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.
View the most popular articles in Academics:
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Contract Cheating
Contract cheating is more common than most of us realize. Finding somebody online to write essays or term papers is fairly easy to do. The way we parents counter immoral behavior like this is to discuss it frequently with our children.

The college admissions scandal of 2019 proved that cheating is endemic throughout the secondary and tertiary levels of education. Nor is cheating restricted to college admissions tests and applications. We find examples of it in the classroom, on term papers, projects, and more. I will omit a discussion of cheating in elementary school in this essay and cover it in another article. 

 

In 2011, when I read about students paying another person to take their SATs, I was appalled. What were they thinking? And how did they pull it off? Looking back on my high school and university years, I realize now that it was tough to cheat in the 50s and 60s. That was because all of the examinations that I took required us to write out our answers in pen. We didn't have multiple choice exams. No punch cards. I did occasionally hear of students who wrote out formulas on the palms or who looked over at a neighbor's answer book. But that was about it. Fast forward to the age of smartphones, and cheating has gone digital.

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College Prep: Are SAT & ACT Necessary?
Are the SAT and ACT essential for college admissions? The answer to that question depends on many things, not the least of which is your own personal philosophy of education. Some more answers here.

Should you send your child to a school which prepares its students to take either the SAT or ACT? That's a decision which you will face when you evaluate schools on your shortlist. At that point, you will have to choose schools which teach to the test or progressive school

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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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Recent Articles
Learn more about how the coronavirus can impact the financing of your child’s education.
Our children's education is a critical concern. That's why we elected to send our kids to private school in the first place. However, this COVID-19 virus is controlling everything. And it will continue to do so indefinitely until we have vaccines to protect us. With that in mind, here are five things you need to do when you are a parent with children in private school during this horrific pandemic.
If you are thinking about private school for your child in the aftermath of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, you should exercise even more due diligence than you usually would. More here.