Creative Ways to Help Kids Learn

Creative Ways To Help Kids Learn by Laura Pearson of edutude.net

Every child learns differently, and it can be tough to watch them struggle in the classroom. Fortunately, you know your child best, and there are a number of creative ways you can help them tackle even the toughest subjects by providing at-home support. Learning disguised as fun can be particularly beneficial when it comes to catching and keeping their interests.

Hands-On Learning

According to Empowered Parents, many people learn by doing. As such, provide opportunities for your kids to tackle tricky subjects by trying our creative new problem solving approaches. For example, children can better embrace the idea of how fractions work by following a recipe. Help them pick out their favorite cookie recipe, shop for the ingredients (also using math skills to find the best deals) and then prepare a treat for the whole family. You can also base your allowance and household chore list on current math subjects – this will teach not only math concepts, but good budgeting skills as well.

Get Creative

Creative pursuits can help kids work both sides of their brains, and according to Bright Horizons, these can also help with overall development. Encourage your child to take up a musical instrument, enroll in an art class, or take them to a craft shop and let them pick out new materials to experiment with. Learn about different cultures through music, dance, and cuisine, or find the book version of their favorite movie and help them identify the different approaches the authors and filmmakers chose to take in their adaptations. This type of critical analysis can help kids in a number of different academic settings.

Go Outside

The natural world offers countless learning opportunities. Budding scientists can look at leaves and soil samples under a microscope, identify different bird species, and learn more about topography of various landscapes. Consider investing in a telescope to see the stars and learn about constellations, galaxies and black holes. Or boost their STEM skills through weather spotting and prediction. Encourage hands-on experiments at home – your child’s teacher can clue you in as to what’s being studied in the classroom and you can take things a step further at home. This demonstrates your involvement in their academic lives and your desire to help them thrive.

Read Together

Reading together with your child can be beneficial in a variety of ways, whether you’re focusing on textbooks or selections they’ve made from the library on their own. Reading together will help you become familiar with what they’re studying in school, and provide you with insights into what they’re personally interested in learning about. Stop and ask questions along the way and help your kids analyze, dissect, and understand what they’ve read. In addition to being an effective way to bolster skills in study areas where they might be struggling, this approach can help you address other societal topics kids may have a hard time understanding.

Disguise Learning As Fun

Sometimes parents need to take what they know about their kids and find creative ways to help them learn via activities they already enjoy. For example, there are many educational video games on the market – great for kids who are gamers. Maybe you have a child who enjoys shopping – there’s a great opportunity to teach math skills related to purchase price, sales discounts, and taxes. Kids can also help one another learn via “playing school,” an especially good concept for kids with sibs at home. Teaching someone else a skillset is a great way to learn more about it yourself.


Kids are well attuned to what their parents do, and if you’d like to model good educational practices, consider continuing your own education. Earning a degree in an educational field can help you advance your own professional prospects, while also giving you an inside track on what’s being taught in your child’s classroom. You and your child can set aside time to study together each day – they’ll likely be inspired by your commitment and come to recognize that learning is a lifelong pursuit.


We hope you’ve found these ideas helpful and that they will help your child succeed in school. Remember, it takes a lot of hard work to be successful, but with a little creativity and support from home, your child can achieve anything.


Introducing Mindprint Learning Assessments

We are exciting to announce that Inspiring Test Preparation is now offering Mindprint assessments to determine the best approach to preparing students for standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT.


Mindprint is a self-paced online cognitive assessment. It was developed by scientists at Penn Medicine with a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. It measures the ten cognitive skills most closely correlated to success in academics and on standardized tests. The Mindprint report  give tutors insights into the unique learning needs of each of their students and allows them to customize their instruction to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of student outcomes. A practice test will tell you what a student got wrong; Mindprint will tell why and what you can do about it.

Mindprint Test Prep Reports are specifically designed to support students and tutors who are prepping for the SAT and ACT. The reports will tell you whether a student has a cognitive affinity for one test over the other and by how much. They will project potential scoring ranges for each test and each section and provide a worksheet to help tutors identify the areas of greatest potential improvement. They also map suggested test prep and learning strategies to each individual student’s unique strengths.


We are so persuaded that Mindprint will help us help you test more effectively, that we are, for a short time, offering the $199 assessment at a price of $145.

You will get Mindprint’s report and a private consultation with Kate Dalby to discuss the report and how we can help achieve better test results for your student.  There is no obligation for future services.  If you purchase a flex prep package, you will get a $145 rebate on that purchase.

To purchase an assessment,

click here. Enter student’s birth month & year in note to business.

You will receive a testing link within 24-48 hours.  Text Kate at 703-203-5796 if you don’t get a link.



Lighthouse Career Coaching – Deciding on a College Major and Career Path


There are more than 12,000 careers and 315 academic majors. No wonder so many students struggle to find their direction! An investment in career assessments will your student discover and select the study and employment options that “fit” them This insight will help them graduate on time, be happier and do better with their studies, and gain the experiences future employers will want to see in a new grad hire.

Let’s connect to schedule a free exploratory phone call.
You’ll learn more about how coaching will help you and decide if our styles
would match well as we work together on your goals.

Schedule a Call


Anne Keenan Shields

Anne Shields, CEO of Lighthouse Career Coaching, has 35+ years of career coaching experience with students and alumni at nationally ranked colleges. She will tailor her work to meet your student’s needs just as she has previously coached thousands of students–helping them choose a major, explore and test out career interests, choose and land internships and jobs, and decide when/if graduate school is the next best step.


TJ Portrait of a Graduate Sheet 2022

Well, we are having another exciting year helping students gain entry into Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology.  There is no longer a math, reading, and science test that you have to pass to make first cut, but there are some hoops to jump through: a math question and several essay questions.

If you would like help preparing for the written essays for the TJ Portrait of a Graduate SheetCathy Colglazier and Kate Lewis are here to help.  To arrange instruction, call Mrs. Colglazier at 703-628-2348 and Mrs. Lewis at 571-344-2156.  Click “with Colglazier” or “with Lewis” to purchase a package of four hours of private instruction via zoom.
If you would like to prepare for the math question, we now have five free SIS math videos available on Inspiring Test Preparation’s Rumble.com channel.  Click the year you wish to access:
2016 2017  2018 2019 2020
If you think you are ready for a math test question, purchase this package which includes a prompt, the solution, and a 25-minute zoom meeting to discuss the student’s explanation. 

May You Live in Interesting Times: TJ’s Merit Lottery

“May you live in interesting times”: a blessing to some and a curse to others.  But there is no doubt, we are living in interesting times.  We are fortunate to live in a country with so many opportunities for people who take the initiative to prosper.  And while our country is reeling under the challenges of Covid-19, quarantine, protests, riots, and economic turmoil, some in our own community have the following response to these challenges.

Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent, Scott Brabrand, with the goal of increasing enrollment of underrepresented minorities at the elite Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology (TJ), proposes that admissions become a merit lottery.  A merit lottery would eliminate the three-hour long TJ admissions test, teacher recommendations, the $100 application fee, and would use a minimum student GPA of 3.5 as the sole measure of merit.  The lottery would allot seats by region and necessarily admit more students from areas of the county that have not be represented at TJ historically.  Some groups are delighted by this proposed change; others are outraged.  This proposal is likely to pass if for no other reason than it gets the county off the hook for testing 3000+ students during a pandemic.  It’s a great time for another experiment in education.

There will be a town hall regarding the proposed admissions policy changes on Wednesday, September 23, beginning at 7 p.m.  Families and community members can watch onlinesubmit comments and questions or call into the town hall live at 1-800-231-6359

Additional details about the plan are available here.

Here are some links to other news stories and opinion pieces.

AP News: PTA clashes…

Washingtonian: Thomas Jefferson High School Could Switch to a “Merit Lottery”…

WTOP: [TJ] student speaks out against… 

fcps.edu: Superintendent Presents Recommendations…

Advocacy Group in Favor of Lottery

Advocacy Group Opposed to Lottery

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