School Communications


Best Tips for Staying Sharp during the Holidays for Your Children

November 9, 2021

Two young ladies sit on a couch together following study tips from Beacon Academy

At Beacon Academy in Crystal, Minnesota, we know you want to do everything possible to keep your kids’ development on track with them living up to their full potential. During the holiday breaks, outside of their rigorous learning environment, it’s easy for children to fall behind or lose the progress they have achieved. To help, we’ve compiled this list of tips for staying sharp over breaks.

1. Create a Study Schedule

When it comes to staying sharp during the holidays, the important thing is to keep the mind occupied. Like a muscle, the brain requires regular activity in order to perform well. The best way to ensure this occurs is to create a study schedule that your child can maintain throughout the duration of a break. Although the schedule should be tailored to your family’s needs, try to schedule studying at a time when your child can focus well without distractions.

Next, break the time you choose up into chunks that address the different topics and subjects your child is studying. You could do this by distributing equal amounts of time to each subject every day, or you may choose to alternate subject schedules. In that case, you might schedule writing and reading one day, history and geography one day, and math and science one day.

If your students struggle with a particular subject or topic, you may want to spend more time working on it. Remind your children that it is normal for them to struggle in some areas and that, while they may have to work a little harder sometimes in those areas, hard work pays off. Our Minnesota charter school knows that every child is different, and we embrace those differences while doing everything we can to make sure each and every child is meeting their unique full potential.

2. Set Goals for Every Day

At Beacon Academy, we embrace goal setting and believe it is one of the best tips for staying sharp. Whatever schedule set-up you have chosen, it’s important to set specific goals for your children every day, so they know what they are working toward. Without goals, studying can feel aimless, and students are less likely to retain what they are working on long-term.

Decide together what the goals for each day should be. Your student is in the classroom and understands our expectations, so allow them to be your guide in setting appropriate goals. Remember that the big goal is staying sharp during the holidays, so it isn’t necessarily important that they learn entirely new skills or information as long as they are working to retain what they have already learned thus far.

3. Practice Second Language Skills

Beacon Academy in Crystal, Minnesota, is committed to helping students build second language proficiency. Language skills are easiest to lose when not practiced frequently, so we recommend working with your children on these as a great way of staying sharp during the holidays. Let them integrate their second language into conversation whenever possible and ask questions that encourage them to respond in that language. Exposure to language is essential, so even something as simple as watching a movie together in the second language can be beneficial and is a fun bonus way of keeping that language learning alive during the break.

Together, you and your children can use these tips for staying sharp to keep them prepared to come back to school without any loss or regression. Reach out to the experts at Beacon Academy in Crystal, Minnesota, for information on other ways you can help your child find their educational success.

Image Source: MNStudio / Shutterstock


How to Teach Your Kids Spelling

April 27, 2021










What you’ll learn:

As you read about how children expand their spelling skills, you’ll learn about:

  • The five stages of spelling development
  • How to teach spelling easily

Some children in Crystal, Minnesota, begin developing skills by the time they are five years old, while others may not be ready to read until a few years later. Understanding the stages of spelling development can help you determine where your child’s skill lay and what type of spelling lessons they are ready to tackle.

Emergent Spelling

Most children learn their ABCs between three and five years of age but may not understand that letters stand for specific sounds. As spellers progress, they learn about the sounds and begin writing their letters left to right. 

Letter Name Spelling

Children begin matching written letters to letter sounds consistently between ages five and nine years old. As they advance, they use vowels in the middle of words and vowel patterns correctly. Learners start recognizing word families and using consonants at the beginning and end of words.

Within Words Spelling

Children between six and 12 years old typically become comfortable spelling short words and begin recognizing words with an uncommon spelling pattern, such as “wait” instead of “wate.” Spellers also understand “oi” and “ou” vowel patterns in most one-syllable words, such as soil and found.

Syllable Juncture Spelling

Spellers eight to 12 years old apply short-vowel patterns and letter sounds to multi-syllable words. They learn the rules about doubling consonants, changing the “y” to “i,” adding suffixes, homophones, and compound words.

Derivational Constancy Spelling

Learners age 10 and older learn the Greek and Latin roots of words and the importance of patterns and sounds. They explore the relationship between meaning and spelling. This is the final stage of spelling development in Crystal, Minnesota, and it continues through adulthood.

How to Teach Spelling to Your Child

Whether your child is struggling or you want to help them move through the learning stages confidently, you can use the following ways to teach spelling:

  • Trace, Copy, & Recall – This technique uses three columns on a piece of paper. Write the words in a list on the left. Have your child trace the letters. In the next column, have him or her copy the word. Hide the first two columns and have them recall and write the word on their own.
  • Word Jumble – Use plastic letters, blocks, or scrabble tiles to spell a word, then scramble the letters into the pile and have your child spell the word on their own.
  • Flashcards – Use index cards to write the words your child is learning on the front and the definition on the back. Help test them by asking them to say and spell the word out loud.
  • Memorization – This is a traditional method for teaching your child how to spell. Show them the word written on paper. Walk her through how to visualize the word in her mind. Have her close her eyes and picture the word letter by letter. Ask her to spell the word out loud before opening her eyes to see if she’s correct.
  • Fill in the Blanks – Write a list of spelling words on a sheet of paper, replacing some letters with blank spaces. Have your child work through the words, filling in the missing letters. This helps reinforce vowel and consonant patterns.

Spelling word origami, word catchers, and personalized crossword puzzles can be fun ways to help your child learn spelling words. Contact us to learn more about the differentiated instruction and academic support we offer students at Beacon Academy in Crystal, Minnesota.

Featured Image: Nilobon Sweeney/Shutterstock


Math Strategies for Struggling Students

April 7, 2021


  • Math intervention lessons provide students with extra time and resources.
  • Using tactics tailored for your student’s needs can help them catch up and excel in math.

Studies show that American students in grades four through eight struggle with math. While performance often improves in the fourth grade, it dips again when concepts increase in complexity. It’s not uncommon for there to be a wide range of math abilities in one Crystal, MN, classroom, from students who excel to those who struggle to grasp basic concepts. Children frequently struggle to understand what is being taught and keep up with their peers.

What Are Math Strategies for Struggling Students?

Students often become frustrated and depressed when they don’t understand the equations they are assigned. As a result, they avoid the problem by neglecting homework and finding ways to avert attention in class. Regardless of the different learning styles and speeds, several strategies are effective in helping all students succeed.

Hands-On Math

Engaging multiple senses can boost learning and retention. When you combine a hands-on or visual element with a math concept, they can touch and see it. It becomes more than just a scary abstract concept. Math is the science of patterns. When children can see the patterns they may not have noticed before, they gain a deeper understanding of concepts and become actively engaged, rather than remaining spectators.

Personalized Pace

Students in Crystal, MN, who have the opportunity to learn at their own pace, without feeling rushed, often learn complex concepts faster and easier. Giving each student the time they need to understand the problems allows them to succeed and become more confident.

Show and Tell

Using whiteboards, videos, animations, and other multisensory teaching methods can communicate the material in an engaging way. Incorporating storytelling can ignite the imagination and interest of students who struggle to understand how math is used in everyday life. Sharing information and knowledge by showing how to use the new concepts can help students see how they apply to a particular situation.

Learning to think their way through a problem is a critical step for understanding equations. Encourage them to talk through it out loud, describing the process and reciting the steps necessary for solving the problem. This can help you pinpoint where your student is struggling and help you find the right strategy to prevent them from falling behind in class and help him or her excel.

How Do You Help Students Who Are Struggling with Math?

Math intervention lessons provide struggling students with additional time and resources. By taking an incremental approach, you can enable your student to understand and master basic skills, moving toward increasingly complex concepts built on the previous material. This “no-gaps approach” allows your student to learn the contents of one lesson or concept before moving to the next in logical steps.

Children’s attention tends to wander, so having short lessons regularly can help them stay focused. Start by using tools and activities that engage their interest. Sessions that last 15 to 20 minutes five days a week may allow them to accomplish more than longer lessons that occur less frequently. Every child is different, so you may need to reduce or increase the length and frequency of the classes based on their needs.

Contact Beacon Academy in Crystal, MN for More!

Use encouragement and praise often. Your child can become discouraged easily, especially when the focus is solely on results. Teaching math for struggling learners in Crystal, MN, is challenging. Taking it one lesson at a time, reviewing the work, and offering feedback and encouragement helps students become active participants in the learning process.

If your student struggles with math, contact us to learn more about how our tailored curriculum and flexible programs can make a significant difference and help them excel.


Featured Image: Phil’s Mommy/Shutterstock