Homeschooling in Texas: A Quick Guide

While there are many educational options for families to consider, homeschooling is gaining traction and popularity. Homeschooling is an educational movement around the country in which parents chose to educate their children in the home, rather than in a traditional private, public, or charter school.

Texas Homeschooling Curriculum Requirements

Homeschooling curriculum can vary from family to family and student to student. Families can chose from a wide range of online curriculum, and can also find a number of support groups online and locally to help make some of those decisions.

It’s important to note that there is no expectation that one curriculum source would work for all subjects or even for the entire year. Accountability for students who are homeschooled vary from state to state. According to www.texasunschoolers.com, families in Texas only have to uphold three requirements to homeschool:

●       The instruction must be bona fide

●       The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).

●       The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.

There are no reporting agencies and no testing requirements for homeschoolers. The state of Texas does not regulate homeschoolers once they have been removed from the public school system.

Additionally, “In 1994 the Texas Supreme Court unanimously upheld lower court decisions that home schools, by law, are considered private schools. Private schools are exempt from the compulsory attendance requirements placed upon public school attendees. Private schools in Texas are not regulated by the state.”

Why Families Choose Homeschooling

The top 6 reasons parents give for choosing to homeschool their student(s)?:

 

●        To avoid negative social situations

●        To ensure their student gets a quality education, free of distractions

●        To improve social interactions

●        To ensure students with disabilities are supported adequately

●        To avoid over-testing

●        For religious purposes

 

Common Misconceptions About Homeschooling

People often mistakenly assume that homeschooling is easy. Some parents envision days where their student(s) are working quietly while providing an opportunity for the parent to prepare dinner, do chores, laundry, or catch up on miscellaneous housework.

The truth is, homeschooling, while incredibly rewarding, is a lot of work. You need to decide on, or develop, curriculum. It’s important to be thorough and organized. You have to challenge your recall of facts that you learned long ago in school.

Most importantly,  you need to learn how to navigate the precarious balance of being both a parent and an inspiring and motivating educator.

Planting Seeds Tutoring and Homeschooled Students

Planting Seeds Tutoring often provides tutoring to supplement home school educations. If you are homeschooling and want reinforcement or enrichment in one or more subject areas, our one-on-one tutoring maintains the individual, caring attention of your home school environment.

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring Today

To find out more about whether or not your student would benefit from support with their homeschool assignments, or to learn more about the services offered at Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, visit our blog, our website, and follow us on Facebook.

You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at plantingseedstutoring@gmail.com

'Tis The Season.. for College Essay Writing

College application deadlines vary from school to school, however; many colleges and universities are already accepting applications for early decisions. Applying to college is a long, rigorous process. From deciding which schools interest you, determining whether you might be a good fit, both academically and financially, then completing the actual application process, including an essay-writing component, it can seem overwhelming.

While there are many resources available to help fill out applications and narrow down schools of choice, writing the college essay is often noted as the most challenging part of the college application process. The staff at Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, are available to help.

What Do I Write About?

In speaking with college admissions staff and essay readers, they often share that the most meaningful essays, the ones that really resonate, are the ones that truly paint a vivid picture in their minds. One college admissions staff member recalled a story that continues to stay with her to this day, despite reading it over 10 years ago. She shares, “The essay was about a young man. A quarterback on the local high school team, he was mentally preparing for his last game as a graduating senior against his school’s biggest rivals. In his essay, he explained in great detail the weather, the sense of anxiety, of his heart thudding in his chest, and the pressure to perform, the glare of the lights in the locker room, and the tone and tenor of his coach’s pregame speech. I read about him running out onto the field with a fine, cold mist in his face. The referee blows his whistle and he feels the ball shoved into his hands. And then...the story ends. To this day, I wonder about that football game: how the quarterback played, who won, what happened next?” Worth noting, she recommended this young man for admission, although she does not know whether or not he ultimately was offered admission to the college.

 

Her tips for meaningful, well-written essays?:

  • Make it personal

  • Stay focused

  • Develop your ideas with specific examples

  • Use imagery

  • Speak with your own voice

  • Proofread, review, proofread, review

 

How Do I Make My Essay Stand Out?

The professionals who read college essays have hundreds of them make their way across their desks each application season. It is important that yours makes it to the top of the pile and stands out among the others. How? First, make sure you follow the directions. “Believe it or not,” says our college admissions expert, “we have essays come in that clearly demonstrate that an applicant did not bother to read our clear and concise directions.” Then, write about something that matters to you, not what you think matters to them. You can’t fake enthusiasm and passion for something. Essay readers and admissions counselors are looking for that one piece that captures their attention and makes them feel something. Finally, be sure to use this space as a platform to tell the admissions staff something that they don’t already know about you. This is your opportunity to share something that is unique and special to you that you feel is a critical piece of information - the final piece of the puzzle.

How Can Planting Seeds Tutoring Help?

The tutors at Planting Seeds Tutoring are available to help you every step of the way through the application process, including the review and revision of your college essay. We have tutors with specialized background in English and writing. Our tutors are well-equipped with the skills and training needed to take a critical look at your outline, rough draft, and final draft, to ensure that the writing is cohesive, makes sense, and that it is grammatically correct.

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring Today

To find out more about whether or not your student would benefit from support with their college essay, or to learn more about the services offered at Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, visit our blog (link), visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at plantingseedstutoring@gmail.com

Individualized Instruction with Planting Seeds Tutoring

We realized that many different situations can create a need for tutoring. Our individualized approach allows us to meet any and all of these needs.

The statement that ‘All children can learn,” has been a maxim of educators for years. Individualized instruction necessitates a clarification of this firmly held adage; All students can learn when educators plan instruction to address student readiness, interests, learning profiles, and needs.

Individualized Instruction - What Does it Mean?

Individualized instruction is instruction that is tailored to the learning needs, preferences, and interests of different students. In an environment that is fully individualized, such as at Planting Seeds Tutoring, the learning objectives, content, method and even pace of instruction will vary.

What IS and What ISN’T Individualized Instruction?

Individualized instruction IS responsive teaching and tutoring. It involves the recognition of student differences, as well as the commitment to proactively plan for those differences. Our tutors believe and accept that students have a range of needs and interests, that they learn in a variety of ways, and that they come from many different backgrounds. Our goal is to provide instruction that will meet each learner where they are in order to maximize their academic, persona;, and social growth.

 

Individualized instruction is NOT modified whole group instruction. With modified whole group instruction, educators look for patterns, offer options, and maintain flexibility with grouping arrangements in order to tailor instruction. These are all wonderful techniques to better meet student needs, however; individualization is an educator’s response to various types of learners and the understanding that some students prefer to demonstrate their knowledge in a creative way, some in an analytical way, and others still in a more straightforward way. An educator who is skilled in individualization will allow their students to choose from a variety of projects to show their mastery of a concept.

How Can Planting Seeds Tutoring Help?

This is where Planting Seeds Tutoring comes in.

We, at Planting Seeds Tutoring, have the ability and luxury of being able to individualize student experiences during their tutoring time. Working with small groups, or one-on-one, allows us to implement proven strategies to better reach and teach students who need alternatives to demonstrate their mastery of a skill or subject.

Those strategies include:

●      giving students choices for how to demonstrate their knowledge

●      providing a variety of settings for the learning environment

●      being responsive to the needs of each student to ensure that we are meeting them where they are, instead of expecting them to follow a preconceived curriculum or timeline

Individualization is NOT a recipe, rather a way of teaching. The tutors at Planting Seeds Tutoring understand that there is not a neatly arranged notebook that has a prescribed lesson for each day and each step that we take with our students. Our students’ minds are always evolving, learning, and questioning, and our tutors have the tools and the training to adapt accordingly. Our tutors understand that, since our learners minds are always changing, we must always be flexible and responsive.

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring Today

To find out more about whether or not your student would benefit from tutoring, or to learn more about the services offered at Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, visit our blog (link), visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at plantingseedstutoring@gmail.com

Tutoring Students with Learning Disabilities

One of the most common reasons parents reach out to Planting Seeds Tutoring is for help with their children who have learning disabilities.

There are many reasons a student with a learning disability may require academic support outside of the classroom. Children with learning disabilities benefit from an extra ‘boost’ to absorb, process, and understand the information that is being delivered in whole group, large classroom settings.

At Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, we are proud to offer students and families a variety of options when it comes to academic enrichment, remediation, and support. Our tutors have experience working with all types of students and can offer small group and one-on-one tutoring to fit your needs.

Our services range from occasional homework help to intensive individualized support for students who are really struggling in their regular classroom setting.

How Learning Disabilities Can Slow Academic Progress

Learning Disabilities, as defined by the Learning Disabilities Association of America, are neurologically-based processing problems. These processing problems can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math. They can also interfere with higher level skills such as organization, time planning, abstract reasoning, long or short term memory and attention.  It is important to realize that learning disabilities can affect an individual’s life beyond academics and can impact relationships with family, friends and in the workplace.”

Learning disabilities can create significant challenges in mastering content, which, in turn, can slow down progress in school.

Some students need information presented to them in a variety of ways before it really clicks for them. Unfortunately, most classroom settings may move too quickly for a student with learning disabilities. This can create social and emotional issues on top of academic struggles, exacerbating all three, and making the school environment an unpleasant one.

Why More Individual Attention Matters

Students are most often identified as having a Learning Disability through psychological and educational testing. The most commonly heard phrase in Special Education eligibility meetings is that there is a significant and measurable gap between a student’s potential and academic achievement.

This is where Planting Seeds Tutoring comes in.

We, at Planting Seeds Tutoring, have the ability and luxury of being able to individualize student experiences during their tutoring time. Working with small groups, or one-on-one, allows us to implement proven strategies to better reach and teach students who tend to struggle in larger group settings.

Those strategies include:

●       breaking instruction into small, manageable blocks

●       employing multiple modalities to introduce and reinforce topics (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile)

●       scaffolding, which refers to a process in which instructors model how to solve a problem, then step back, allowing students to work through the process and offering support as needed

●       teaching a variety of compensatory strategies to ensure students are able to keep up when they are in the classroom

The tutors at Planting Seeds Tutoring are happy to work directly with classroom and special education teachers to review student’s Individualized Education Plans, if applicable, and to develop curriculum to reinforce individual goals and objectives, while also incorporating strategies that are effective in the classroom.

We are also happy to share with parents and educators any information and strategies that we have found useful when working with our shared students.

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring Today

To find out more about whether or not your student would benefit from tutoring, or to learn more about the services offered at Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, visit our blog (link), visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at plantingseedstutoring@gmail.com

5 Reasons You Need Planting Seeds Tutoring in Your Life

At Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, we are proud to offer students and families a variety of options when it comes to academic enrichment and support. Our tutors focus on the BIG 3 with your students: building relationships, adapting to their needs, and personalizing each student's tutoring session. We believe our unique approach keeps tutoring sessions fresh and informative for all students. This blueprint has been the driving force behind improvement in student's performance and building character.

At some point, many parents consider whether they should hire a tutor for their student. Perhaps their child is struggling academically, or they are bored at school. There are a number of reasons why hiring a tutor is a good choice, and not all of them are as obvious as you may think:

Academic Enrichment

People often assume that students who are enjoying academic success can continue to glide down the path of success, unaided. In reality, students who are already doing well are prime candidates for tutoring; they can pre-learn upcoming concepts for their classes, and they can benefit from acceleration and enrichment, which will help them stay challenged, engaged, and prepared for continued success. Additionally, students who are already earning good grades can use opportunities to dig more deeply into concepts that are of interest to them, which they may have limited time to do in their respective classrooms.

Remediation

This is the most common reason parents seek academic support for their student outside of school, and it’s an important one. When students are struggling in class, it can be difficult for them to get the support and attention they need during the school day. In most academic settings, the student to teacher ratio is high. Too high, in fact, for students to get individualized attention. Also, testing timelines often dictate the amount of time teachers have to focus on any one concept, regardless of whether or not everyone in the class is ready to move forward. At Planting Seeds Tutoring, we can individualize your student’s experience to best meet their needs.

Build Self-confidence

When you do well, you feel well. It’s as simple as that. A student who walks into a classroom prepared with information is going to feel very good about what they can conquer on any given day. Arming students with the knowledge they need to nail an assignment, ace a test, or simply keep their head high and their hand up in the air, is a great foundation for a sense of accomplishment and a ‘can-do’ attitude. 

Stave Off Summer Learning Loss

Summer learning loss is the loss of skills gained during the academic year over extended breaks, such as summer vacation. Summer learning loss varies across grades, classes, and socio-economic status. While students often look forward to tuning out during the summer months, the cost of avoiding the books can be devastating, even for students who finish their school year on top of their class. Summer is a great time to revisit old concepts and to pre-teach new ones in advance of the next grade. 

Avoid the Parent/Kid Homework Battle

What parent can't relate to the nightly homework woes? Sometimes, it can feel a lot like pulling teeth – cajoling, reminding, and coercing kids to get to work, stay focused, and slog through the seemingly never-ending pile of evening assignments.  And at the end of the day, parents want to enjoy their precious time with their children and students would prefer to not have to resume their academics after spending a lengthy day in the classroom. Let us help you and your student with homework. With our trained tutors, we can help facilitate the work so that home can remain a safe space, free of nightly battles.

Contact Planting Seeds Tutoring Today

To find out more about whether or not your student would benefit from tutoring, or to learn more about the services offered at Planting Seeds Tutoring, an Austin, South, and Central Texas-based tutoring company, visit our blog, visit our website and follow us on Facebook. You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972)342-6496, or via email, plantingseedstutoring@gmail.com