Chandler mom’s tutor firm offers remote-learning guide The Chandler Arizonan

Chandler mom’s tutor firm offers remote-learning guide

Chandler mom’s tutor firm offers remote-learning guide
City News
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By PAUL MARYNIAK
Arizonan Executive Editor

S24chool closures created double-duty as a tutor for Candace Heiken of Chandler.

On the one hand, she is the founder and CEO of Lively Minds Tutoring, overseeing 45 professional tutors who work with students.

On the other, she’s a mother of four girls who has been working with her daughters as they have been finishing the last part of their school year learning remotely.

So it’s not surprising that Heiken has developed a guide on her company’s website, livelymindstutoring.com, that aims to help both parents and their children make the most out of their virtual classroom experience.

“We have been listening closely as parents try to transition to this new learning environment,” Heiken explained, citing “a common theme of misunderstanding, confusion, frustration and anxiety as parents attempt to help their students.”

The guide walks children and their parents through a checklist that addresses a youngster’s personality traits as they related to effective learning and provides helpful tips on how to get the most from virtual classes.

The 10-page guide, she said, can help parents “know how they can help empower their students and set them up to succeed in this new at-home learning.”

Just as the pandemic-fueled school closures have presented new challenges for Heiken and untold numbers of other parents, they also have posed new challenges to her business.

“We are still busy, but in a different way,” said the Colorado native, who moved to Chandler six years ago and brought not only her family but her business with her.

“We have offered virtual tutoring for students in the past but our tutoring has been primarily in person,” Heiken said. “We trained each of our tutors to make the transition to virtual, and with the exception of a few hiccups, it is going quite well.”

She also has used the guide she developed to work with her daughters, who range in age from 12 to 20, and whose grade level ranges from seventh grade to college.

“I printed both the guide and checklist and went through them with each of my daughters,” Heiken said. “They are very different students, so some of the suggestions were more relevant for each of them.  For instance, one is a natural planner, so she already had a proposed study schedule, but another struggles more with time management and I had to give her more guidance to work out a good schedule.”

An educator for 20 years with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in education, Heiken has taught in both elementary and high school classes.

She privately tutored when her daughters were younger and eight years ago started Lively Minds, offering an array of services to students from Pre-K through college.

“I started the business because I love the idea of providing dedicated help to students who are struggling,” Heiken said, “and I enjoy making those connections between students and educators.”

Lively Minds offers academic tutoring in specific subject areas and also provides “executive function and study skills coaching that teaches particular skills.”

Of the latter services, she explained, “We have seen that students who are struggling in specific content areas are having challenges with not having that live, direct instruction and it is even more necessary for them to have some additional support.”

Remote learning presents new challenges for students who already had been challenged by poor study skills, such as organization and time management, she noted.

“It is extremely important for those students to set up the structure that they will need to be successful with distance learning because it requires considerably more independence and accountability,” Heiken said.

“The biggest hurdle that we have with the younger students is simply helping them stay focused in a such a different learning environment,” she continued. “The expectations for learning are clear in their classrooms and they know what to do each day. That has all changed quickly, and the expectations aren’t as clear now.

“They are being easily distracted by siblings, electronics, and any number of other things that aren’t normally issues in their daily learning.”

To help students become strong learners, Lively Minds creates individualized plans with “measurable goals.”

And during this challenging time, Heiken added, “we keep the lines of communication open with teachers, tutors and parents so that everyone can work together to help students succeed.”

Remote learning has posed “a huge challenge for parents who have almost instantly found themselves in all sorts of new roles, and especially as they are dealing with the additional stressors of working from home or not working at all,” Heiken said.

“I think that it is important to remember that most parents are struggling with this, and that students are going to recover from this academic setback,” she added, noting different districts and different schools set different expectations for learning, schoolwork and grades.

Heiken said her age-appropriate guides provides convenient checklists with clear daily expectations “so that everyone can feel satisfied that they accomplished something.”

“Parents should also recognize that a day of learning at home will not look like a day of learning at school, and they should not expect their students to sit at a desk for six or seven hours,” Heiken said, suggesting they dedicate enough time to finish the school projects but also let children learning “by taking a virtual tour online or making a new craft or cooking something new.”

“Parents don’t have to know how to teach Singapore math or consonant blends to continue keeping their kids learning and engaged,” Heiken added. “Chances are good that they are already teaching their kids something new each day.”

For the guide or information: livelymindstutoring.com or 480-406-8114.

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