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Welcome to the Engaging Minds Blog!

Each week, we will be posting about pertinent articles on educational and school-related topics, how they relate to Engaging Minds students (and parents!), and how to apply this information to your child(ren). We will also be posting original content pertaining specifically to the Engaging Minds approach and philosophy with tips on how to improve and enhance your child(ren)’s learning experience.
Our hope for this blog is to make it a valuable resource for parents. To that end, if you read any interesting articles or have any suggestions for topics, please feel free to email Dan Levine at Also, please comment on posts in the section below with your own input, ideas, and experiences. While we can’t promise we will be able to use all of your suggestions, we would very much appreciate your contributions and thoughtfulness!

As the summer approaches, children of all ages are ready to trade in their routine and responsibilities for some carefree time at summer camp or the pool. In many previous posts, we’ve discussed the “summer slide,” whether it is fact or fiction (it is fact!), and how to go about preventing academic losses during the summer months. This post will focus on the benefits of summer tutoring and how to go about talking to your children about academic summer programming.

Most children want nothing to do with academics over the summer. In spite of parent’s best strategies, planning, and intentions, children still struggle to participate in learning activities encouraged at home. Sometimes, it takes special programming outside the home to get kids using their brains again. We noticed this phenomenon last summer, when we cracked the “motivation mystery” at one of our Engaging Minds Writing Workshops. On the last day of our program, one of our students expressed some serious disappointment, saying, “I wish I could come back tomorrow and keep writing!” We were just as surprised and delighted to hear those words over the summer months as any parent. But we also knew that we had prepared our students with a fun and engaging writing experience.

Let’s face it: When the weather gets warmer, the days get longer, and the final days of school dwindle, your children spend A LOT of time day-dreaming about the lazy days of summer ahead. They imagine summer camp, cookouts, and beach days very vividly, while conjuring up answers to their homework questions or final projects can be a challenge. Parents and teachers both struggle to keep their students’ heads “in the game” when the summer months approach. However, there are many ways to help keep kids focused, in the classroom and at home. Try these tips during your child’s study or homework times to keep your kids on track:

Get your children moving: The educational benefits of regular exercise

Everyone knows the many benefits of exercise, and all children hope to grow up “big and strong.” When your child exercises, he builds muscle, reduces stress, and prevents many serious health problems, helping him to grow into a healthy adult. But, did you know that exercise improves brain health and can enhance your child’s performance in the classroom? Although it is always necessary to “hit the books” to do well in school, it is just as important to “hit the gym.” Here’s why:

Self-advocacy before finals: getting what you need to succeed

In school, developing academic self-sufficiency often requires a skill called self-advocacy, or a student’s ability to “effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights” (VanReusen et al., 1994). Most importantly, self-advocacy “involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions,” usually independently or with minimal help from parents and school authorities. Sooner or later, every student will grow into adult, and will need to use their skills, intellect, manners and morals on their own terms. So why not start practicing now? And why not start with self-advocacy in the classroom and at home?

Engaging Minds Boston Learning and Tutoring Center
188 Needham Street • Suite 215 • Newton, MA 02464
190 N. Main Street • Natick, MA 01760
Tel: 617-964-3100 •

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