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Tutor Doctor of Raleigh & Wake Forest

Serving Raleigh, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Youngsville, Cary, and the surrounding areas of the Triangle
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High School Students Need to Think, Not Memorize

New education standards will affect the way regular and AP courses are taught.By Christopher J. Gearon | Contributor Sept. 17, 2012 Cheryl Hollinger has taught Advanced Placement biology at Central York High School in Pennsylvania for 17 years, plenty of time to see what isn’t working. The amount of material covered is “overwhelming,” she says; Read More

Thriving with Dyslexia

Tobias thrives with Dyslexia thanks to the help of Tutor Doctor. A study conducted by the Center of Parent Information and Resources, found, one-on-one tutoring has a profound impact students with learning disabilities. We understand students with special needs can succeed with the right tools and personalized attention. When you work with us, our tutors Read More

6 Ways to Help Kids and Parents Sleep Well

Sleep is important. Sleep is very important. First of all, it’s precious time for our brains to rest, taking a break from the hard work they do all day getting us through this crazy carnival we call life. Doctors know full well just how harmful a lack of sleep can be, both physically and mentally, as it can contribute to stress, anxiety, cognitive ability, high blood pressure, digestive problems, and much more. A healthy sleep regimen should therefore be a central part of everyone’s daily routine. But while it may seem like we’re powerless to improve our sleep patterns, there are actually ways we can help.

1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule

Sleep shouldn’t be an afterthought, it should be a core part of your daily routine. When it comes to sleep, our brains love a healthy routine. Try to use set times to go to sleep and wake up each day. You should especially avoid staying up past your bedtime if at all possible. Yes, “bedtime.” Sound like a word that normally gets applied just to kids? Well guess what, every parent can tell you that maintaining a healthy sleep schedule not only helps the cognitive development of children, but also makes them less grumpy. In this case, it’s just as important for adults who want to be healthy.

2. Try to be active during the day

Exercise helps a great deal. Indeed getting the heart pumping on a daily basis is incredibly beneficial in so many ways, but when it comes to sleep, you’ll notice effects in terms of relaxation, blood flow, and just plain wearing you out. There are other benefits you may not even have thought of, such as the fact that a healthy weight allows for easier respiration at night along with less snoring. So try to squeeze in a walk, a run, a workout, anything active.

3. Watch what you eat and drink

Caffeine is a stimulant, it’s the biggest reason why we consume it. A morning coffee, or a pick-me-up at that late-afternoon energy drop, are often helpful in getting us through the day. But you may not be aware that caffeine can stay in our bodies for ten hours or more, which means a cup of coffee consumed at 3pm could still be keeping us wired a 1am. So as difficult as it can be for some, try to reduce the amount of caffeine you take in, especially after lunchtime. In addition, try to avoid eating too much food too close to bedtime, while at the same time avoid going to bed hungry. Also don’t drink too much before hitting the hay, as that could result in many sleep-disturbing nighttime trips to the bathroom.

4. Try to get as much real sunlight as you can

Melatonin is one of many hormones produced by our bodies, but for good reason melatonin is often called the “sleep hormone.” To make sure your melatonin levels are where you want them to be, try to soak up as much natural sunlight as possible. Why? Because sunlight plays a major role in regulating our melatonin levels. Try to spend a good amount of time outdoors, and when indoors try to let in as much sunlight as you can. At the same time, be careful about screen time: staring at a computer, TV or even phone screen can trick your body into thinking it’s daytime. Instead, when sleep time approaches, shut it all down and read instead. Or just rest!

5. Make sure your sleep environment is restful and comfy

In order to drift off to sleep at night, you need to be soothed and relaxed. To make that happen, try to ensure your bedroom is as close as you can get it to completely silent. Darkness too is a help, and that includes little LEDs of chargers, adapters, and the myriad of devices we have in our lives. Use a mattress that matches your needs (maybe you’d be better off with bedding that’s softer, or maybe more firm). Keep your linens clean and your room tidy. Think about nice decorations too! The bottom line is this: you want your sleep environment to be welcoming, calming and peaceful.


6. Watch your stress levels

Stress can have serious effects on human health in so many ways, including blood pressure, digestion, headaches — the list is long. For most people, however, the first thing to get hit is their sleep patterns. Stress from school or work can generate many a night of tossing and turning. Since you need to relax in order to sleep, stress can ruin your night. Tackling stress is a huge undertaking, one that a sizeable percentage of our fellow citizens need to focus on. There are many methods for dealing with stress, so if it’s keeping you up at night do some research and talk to your doctor. Reducing stress will help you sleep, and getting more sleep will reduce your stress.

Four Great Outdoor Hobbies

The summer holidays are swiftly approaching, which means it’s time to start coming up with things to do for your youngsters. While reliable activities such as summer camp, day camp or just plain loafin’ are always there, other possibilities beckon — possibilities that, while being fun, can also be educational.


1. Model Rocketry

This hobby has been around awhile, but it’s tons of fun. The way it works is simple: you assemble a rocket (mostly using glue and stickers), insert a standard-sized rocket engine, then insert an igniter into the engine, and then launch it from a simple launch pad using an electric trigger-switch. The rockets and engines vary in size and capability; they can be small and simple or huge and high-flying. Make sure you have access to a very large open field, as the wind can really catch these (especially during the parachute phase). If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can attach experiments, sensors or video cameras to your rocket. Watching them soar into the sky at top speed will thrill your kid every time!


2. Geocaching

One of the best uses possible for your kid’s smartphone, geocaching combines socializing, competition, the thrill of the hunt and, of course, high technology. Geocachers leave small items for others to find out in the world. Using coordinates and GPS technology, the goal is to find those items (which only have a token value if any at all). It’s also standard to include a logbook so people can add their name to the list of those who have found it. Now it may sound geeky, but it’s tons of fun and there’s a massive online community of geocachers — chances are there are targets to find near you.


3. Gardening

Planting and nurturing flowers and vegetables is both dead simple and incredibly complicated. Plant, water, prune, weed. Pretty straightforward. Except that some plants require more sun exposure than others. Different flowers bloom at different times in the growing season, some plants can only grow in specific climate zones, water demands can vary … things get more complicated the more you do it. But really diving in, starting with plans, keeping a garden journal, and best of all watching life spring from the soil, can be tons of fun. You don’t even need land, a few pots will do.

4. Stargazing

It’s not crazy to think that looking at the stars “properly” requires a hugely expensive telescope equipped with a high-tech motorized mount and an aperture wide enough to drive a school bus through. The truth is, however, such costly tools, while desirable, are not at all necessary. Cheap refractor telescopes, your grandfather’s old binoculars and even a set of opera glasses can reveal amazing sights in the night sky. Even in cities where light pollution renders much of the heavens invisible, it’s still possible to observe the moon, our solar system and even orbiting objects like the International Space Station. There’s tons to see right above your head — just remember to be careful when you’re out at night, and never to look at the sun!


There Are Extroverts, Introverts — and Ambiverts

When we think about our sociability, we tend to think in either/or terms, as we do with so many aspects of human psychology. In other words, the question always seems to boil down to whether we are introverts or extroverts. Well, a new study suggests that most of us are somewhere in between those poles, falling into a lesser-known category: ambiverts.

For young people, this can be an important question. Socialization can be a real challenge, but using binary labels can put people in a box, build unreasonable expectations or just plain increase stress because they might not fit. The truth, however, seems far more interesting — and holds out the possibility that young people may possess strengths they may not see.

According to a recent study, ambiverts can often possess the strengths of both extroverts and introverts. For instance, an ambivert would be able to talk to people as well as listen intently. The study found that ambiverts, contrary to popular perceptions, actually make the best salespeople:

“Grant’s research also disproved the powerful and widely held notion that the best-performing sales people are extroverts. He found that ambiverts’ greater social flexibility enabled them to outsell all other groups, moving 51 percent more product per hour than the average salesperson. Notice how sales increased as extroversion increased, peaking with those who were just moderately extroverted.”

Research has linked this aspect of sociability with the level of dopamine in the brain. People with higher levels of dopamine are receiving a higher degree of neurological stimulation, so they tend to be introverts — being less social helps them reduce the level of stimulation they receive. Extroverts on the other hand are just the opposite: with less dopamine in their brains, being under-stimulated leads to boredom and isolation.

The vast majority of people, however — around two-thirds of the population, according to the above-referenced study — do not fall into the either/or category. They can be outgoing or not, depending on the situation and their own state of mind.

So if you’ve always found you don’t quite fit either of the introvert/extrovert labels, you might simply occupy a different, more moderate point on the sociability spectrum.

More information on ambiverts can be found here

How to ace a job interview

Nowadays it’s rare to sit for an interview as part of a college admission. Only a handful of schools bother anymore, mostly because they just get too many applicants for it to be practical. Being interviewed, however, is still a part of life, because it’s still a key method in the hiring process. Yes, we’re talking about the dreaded job interview, source of so much fear, anxiety and downright panic. It needn’t be something to dread — in fact, with the proper preparation, believe it or not, a job interview can be something to look forward to. It can be your time to shine!

The web is full of advice on the sorts of questions you can be expected to ask, and how you should answer them. There are tips on what to wear, on shaking hands, on every aspect of the interview process. But here’s a tip that cuts to the heart of all of it: what all those questions are really asking.

Imagine you sit down before a manager whose job it is to find out what they can about you and decide whether you’re a good fit for the position. You’re nervous and fidgety, expecting to be asked about your resume or your work experience. Then you get hit by this one: “I’ve interviewed a dozen people today, some of them with more experience than you have. So why should I hire you instead of them?”

It’s a pretty devastating question. It’s also kind of a test. Basically you need to justify yourself in a very serious way. You have to say more than just “I’m going to work hard” or “I’m trustworthy.” You have to be able to talk about yourself with self-awareness, confidence, and especially what makes you unique, what makes you — well, you.

When you think about all the questions that get asked at an interview, most of them boil down to this one, brutal, horrifying question. Just why should you be hired? What is it that you want out of life? Not just out of one job at one employer, but life? What is your relationship with society, and how do you wish to contribute to the world? What are your values? In a crowd of people, how do you stand out? What makes you special? Just who are you, exactly?

Unfortunately there isn’t an easy solution we can give you, but that’s all right. What you need to do is get to know yourself, search your heart and soul, find out who you really are and what you’re all about. Yes, it’s difficult and a lot of work. But once you’ve really explored your insides, so to speak, you’ll be able to march into that interview and not only answer all their questions with a clear voice and a confident gaze. Not only will you be in a better position to get that job, you really will stand out from the rest.

Now go get ‘em!


Career Ready

Every parent wants their child to be successful in life: to succeed academically, socially, spiritually, in every way possible. Included in that list is the desire of every parent to be rest assured of their child’s ability to get a good job and be financially stable for the rest of their life. Some might dismiss career talk as materialistic, even crass, but a good job is the gateway to good health, secure housing, good food — everything necessary for a happy, meaningful life. So how can youngster and parent prepare early for the many career choices to come?

1. It’s never too soon to pick up skills

There are all kinds of practical skills that are useful in the job market, yet are neglected while in school. For instance a strong familiarity with a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs will be a useful line on a resume. Another extremely helpful ability, but one that often gets overlooked, is a mastery of spreadsheets. Being able to handle loads of data and process them into pivot tables would come in handy in a great many professions. There are also manual skills, such as carpentry, welding, car repair. If you put your mind to it, you’ll probably come up with a long list of skills and abilities that your youngster could get a head start on, an effort that could pay major dividends later on.

2. Try to get a deeper understanding of interesting careers

There’s a strong tendency, when researching jobs and careers, to start and end with web searches. But that approach drastically limits learning opportunities, and, as a result, limits potential career opportunities. Don’t just surf the web, get your kid out there in the real world — visit workplaces, talk to people living and working in various fields. Find out what it’s really like to work in the fields in which your youngster is interested. You might be surprised by how much can be learned with direct experience.

3. Know your requirements

The earlier you understand what steps are required to reach your child’s career goals, the better off you’ll be. Courses needed to get into needed college majors, college credits needed to get into postgraduate programs, further programs and work experience required for professional certification — there are a lot of steps that will have to be taken on the long journey to working life. A bit of strategic thinking early on will make sure it’s a productive journey.

4. Build a portfolio

It’s easy to buy a web address and build a basic website. Such as A website can be an ongoing project maintained and updated throughout the years spent in high school and college, allowing the youngster to develop all the skills related to web design and upkeep.There are also tons of websites designed to distribute content created by individuals, so photography, music, writing, art and more can be shown to a global audience. Now it may not bring in money to your child (though it just might!), but it will create an identity and a brand that can be controlled and shaped. Why is this important? Because everyone should expect to get Googled when applying for jobs, post-secondary education, and more. A positive online identity will be a huge help.

4. Relax!

Career exploration can be an immensely stressful process. The younger your child is, the more it can feel like career discussions are threatening to lock them into something long before they’re ready. It can turn a useful process into a counterproductive exercise in stress and anxiety. Therefore, don’t try to lock in anything too early. Keep an eye out for special skills or potential interests. Assure your child that the point isn’t to decide what to do with their life, but to ensure the best possible tools are available if and when that decision is made.

How to Prepare for the Parent/Teacher Interview

We all expect our teachers to prepare for our parent/teacher interviews, but parents often don’t think about these meetings. If you go in unprepared, you may miss out on a vital opportunity to discuss your child’s progress and make a plan for the rest of the semester which would help your child to succeed.

6 Awesome Halloween Costumes you can Make From a Box

Supersize your fun this Halloween while saving some money and the environment too. Take time with your kids to make your own epic Halloween costumes out of recycled boxes. You can pick up a box at your nearest grocery store (just make sure it’s clean). Utilizing recycled boxes is better for the environment than buying a costume which only gets one use before ending up in the landfill. Making your own costumes is great ghoulish fun for the whole family.

5 Habits for a Happier Home

A few new habits that will create a happier, healthier home for you and your children. Habits take only a couple of weeks and a little discipline to start, but they will ease the tension in your home, mean less nagging for you and better grades for your students. Mellow Mornings Ever have to wake Read More

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