How to Help Your Child Solve Math Word Problems

child doing homework with headphones

Solving math word problems involves skills in analysis, reading and mathematics. This causes some children to struggle, even if their individual skills are up to par. When word problems are first introduced, children don’t always understand the path from a phrase like “two trains are leaving different stations” to a numerical answer. Here are some ways you can help your child digest and solve these problems. 

Highlight Key Parts

Math word problems throw children off by adding fluff to the actual equation. However annoying this may be, it does give children a more realistic view on how math problems work in real life. With these problems, have your child highlight the words and numbers that relate to the question being asked. This will help them hone in on the problem they need to solve.

hand doing math homework

Answer the Question

This may seem as obvious as “solve the problem,” but at first glance, a child may find it difficult to understand what a word problem is saying. If your child can rephrase the question in the form of a statement, they’ll have a firm grasp of the question they’re answering. This is an important step in solving a word problem. 

Write Out the Equation

Now that your child knows what equation needs to be solved, they should write it out. When they show their work, they’ll be able to catch possible errors. It will also remind them that they’re solving a simple math problem. Seeing the problem without the words in the way makes it easier to solve.

child holding up fingers above chalkboard

Read, Reread, Proofread

The biggest error children make with math word problems is rushing through them to get to the next task. If your child reads over the question twice before attempting to solve the problem, then looks over it again after, they’ll have a better chance of catching any mistakes. It will also help them build confidence in their ability to solve these seemingly  complex problems.

Math word problems often trip children up, but you can make the problems easier to solve. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

5 Reasons for Students to Participate in Extracurricular Activities

St. Charles Borromeo students tug of war

The best learning happens when children enjoy going to school. While classes can be fun, they are often stressful. Extracurricular activities can help alleviate stress while giving children something to look forward to after class. The best part about these activities is that almost any child can find one that aligns with their interests. Schools have academic clubs, music and art groups, special interest organizations, and, of course, athletic programs. Here are some of the ways these activities help students thrive.

Better Academic Performance

Students who participate in extracurricular activities see school as more than just a place to study. This creates a positive perspective, which leads to more motivation to do well in classes. Participating in extracurricular activities can increase brain function. Children who need to learn songs, routines, lines or sports moves learn how to focus, which in turn helps them achieve academic success. Sports and performing arts can also teach students about endurance and reacting quickly in tough situations. When it comes time to take the big test, these students have the upper hand.

ballet

Broadened Horizons

Students from all grades, learning levels and walks of life can join and thrive in student organizations. Children who participate in these activities have the opportunity to learn about different cultures and perspectives. They can also learn more about their own interests and discover adjacent interests that their new friends have. By going to after school activities full of students with shared interests, children have more opportunities to meet and interact with diverse groups of people.

Sense of Belonging

Feeling like you’re the only one who likes something can feel isolating. Finding and joining a school club can give children a sense of belonging. In at least one way, children have a shared purpose with others in the group. On sports teams, every student plays a specific role. Children learn about all the different roles and how they work together, as well as how their role impacts the team as a whole. Children who feel they belong to a community often have a better sense of identity and better mental health than those who feel isolated.

leadership

Leadership Skills

All extracurricular activities have a leadership structure, whether it’s a special interest group or a team. Students in these groups learn about how leadership roles work and can become leaders within the groups. This may also involve learning a little bit about politics if it’s a popular club that runs elections. Other skills children can learn by participating in extracurricular activities include teamwork, goal setting, problem solving, time management, and public speaking. 

Career Prospects

Your child may not be building a resume or college application yet, but when they do, they’ll be better prepared if they have leadership skills and experience. As students advance in school, they’ll be inclined to continue being involved in extracurricular activities. This looks great on college applications, especially if they showed leadership within the group. If they’re involved in student organizations at a college level, that will be a great boost when they start their careers. 

Children who participate in extracurricular activities have plenty of opportunities to get ahead in life. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Preparing Your Child for High School

mother and girl graduating

High school can be an overwhelming step for children, especially if they feel unprepared for what’s ahead of them. You can help them get through this process so that high school becomes an enjoyable experience rather than a place they dread going to every weekday. Whether your child decides to continue Catholic education or moves on to a magnet program or public school, there are steps you can take to encourage your child during their transition. Here are ways you can help ease the stress of moving on to high school. 

Plan School Visits

When it comes to choosing a high school, there are many options, and none of them are one-size-fits-all. If your child needs some help deciding where to go, consider taking tours at different schools. Some schools offer virtual tours, so you can get a feel for the campus from the safety of your home. Once they choose a school, make sure to attend orientation with them. See if you can bring them to school performances or fairs on the weekends before they graduate. Look into extracurricular activities the school offers, and encourage your child to get involved in ones that interest them. 

boy studying at desk with notebook and computer

Enhance Their Study Habits

Even if your child breezed through elementary school and middle school classes, they may find high school more challenging. Take these final days of eighth grade to help your child create the perfect study space. Find a quiet area free from distractions, and add tools like planners, labeled binders and calendars to help your child get organized. Help them set aside time for studying so they’ll be used to it when high school comes along. Make sure your child continues reading over the summer, and encourage them to brush up on past lessons so they’ll be caught up when they start school. 

Communicate Openly 

One of the most difficult things to do with a teenager is have a serious conversation. Try to keep communication as honest and open as possible, even if it’s uncomfortable. Ask them about their experiences, and don’t accept one-word answers. Ask about what they learned, who they spent time with, and what they enjoy or don’t enjoy about school. Keep this habit up going into high school so they’ll know they can turn to you. Listen to what they have to say, and ask how you can help. Encourage them to come up with their own solutions, and offer advice only if they seem stuck. This will also help them become independent, which is an essential part of growing up.

planner and coffee

Set Goals

When your child starts high school, they’ll be in a whole new world full of opportunities, and it can be difficult to stay focused on what matters. The goals they create can be educational, like keeping certain grades or getting into AP classes, and social, like joining a club that’s relevant to their niche interests or helps them get more involved in the community. Encourage them to come up with new goals each year so they always have something to look forward to in the future. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, we prepare children to excel in high school and beyond with the help of their families. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Show Educators Love on Teacher Appreciation Week

desk with books apple and pencils

Teaching requires passion and dedication to creating compassionate leaders, especially at Orlando private schools. Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 3-7 this year, has honored the men and women who educate our children since the National PTA established it in 1984. While apples are an iconic gift for teachers, we have a few other ideas for virtual and physical teacher appreciation gifts.

Send a Nice Message

One fun way for your child to show they appreciate their teacher is by sending a thoughtful message. Consider playing videographer for your child, and have them record a video for their teacher. If your child is camera shy, have them write a nice letter or email. To keep them on topic, let them choose from the following prompts, or come up with one of your own:

  • The best thing about your class was…
  • My favorite thing about you is…
  • I will always remember 5th grade because…
  • My favorite lesson you taught me was…

child in yellow shirt drawing a picture

Draw the Teacher

Doodling in class is generally frowned upon, but if you have a child who loves to draw, encourage them to express themselves by drawing their teacher. If you’re the more artistic one, draw it yourself. This type of personalized gift shows that your child cares. No matter who drew the picture, have your child sign it so your teacher will remember your child when they see it. If your child draws the portrait, make sure to look at it before they bring it to their teacher— sometimes well-meaning children create art that requires further explanation.

Make Something

Craft projects are essential for early education. Teacher appreciation week gives your child the opportunity to explore their creativity outside of school. Choose a project that would make a great gift, and help your child make it. Teachers are always looking for storage solutions, so a decorated plastic box or pencil holder could be a perfect present. You can make a tin can pencil holder by adorning a clean soup can with colorful beads and popsicle sticks like the one you see here. Or, as a twist on giving your teacher flowers, have your child paint a plain ceramic flower pot with fun designs, and give the decorated pot to the teacher with a flower or succulent planted inside. 

brown gift box with red ribbon

Give Them a Gift

Not all children love doing arts and crafts in their spare time, and that’s OK. You can still figure out a fun gift for your child’s teacher. A gift card in a nice box can be a great way to show appreciation. To give two gifts in one, consider placing gifts into a reusable water bottle or a mason jar. You can fill either of these useful items with pens and pencils or with candy and mints. Depending on the size, you can even hide a gift card among the items so the gift keeps on giving. These are just a few ways your child can show appreciation for their hard working teachers.

At St. Charles Borromeo, teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How Video Games Can Help Your Child Learn

child playing video game

Gaming can open up new worlds for your child, like books and movies but in a more engaging way. When your child plays a video game, they are at the center of their own world. This can come with many benefits, like life lessons, cognitive benefits and career opportunities. At our Orlando private school, we believe play is just as important as attending classes for a child’s development. Here are some of the ways video games can help your child learn:

Educational Content

While not all video games directly relate to education, most can teach life lessons. These games immerse players in thrilling, stimulating worlds. Historical games, like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and the Assassin’s Creed series mix facts about history with challenging scenarios. Role-playing games like the Pokemon and Kingdom Hearts series teach children vocabulary through character dialogue. Minecraft, a popular game for all ages, allows players to build their own worlds. Minecraft: Educational Edition comes with over 500 lesson plans about coding, the environment, history and more. Other games like Math Blaster, Reader Rabbit, and Code Ninjas solely exist to educate children. 

child doing math on whiteboard

Teaches Life Skills

It’s nice that children can learn facts and academic skills from games, but they can also learn skills that will help them in life. For one, video games help children become motivated. They play the main character role, and their success is rewarded throughout the game. With incremental levels of difficulty, children learn the value of practicing and improving skills, which translates to real life. Whether a child plays with a team of pre-designed characters or with real people, video games also help children learn the importance of teamwork. 

Helps with Brain Function

If you’ve heard a parent talk about the benefits of video games, you’ve probably heard that they improve “hand-eye coordination.” While that is true, there’s more to it. With timed challenges and incentives to act quickly, video games help speed up mental response times, which improves real-life troubleshooting skills. Rhythm games help children think quickly and can help with their overall motor skills. By providing instant, ongoing feedback and giving players the opportunity to correct mistakes, video games also teach children how to re-strategize and keep trying if they fail the first time.

child on computer programming

Creating Video Games

Video games aren’t just a fun pastime— they can become a fruitful career. Your child could become part of this estimated $180 billion industry. Creating these games requires code writers, art and level designers, musicians, voice actors, motion capture actors and more. Many of these skills require STEM-based knowledge. Even if your child is not set on becoming a future game designer, they might be interested in seeing what goes on behind the scenes.  The National STEM Video Game Challenge allows students to build games from the ground up, and spectators get to watch the process unfold. This can be a great educational opportunity for gamers of all ages. 

Recommendations for Parents

While video games can be beneficial, like anything, they should be experienced in moderation. Here are some tips for creating healthy gaming habits:

  • Establish firm time limits for your child, and don’t let them start playing before they finish homework or chores. 
  • Encourage your child to play games with friends and family members, helping them learn collaboration and allowing them to engage with others in a meaningful way. 
  • Encourage healthy habits while they’re playing. Good posture, sitting the proper distance from the TV, and not mindlessly eating unhealthy snacks while playing can go a long way. 
  • Before buying a game for your child, find out if it’s appropriate. The ESRB has a ratings scale with ratings like E for Everyone and M for Mature. Not all games are rated, but you can figure out what happens in most games with a quick Google search. 

We believe playing video games is a great way for children to learn about the world around them, whether it remains a hobby or turns into a career. St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Helping Your Child Stay Safe Online

child online Orlando Catholic School

The internet can be a great resource for developing minds. Children can form connections and find a wealth of information online. However, there is a dark side to having an infinite amount of information and access to others. With the internet being more a part of our lives than ever before, it’s vital to ensure your child’s online safety. Here are our tips for helping your child stay safe online:

Talk About Internet Safety

The first step in keeping your child safe is talking to him about safety. When your child first accesses the internet, start talking about what he’s reading, watching and doing online. Listen to your child’s thoughts on what he wants to do online. Each family handles this differently, but it helps if you establish clear rules. Discuss online behavior and its effects on offline life. Talk about online reputation, emphasizing that everything your child posts will be public and permanent. Remind your child that everyone he talks to online is a real person, so any hurtful comments he makes could have a long-term impact.

Track Your Child’s Online Habits

Keep the computer your child will be using in a central part of the house where you can monitor his activity. Check the browser history to make sure he’s not seeing anything he shouldn’t be. Aside from the websites and apps your child is using, pay attention to how much time he’s spending online. One way to do this is by setting a timer for each session for an agreed upon amount of time, like 30 minutes or an hour. When time is up, say so, and be firm. When it’s bedtime, consider turning off the Wi-Fi so the whole family can get offline for the night. 

online phone on social media next to laptop Orlando Catholic School

Know Who Your Child’s Online Friends Are

Before your child gets online, inform him that not everyone online is who they say they are. Look for warning signs, like spending long hours online at night, phone calls from strangers, and your child shutting off the computer when you walk in. Human trafficking is a growing problem that affects teens everywhere, even Central Florida, so it’s important to look out for the signs and have a conversation with your child. Talk to him about saying no, getting out of uncomfortable situations, and letting a teacher or parent know when something suspicious happens around him. Even if it doesn’t affect him directly, reporting suspicious behavior can save a life.

Along with the threat of human trafficking, cyberbullying is an issue for children, both being bullied and becoming the bully. Become friends with their social media accounts, and monitor their posts. If your child or his friends post something inappropriate, try to talk about it in private and offline. You want to be a trusted advisor, not an embarrassing parent. 

Find the Parental Controls

The good news is that parental controls are readily available. Internet service providers typically offer parental controls, so that’s a great place to start. Figure out how they work, and look into additional options like browser plugins and website filters to keep your child protected. Bookmark their favorite websites so they can easily access them. While you have a certain amount of control over what happens in your home, keep in mind that these filters aren’t perfect, and your child will be using the internet in other places, like at school and at friends’ houses.

mother stands behind child on computer Orlando Catholic School

Help Your Child Protect Themselves

To keep your child safe online, help them protect themselves. Tell your child why it’s important not to share information like their full name, location and school with strangers online. Show them how privacy filters work. No matter how hard we try, sometimes inappropriate messages get through. Teach your child how to report these types of messages and block accounts. At our Orlando Catholic school, we believe the internet can be a great resource for children, as long as they use it responsibly.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Books for Children to Read During Black History Month

Learning about history is an essential part of education. While we cover what we can in our curriculum, there is always room for stories that help paint a picture of what life was like before we were here. Modern stories are great, as well, to help provide context. During Black History Month, encourage your child to discover incredible stories that may inspire them to make the world a better place. Here are some of our recommendations:

I Am Rosa Parks book cover

I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer

This book tells the story of Rosa Parks a Black woman who refused give up her seat on the bus for a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. She initiated a bus boycott that helped start the Civil Rights movement. This picture book about her story is perfect for a new reader. The friendly, conversational tone makes the story digestible for a young mind. Meltzer has written a series of picture books about historical figures.

Hidden Figures book cover

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

This book takes you on the journey of four Black women who helped the United States find its way to outer space. The story takes place between the 1930s and the 1960s. At this time, being Black and being a woman were challenges to overcome in the workplace. The author has published several versions, including a picture book and a young reader’s edition. No matter what your child’s reading level, this book is guaranteed to inspire. After reading the book, you and your child can also watch the movie adaptation.

The Hate U Give book cover

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

While this month focuses on Black history, young people also need to understand current issues. This young adult fiction book follows the story of Starr, a 16-year-old who finds herself between 2 worlds— her poor neighborhood and her fancy prep school. These worlds collide when she witnesses her friend, Khalil, being fatally shot by an officer while unarmed. When his death becomes a national headline, she must decide whether to tell her story amid criticism and intimidation. This modern-day story could give your teenager perspective on the current climate and the Black Lives Matter movement. This book is raw, so we would not recommend it for younger children.

At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, we see beauty in diversity and believe that learning about the world around us is an essential part of education. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Celebrating Catholic Schools Week

student walking with book

The 47th annual Catholic Schools Week is coming up, and this year’s theme is “Faith. Excellence. Service.” At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, we believe these three words perfectly represent Catholic education. We will be launching our Catholic Schools Week with an open house Sunday, January 31st, and we welcome anyone who is interested in our school to join. Here is what we will be celebrating that week:

Emphasis on Faith

Faith is the foundation of a well-rounded Catholic education. Our students participate in daily prayer and gather weekly for Mass. By incorporating faith into our education, we remind students that their belief is an important aspect of daily life. Every step of the way, our students know that God is by their side. This is just one of many ways we help our students become responsible citizens of the world.

classroom with plexiglass

Promoting Academic Excellence

Challenging students with academics that prepare them for the real world is a priority at our school. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education awarded St. Charles Borromeo the honor of being a Blue Ribbon School, placing it in the top 200 schools in the nation for academic excellence. Every year, we aspire to maintain this level of achievement with a rigorous curriculum that helps students reach their full potential. 

children packing lunches

Service to our Community

As part of our curriculum at St. Charles Borromeo, we strongly encourage students to help those in need. Some service projects take place during school hours so our students can work together toward a common cause. We also believe parent involvement is crucial to building our school community, so we established a parent volunteer program called P.A.W.S. With every family doing their part, our school can help every part of our Orlando community.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How to Help Your Child Choose the College that’s Right for Them

Notre Dame University

Choosing a college can be overwhelming, and it helps to know where to start. The United States alone has almost 5,000 higher education institutions — ranging from two-year and four-year schools to private nonprofits to public schools. Plenty of factors will weigh into your child’s future education: location, student population, programs offered, even whether to continue an Orlando Catholic school education. Whether your child is a freshman or a rising junior, it’s never too early to help them start planning for the future.

Location

Find out if your child wants to relocate and how far she wants to go. Local options may seem easier and more affordable, but sometimes moving out-of-state creates a better college experience. Consider the campus itself and the surrounding area. Use virtual tours to help narrow down the options, and visit the colleges that make the most sense.

Student Life

Going to college is like entering a new world, one where daily life will completely change. Student newspapers and social media are great sources for insight into campus culture. When possible, ask students about their personal experiences. Look up data like retention rates per year and graduation rates. This will give you an idea of how many students have an enjoyable experience at the school.

Programs

Look at which programs are available to help your child start her college journey. See which programs are emphasized, both inside and outside of the classroom. Most colleges allow students to take classes before declaring a major, and more times than not, majors change. Student organizations can enhance a student’s experience moving toward her future career and help her meet others with shared interests. 

Why Catholic College

With so many options available, narrowing the list down to Catholic colleges may be a safe bet. At these private colleges, expect smaller class sizes, a focus on individual students, and staff that prepare students for fulfilling careers. Catholic schools also provide an environment for spiritual growth, and students and faculty often share beliefs and values. This could lead to a more comfortable learning environment for your child. 

Your child has a difficult, sometimes stressful decision to make about their secondary education, but  with support from family and trusted advisors, the choice becomes easier. At St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, we build up our students to prepare them for high school, college and beyond. 

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic School located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Benefits of Your Child Playing Chess

Chess is not just a game for the elderly to play at the park. Chess can be a highly beneficial tool to your child’s intellectual development. St. Charles Borromeo, one of the Orlando Catholic schools, encourages your child to play chess in our after-school chess club at school!

Problem-Solving Skills

A match encourages problem solving and thinking fast right on the spot. The opponent in the game requires them to continuously change their parameters. Some studies have indicated that people who learned how to play chess scored much higher on standardized tests, which leads to better brain function. This sort of strategic thinking will prepare your child to be a master in planning ahead.

Brain Growth
Gaming challenges the brain and promotes its growth. It exercises both sides of the brain when your child has to identify the chess positions. She will improve the communication in her brain and it starts to work faster, as reactions occur on both sides of the hemisphere.

Helps Prevent Memory Loss
As your child gets older, it’s important that she works out her brain and keeps it healthy and fit — just like other muscles in the body. Brain games should be started at a young age to reduce the risk of memory loss now and later in life.

Improves Attention Span
If your child has ADHD, or just attention span problems, playing chess can help her focus better at school. She will be so focused on winning and making smart moves that she avoids the distractions around her. This type of attention that the game demands can result in better performance at school.

Raises IQ
They say smart people play chess and that chess makes you smarter. Studies show that playing chess can raise your IQ because of the brain workout it provides. When your child’s IQ raises significantly, then watch her test scores rise, too!

St. Charles Borromeo, one of the Orlando Catholic schools, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.