Tutor Doctor Cambridge   |    

Expert tuition for all subjects, all ages and all levels in and around Cambridge

Tutor Doctor Cambridge

Expert tuition for all subjects, all ages and all levels in and around Cambridge

5 must-have life skills for teenagers

If your teenager is leaving for university or moving out in the next few years, you might be wondering how they’re going to survive on their own? Try not to worry too much as your child is much more capable than you probably think. Even so, now…

How parents can help with big homework projects

As parents, you play an important role when your child is completing homework, especially when they’re undertaking bigger projects that are going to require a lot of time and dedication. Even though it can be tempting to do the work for them, i…

How parents can help with big homework project

As parents, you play an important role when your child is completing homework, especially when they’re undertaking bigger projects that are going to require a lot of time and dedication. Even though it can be tempting to do the work for them, it’s important to coach your child and provide advice and guidance. This will be much more helpful in the long run and ensure they do their best. Here’s a few ways you can do this without overstepping the mark.

Ask questions

Start by asking questions. Ask which area of the subject interests them the most? What do they want the end result to look like? This will help your child understand the assignment and narrow down the area they want to concentrate on. Once they have chosen a focus, asking questions that encourage creativity and individuality is key, especially if they want the project to be unique. What’s your favourite thing about this time period? What is the key point you are making? Who is your favourite character? Is there a fact that really stands out? Encourage your child to write down their answers as this is how they will start their project. It also means they have something to refer back to later down the line if they need inspiration.
 

Time management

Time management is going to be key for your child if they’re undertaking a big homework project.  We recommend using the calendar to map out some realistic goals with them depending on the time they have. If there’s 6 weeks to complete a project, create some mini deadlines and set specific targets that need to be completed by the end of each week. For example, by the end of week one, all research for the assignment should be completed. This will also make sure the work is handed in on time and make a big task seem more manageable rather than overwhelming. For more information on our recognised X-Skills’ academic game and how our tutors teach students valuable skills such as time management and organisation, click here.

Focus

Encouraging your child to narrow their focus really is some of the most helpful guidance you can give them. It’s easy for children to get carried away with big projects and try to do it all, when there just isn’t the time. Suggest they focus on one area and do plenty of research, figuring out the important elements that need to be included. If a project is too complex it can often end in disaster as they will either end up running out of time or rushing to finish.

One task at a time

Get your child to work on one task at a time. This will mean they’re giving their full attention to that part of the project, meaning it’s completed to the best of their ability. It’s often thought that multitasking is beneficial, however, if your kids are trying to assemble their project, write their presentation, and research at the same time, it’s going to be stressful and not their best work. As long as time is mapped out properly it will be easy for them to concentrate on one part of their assignment at once.  

Designated work space

Setting up your child with a designated work space will be a great help, especially if they’re undertaking a big task spread across a few weeks. It means your kids can leave out all their books or the work that’s in progress, which eliminates them having to gather their materials every time they need to get back to work. Having an area like this can also increase concentration levels and become an enjoyable place to sit whilst completing their project.

5 ways to help your kids find a hobby they love

All parents want their children to find a hobby they can be passionate about. Not only are hobbies great for developing a child’s self-worth and self-esteem but can also benefit them socially, physically and mentally. With so many different hobbies to choose from, finding an activity that your child truly enjoys can be tricky and overwhelming. We’ve put together some ways parents can help kids discover a hobby they love and hopefully pursue for many years to come.

Encourage conversation

Talking to your children and discussing likes and dislikes is a great place to start when trying to discover their interests and passions. Asking open ended questions will also encourage them to think about any areas they would actually like to pursue, rather than choosing the same things as their friends. You may even find some that can be turned into hobbies.

Write it down

Get your kids to write down their five favourite things and go through them together to see if you can transform any into a hobby. Writing things down will also make your kids choose carefully, so we guarantee there will be at least one that can be pursued- you might just need to think outside the box. For example, if your child enjoys reading comics, maybe they may like to find out how they can learn to draw cartoons.

Avoid being pushy

It’s so important to let your kids choose their own hobbies and passions. There’s nothing worse for children than being pushed into an activity their parents want them to do, when in reality they don’t actually enjoy it. The key to sticking to hobbies is for them to be involved and build upon the things they naturally love to do.

Research what’s local to you

We guarantee you’ll be surprised at the wide variety of classes and courses for young children that are available in your local area. From roller-skating to drawing classes, urge your kids to try a taster class and see what they think afterwards. It’s impossible for kids to be interested in something they don’t know exists, which is why it’s important they’re exposed to as many new experiences as possible. You really never know what your child may gravitate towards to next.

Short term first

If your child wants to sign up to a new hobby, we always recommend testing the water with short term options first. Signing up for a short number of sessions provides flexibility, which can be helpful, especially as children can change their minds quickly. It’s also a great way for your kids to try out experiences, and discover new likes and dislikes without having to commit long term.  

How to talk to your children about the news

With frightening news stories constantly being broadcasted on the radio, TV and social media sites, it’s certainly hard for anyone to ignore.  The news can be scary and often overwhelming for children, especially as lots of the stories are difficult for them to understand and include negative, violent or terrifying content. As it’s hard to completely stop your kids being exposed to the news, it’s extremely important to regularly discuss these world events with them from time to time and make sure the frightening information is put into a reasonable context. Here’s some important areas to keep in mind when talking to your children about the news.

Why is talking about news with your kids important?

The TV often has the effect of shrinking the world and bringing it into our own living rooms. With channels often concentrating on negative, violent or devastating news, it can provide kids with an inaccurate view of society and what the world is really like. As there is no real way to escape the news, it’s important to discuss the news with your kids regularly to make sure they have a realistic understanding and it also gives you the opportunity to comfort them and provide any guidance they need.  

Limit exposure

Even though it’s really difficult to completely stop your children being exposed to the news, there’s no harm in trying, especially with youngsters. It can be very tricky for them to rationalise what they’re seeing, so trying to limit their exposure as much as possible will avoid them getting very upset and in some cases distressed. Do this by keeping an eye on their TV habits and monitoring what content they have access to on other devices such as tablets and smartphones. If your kids are going to be watching the news, try to accompany them whilst doing so.

Have regular discussions

Make sure you’re having regular discussions with your child about the events that are happening in the world. This makes sure they’re not secretly worrying and provides them the opportunity to open up and discuss their fears or concerns. Ask them what they think about a particular situation or if there’s a particularly distressing news story getting a lot of coverage. Acknowledging their feelings and letting them know that it’s okay to feel angry, upset or confused may be helpful. Trying to get them to talk about why they’re feeling this way will also provide them with a wider understanding of the story. Make sure you’re alert for signs of stress though- if there is something really worrying your child, it’s important to provide comfort and make sure they feel safe.

Be informed

As a voice of authority for your child, it’s super important to be as informed as possible, as they will put trust in what you are telling them. Having a good understanding of the issues in the news will mean you will be in a better position to discuss them.

Be truthful

To calm your children’s fears about the news, you should be prepared to deliver the truth, but only as much as they really need to know. This honesty will not only help your kids feel safe, but at the same time going into unnecessary details may cause distress and be even more confusing.

Put news into context

Putting news stories into context is key in helping your kids understand what is actually going on and realising they most likely don’t need to worry or fear a certain situation. Do this by explaining that certain events are isolated or perhaps discuss how one event links to another.

Talk about how kids can make a difference

Finally, talking about what your kids can do to help after a tragic event is a great way to help them gain a wider sense of understanding and make them gain a sense of control. Often there are ways anyone can contribute, especially after a tragic event. Check local, national and international organisations who are looking for donations or just a helping hand.

Study tips backed by science

When most students think about studying, often they’re imagining long hours, re-reading the same material and sitting in the same place. Even though these methods can work short-term, they can also be fairly tedious. Rather than regularly using…

Celebrating Roald Dahl

If your child is a Roald Dahl fan then make sure you mark Wednesday the 13th of September in your calendar! It’s the only day throughout the year dedicated to celebrating the talented writer, his classic children’s books as well as providing his fans the opportunity to truly embrace and enjoy the magical fictional worlds he created. There’s so many ways you and your kids can celebrate Roald Dahl Day, so make sure you check out what’s local to you and get involved.

Why the 13th of September?

The 13th of September marks Roald Dahl’s birthday- so there’s really no better date to celebrate him and all of his wonderful creations. For a more detailed history of Roald Dahl and his journey to becoming a writer, check out this page.

How can we join in on Roald Dahl Day?

Host a Roald Dahl Party!

If you and your kids are going to be at home on Wednesday, then why not host your own Roald Dahl party? To make it easy- there’s a free party pack you can download, full of fun games and activities for your celebrations. Get yours here.

Dress up for charity

The Dahlicious Dress Up Day is a fun-filled fancy dress day in aid of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s charity. Children are invited to donate £1 to go to school dressed up as their favourite Roald Dahl character. It’s a fantastic way to engage your child’s imagination, ignite their passion for reading as well as donate to a worthwhile charity. Choose from some well-loved characters here.

Puffin Virtually Live

Puffin Virtually Live is a free interactive webcast hosted by CBBC’s Katie Thistleton. This year she’s joined by special YouTube guest Colin Furze, explores the Roald Dahl Museum archives and finds out how Quentin Blake reimagined Billy and the Minnpins. You can sign up here if you want to watch it with your class.

Discover the Roald Dahl emoji

Join in with the Roald Dahl Day celebrations over on Twitter and uncover an exclusive Wonka-inspired emoji! Simply hashtag #RoaldDahlDay from the 13th of September.

Read a Roald Dahl book

Embrace Roald Dahl day by reading one of his extraordinary stories. Whether it’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the fifth time or joining the twits and their awful ways once again- there’s never been a better time to sit down and enjoy one of his fantastic books. We’ve chosen a few classics, with a short synopsis of each, just in case your child isn’t sure which one they want to choose!

Roald Dahl classics to enjoy

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach follows the story of James Henry Trotter who lives with his two wicked aunts. After three years, he becomes very sad and lonely, until one day a giant peach starts to grow at the end of his garden. Inside the giant peach, James encounters lots of strange insects, who take him on the most magical adventures. This book is vividly descriptive, funny and has an array of fantastic characters, all amusing in their own individual way.

The BFG

The BFG is certainly one of Roald Dahl’s most well-loved stories. It follows Sophie and a big friendly giant on their quest to stop the other giants of the land from eating all the humans! It beautifully encompasses the realms of friendship and is entertaining yet heartwarming. It’s also a fantastic read to encourage your child’s imagination- after all the BFG only eats snozzcumbers and glugs frobscottle!

Billy and the Minpins

Billy and the Minpins was Roald Dahl’s last children’s book.  A brand-new edition of the story will be published in September, illustrated by Quentin Blake for the first time. It tells the story of a heroic boy called Billy who meets tiny tree-dwelling people called the Minpins, who live in fear of being gobbled up by a fearsome monster. Pre-order here.

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