Saturday, October 31, 2015

What is CGI Math and What Does It Mean For Your Kids?

I know what you are thinking. Math instruction sure has changed since I was a kid. More and more parents complain that they can’t even help their own children with elementary school math problems. So what’s the difference?
If you have heard of CGI math, but don’t know what it meant, you are not alone. CGI stands for Cognitively Guided Instruction.
So how does it differ from math instruction of the past?
In the past math classes focused on calculation and rote memorization of specific formulas to solve a problem. However, with CGI instruction, students are asked to think about the many ways they could solve a problem and explain how they got their answer. There is NO LONGER ONE CORRECT METHOD only. In addition, students are not first taught any strategies. They are expected to develop them on their own and then justify why they used them to solve the problem.
What are the Pros and Cons of CGI Math?
  • Students can use their own creativity to find solutions to a problem
  • CGI puts more responsibility on the student to publicly explain and justify to their friends and teacher their method to solving a problem.
  • Teachers can encourage original thinking and guide each student according his or her own developmental level and turn of reasoning.
  • Students have to come up with their own ways of solving the problem without any instruction first. This can be very frustrating for many of our students with learning differences and for students who do not have a strong mathematical knowledge base from earlier grades.
  • Students who thrive on explicit (direct instruction) feel frustrated and are struggling. They may give up on math or develop negative attitudes toward the subject.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Coding and Your Child's Future

Wondering what jobs will be the fastest growing in the US by 2020?? If you guessed jobs in computer science, you are correct! These jobs are growing two times as fast as the national average for job growth. By 2020, there will be 14 million jobs but only 400,000 computer science students.  So how can you get your kids involved in coding at an early age? Participate in “Hour of the Code.” Seek computer science tutoring.  Build confidence in girls in math and science as in 2013, only 19% of girls took the computer science AP exam.  When it comes to choosing a college major only .03% of girl select computer science.  Also, ask your high school counselors what the prerequisites are for Computer Science AP. Even some middle schools offer classes in coding… Culver City Middle School… Go PanthersJ!

Below are some great resources to help your kids with coding at home!

Hour of Code and Beyond at
CSUunplugged at
15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to code
Teaching Kids to Code, an EdSurge guide
Harvard’s Scratch Curriculum Guide

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Homeschooling??!! You are not alone........

As the school year approaches, we wanted to provide some homeschooling resources in case your family has decided to pursue homeschooling as an option. Why would a tutor be helpful if you are pursuing homeschooling? Although some of these programs have all the materials to learn, our credentialed teachers can help teach the material and also design additional, supplemental lessons to make the material more accessible and interesting to your child.
Homeschooling can also be rough for working parents or even parents that are at home. A few hours of tutoring can greatly alleviate the stress of the parent who may be the sole teacher. Recently, Beach Cities Tutoring has hired many highly qualified tutors with daytime availability to serve you during normal school hours.  As a parent, we also know that researching the right program can be very time consuming. We hope the resources below will be helpful in your search for the right program.
Please inquire for more information if you are interested. The below school programs are some of the better ones that I have found.

Homeschool Programs:
1. American School:  American School offers accredited high school courses and diploma programs at a cost students and parents can afford. Students may work toward their diplomas in the General High School Program or College Preparatory Program, both of which contain 18 units of credit, or they may take individual online or paper-based courses for enrichment.

2. Time for Learning
This  is an online homeschool curriculum for preschool to twelfth. In addition it provides an automated system that grades lessons, tracks progress and keeps reports for homeschool portfolios. There is no contract and the prices are pretty low.

3. Connections Academy:  This is a tuition free, virtual K-12 public schools and a national affordable virtual private school. 

4. K12:   This award-winning K12 curriculum is individualized to give every child the chance to reach his or her potential. In addition it's flexible, to meet the unique challenges families face. Every subject is delivered online--complete with hands-on activities, all the books and learning materials you need, plus optional support from expert teachers. The best part is it is also tuition free.

5. Laural Springs: Laurel Springs offers elementary, middle and high school education through online learning that includes project based learning. You can also order physical textbooks. This is an accredited school and the students will earn a transferable diploma. Their teachers grade the material, but a tutor is helpful in regards to teaching the material.

6.  International Virtual Learning Academy: This is a fully accredited diploma program for grades K-12. It is affordable and uses highly qualified teachers. Programs include --Secular and Christian Curriculum, Honors Courses, Career & Technical Education Programs, ACT/SAT Prep, Rosetta Stone & common core & non-common core. Choices include: Plato Courseware, GradPoint, Apex Learning, A+ Courseware, Odysseyware, Christian Ignitia, and now, offering Study Island a fun way to practice & review everyday lessons in Math and Language Arts. 

Christian Based Homeschooling Programs
1.     A Beka Book:  This curriculum offers a firm foundation in the Bible as well asreading, English, history, math, science, and health. This program uses a spiral cucrriculm in which basic concepts are reinforced and built upon in every grade to help your child retain information he has learned. A Beka Book was first created 30 years ago and remains one of the top resources for Christian homeschooling internationally.

2.   NFC Academy: This program combines over 40 years of experience in Christian education with technology, offering a complete program of virtual Christian education, lesson plans, instant grading, and experienced, certified teachers working with home school families.

3.     Enlightium Christian Academy: This program is highly recommended if you are interested in an accredited online private school with a Christian basis for grades 3-12. Tuition is affordable, starting at $75 a month and is customized to meet your budget.

Homeschool Educational Products
1. This site has huge discounts on educational products from software, ebooks, learning tools and toys, and educational curriculum material for all subjects.

If homeschooling is the right option for you, please reach out to us at

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Making Science Interactive and Fun

Take advantage of summer to expose your children to the principles that govern electricity. Sound boring??!! Well through the use of technology you can make this type of lesson engaging and fun. Mobile technology can be used to explore all types of science and math topics in a way that is accessible, interactive and allows students to visualize and create.
Explore the options below:
  • Circuit playground- a web TV program that acts out basic concepts and vocabulary with fun graphics and puppets.
  • http://www.sciencecom/category/experiments/ -provides a list of science easy science experiments with instructions that can be done at home
  • Muse Maze Circuit Jam- geared for older kids, this interactive game makes electronic circuits easy to understand and contains over 100 puzzles that gradually introduce circuit basics without getting deep into formulas and equations.  Kids can have fun while learning about voltage, current, and resistance.
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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How You Can Get Your Teen To Read Over The Summer

If your teen seems resistant to reading during the summer you are not alone! Here are some Dos/Don’ts to help motivate your teen to read.
  • Criticize what teens read.Explain what troubles you about certain types of reading materials after reading them yourself. Forbid as little as possible. And whenever you can, accept differences of opinion as just that.
  • Lavish too much praise.If you catch your teenagers reading, show interest, but don't make a big deal out of it. Teens need to know that they're reading for their own pleasure—not for your approval.
  •  Pressure, nag, or bribe. Encourage teens to read, but don't hound them
  • Set an example.Let teens see you reading for pleasure.
  • Furnish your home with a variety of reading materials.Leave books, magazines, and newspapers around. Check to see what disappears for a clue to what interests your teenager.
  • Give teens an opportunity to choose their own books.When you and your teen are out together, browse in a bookstore or library. Go your separate ways and make your own selections. A bookstore gift certificate is a nice way of saying, "You choose."
  • Build on your teen's interests.Look for books and articles that feature their favorite sports teams, rock stars, hobbies, or television shows. Give a gift subscription to a special interest magazine.
  • View pleasure reading as a value in itself. Almost anything your youngsters read—including the Sunday comics—helps build reading skills.
  • Read some books written for teens.Young adult novels can give you valuable insights into the concerns and pressures felt by teenagers. You may find that these books provide a neutral ground on which to talk about sensitive subjects.
  • Make reading aloud a natural part of family life.Share an article you clipped from the paper, a poem, a letter, or a random page from an encyclopedia—without turning it into a lesson.
  • Acknowledge your teen's mature interests.Look for ways to acknowledge the emerging adult in your teens by suggesting some adult reading you think they can handle.
  • Keep the big picture in mind.For all sorts of reasons, some teenagers go through periods without showing much interest in reading. Don't panic! Time, and a few tips from this article, may help rekindle their interest.

What Can Your Teen Get Out of Reading
Adults know how important it is for their teenagers to read. Reading is not just important while teens are in school; good reading skills are essential to future success in the workplace. But making a pitch for reading can be a real challenge. If you are the parent of a teenager who has lost interest in reading or never liked it much, here are some suggestions for connecting with your child about books and reading.
Through reading, teens can:
  • Become an expert.An expert on any subject they like—from sports stats to spelunking, coins to carburetors, or anything in between.
  • Live dangerously.Through reading teens can share the challenges, fears, thrills, and achievements of those they are reading about without the risk.
  • Have a few laughs.Many teens will enjoy sitting down with a book by their favorite stand-up comedian, a collection of jokes or cartoons, or a humor magazine.
  • See the world.Without leaving their room, teens can visit places that fascinate them.
  • Travel through time.Historical fiction and science fiction move a reader back and forth in time.
  • Use their brains.Teens may enjoy solving a mystery by figuring out whodunit, outwitting a crafty villain, or thinking through a perilous situation.
  • Get some free advice. Lots of novels feature teenage characters who have problems and pressures similar to those your teenage may be dealing with.
  • Discover new interests.Through reading, teens may develop an interest in something they knew nothing about before.
  • Find a cause.Teens can get smart on an issue that matters to them.
  • Teens can escape noise, tension, or boredom by escaping into a book.
  • Let one good thing lead to another.When you read something that really speaks to you, you may be sorry to have it end. But the end is never really the end for a person who reads. You can always open another book, and another, and another
Article adapted from “Reading is Fundamental” website. Please visit our website for more informational blogs at

ESL- Are you looking for help learning English as a Second Languge?

Beach Cities Tutoring has recently hired tutors who have TESOL certificates and ESL experience. We can recommend materials as well for you to purchase that will help you during the lessons. The tutors can plan creative lessons and structure the sessions according to your individual interests and needs.  We are happy to help children, teens and adults! Please inquire to learn more.

Visit our website at for more information

A Smooth Back To School Experience is All About Preparation

Here are some tips to help you and your family out when Fall calendars start to fill up with sports, activities and events.

1) Ease the family into a school year schedule.

The first day of school is no time for a drastic adjustment of household sleep schedules. Instead, ease children back into a school year routine gradually. During the last two weeks of summer, re-introduce a school year bedtime. Begin waking late sleepers earlier and earlier, closer to the hour they'll need to rise when school begins.
Don't neglect mealtimes! Younger children, in particular, need to adapt to new meal routines before the school day demands it of them. Plan meals and snacks to accustom little ones to rituals of the school day before the school year begins.

2) Create a Calendar Central

Each school year floats on a sea of schedules. School functions. Lunch menus. Scout meetings and music lessons.
Nothing calms school year chaos like Calendar Central: a centralized site for all family calendars and schedules. You'll need a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs and volunteer work. Add specialized calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.
Form is less important than function. A paper calendar with large squares lets you enter information easily. Pre-printed white board calendars are easy to revise when necessary. Color-coding entries by family member helps keep busy lives straight.
Paper planner fans dedicate a planner section to serve as Calendar Central, while tech-savvy cybergrrrlz store the info in a smart phone or tablet and sync with multiple computers. Choose a calendar format that works for your family.
Post the family event calendar in a public place near the telephone. Use magnets to attach the calendar to the refrigerator, or tack it to a bulletin board.
Add other calendars to Calendar Central: school lunch menus, class assignment sheets, sports practice schedules. When the room mother calls for field trip volunteers, you'll know at a glance whether you're free to join the group on the bus that day.

3) Plan before you shop

August is the second-biggest sales month for clothing retailers. Back to school clothing sales begin as early as July! Are you prepared to run the school clothes gauntlet?
An informed shopper is a savvy shopper, so prepare before you shop.
Take an afternoon and assess each child's clothing needs.
Empty drawers and closets of outgrown or worn-out clothing, and either store or donate the discards.
Working with your child, clean and organize clothing storage before new garments are added--and cut down on school morning calls of "Mom! I don't have any clean . . . . "
Develop a wardrobe needs list for each child. Check for possible hand-me-downs from older siblings as you make your list. If you discuss the needs list and the family budget with your children before you shop, you'll avoid in-the-store tantrums.
Similarly, ask the school for classroom supply lists before shopping for school supplies. Forewarned is forearmed ... and helps protect the family budget.
Do shop early! With back-to-school sales beginning in mid-July, tardy shoppers have a tough time locating needed supplies among September's Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations.
4) Gather your papers
School entry may require documentation from immunization records to report cards from the previous school year. Athletes need proof of medical examination. A little preparation can prevent frantic last-minute searches for a birth certificate or registration confirmation.
Call your child's school or check the school district Web site beforehand to find out what paperwork will be required--then find it! You won't be sorry come registration day.
5) Take aim on morning madness
How are school mornings in your home? Crazed and chaotic, or calm and cheerful? Plan ahead to send your schoolchildren--and yourself!--out the door in a happy frame of mind.
Each evening, think ahead to the following morning; where can you lighten the load? Set the breakfast table as you clear the dinner dishes, and make sure breakfast foods are easy to reach. Lay out children's clothing the night before. Scan backpacks or launch pad spaces for missing homework, projects or library books. Make sure musical instruments or sports bags are packed and ready to go.
Do "bathroom wars" break out daily among the small fry? Multi-child households may need a bathroom schedule so that everyone gets equal time before the mirror.
What do you do about books and papers, lunch money and permission slips? Practice the Launch pad concept! By creating a dedicated space for every family member, a Launch Pad gets the family out the door in record time--and organized.
6) Make a practice run
How will children get to school? The first day of school is no time to find out it takes ten minutes--not five--to walk to the nearest bus stop!
Before school begins, make a practice run to get children to the school on time.
If they'll walk, help them learn the route they'll take and note the needed time.
Car-pooling? Make sure the dry run accounts for early-morning traffic!
Bus riders will need to be familiar with the location of the bus stop; print and post the bus schedule to prevent a missed bus.