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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!

Schoology, HomeworkNow, Google Classroom, Canvas, Haiku: These are just a few of the hundreds of online resources that modern school systems are using to help students communicate with their teachers about assignments. These “Homework Websites” often provide a place for teachers to post daily homework assignments, worksheets, links, reminders, and more for students to reference wherever they have online access. Students can even submit assignments through these portals, share documents with classmates, monitor their grades, and much more.

Student choice is one of the most powerful learning tools, both inside and outside the classroom. When students have control over their academics, and are allowed to lead the way, they are intrinsically engaged in learning and are able to achieve a variety of positive outcomes. However, when students are disinterested, bored, or made to feel powerless in the classroom, their responses are highly predictable: They “go through the motions of learning, handing in uninspired work and counting the minutes or days until freedom” (Kohn). What is the real impact of student choice and how can more students take control of their education?

Your gut feeling is isn’t wrong. When you sense that your child is struggling or needs help, you are very likely correct. This week’s blog is dedicated to all the reasons why you should trust your parental instincts, which can be crucial to your child’s confidence and success both inside and outside the classroom.

Overtired? How caffeine and sleep deprivation interfere with learning

Stressed-out teens often turn to caffeine or the occasional all-nighter to achieve an extra boost or accomplish their goals. Unsurprisingly, among those same children and adolescents, rates of caffeine use and sleep deprivation have risen drastically, often alongside heightened stress levels. The National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSP) reports that “caffeine intake among children and adolescents has increased by 70% in the last 30 years.” Meanwhile, the National Sleep Foundation has found that “more than 87 percent of high school students in the United States get far less than the recommended eight to 10 hours.” What’s worse is that both caffeine and sleep deprivation can exacerbate stress symptoms, like anxiety, fatigue, and attention deficits. Accordingly, caffeine and sleep both have significant repercussions in the classroom, where compromised brain function and development can have crucial and long-term effects on learning.

In the second and third weeks of January, many students resist the transition back to school with all their might, finding mid-January to be one of the toughest times of year. If your child is still wishing for the days of Netflix and holiday dinners, try these tips at home to help your student get back on track:

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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