Are you looking to get your child admitted in a new school? A combination of shortsighted government policies, vested interests and unrealistic expectations has led to a quagmire in the quality of education. The majority of government schools just aren’t up to par. That’s the sad truth! Private schools offer a better quality of education, but they only have a limited number of seats and huge number of parents clamoring for them.

Not everyone can start and complete their schooling in the same campus.  Owing to job changes, housing issues and transfers, it is quite likely likely that you may be forced or willing opt to choose a new school. However it is tough if the child has to switch schools, for that means they have to adjust to an unfamiliar location, make new friends and essentially start a fresh way of life.

Sometimes, you just don’t have a choice and have to opt to go with whatever school you’re ward is lucky to get admitted. We all want our child to get the best education possible in the new surroundings. How can you make sure that the school is meeting both your expectations and the child’s needs? Here is what you should look for when assessing the right new school for your kid.

Referrals from Parents

The best way to determine the quality of the school is to or visit education forums or ask parents whose children attend the shortlisted school. Also be sure to ask if there are any unwelcome surprises in terms of fees. This will give you an unbiased opinion of the school. How is the atmosphere of the school – easy going, mildly strict, very strict or toxic?

No school is perfect, but if the school has too many negative reviews, it is time to rethink.  Enquiring with other parents may also get you the inside scoop on how the school runs classes and events. If you have multiple kids, getting them all in the same school may be a better option.

Transportation

Check the travel time between the school and your home. Ideally you want a school that isn’t too far off. Consider the time and finances that you have to invest if you enroll your child in a faraway school.

Does the school offer safe bus or van services? If alternate travel arrangements cannot be made, and If you are going to be dropping them off and picking them up, you have to make sure you are available during the specified time. If both parents are working, it is doubly difficult as there will most certainly be traffic during school hours. What about parking?  Check that out too.

Security and Infrastructure

Be sure to take a look in and around the school to inspect it. It’s not just the tables, chairs and classrooms that you should observe. Are there clean restrooms, play areas and a well stocked library? Are the cricket pitch and football ground properly maintained? Is there proper security, fencing and CCTV at vantage points to keep unwanted elements off the school premises?

Cost

One crucial information you should look for is the cost involved. Sometimes, the tuition fee claimed is not the total. The real expenses could be much higher – books, uniform, shoes, stationery, transport, snacks, field trips, sports, study classes and the dreaded ‘miscellaneous expenses’.

Be on the lookout for hidden expenses or fees that the school may tack on after your child has joined. It is tough to back out of the deal after you have accepted.

Parent – Teacher Association

You can find out more about your child and what they’re doing in class if you meet the teachers. There are times when your child  will conceal information from you and the only way for you to find out is by hearing it from a teacher.

Does the school have a Parent-Teacher Association? Are regular meetings being held? How easy is it to get hold of the teachers? Does the school offer online or a mobile app to access the academic information? Is there a WhatsApp or other forum to seek answers?

Language Options

Does the school offer a choice of vernacular and international languages? The medium of the school is also important to look at. Don’t restrict your choice to English speaking or ‘convent’ schools. Vernacular students can also excel with the right support at home and in the school.

Another important question is whether the school carries the quality through to all levels. They may be excellent at managing younger kids, but can they maintain the interests of middle and high-schoolers? There is nothing wrong with wanting a good environment for your child now, but please keep the long term interests in mind as well.

Choosing the right school for your child isn’t easy, but remember to keep these notes in mind as a sort of checklist while you go scouting for a school. Once you find the school you want, Let’s Practise can help your child succeed. We offer programs and courses for students from 3rd to 9th standard. Just contact us today to find out more.

Asking your children questions and receiving proper replies is no easy feat. Don’t let your interaction with your child suffer since the communication bridge between parent and child is one that should be strong. Here are seven tips for effective communication with your child.

Remove distractions

Connect with your child before starting the conversation itself. If you keep glancing at your phone, TV, or book while talking to your child, they will feel like you’re ignoring them. Take care of all your priorities and prior commitments before you begin talking to your child.

Even if you are good at multitasking and can still hear what your child has to say, keep the focus on them and only them. Make them feel like they’re the only thing of importance in the room and they are more likely to open up to you. Also, stay in the same room as them and never have conversations from across the house. If your child comes up to talk to you, stop whatever you’re doing and listen.

Maintain eye contact

Maintaining steady eye contact while asking them questions shows that you are serious. Establishing proper intent is very important when attempting to communicate with someone. A small gesture like eye contact may not seem significant, but it means the world to your child.

Eye contact can get the truth from your child. It also helps you spot subtleties in your child’s dialogue. They might be trying to tell you something without directly saying it, and you would have missed this if you were distracted.

Ask open-ended questions

Try asking questions that warrant a more informative answer than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. At the same time, keep your questions short and simple so the child doesn’t get confused.

It’s better to avoid asking the generic “How was your day?” which will result in “fine” or “okay”. A better question would be “What did you learn?” or “What interesting events occurred?”

This way, you show your child that you are interested in their day. Another technique is to start off with a statement or to talk about how your own day went before asking them about their own.

Let them speak

If you bombard the child with three or four questions at a time, they are less likely to respond properly. Badgering your child with lots of questions will put them on the defensive and it will seem like you’re against them, which is the complete opposite of what you want.

Talking about school with their parents shouldn’t feel like a chore to them. Some of the questions you have may be answered along the way. Always wait to hear the complete story. Granted, the information will come from their side so it might not be 100% true, but at least you’ve heard all that your child has to say. Looking at the scenario from their point of view gives you perspective about them.

Also, avoid interrupting them when they are talking. You should give them the benefit of the doubt. Side with them on any arguments or conflicts that occur unless you are absolutely sure they are in the wrong.

Keep your cool

Arguing wastes time and energy and causes both you and your child to get upset. When you yell at your child, it makes them nervous. When they get nervous, they get scared, which is when problems happen. They have now forgotten everything you said and are focused on defending themselves from your wrath. It could even generate a feud between you both.

More often than not, the child will realize their error and will apologize. Just take a deep breath and help them resolve the issue. We know this will seem like a tough task to ask as children are difficult to handle at times, but you have to stay calm.

Forgive them

Children make mistakes. You certainly did when you were young, and so will your child. It is a part of growing up. It’s okay for them to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. This doesn’t mean that you should let them off the hook, but that you should mentor them on right and wrong.

Be proud of their accomplishments and don’t harp on their faults. You are the most important person for your child. More than their friends or teachers, it is you, the parents, who shape your child’s future the most. Forgive them, but at the same time remember that letting them get away with minor mischief may lead to bigger problems going forward.

If keep pestering them about something wrong they did, they will revert back into their shell and refuse to reveal information again. After all, how can you expect them to forgive you if you don’t do the same to them?

Set an Example

Kids learn a lot from watching their parents act, and are sure to pick up your mannerisms and adopt them. Therefore, always be courteous and honest with them.

If you’re using cuss words or fly into a fit of rage, your child will emulate this behavior when they grow up. Stop everything and listen to them, no matter how important the other work is. If you absolutely have to attend to something else, excuse yourself for a few minutes and complete it.

Instead of an order like “Do your homework now”, say something like “Do you want to do your homework now or in five minutes?”, and hold them to their word. This makes it seem like a friendly conversation and gives them a choice. This method is much better than bossing them around.

If you inculcate these habits with your child when they are small, they will be much more willing to tell you stuff when they’re teenagers.

Let’s Practise has many more articles on parenting tips. We wish to help children excel not just in studies, but in life. We specialize in students from classes 3-9. You can visit our contact page if you want to get in touch with us.

Time for a lets Practise Summer tip. Summer is here again and is usually seen by children as the time where they can wake up late, fiddle around on the phone / computer / TV for the whole day, and generally be lazier than during school days. While this is partially true, it is important not to let the child slip past the point of no return.  

Of course, summer is the time where your child can enjoy and have fun, but make sure they don’t get too carried away. After all, school is fast approaching and it is important to stay on top of the next year’s class material. You don’t want to fritter away your child’s summer days.

Here are four things you can do to make sure your child has a productive summer:

Read

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” ~ George R. R. Martin, Author

Reading is one of the great activities your child can do during their summer holidays. Reading expands your knowledge and lets you create new worlds and characters. It improves your child’s creativity and imagination.

Make sure your child reads a lot of books during the summer. Reading a good book is better than sitting at home and watching a television or playing on the computer, smartphone or other electronic devices all day. Electronic gadgets make children strain their eyes more than books. Also, video games, movies, and shows don’t force the child to be creative as the visuals are already on display. Reading in this case doesn’t have to refer to school books. Just reading novels and storybooks can help improve your child’s vocabulary as well as teach them good life lessons.

Many stories such as Aesop’s Fables, Amar Chitra Katha and Panchatantra teach morals to children in an entertaining manner. Reading also lends perspective on the cultures and ideas of other people.

You can even go more in-depth and ask them to discuss the books they read during dinner. This way, the whole family gets involved and your child can improve their oratory skills. Older children can keep a diary for their books or write reviews for a book detailing their favorite and least favorite moments.

Strengthen Weak Subjects

Summer is the best time for your child to strengthen their knowledge on school subjects, especially the weaker ones. Catching up on weak subjects helps the child be on top of their game and they will be sharp mentally for the next year of school.  When school starts, they will be bogged down with new material and will thus lag behind. Studying during summer helps them get a head start on the material and makes sure they are ready by the time school comes around.

You should sit down with the child and set a timetable where they take time out of the day to work on math problems or revise their Geography. This can either be one hour every day, half an hour every day, or two hours every other day. Be sure to set something that both you and your son or daughter can agree on. However, remember that studying is probably the last thing that a child wants to do during the summer holidays, so don’t make them spend a lot of time on it. Be fair with them and they will be happy to be your kid!

Join a Hobby Club

There are many activities that your child can join during the summer. Try to find a group or club nearby where your child can learn a new skill or hobby. Some examples of activities include chess, swimming, singing, cricket, and football. There is also karate, dancing, art, singing, and much more. The advantage of these classes is twofold. One, your child can learn something new. Two, they now have their own clique of sorts and have found children with similar tastes as them. This helps them make more friends and expand their social circle.

If your child is old enough, consider enrolling them in a summer camp. Camps are full of action and interesting pursuits for your child. They will learn how to live without their parents and develops their independent growth. They can learn new abilities and improve upon their existing ones. In a way, summer camps can shape how the child grows up to be. If you are worried that they will be alone or won’t fit in, ask a friend to enroll as well. The best part is that they are separated from technology, but will be too busy having fun to notice.

Community Service

You can make your child volunteer at a place like a temple, clean up the beach, or park.  They can also help out at an old age home. Volunteering teaches children the value of hard work. A trip to a place like an orphanage lets the children know about those less fortunate than them. It makes them feel thankful for what they have and not take things for granted. If possible, take your child to a farm so they can learn more about farming techniques and how vegetables are harvested.

We advise just telling your child to go outside and getting fresh air. We know it’s tough to beat the heat, but don’t just let your child stay inside the house. Make them go outside and play and be physically active. You don’t want them to be a slouch once the next school year starts.

The main goals for your child in the summer are to make more friends and gain knowledge. The key is to minimize the time they spend inside the house as this will put them into a rut that is difficult to get out of when school begins again. Summer is the only time when they can freely play outside and not worry about homework or tests on the next day.  

If you follow these tips, you will end up with a summer that makes both your child and yourself happy. Let’s Practise wishes everyone a fun and productive summer!

Are you, as a parent, more anxious to check the results than your children? Of course you are, and why shouldn’t you be? The CBSE ICSE mark sheet is an encapsulation of the entire year’s work, which makes it a very important document.

Do you know how to read the mark sheet? Viewing a mark sheet can be overwhelming and confusing. You may not know what is important and which factors you can ignore. Let’s understand what certain phrases mean and what to watch out for.

Here are five aspects you should look for while evaluating your child’s mark sheet:

The Grade Point System

Mark sheets have a point system for the child’s marks. Alongside a number for the exact marks, there is also a letter for the range of marks. Sometimes, there will only be a letter and not the exact score. Here is an explanation of the grade point system and what it means.

Below is the current CBSE grading scale for classes 6 – 8:

CBSE grading school

It is important to note that these are the general letter grades on a mark sheet but may vary depending on school and board of education. The scale differs for class 9 and 10. Check the mark sheet for a key with the exact values.

Attendance

Marks are important but be sure to look at the attendance section as well. It will tell you if your child has been cutting classes. If there is less attendance than you expected, look in the teacher’s notes. Poor attendance may indicate low interest in school or in a particular subject.

Teacher’s Notes  

Often in the case of younger students, teachers will leave personalized remarks in the mark sheet. Does he pay attention in class? Is your child following instructions? Is he getting along with others?

The answers to these questions can be critical to identify your child’s behaviour in class. As a parent, you should not neglect this behavioral aspect. It shows their attitude towards other students, teachers, and learning in general. Marks are not the only important factor as the child can learn life lessons and get practical experience for the future.

If your child has not performed well, these remarks can also point out the reasons. You will get notes on their personal attributes, communication, behavior, work habits and social skills. If they talk a lot in class or be very silent, do not dismiss it as something that young kids do. The problems may continue unless you remedy them now.

Percentage vs. Percentile

These are two terms which you will probably encounter on your child’s mark sheet. They are often used interchangeably, which is wrong. Both of these have different meanings.

Percentage is more common, and it means, in the simplest terms, ‘a representation out of 100’. The word ‘percent’  can be divided into ‘per’ and ‘cent’, which literally means ‘a part of 100’. The values are being converted to a total of 100.

You should note that percent is indicated by ‘%’ but percentile is not. If your child has scored 20 marks out of 40, they have scored 50%.

Percentage is usually used in general terms whereas percent is for more specific purposes. One might say ‘A large percentage of the children aced their exams’.

Percentile is a bit more complicated. It denotes a measure of distribution through statistical means. If your child is in the 60th percentile, this means they scored higher than 60 percent of the kids who took the exam. You can use percentiles to compare your child to their peers. Was the exam for everyone or just your child?

Percentage – Representation of data out of 100

Percentile – Representation of data in comparison to the rest out of 100.   

For example, a child scoring 95% on the exam means they got 95 marks out of 100. However, the exam could have been easy and many others could have scored 100 marks. Percentage doesn’t tell you anything about the others.  

If the child was in the 95th percentile, you know for sure that they did better than 95 percent of the class. Therefore, a high percentage is good, but a high percentile is better.  

In the end, percentile seems to be the fairer way to judge your child’s performance and know where they stand in class.

Extracurricular

There are periods apart from the main subjects that are on your child’s schedule. Karate, music, swimming, art, singing, and dance are just some of the other activities that your child may excel in.  It is important to test the waters and ask your child what they like to do. Look at their performance in areas such as PT, writing, and public speaking.

Schools also conduct programs and tournaments for sports, drawing, chess, etc. See if your child is interested in any of these. You may have uncovered a hidden talent and found an athlete or singer.

Other Tips

Try not to compare your child’s marks in front of them as this is off-putting. Not all children learn the same way and someone who excels in one subject may struggle with another.   

Do not scold or verbally abuse your child for missing out on marks. Try encouraging them and asking them a genuine reason for failure rather than berating them. This will only make them dislike studying even more.

Knowledge is the top priority but marks are a way of measuring that knowledge. The system is not perfect, but as of now it is the only one that exists. Apart from this, meet the teachers so you can know more about what your child does in class.  

Focus more on whether they are learning rather than memorizing and regurgitating information. If they only study so they can do well in exams, the knowledge will get stored in short term memory and be forgotten after the exam.  

At Lets Practise, it is our constant endeavor to keep you abreast of what’s happening in the educational scene. If there is a topic you want us to write about, do let us know. Fill in the contact us page or send us an email.

Never forget that these are the formative years for your child and will shape the rest of their life. Keep this in mind and your child is sure to go places. Happy parenting!

Summer is finally here, after all the stressful exams, piles of homework, assignments and continuous hard work through the academic year! The scorching sun and sweltering heat cannot stop you from having fun now. 

Aside from visiting relatives, going to the mall or movies and/or enrolling in summer classes, do you have any summer plans?

Here are six amazing ideas to utilize this summer effectively:

Inculcate the reading habit

Reading is an essential part of learning. With multiple distractions, it is very difficult to develop the reading habit in your child.  So, this vacation gift your child some wonderful books of interest to her – fantasy, adventure, fiction, etc. Ask her to critique the plot, main characters, the beginning and the end. This develops a structured thinking process in their minds.

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” – Maya Angelou

 Cooking can be fun!

Cooking with kids is another fun activity. If your child is a foodie and she has a passion for cooking, encourage her. Let them experiment with ingredients and flavors. Find some kids friendly recipes here and make sure you are there to assist during the entire process. Help them with the chopping and grinding to ease their work but keep younger children away from knifes and scissors to avoid any injury. We are sure you will be pleasantly happy to see the big smile on her face once the dish is ready.

Experimenting with Science

Children can grasp concepts better if they experience them. Here are few science experiments that your children will love.  Buy some ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) kits that are available in the market. Watch your child learn as she plays!

Transform a boring visit into a fun time

Children can get bored if you pack too many visits to temples and museums in a single-day schedule. Research these places on the internet, ferret out nuggets of information about our glorious history and ancient science, offer them prizes for guessing artifacts or dates correctly. Check this list to plan your summer day out.

Create a summer scrapbook

Ask your child to create an online scrapbook this summer and build a photographic diary that represents good memories of the day. She can then upload these pictures, pen down her experiences and share with a close group of trusted friends or relatives. Who knows, a brilliant photographer or talented writer may be unearthed?

Awaken her creative genius

creative genius

Summer is the time to follow interests, discover new passions, and experiment with new ideas. The School organizes few arts and crafts competitions but academic pressure may limit her from sharpening her creative genius. Now is the time to try new things. So encourage her to craft something special. If she loves beaches then here are some beach crafts that she can start with.

LetsPractise has launched a great summer program for students. To know more contact us here.