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Healthy Eating, Improving Memory!

You’ve had a long summer break free from early mornings and homework, but now you have to get back into the rhythm of things. We’ve looked at ways you can ease yourself back into your routine, but there are ways in which you can jump start your brain too. Not having exercised your brain over the break means you might take a while to get your brain back into gear. Only thing is; you may miss out on vital information while you power up your brain.

You can eat foods that will actually help to improve your memory! This will drastically reduce the amount of time you spend studying or doing your homework. Just imagine if you could remember everything your learned, everything you read and everything your teacher said the first time around!

Here are some amazing foods that will help you to feel energized, improve your brain function and help you to remember more.

Fatty Foods
No, this doesn’t imply that pizza and French fries are good for your memory! We mean healthy fats. Healthy fats are foods which contain oils from the Omega-3 family. The Omega-3 family of fatty oils help you to improve your memory. The best sources of healthy fats include salmon, flaxseed oil, canola oil, wheatgerm, eggs and walnuts.

Antioxidants
Free radicals flow through your bloodstream and into your brain where they break down brain cells. You can neutralize free-radicals with antioxidants. There are many forms of antioxidants including berries (especially blueberries and acai berries), garlic, carrots, broccoli, tea, soy, read grapes, spinach, tomatoes and whole grains.

High Tyrosine Proteins
Your brain needs neurotransmitters to function properly. Your body can’t make some of the neurotransmitters (like tryptophan). Good sources of tyrosine proteins include soy, seafood, dairy products and eggs.

Vitamins and minerals
You already know that you need the full range of vitamins and minerals live a healthy, happy life, but certain elements are especially important to the brain. Here are the vitamins that will help you to improve your memory:
• Vitamin B6: meat, fish, nuts, vegetables, beans and legumes.
• Vitamin B12: kelp, venison, shrimp, yeasts, algae, scallops, trempeh, miso, tofu and salmon.
• Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, guavas, red peppers, kiwis, tomatoes, strawberries, brussel sprouts and melons.
• Iron: chocolate, clams, oysters, muscles, liver, dried apricots, sunflower seeds and sesame products.
• Calcium: dairy products are your best bet here.

Fiber
Fiber slows down the rate at which your body absorbs sugars and improves digestion. Eating more fiber means that your brain has a slow and steady supply of essential energy. This improves your memory and all your brain functioning. The brain will only function when it has enough fuel. Foods high in fiber include beans, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and whole grains.
Improve your memory (and general health!) by incorporating more memory-building foods into your daily diet.

Gift Children? The Challenges!

Having a gifted child is certainly a blessing, but most North American education systems do not have sufficient means to challenge and accommodate a gifted student. Large class sizes and limited resources mean that teachers have to focus on the average students and rarely have time to provide the challenges and encouragement a gifted child needs. This often leads to a lack of motivation, boredom and wasted potential. In extreme cases, the gifted student suffers from social alienation and anxiety that result in behavioural problems and underachievement. Gifted students have a propensity for dropping out of academic institutions.

How do I know if my child is gifted?
Gifted children are tested by (among others) the National Association for Gifted Children in the US and by MENSA in Canada. Gifted children excel in one or more fields. Some provinces and states have special programs for gifted children, but most have to make do with the same curriculum as their peers. This poses not only academic dilemmas, but also social ones. Gifted children are often more sensitive or energetic and have a drive for perfectionism.
Identification of gifted children is difficult as educators are not trained to recognize behavioural traits and gifted children often don’t do well in class. The ineffective process of identifying gifted children, and the lack of funding to help them develop means that most of them slip through the cracks and end up underachieving. Most educators and funding are geared towards kids who have learning disabilities or special needs and it’s difficult to garner support for the gifted child.

Challenges gifted children face
Chandra Meseley has a gifted daughter, Nya and she discusses some of the difficulties her daughter faces; “There are other characteristics of giftedness that for many, including my daughter, are telltale signs – excessive energy, unending curiosity, emotionally advanced, early and superior language skills or a need for perfectionism.”
Nya’s teacher, Brenda Natt explains the behavioral difficulties and need for perfection that gifted children have: “While their IQs are high, they have behavioral aspects that need special attention and the right teachers with the right understanding to guide them.”

Boredom and behavioural issues severely hamper the development of gifted children and they often end up at the bottom of their classes or dropping out altogether. Jack Goldberg, from the University of Alberta, explains; “[The gifted student] may be bored. The loss, though, would be largely his own. Parents would argue it’s society’s loss, because this kid is a budding Einstein. But the truth is that most gifted kids don’t become Einsteins.”

Solutions
Most parents find the best remedy is a gifted course or a private tutor who has experience with gifted children. While completing their curriculum at school, the students are further challenged with tasks and projects that give them a deeper understanding of what they are learning at school. Tutors also help to build confidence and challenge young gifted minds. Tutors work hands-on with your child to fulfill their individual needs and work at a pace that suits them best.

The How to prepare for the SAT and ACT tests?

The SAT and ACT tests are designed to gauge your college readiness. Getting into a good university/college can really give you the edge in your career, but preparing for the SAT or ACT can be a very intimidating prospect. The first thing to remember is that you don’t only have one shot at it. If your timing is right, you can write the test more than once, so relax; nerves are your worst enemy in an exam.

Get a Tutor
The second thing to consider is a tutor. Tutors are essential to success because they are able to help plan a schedule that is realistic, but will ensure that you are as prepared as you can possibly be. Tutors will also look at your study methodology. So many students are really bright, but because they have never learned effective study methods, their grades don’t reflect their true talent. A tutor can help you improve your memory and use techniques that make it easier to learn large volumes of information.

Tutors will also help you with exam techniques and how to best answer SAT and ACT questions. Planning your exam strategy will ensure that you have enough time to answer all the questions. Most importantly, a tutor can review your knowledge and identify the missing blocks in your foundation of information and skills. Filling in these missing blocks will help you to take on anything that the SATs and ACTs throw at you.

Practice Test Prep
Once you are confident in your knowledge of the basics, you need to start taking practice tests. There are a plethora of online test sites where you can look at previous test examples. These are listed below for you. Taking practice tests is essential to success. Some of the test questions are tricky and the way in which they ask questions will be very different from what you are accustomed to. This can really trip you up if you are not adequately prepared.
It’s also essential to know how marks are distributed so that you can be sure to maximize your score and spend enough time on each aspect of the answer. There is a very particular way in which to answer these questions, so make sure you practice them.

It’s also important to know that the ACT and SAT question methodologies differ greatly. Doing well on one will not guarantee a good result on the other. This means that if you struggled with the SAT, the way they ask the questions on the ACT might suit you better.
For the best chance at getting into a good school, it is advisable to do both tests. Just remember that even though you can take the test more than once, all of your test scores are recorded and will be available to your college entrance board.

Test Prep Sites

Money saving back-to-school tips

Back to school is an expensive time for parents as you buy new clothing and supplies for the coming academic year. It can be tough on the wallet, especially in these difficult economic times. There are several ways in which you can mitigate the expenses of getting your family school-ready.

Make a list, check it twice
Make a list of all the supplies you need for the first month of school. Use the school supplied list as your guide and stick to the essentials only. Check all your drawers and cupboards to find stationary and other items that you can cross off your list. Most outlets have school supplies sales once the initial rush is over (starting in late September), and you will be able to pick up bargains for the rest of the school year.

The list should include stationary and clothing and you must stick to the list in order to stay within budget. If your students insist on coming along, take out cash and give each student their list and the cash. Check their purchases and make sure that they have everything on the list. Getting them to do it themselves is a good lesson in sticking to a budget and can help to illustrate the cost of items.

Buddy Up
Buying in bulk is the very best way to win at the checkout. You can get together with other parents to buy your supplies in bulk. If you have excess supplies from previous years or from buying in bulk, consider getting together with other families for a stationary swop.

Shop online
If you order in advance, you can get all your school supplies for less online. If you must go to the store, leave the kids at home so that they won’t be tempted to add unnecessary items to the shopping cart. Shop around – each store will have its own specials and hitting up a few can really save you money. You can also save money by sourcing coupons for the supplies you need. Here are some websites that offer coupons that you can print out and take shopping with you.

Coupon Divas

Discount School Supply

For the Mommas

Good Coupons

Coupons.com

Coupon Mountain

Be crafty
Avoid buying trendy items or items that have cartoon characters, music artists or movie stars on them. Instead, print out your student’s favourite icons from the internet and create your own unique book covers, pencil cases and other stationary items. This could save you up to 30% on branded merchandise.

This year, start early and shop smarter to ensure that you get the most bang for your back to school buck.

6 Back to School tips for K through 5th Grade Parents

Over the summer vacations, parents tend to give students more freedom, especially when it comes to routines. If your student is starting a new elementary school or just a new grade, there are ways for you to mitigate the negative impact of the back-to-school rush. Slowly getting back into your routine the week before your student heads back to school will make the transition easier for everyone.

Bed times
Get back into your bedtime routines and wake your students up earlier in the morning. It may not be possible to get them out of bed at a school-worthy hour, but try to get them up before you leave for work in the morning. Getting back into the habit of going to bed on time, getting a good night’s sleep and waking up at a set time will make it much easier to get to school in the morning. Remember that your student needs 8 to 10 hours of sleep, so plan accordingly.

Breakfasts and Lunches
Discuss meal options with your students and settle on healthy meals that are easy to prepare and quick to make. Getting your students involved in the process will ensure that everyone is happy with their meal options. Have a few breakfast and lunch runs to ensure that you have enough time for everything in the morning.

Get Ready
Shop for clothing and then pack sets of clothing in piles in your child’s drawer. This means they have a full set of clothing ready to go for the first couple of mornings. You can get into the habit of stacking outfits together so that your student can just grab a pile and get dressed in the morning without having to find a missing sock or decide what they are going to wear.

Shop Early
Get to the shops early this year and sort out your back-to-school supplies. Pack a backpack a few days prior to the start of school. The backpack should weigh no more than 10 to 20% of your student’s weight.

Scout the Area
If your student is starting a new school, take them on a tour of the school grounds. Make sure that they know where their classroom is and how to get around school. Also go over their route from home to school and back so that they are completely comfortable on their first day.

Get Brain-Ready
In the weeks leading up to the start of school, get your students to practice their reading and math skills. Discuss your expectations for the year and brush up on school rules you think are pertinent. Go over safety concern like rules for buses, crossing the road or dealing with strangers.