6 Signs Your Child May Have a Learning Challenge

During the elementary-school years, a child’s learning difference becomes more apparent. Youngsters must absorb new vocabulary words at the same time that academic demands increase. Kids who are struggling can fall way behind. To identify a potential learning challenge, ask yourself:


  • Does your child have uneven skills — performing well in some areas, struggling in others? Success in one area shows he has the intelligence and maturity to read, but he might have a learning disability that prevents him from recognizing word sounds and linking them to letters.


  • Can she decode grade-level texts as well as write simple, coherent sentences? At this age, a child should be reading on her own, as well as writing about what she has read, using accurate spelling. If her progress in acquiring these basic skills is slow, she lacks strategies for reading new words, or she stumbles when confronted with multi-syllable words, you need to find out if this is because of a learning disability.


  • Does he mispronounce long, unfamiliar words? Speech should be fluent. A child who hesitates often, peppering his speech with “ums” and pauses or struggles to retrieve words or respond when asked a question, is sending important clues about a possible learning disability.


  • Does she rely heavily on memorization instead of learning new skills? By 3rd grade, your child should be able to summarize the meaning of a new paragraph she just read, as well as predict what will happen next in the story.


  • Is his handwriting messy, even though he can type rapidly on a keyboard? Misshapen, wobbling handwriting can be a sign that your child is not hearing the sounds of a word correctly, and therefore is unable to write them down.


  • Does she avoid reading for pleasure? And when she does, does she find it exhausting and laborious? This could be a sign of a learning disability.


What to Do Now
Schedule a conference with your child’s teacher, the school support staff, and your pediatrician to get their perspectives on whether your child has a learning difference. Together, you can decide if your child should be formally evaluated for a learning difference or if other steps can be taken first — perhaps moving him to a smaller class, switching teaching styles, or scheduling one-on-one tutoring or time in the resource room.


Don’t be shy about asking questions: Is your child’s progress within the normal range? Why is he having all this trouble? Should you consult another specialist (a neurologist, a speech-and-language expert)? Trust your gut. If you’re not getting the answers you need, find someone who can give them to you. Meanwhile, at home:


  • Help your child flourish: She needs to know that you love her no matter what, so put her weaknesses into perspective for her. Empathize with her frustration (remind her of some of your own school difficulties), and reassure her that you’re confident she will learn to deal with it.


  • Focus on what he does right and well: Does he love to paint or play baseball? Make sure he has many opportunities to pursue and succeed in those activities, and let him overhear you tell Grandma how well he played in the last game. Prominently display his trophies or ribbons.


  • Start a folder of all letters, emails, and material related to your child’s education. Include school reports as well as medical exams.


  • Collect samples of your child’s schoolwork that illustrate her strengths as well as her weaknesses.


  • Keep a diary of your observations about your child’s difficulties in and out of school.


  • Help him set up a work area at home as well as the materials he needs to study.


  • Show her how to organize her backpack and how to use a plan book for assignments.


  • Coordinate with teachers so you can practice at home the skills he learns at school.



Homework Habits for Beginning Learners

The goal of homework is to help students remember and understand what they learned in school that day. For children ages 5 through 7, it can also help teach them independence, responsibility, and time-management and planning skills, all keys to success in the real world.

A little homework can go a long way and 10 to 20 minutes each day for children in kindergarten through second grade is seen as most effective, according to the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA).


Here are some successful homework habits to get your children on the right path:


1. Set the stage. Your children need a quiet, well-lit, clutter- and distraction-free spot to do their homework. This should be the same place every day, whether it is at the kitchen table or at their desk in their room. That means the television is shut off, even for you. In fact, take this time to work on a quiet task of your own, whether it’s paying bills, reading the newspaper, or planning the next day. Make sure all the materials your children need to complete their homework are within arm’s reach, including pencils, paper, crayons, or anything else.



2. Time it right. Homework for young children should be done when your child gets home from school, while the information is still fresh in their minds and when they have ample energy. Have your kids eat a little snack and talk about their day with you and then have them start their homework. Schedule the extra-curricular activities for later in the day so kids can get their homework done first. For beginning learners, now is the time to establish that homework is more important than dance class, soccer practice, karate, or the long list of activities your kids may be involved in outside of school. Remember, they may be too tired after their activities to be able to focus on their work. Bedtime is never the time to rush through homework.



3. It’s not your homework, it’s theirs. Parents need to be involved in homework to see what their children are learning and how well they know what they need to know. Being nearby while they do their homework also allows you to monitor your children’s frustration and encourage breaks when and if they are needed. However, be sure not to do the homework for your children, but guide them if they are struggling. You want them to get that feeling of pride and accomplishment on their own.



4. Get excited and be positive. Let your children know how grown up it is for them to have homework and how proud you are of them. Try to instill in them that it is “fun” to be able to do the assigned tasks. If you view homework as a chore and something that interferes with your personal schedule, your children will mimic that behavior. Let them show you their work, praise them for finishing their homework, and be encouraging. It will make a difference.




Help Your Child Become An Avid Reader

Most parents understand the value of sharing reading experiences with their child. However, not all realized that the way they read to their little one, and even how they interact with their child during playtime, can impact learning. Parents can help grow literacy skills while teaching their child to draw, play catch, or count numbers. What’s most important is making these experiences fun, engaging, and memorable.

“The more children interact with reading material, the more active and confident readers they become,” says Dr. Carolyn Jaynes, literacy learning designer at LeapFrog, a developer of innovative, technology-based educational products. “Read with your child at an early age, and build fun daily routines that incorporate reading.”


Dr. Jaynes offers the following tips for parents who want to help their children become active avid readers.


  • Read often. Practice pays off. The more kids read, the more they grow skills. A nightly bedtime story is a good place to start.


  • Make reading fun. The more engaging the reading experiences, the more it benefits the child. Make story books come to life by giving characters different voices and adding drama to the narration; when a character acts surprised or sad, change your tone to express the emotion. You want your children to realize that, beneath the surface of the text, there is a great story filled with imagination.


  • Help kids interact with the reading material. Asking questions will help your child remember the story. Talk with them about the narrative, and ask what they think of a character’s decision. What would they do differently? What do you think will happen next? Encourage them to interrupt you if they don’t understand a word.


  • Point out the illustrations. Have your child demonstrated their comprehension of the narrative by pointing to story elements in the illustration. For example, ask questions like “Can you point to the bear that looks worried?” or “Where was the wolf hiding before he crossed the road?”



College Freshman Survival Guide

Moving away from home for the first time can be scary – for both students and parents. But life in the dorm shouldn’t cause freshman fear. Get started now preparing for your college career, and you’ll be ready for class in no time.


  • Plan ahead. Start thinking about what you’ll need to thrive in dorm life. Make a list of items to purchase for your dorm and for class. Check with your college for a list of recommended items as well as items that are not allowed in the dormitory.


  • Create a budget. Determine how much income you’ll have while in school, and create a budget. Explore all your options for sticking to your new budget. Reloadable pre-paid cards are a great tool for learning to live within a set budget. These cards can be used like any debit or credit card but are loaded with money upfront and don’t require a bank account. They’re cheap, and many offer email or text updates on balances.


  • Dorm room essentials. Stocking a dorm room on a budget has been made easier by discount retailers. In one stop, you can get everything you need to outfit your dorm room. Basic include a bed-in-a-bag, sheets, towels, pillow, trash can and storage bins. You’ll also need laundry detergent and a laundry basket or bag, fabric softener and stain remover, an iron, a hair dryer, hand sanitizer and tissue. Think of the items you typically use throughout the day, and stock up


  • Bathroom Basics. Most dorms don’t provide the luxury of private restrooms, so be prepared for the community restroom. Items you’ll need include a shower caddy filed with essentials such as shampoo, razor, soap, wash cloths, flip flops, and a bath robe.


  • Stock the fridge. Busy class schedules and late-night study sessions require serious sustenance, typically in the form of easy to make foods. You’ll probably also want a few basic cooking supplies such as a can opener, a set of small bowls and coffee makers.


  • Get ready for class. Now that your dorm room is in order, you’ll need to get ready for class. Classroom basics include a book bag, notebooks, highlighters, and pens and pencils. If you have a computer and printer, don’t forget copy paper, extra discs or an external hard drive.




12 Ways To Develop Organizational Skills

Instilling a sense of order in your young child may sound like a difficult task. However, by infusing daily routines with fun—from making breakfast to getting ready for bed—your child can learn how to keep things naturally organized with ease. Discover 12 at-home activities you can try with your little one:

1. Keep a family calendar. Track everyone’s activities on a prominent and accessible calendar, encouraging your child to write her own entries and reference the calendar when making plans. You also might consider checking schedules and updating the calendar as a family over Sunday breakfast.

2. Introduce checklists. Whether it’s as simple as “3 Things To Do Before Bed” or “What To Take On Vacation,” creating and referring to lists together will develop your child’s ability to strategize tasks and organize his time.

3. Assign chores that involve sorting or categorizing. Grocery shopping, emptying the dishwasher, sorting photos, cleaning out a closet, and other chores that involve pre-planning, making lists, or arranging things are great choices.

4. Get ready the night before. This one’s always tough — for both of you — but it does work if you can get in the habit.

5. Use containers and closet organizers. If there’s a place for everything, she’ll find it easier to find items, keep neat, and clean up. Build “pick up” time into the daily routine.

6. Buy your child a planner. Ask him to help you pick it out or choose one that will appeal to him so he’ll be excited about using it. Having his own planner will show him you consider his time valuable and encourage him to create a schedule. Be sure to routinely coordinate the information with your family calendar to avoid conflicts.

7. Organize schoolwork. Make sure your child’s keeping notes, homework, handouts, and graded assignments in separate folders in a binder. Try to check her backpack nightly and set a time aside each week to go through her binder and get things sorted.

8. Establish a homework routine. Help your child make a “study hour” schedule and set up a comfortable workspace — whether her room or the kitchen table. Encourage her to stick to the schedule even when she doesn’t have homework (She can read, review notes, or even do a crossword puzzle.)

9. Create a homework supply box. Fill a box with school supplies and encourage your child to store pens, paper, measurement tools, and a calculator in it so he’ll have what he needs on hand.

10. Cook together. Cooking teaches measuring, following directions, sorting ingredients, and managing time — all key elements in organization. Involve your child in meal planning too, challenging her to help you put together a shopping list.

11. Cultivate an interest in collecting. If your child has a particular interest, encourage him to create and organize the collection. It can even be something free — such as rocks or canceled stamps — that he can sort, classify, and arrange.

12. Reward and provide support with organizational tasks. Your child may find organizing a challenge, so help her develop her routine and give her a treat for jobs well done!



Parent Action Plan For Rising Juniors

Junior year usually marks a turning point. This is because for most students and families, it’s when college planning activities kick into high gear. Here are some things you can do this year to support your child and give him or her the best options.



  • Make sure your child meets with the school counselor. This meeting is especially important this year as your 11th-grader starts to engage in the college application process.


  • Encourage your child to set goals for the school year. Working toward specific goals helps your high schooler stay motivated and focused.


  • Help your child stay organized. Work with your 11th-grader to make weekly or monthly to-do lists to keep on top of the tasks required to get ready for applying to colleges.


  • Help your junior get ready for the PSAT/NMSQT in October. This is a preliminary test that helps students practice for the SAT and assesses their academic skills. Juniors who score well on the test are also eligible for scholarship opportunities.



  • Review PSAT/NMSQT results together. Your child’s score report comes with a free SAT study plan. This online, customized plan is based on your child’s test scores and can help him or her work on areas that need improvement.


  • Help your child prepare for college admission tests. Many juniors take college admission tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, in the spring so they can get a head start on planning for college.


  • Discuss taking challenging courses next year. Taking college-level or honors courses as a senior can help your child prepare for college work — and these are also the courses that college admission officers like to see.


  • Encourage your junior to consider taking SAT Subject Tests. Many colleges require or recommend taking these tests to get a sense of your child’s skills in a certain academic area. In general, it’s best to take a Subject Test right after taking the relevant course.


  • Encourage your child to take AP Exams. If your 11th-grader takes AP or other advanced classes, have him or her talk with teachers now about taking these tests in May.




  • Search together for colleges that meet your child’s needs. Once you have an idea of the qualities your child is looking for in a college, help him or her enter these criteria into a college search to create a list of colleges to consider applying to.


  • Help your child research scholarships. This form of financial aid provides money for college that doesn’t need to be repaid.


  • Attend college fairs and financial aid events. These events allow you to meet with college representatives and get answers to questions. Your child can ask the school counselor how to find events in your area.


  • Help your child make summer plans. Summer is a great time to explore interests and learn new skills — and colleges look for students who pursue meaningful summer activities. Help your high schooler look into summer learning programs  or find a job or internship.


  • Visit colleges together. Make plans to check out the campuses of colleges your child is interested in.



10 Tips For A Higher SAT Score

There is a lot of advice floating around about improving your SAT score. A lot of advice, although solid, is either very obvious or very general, such as “take a lot of practice tests” or “study vocabulary.”

Here are ten specific tips to boost your SAT score, in no particular order. Some you may have heard before, others you probably haven’t.


1.Build your own vocabulary list using past tests.

Get a little composition book where you can write down and define every single unknown word you encounter on College Board practice tests. At around eight tests, you will start to notice that many of the difficult vocabulary words have already appeared on previous tests. The test-makers seem to “like” certain words, and those words come up over and over again. For example, you need to know what “ambivalent” means because it shows up on nearly every test (it shows up on around three quarters of tests).

Like the old saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!” If you take the SAT and miss a question because you didn’t know a word that you’ve seen before, shame on you! Every time you encounter an unknown word you have an opportunity to learn it. Write it down, define it, and periodically review your growing vocabulary list.


2.For Critical Reading passage based questions, experiment with different strategies.

There is not a one size fits all approach to passage based questions. Ideally, a student should be able to read a passage once and comprehend it thoroughly enough to answer many of the questions without having to refer back to the passage. However, this level of reading comprehension takes a long time to develop, and some students find themselves in a situation where they only have a few months to study before taking the SAT.

These students need to experiment with different strategies. Try reading the questions first, and then referencing the passage. Or skim the passage first, focusing on the first and last sentences of each paragraph, and then tackle the questions. If you aren’t seeing improvement with one method, try another. Don’t believe anyone who insists there is only one right way to tackle passage based questions.


3.Know your special triangles.

You will frequently encounter math questions where the “key” is realizing that the triangle in question is a special triangle. If you feel you can go no further on a triangle question and find yourself thinking something like, “there’s not enough information!”, always check to see if it may be a 30-60-90 or 3-4-5 triangle (for the latter, remember that any ratio of 3-4-5 works, like 6-8-10 or 30-40-50).

You can also try splitting the triangle in two to see if it forms a special triangle. Also, know how to calculate the diagonal of a square. Yes, some of this information can be found at the beginning of each math section, but if you’re out of practice it won’t do you much good!


4.Never leave any multiple choice questions blank.

Never, even if you can’t eliminate any answer choices. The College Board tells us that a person who leaves the entire test blank and a person who blindly guesses on every question will, on average, receive the same score. But a person who leaves blanks runs the risk of incorrectly bubbling in the rest of the answers (e.g. student leaves question 12 blank, and accidentally fills in the answer for question 13 in the bubbles for section 12, and so on).

Moreover, because raw scores are only whole numbers, certain quarter point deductions for incorrect answers will not affect your score due to a rounding-up effect. For instance, imagine a student who knows the answer to every single question in Critical Reading, except the very last one, and furthermore is unable to eliminate any answer choices. This student currently has a raw score of 66 and has a 1/5 chance of guessing the correct answer and receiving a perfect raw score of 67. On the other hand, this student has a 4/5 chance of guessing incorrectly, and reducing his raw score to 65.75. But since raw scores are only whole numbers, this would be rounded up to a 66, meaning that guessing in this case would carry absolutely no risk (A 65.50 would also be rounded up). Due to this rounding effect that, a person who leaves nothing blank has a slight score advantage over the person who leaves some questions blank.


5.Read, read, read—especially topics that you don’t find particularly interesting.

Even students with mediocre scores on the passage based reading sections do fairly well on passages that they find interesting. Many high school students are accustomed to skimming material that they find boring or uninteresting and therefore quickly lose attention when they encounter such a passage on the SAT. If you find yourself reading the same sentence over and over again, this is probably what’s going on. As interest wanes, so does focus.

One way to retain focus is to engage in active reading (for instance, notating the passage as you read it). A better way is to increase your attention span through practice. If you struggle with science passages, then go to the science section of the New York Times website, download some science articles. Read with the goal of keeping focus, and increase your speed as you progress. Periodical articles are ideal because their difficulty approximates that of most passages.



6.If you’re stuck on a math problem, start writing.

Write anything: label the diagrams, draw a picture or plug in numbers. Try expanding, factoring or simplifying expressions. Often students will leave a math question blank and say “I’m stuck” but they will have little or nothing written on the page. Write down what you know and see if anything comes from it. Many times something does. Often there are hidden patterns in the question that we miss until we start writing things down.


7.In your essay, consider the opposing point of view.

Graders of the essay appreciate writing that sounds mature. An easy way to demonstrate mature thinking is to acknowledge the opposing point of view to your thesis. Don’t agree with the other point of view, merely acknowledge that it exists and is reasonable, but that your thesis is superior for whatever reason. You can do this in your conclusion paragraph or in a separate paragraph before your conclusion.

If your thesis is something like, “Hard work is essential for success,” you can say something along the lines of, “While it is true that lazy people occasionally attain success, these instances are rare, and are usually the effect of pure luck or extraordinary natural ability. The overwhelming majority of successful people are successful because they worked hard at it.” This is a simple, powerful formula to follow and most students don’t do it. Hence, it’s a great way to distinguish your essay from the hundred other essays your grader will read.


8.Always show your work.

Careless, silly mistakes often turn great scores into good scores. Students rightly feel that they can do a lot of the simpler math in their heads, and they usually can. Unfortunately, this also frequently leads to silly mistakes, especially on questions that have multiple steps. Even if you are confident that you can perform all the steps of a math question in your mind, do yourself a favor and spend a few extra seconds writing the numbers down.


9.Use official tests to practice with.

Buy a used, unmarked copy of the Official SAT Study Guide for 10 bucks on Amazon. This book contains ten practice tests. If you need more practice, look for previous versions of College Board’s “official” SAT prep books. Some will object that these old tests are obsolete because they were created before the 2005 update of the SAT. On the contrary, they still make excellent practice; just skip the analogy and Quantitative Comparison sections (also, be aware that these older tests do not have a Writing section). Make sure you read the product description and only buy unmarked used copies!


10.Create a collection of mature sounding words and phrases to incorporate into your essay.

According to the College Board, a six level essay “exhibits skillful use of language, using a varied, accurate, and apt vocabulary.” Most students use very dull diction on their SAT. Some students try to incorporate so called “vocab words” into their essays, but do so in a way that sounds forced or contrived. When you come across words or phrases in your reading that you think could be incorporated into your essays, jot them down, review them, and incorporate them into your practice essays. A word like “perfunctory” can impress!

Teacher Appreciation Day

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Day from Omega Learning® Center! In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day, we want to thank all of our tutors at Omega Learning® Center! We appreciate their dedicating, hard-working, and loving support that helps make a difference in every child’s educational future. Here are the top 6 reasons why Omega Learning® tutors are special. 


Omega tutors are teachers.Our tutors are qualified, motivated, and certified teachers who care about your student’s success.


Omega tutors are educated.Many Omega tutors have master’s degrees and special education degrees, and all must complete the Omega Certification Program.


Omega tutors produce results.Omega tutors achieve results using our AIM Tutoring System®. The average academic growth is 2.6 years after completing our program.


Omega tutors are local.Our tutors live and work in our community. They believe in the power of a strong education and its value for your child’s future.


Omega tutors are dynamic.Our tutors engage their students and use auditory, visual and tactile instructional methods to achieve lasting results.


Omega tutors are connected.Omega tutors communicate with hundreds of teachers daily directly with schools through our software system to help you achieve success.


Omega tutors believe in education.By providing opportunity for growth, building student confidence, and encouraging critical thinking skills, our Omega tutors help students achieve academic success.



Omega Learning® Center offers Tutoring K-12 with certified teachers for every subject in school. Find a center near you!

Omega Learning® National Support Center: 770-422-3510 | 5150 Stilesboro Rd, Building 400, Suite 410 | Kennesaw, GA 30152 | Privacy Policy.

Keeping Kids Off The Summer Slide

Something is waiting for many children each summer and their parents don’t even know it’s out there. It’s called the “summer slide,” and it describes what happens when young minds sit idle for three months.

As parents approach the summer break, many are thinking about the family vacation, trips to the pool, how to keep children engaged in activities at home, the abrupt changes to everyone’s schedule—and how to juggle it all. What they might not be focusing on is how much educational ground their children could lose during the three-month break from school, particularly when it comes to reading.

Experts agree that children who read during the summer gain reading skills, while those who do not often slide backward. According to the authors of a report from the National Summer Learning Association: “A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year…. It’s common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills.”

Summer slide affects millions of children each year in this country—but it doesn’t have to. Omega Learning® Center offers highly effective summer programs that can help your student improve core reading, math, and writing skills to ensure a strong academic foundation. Omega’s highly qualified certified teachers can have your student stay sharp this summer by filling the skill gaps, teaching validated study skills, and helping your student build vital critical thinking skills needed for success for the new school year.

Omega Learning® Center offers Tutoring K-12 with certified teachers for every subject in school. Find a center near you!

Omega Learning® National Support Center: 770-422-3510 | 5150 Stilesboro Rd, Building 400, Suite 410 | Kennesaw, GA 30152 | Privacy Policy.


Avoid Summer Brain Drain

It’s called the “summer brain drain,” and it’s affecting students of all ages. During the long, hot months away from school, kids lose knowledge when they don’t engage in educational activities over the summer vacation. On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills.

For students who do not continue their education throughout the summer undergo major repercussions of learning loss all the way up to high school. By not being able to fill skill gaps, it becomes more difficult for them to stay on track and fall behind. Over one million students in the class of 2010 failed to graduate with a high school diploma. Currently, the national graduation rate stands at a dismal 75 percent, due in part to the 15 million youth unsupervised after the school day ends and an additional 24 million in need of supervision during the summer.

The “summer brain drain” can be prevented by keeping kids learning — it is never too early or too late to start during the summer.  Omega Learning® Center offers highly effective summer programs that can ensure a strong academic foundation by improving core reading, math, and writing skills. Omega Learning® Center also have highly qualified certified teachers to help your student stay sharp this summer. By filling the skill gaps, teaching validated study skills, and providing your student to build vital critical thinking skills, Omega Learning® Center can bridge the gap for many students to succeed for the new school year.