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Monday, May 9, 2022 by Kara Cook | Uncategorized

Good Luck to all Year 6 students this week!

You got this!

5 Critical Reasons to Help Your Child Grow Their Mindset

Wednesday, December 22, 2021 by Kara Cook | Advice

How to Help Your Child's Learning:

The Importance of a Growth Mindset

Has this ever happened to you? 

Your child runs past you when you go to pick them up from school. You ask them what's wrong but you just get a shrug.

Classic. School bag gets flung to the floor and they run to straight to their room and slam the door.

Right away, you know something is not right. 

So you investigate...only to find a copy of your child's report crumbled up instead of in the neat envelope it came in. When you read the comments from your child's teacher, you are shocked. Your son or daughter is performing below year group level.

 At the bottom is an urgent message from the teacher 'I need to speak with you.' 

Maybe your situation is not nearly as dramatic as this one. 

But YOU get the point. 

You think to yourself...BUT my kid has always been the clever one. Problem is that he or she thought that too! But school gets harder and harder each year and as the pressures increase some kids just begin to lose momentum and eventually give up. 

We all want to believe our kids are clever and to tell them this when they perform well on tests etc. But kids that think they are smart can get a complex and find it difficult to bounce back when they struggle with new learning. 

They EXPECT to do well. 

AND when they fail? It can have disastrous results and may even cause a kid to want to give up. 

I am not saying, don’t ever praise your kid. 

Just also praise effort and their ability to persevere, especially when they find something to be a challenge. We need to help our children to recognise that knowledge and talents are not gifts they are born with. 

A child with a fixed mindset is holding themselves back from what they can accomplish. They might say things like, “I can’t do it. It’s too hard.” They believe that they will fail or make a mistake.

Children should be taught that making mistakes and failure is how we learn!

It takes hard work, practise, and perseverance to be a success.

What can be done to help your child deal with frustration?

Encourage your child to try again and help them to change their mindset. A growth mindset is when students understand and believe that their abilities can be developed through hard work, good strategies and input from others. It is important that we teach children from an early age how to be resilient and determined when it comes to learning. 

Why is having a Growth Mindset Important?

Having a growth mindset is important because it will help an individual child to be successful in their personal life, education and later on in their career. Here are five reasons why having a growth mindset will be beneficial to your child.

Benefits of Having a Growth Mindset

1. When a child develops a growth mindset, they have a passion for learning. They want to become an expert and improve their knowledge as much as possible. This will enrich their experiences and their desire to be life-long learners.

2. Another benefit is self-belief. Having a growth mindset helps a child to believe in themselves. Whenever they encounter challenges, they have the belief that they will overcome them. Once their target has been met, they can see that this helps them improve their learning. Ready for the next challenge!

3. Having a growth mindset, also helps a child to become self-disciplinedWhen it comes to being successful and getting what they want, they are aware that they have to work hard to achieve their goals. 

4. A child with a growth mindset, knows the importance of helping others and asking for help when needed. They understand that when they help someone, it consolidates their own knowledge. They are also not afraid to ask questions and to ask for help. They are mindful that this helps them to get unstuck so they can move on with their learning.

5. Last but not least, developing a growth mindset builds a child’s resilience. They know that success doesn’t come easy as it takes effort and persistence. As a child develops a higher resilience, they will be determined to take risks and challenges. They will begin to see that failures and mistakes are part of learning. If they don’t know something, they will persevere and keep going until they have.

What does having a growth mindset look like in practice?

I am so glad you asked! I have a success story to share about one of my students that did just that, built her growth mindset. Amelia started online tutoring with me when she was a student in Year 4. She needed support because the pandemic knocked her confidence in maths. She would get discouraged and sometimes even cry as she felt she just couldn’t do maths. 

Her mum told me Amelia didn’t want to go back to school in September 2020 because she had such a bad year in Year 3. She missed loads of learning and to her it seemed impossible to ‘catch up’.  I assured her that private one-to-one tutoring would help Amelia to overcome her struggles. 

Maths Frustration


I started maths tutoring for Amelia in January 2021 when we had yet another lockdown. As Amelia's private tutor, I wanted to do my best to build her confidence and close her learning gaps. I made a personalised learning plan to accelerate her progress and get her back on track. 

We not only worked on the Year 3 curriculum that she missed out on, but also spent time building her growth mindset. Amelia had the tell tale signs of a fixed mindset. She gave up easily and would try everything to get out of learning something that she thought was too difficult. She often said to me, “I don’t get it, I don’t think I can do it.” On her worst days, she would say “This is why I hate maths!” 

But I didn’t want her to give up. I explained to her that it was okay not to understand something, it means we haven’t learned it yet. Amelia struggled with multiplication, she didn’t know her times tables and number bonds were too tricky for her to remember. 

So, we practised during our sessions. We started off with small bite size problems that she could work out herself. When she made a mistake, I allowed her to work out the correct answer by self-correcting. It was amazing to see her begin to understand that making mistakes is part of learning. I also taught her tricks that helped to build her confidence even more.

Sometimes when a child is learning it seems like a miracle happens when things just click. I cherish those ‘I got it!’ moments that kids have. 

This ‘little miracle’ didn’t happen overnight though! For several months, Amelia worked hard with me during her tutoring sessions

By the time school returned in March, Amelia was ready to return. She changed her mindset, believed that she could learn anything if she practised and worked hard. She was able to tackle difficult problems in maths and was willing to take on any challenge. 

Growth Mindset


In fact, learning became much easier for her after that. She developed a new 

self-belief and resilience that stayed with her into Year 5!

If you would like to find out more about how your child can develop their growth mindset, why not sign up for my free growth mindset quiz and email list for weekly tips on helping your child develop their mindset?

Do you have a child that needs support in maths or literacy?

I can help! Get in touch if you would like to find out more about my online tutoring services.

Contact Kara at kara@just2imagine.com for more information.

Bridge the Gap- Why Summer Learning is Essential

Sunday, June 27, 2021 by Kara Cook | Education

       Summer is a fantastic time for relaxing and leaving the world behind. 

As soon as summer holidays begins… 

all thoughts of reading Shakespeare, adverbial phrases, maths problems and dissecting plants seem to dwindle from a child’s mindset. 

While it is important to have a break, learning during the summer is essential to keep the mind active.

Summer Slide

Six weeks is a long time. Without an enriching learning experience, many   children fall down the ‘Summer slide’ or experience ‘Brain drain’. 

Every year during the six-week summer holidays, students experience a summer learning loss of up to 20% of their knowledge and academic skills. 

Come September it takes teachers several weeks to build back their students’ knowledge and confidence.

According to a recent study by DfE, the pandemic has further widened the gap and disparities in learning loss. 

For pupils in primary schools, the average loss in reading was 2.2 months and a detrimental loss of 3.5 months of learning in maths (March, 2021)

The statistics vary for secondary students in the UK with an average loss of two months depending on the location. This makes bridging the gap that much more challenging.

What can be done?

The key to preventing summer slide is simple. Keep the mind active, get involved, and of course, have fun!

1. Inspire Summer Reading 

This is something you can do at home to motivate readers. 

♦Set aside 15 minutes a day for reading or listening to favourite books.

This can boost your child’s reading immensely. 

♦Try to invest time into reading for pleasure as a family. 

You can join in with your own favourite book!



  Summer Reading Challenge

You can get lots of inspiration from your local library or online by joining a

Summer Reading Challenge. 

This summer the Reading Agency is offering children of all ages to get 

involved by reading in the great outdoors with their Wild World Heroes

theme. Their website has age-appropriate reading lists that will engage any 


Healing Effects of Reading

Reading independently and reading aloud are essential life skills. It is also proven to have health benefits. Reading builds vocabulary, strengthens our brains, encourages good communication skills, reduces stress, and can help to raise self-esteem. 

That is reason enough to encourage your family to read more!

2. Exploring Maths in the Real World

We may not realise it, but we use maths in everyday routines. Mathematics is all around us and with a little creativity we can explore it in the real world.

Investigating Maths in the real world can be easy as doing a few activities that we do everyday with your child. 

                               Summer Maths Investigations

Maths in the Kitchen 

Kids love food, so baking or cooking-with maths is super fun!

Why not let them use their maths skills to do the measurements and double the recipe ingredients? 

All kids need these skills. Plus it may take the guess work out of ‘What’s for dinner?’ that night. 

Be active with your kids! 

Activities, such as, going for a walk or a swim can lead to an assortment of maths problems to ponder. Let your child come up with the ideas. You will be amazed at what they come up with!


Maths at the Grocery Store

Another idea is to add an element of maths into a trip to the supermarket. 

You could plan this by looking at the deals of the day and making a word problem with it. 


‘The deal says I can get three packets of burgers for £10. They are regularly £3.50 each. 

Is this a good deal? How much will I save?’ 

Or ‘The organic apples are 50% off. The regular price is £4.50 a bag. 

How much will they cost with the discount?’

Learning about percentages comes in handy when looking at discounts in a shop and money is an important part of everyday life. 


3. Creative Writing

Creative writing, story-making and journal writing are wonderful for summer activities. If your child does not so much as pick up a pen over the summer to write, they can quickly loose this essential skill. 

Not only is it important for kids to write, but they should practise their cursive handwriting too.

♦Be creative, get a few postcards for your child to fill out and send to friends and family. 

♦Encourage your child to write a hand-written letter to their friends.

♦Go on an adventure and help your child write a story about it. 

♦Keep a journal during the summer months.

  For more great ideas check out this list.

Or print out a free Kids Summer Journal

4. Visit an Educational Place 

Summer is a marvelous time to plan a trip to a museum, an aquarium, a zoo or even a national park. 

 Museums, can offer inspiration for learning 

about science, history and the environment.

Aquariums and zoos are fantastic for kids’ learning! 

They help to ignite their passion for science and wildlife. This can also lead to creativity by getting them to write stories and reports about their excursions.


National Parks in the UK are beautiful places to explore.

Why not go swimming, hiking, bike riding, bird watching, or camping? Kids will be driven to tell stories, star gaze at night, or just take in the beauty of nature!  


The experience can help ignite a love of learning for your child. It can also give them something to tell their friends come September!


5. Summer Science Experiments

 Summertime is brilliant for conducting messy, explosive science experiments

This exploding volcano experiment could be incorporated into an impromptu trip to the beach.

              What you will need: 
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Jar or large plastic bottle (with top cut off)
  • Red food colouring
  • Fairy liquid
  • Small canister with lid
  • Alka Seltzer tablets
  • Sand (sand box or on a beach)

1. First build a volcano around the jar with the sand.

2. Add some red food colouring, baking soda and a few squirts of fairy liquid to the jar.

3. Next, fill the small canister with a teaspoon of water.

4. Working quickly, plop a quarter of an Alka Seltzer tablet into the canister, close the lid and put upside down into the jar.

5. After that, pour some vinegar inside the jar to start the baking soda reacting.

6. Step back and wait about 20 seconds!

7. The volcano will burst open and spray lava all over!

♦You can easily turn this experiment into a STEM project by repeating with different amounts of Alka Seltzer tabs and water. Then measure the distance of ‘lava’.

Fun with Learning

Whatever you decide to do with your child, make it a fun and rewarding experience. 

Summer learning should enhance and enrich their education. 

You can challenge your child to discover new things. Engage them in problem solving and critical thinking. These skills are beneficial in many ways.

Summer learning can help build your child’s confidence, enthusiasm, and a love of learning

Kids love challenges so why not use the time to inspire their interests, grow their imaginations, and deepen their knowledge! 

Not only will they have fun, but their minds will be stimulated as well!

#Summer learning  #Summer challenges #Science Summer Experiments #Summer Reading Challenge #Summer Maths Investigations







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Kara Cook

Online Tutor 

of English & Maths,

Eastleigh, England

QTS, BA English, 

MA, EY Education, UCL

DBS, Member of The Tutors' Association