Shaatra weighs in on:Morah to the Max – Making the Most of Your Child’s Tutoring Session.

This month’s expert:Mrs. Jaime Chams, MSEd; Director of Always a Step Ahead P3/SETSS
(Public-Private Partnerships (P3) Special Education Teacher
Support Services) Agency.

Aim to master, not to finish. Jaime Chams, the mastermind behind a successful tutoring agency, advises parents to hire a tutor who will teach their child skills rather than just material. Ideally, that would mean working with a tutor on acquiring skills that would empower the child to complete homework independently. Jaime understands that with today’s homework load on kids, and high academic demands of schools, kids and their parents just aren’t up to focusing on skills. Second best? If you do choose to spend a tutoring session doing homework, let it still be skills-based. Let the tutor use the first example to teach, the second to guide, and the rest to be done independently by the child, with the tutor available to explain and re-teach where necessary. That way, explains Jaime, kids won’t grow dependent on their tutors.

My child is bright (he scored very high on an IQ test) but tends to work quickly and carelessly to get the work over with. Is a tutor right for him?

Jaime: Smart kids benefit from tutors too! The tutor can equip your child with the skills he needs to slow down. Your child can learn how to break tasks down into steps, decode instructions better, highlight relevant vocabulary, and more. A tutor can work with a bright child on test-taking skills so his marks will reflect his intelligence. Communicate your child’s needs to his tutor so he or she can hone in on these skills from the start.

Food for Thought

The official name for the one being tutored is “tutee.” That’s similar to the following: the employer is the one who does the hiring and the employee is the one who is hired. Interviewer, interviewee, Payer, payee. Tutee’s first known use was around 1927, whereas the word tutor was first used in the 1300’s.

About It!

Forget about applying excessive pressure on your child. “Too often,” says Jaime, “kids arrive at their tutoring sessions with Mom’s words of, ‘Don’t come home with unfinished homework’ ringing in their ears. Pressure-cooked kids tend to underperform, as they simply cannot concentrate. Plus, kids with pressure, pressure, pressure are not open to learning anything new as they feel that explanations are, ironically, a deviation from the task at hand, and are pointless. (“Don’t teach me how to do it; just tell me what I should do by Number 7.”)

Shopping List

Jaime recommends keeping this list handy
when the tutor is present:

Grade-appropriate reading material –While the tutor may come with books, you can transform your child’s learning experience by providing books he enjoys. Does your daughter prefer mysteries? Does your son appreciate science fiction? You may be the best one to provide books, as you know your child best, after all.

White board and marker –Although tutors usually come prepared with materials like this for your child, it’s good to have a marker board on hand to liven things up a bit for your child should the tutor only come with a pencil and paper. Even high schoolers love this one!

Prizes, treats, and stickers –Prizes are an incentive for children to make the most of their time with the tutor. Motivated children learn best!

spotlight on:The Right Fit

Is there such thing as a shidduch crisis with tutors? “Absolutely!” says Jaime. Sometimes, no matter how highly recommended the tutor, the tutor-tutee relationship just doesn’t click. If your child resents having a tutor to the extent that progress is hampered, it may be time to switch tutors. Therefore, Jaime recommends three trial sessions after which everyone can determine whether the match is successful.

By Miriam Sasson
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By: Miriam Sasson

Forget about it! 

Forget about using utensils for both raw and cooked meat. Whether you are squeezing in one last summer BBQ or heatedly prepping for the upcoming holidays, be sure to heed this meaty warning: once food has touched raw meat or poultry, do not use utensils or plates for the cooked stuff without rinsing them first. The contamination can cause a most undesirable level of food poisoning, and you certainly want your loved ones to start off the school year feeling well.

Go for it!

With all the processed, ready-made food items sprinkling almost every aisle in the supermarket, you’d think there’d be at least one safe nook for healthful shopping – the produce section. Alas, those fruits and veggies lose their nutrients quite quickly because of their soft exteriors and prolonged exposure to air, light and heat. So, what can you do to capitalize on the nutrients of your favorite fruits and veggies? Ideally, leave the produce in its whole form or in large pieces until it is ready to be eaten. The longer the surface areas are exposed, the more nutrients go out the window. In fact, the Vitamin C in some fruits can be totally “kaput” in less than one hour of exposure!

By the Number


The average shelf-life of a whole coconut is seven months. If you’re looking for a new kind of snack with the perfect crunch, the coconut might be for you. Choose one that seems heavier than it appears and listen for the sound of liquid as you shake. This fruit can last you quite a while – anywhere from 6 to 8 months, but have fun cracking it open when you finally decide to enjoy it.

Item of the Month

This is not merely an item of the month; it more likely can go down as item of the year! Introducing… the stovetop grill pan! The grill pan simply brings out the best in your meats, poultry and vegetables as far as flavor is concerned. It spans two stovetop burners, which means you can grill lots and lots at a time (which is great for those enormous portions of onions, mushrooms and eggplants you need to yield a decent amount). Your family members will love grilled chicken or sliders sans the salty, sugary sauces. The best part is that cooking time (as compared to baking in your oven) is significantly reduced. Now, if you really want to feel the bang for your buck, keep in mind the bonus that our grill pan reverses to reveal a griddle. For under $30, you can let the grill pan enter your life and you’ll be glad as ever that you did!

Q & A

Why does my challah dough sometimes not rise properly?

Once in a while, you may return to your bowl of rising challah dough after two hours to find that it has barely risen. You bake it anyhow and the bread just doesn’t have the usual fluffiness. Why? You’ve got to be sure to go “middle of the road” with your dough – if it is too hot or cold, your yeast just cannot do its job as efficiently. (The official temperature that you want to go for is below 140 degrees Fahrenheit.) Also, fresh is best; be sure your yeast hasn’t been lingering too long in your cabinet. Keep in mind, too, that whole wheat dough is usually denser than regular dough.

Food for Thought

“Put it in a brown paper bag,” you have most likely been told regarding your fruit. So, where’s the science in that? Amazingly, fruits contain a substance known as ethylene that allows them to ripen naturally. However, fruits may need a little help if they are plucked from their source prematurely. When you contain your fruits in that paper bag, the ethylene does its thing in that bag instead of dissipating off into the air.(I don’t know if the lunch bag industry promoted this concept or not, but the truth is that any closed container does the job, too.)


 (Source: 10,001 Food Facts, Chefs’ Secrets & Household Hints by Dr. Myles H. Bader)

By Miriam Sasson
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