

Reading to your child develops her imagination. Those books which you read over and over to her become old friends. A lifelong habit of reading starts with

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How To Improve Your SSAT Verbal Score
The experts at Noodle Pros show us how to improve verbal scores on one of the most widely-used private school standardized admissions tests, the SSAT.

Editor's note: I asked the experts at Noodle Pros to show us how to improve verbal scores on one of the most widely-used private school standardized admissions tests, the SSAT. I am most grateful to Rebecca Scott, Clarissa Constantine, Travis Chamberlain, Karen Lister, Loren Dunn, Jonathan Arak, Garrick Trapp and Neil Seltzer for their invaluable advice and expertise. ~Rob Kennedy

1. Make learning vocabulary a family competition.

Pick two to five words a day and keep track of who in the family uses the words correctly the most. Players get extra credit for using 2 or more words in one sentence. The more students can hear words in context, the better they will be able to remember the meaning. Let your child choose the prize for the week's winner. To improve reading skills, have children read short online articles to you and explain what they mean. Ask what the main idea is and ask how the main idea is supported. - Rebecca Scott, 17 Years Tutoring

2. Study root words.

You may not know what malfeasance is, but if you recognize 'mal' you'll know that it has a negative connotation - Clarissa Constantine, 18 Years Tutoring

3. Create a word journal.

You don't have to know a new word every time you hear it, but you should write it down and then create a flashcard for each word. Memory tricks are helpful. Example: The mean truck driver was feeling truculent. - Travis Chamberlain, 15 Years Tutoring

4. Read articles, not vocabulary lists.

Lists

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The A-B-C's of Tutoring
Like most things these days, tutoring comes in a variety of methods and formats. We explore your options so that you can decide which one is right for you.

Having raised four children, I can tell you that occasionally you will have to think seriously about providing some kind of tutoring for your child. Now, don't confuse tutoring with the specialized help which your child will require if she has special needs or learning difficulties. That is a completely different situation. I have written about that in When Should You Consider A Special Needs School

Why does your child need a tutor?

Think of tutoring as that extra help your child needs to master a skill or to understand a concept. I know that you are probably wondering why your child can't get by with the teaching she receives every day at her school. Truthfully, her teachers may be providing about 90% of what she needs to learn something. Now, I am not knocking your child's teachers. The reality is that every child learns differently. And sometimes it simply takes a little longer for the light to go on, for that "Eureka!" moment we all have when suddenly we get it.

In this brief video Alex of Prepped & Polished offers three characteristics to look for when you engage a tutor.

Personally, I used to struggle with learning history in high school. It most likely had something to do with the very dry presentation of world history which was in fashion back in the early 60s. But history began to make sense when an expert lecturer used a timeline to explain the events

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7 Ways to Improve Your Math Scores
Add things up and you'll quickly find the answer- math is crucial both in academics and the real world. By following these strategies and following personal training programs, students can uncover their weaknesses and conquer math.
Add things up and you’ll quickly find the answer – math is crucial both in academics and the real world.                                                                                                                        
To progress through high school to college and beyond, you better make sure your math skills are strong enough to face the gauntlet of exams, SAT’s, and more. Mathematics not only opens up career opportunities, but helps students develop critical problem-solving skills that they can use the rest of their lives.
We spoke with some experts in mathematics and learning to get some quick tips on how to improve your math skills. “Math is used in almost all parts of our lives, from sciences and computers to music and art,” states Tanya Mitchell, the Vice President of Research and Development for brain training company LearningRx. Tanya says that math struggles often boil down to weak cognitive skills, and not genetics, gender, age or study habits. By following these strategies and following personal training programs, students can uncover their weaknesses and conquer math.  
 

1.  Write out your work. 

It may be basic, but writing out your work is an essential rule to doing great math. Alison Dillard, Owner, is a
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SAT Prep
SAT test prep takes time to do properly. We explore some of your options here.
The two main college admissions tests are SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and ACT (American College Testing). Each of these tests generates a high degree of angst for juniors and seniors. I suppose a certain amount of concern is justified especially if you have not been a good student during your middle and high schools.
 
What is the purpose of these tests?
 
Both SAT and ACT are deigned to assess a student's readiness for college level academic work.
 
"The SAT and SAT Subject Tests are designed to assess your academic readiness for college. These exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support, and scholarships, in a way that's fair to all students. The SAT and SAT Subject Tests keep pace with what colleges are looking for today, measuring the skills required for success in the 21st century."

This clip from the College Board explains what the SAT is.

Here is a brief description of what the ACT test comprises:

"The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in: English, Mathematics, Reading &Science
The ACT Plus Writing includes the four subject area tests plus a 30-minute Writing Test.
ACT results are accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the US.
The ACT includes 215 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, including a short break (or just over four hours if you are taking the ACT Plus Writing). Actual testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes
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We parents are responsible for expanding our children's horizons. We are responsible for showing and explaining things, concepts, and places they have never thought of. This article contains my roadmap for enriching your child's education.
This hub page lists over three dozen articles dealing with issues in high school such as academics and discipline.