Give Back on Giving Tuesday: 11.29.16

giveThe ghoulish spirits of Halloween have all gone back into hiding and we now welcome in the season of thanks and giving. It is my favorite time of year.

I love Thanksgiving and sweet potatoes and green beans and stuffing and pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes and Trader Joe’s turkey-less stuffed roast with gravy and, well, now I’m hungry. 🙂

Giving Back on the National Day of Giving – November 29, 2016

It is also a time to give back to our family, our friends, our community. After Thanksgiving comes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and then Giving Tuesday — a national day of giving, where we come together as a unified nation and give to our charity of choice in the spirit of the true meaning of the holiday season.

We Became a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit

This year Terry Tutors became Terry Tutors Specialized Education Services, Inc. — a bona fide 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We are legit! And we are so excited to be able to serve more students in our community by receiving grants, instituting a sliding scale and taking tax-free donations.

Your tax-deductible donation goes to helping struggling students in need using our Wraparound Academic, Behavior and Special Education Advocacy support services. Our Mission is Collaboration for the Next Generation and your donation makes you part of the team. High Fives all around!  Donate here

Watch, Share, Give

With the help of a few friends, we’ve also created this awesome new video that shares more about what we do and how we are helping students and families get back on track in school and at home. Watch, Share & Give Back on Giving Tuesday.

Christine Terry, J.D., is the Founder & Executive Director of Terry Tutors Specialized Education Services.

She created the One Wraparound Service for The Struggling Student, which includes Academic Support, Behavior Management, Special Education Advocacy and School Placement services. Christine truly loves helping struggling students realize their inner potential and the possibilities that await them in and out of the classroom.

We are Nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

very-inspringaward We are honored to be nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Thank you to Karuna for the nomination and for sharing her personal insight into Living, Learning, and Letting Go.

The Terry Tutors Blog is a complement to our Comprehensive Support Service for Struggling Students found at Terry Tutors.com.  We are dedicated to helping families learn valuable tips, tools, and techniques for guiding their kids towards academic and life success. We believe in Serving The Whole Student. As such, our blog is geared towards striking a balance between the challenging world of education and the emotional support kids need in order to reach individual achievement.

Since January 2013, we’ve had the privilege of working with kids who are struggling in school due to a learning difference, behavior challenge, social skills need, or family dynamic concern. Oftentimes, these kids are labeled “The Problem Student” and spend most of their day in the principal’s office. We are able to turn things around in a positive, collaborative way and help Struggling Students become Successful Students through (1) our conscious effort to re-frame the school’s approach to teaching a child with out-of-the-box needs, and (2) by helping the family accept the gifts that a child with these attributes brings to the table.

Paying It Forward:

In the spirit of paying it forward, we would, in turn, like to nominate the following bloggers for their efforts to inspire others to become the best versions of themselves.

If you’ve been nominated for this outstanding award, take a moment and pay it forward. Rules & Guidelines:

  1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself. [See Below for Examples]
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

7 Facts About Me:

  • Christine’s favorite thing to do is to have a picnic in a palm tree filled park with a old-fashioned newspaper and fake chicken curry salad whilst looking out onto the beautiful ocean.
  • Christine loves to say “whilst”.
  • Christine has frequented the Farmers Markets in all of the cities she has lived in and is trying her darndest to live a vegan and gluten-free life style.
  • Christine desperately misses cheese.
  • Christine also desperately wants a dog, preferably a Collie or a Chow that is ten times her size.
  • Christine has two younger sisters, whom she considers her best friends in the whole wide world.
  • Christine started Terry Tutors because she wants to change her piece of the world. She combined her passion for advocacy with her love of education and created her own perfect job.

Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Comprehensive Support Service for The Struggling Student by combining Academic, Behavior, and Advocacy support. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com.

Find Your Place

my place To find your place in this “crazy, mixed up world” is a significant triumph. How do you know that you’ve stumbled upon it? Maybe by process of elimination of all other existing pathways that lead to the same endpoint. Maybe you just like hanging out there. Whatever the reason, you know that you have found your place because it feels like home.

For a child who feels like they don’t fit anywhere, however, finding their place becomes that much more important. Connection is the foundation of belonging, and it takes time to build those relationships. So once they’ve found their place, it’s a good thing to put down some roots, stay in one spot, and help them cultivate those connections.

This is not an easy thing to do. I should know because staying in one spot has never been my forte. See, I’m a mover and shaker. I like to mix things up and travel, live abroad, have a garage sale and take only what I could fit into my little Corolla. Throughout my travels, I was fortunate to make a lot of connections and friendships around the world, but it wasn’t until later on that I saw the value in putting down roots. Somewhere along the way I realized that without stable connections there is no community.

For our kiddos who struggle with initiating connections and having community, we must think long-term from the get go. How will my child, my student, my patient perceive themselves in 10 years based on the community they are in right now? As we all know, it’s not about the quantity of friends but rather the quality. Really, we just need one good friend, like we talked about here. Undoubtedly, connections define how we fit in our group, and our groups are the foundation of our security and self-confidence. Children who struggle with a learning difference, behavior challenge, or social skills need often struggle more with the complexity of where they fit amongst their peer group. But like their typically developing peers, their self-esteem is also wrapped up in what their friends think of them, which, if negative, can impact their self-identity in the long-term. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that your child is making connections with the right group and has the right community to fit their needs. They, too, need to find their place–their home away from home.

When I look back at all my travels, I am grateful I had the chance to meet and greet so many different types of people and feel connected in the short-term. Now that I’ve come to the point in life where I am happy to stay put, I realize the value even more in forming lasting relationships, community, and connection. I’ve finally found my place, and it feels good to say that I’m home.

Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Comprehensive Support Service for The Struggling Student, combining Academic Support, Behavior Support, and Education Advocacy to bridge the gap between home and school in order to serve the whole student. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com

Learning versus Thinking

learning v thinkingLet’s be clear: School is not just about learning but also about social conformity. For example, we must line up to go outside for recess, write our essays in MLA format, eat lunch at a certain time during the day, follow a schedule, participate by raising our hands, and I’m sure you can think of countless other examples. Because I work with kids whose social “deficits” cloud their ability to participate in a traditional classroom, I often wonder: Are we teaching our students to think for themselves or learn by example?

The short of the argument is that students need to learn both critical thinking and social modeling to live and work in the society we’ve created. However, where we struggle in our educational culture is letting the thing kids are passionate about doing, define their learning career. And no, I’m talking about video games 🙂

All too often the thinking skill in our classroom is put aside in favor of following the social cues. Some will argue this comes from our industrialization of education, modeled after Ford’s Model T Assembly Line technique. Others will argue that EQ (the Emotional Quotient) is more important than remembering facts and figures because how we interact with others on a basic human, social level will ultimately determine our success.

I’d like to think that we’re teaching our students to question, rather than just blindly obey. But I’m not sure. For that reason, I’m fascinated by the progressive school movement, which sprung from many homeschooling groups. In general, they believe in a multidisciplinary model of education. This means that independent learning, self-directed study, and outside of the classroom settings are the backdrop to thinking creatively–outside the box– and therefore guiding our students towards their own individual definition of success rather than a set standard of achievement.

As a public school graduate, myself, I followed the traditional classroom model all the way through law school; there is something to be said for teaching our kids to follow the leader. More often than not, however, there is a creative potential in all kids that may get lost along the way, thinking that the expected path is the best path. It happened to me.

I chose my educational journey, my parents did not choose it for me. In fact, they encouraged exploration and defining my career path by my talents and strengths. I was the one who had an exact idea of what success looked like, and I decided early on in my education that I wanted to achieve that set standard. It was only later, after graduation and the recession of 2008, that I started to really think outside of the box and combine my skills to create a company founded on collaboration–an intuitive but outside-of-the-box approach in special education advocacy and education in general.

Did I have this potential all along? Could I have tapped into it sooner if I hadn’t already decided that I wanted a pre-determined notion of success?

The point being is that we’re all born with unique gifts and talents, but our human desire to socially be accepted often overrides our ability to follow our own path. Those students who feel like outsiders, or are treated as such, are the ones that, if nurtured, end up not following the crowd and doing something outside of the box–something uniquely innovative. We, as educators, should cultivate those critical thinking skills and applaud our students when they come up with a novel idea. Although needed, we should place less emphasis on conformity and more on developing an individual’s talents because when it comes down to it, following the crowd will only take you as far as the person in front of you goes.

Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Comprehensive Support Service for The Struggling Student, combining Academic Support, Behavior Support, and Education Advocacy to bridge the gap between home and school in order to serve the whole student. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com