You Are Essential to Their Education!

You Are Essential to Their Education!

This is a heartwarming article from The Washington Post about one girl’s gratitude for her father’s involvement in her education. His dedicated interest in her really made a practical and profound difference in her life.

Her name is Nicole Pal, and at the time of writing her Father’s Day tribute to her dad, she was a student at Santa Clara University. She grew up in San Jose, California, and graduated in 2014 with a degree in web design and computer engineering. “How One Father Helped Educate His Engineering Daughter” is about the power of a parent in their child’s education.

Some key points from the article will serve as a reminder that your love and support are so essential to your child’s education.

1. Believe in your children.

Even when they struggle, be patient and assume they can overcome it. As the daughter highlighted in the article says:

The most precious gifts I received as a child were a white board and a book about bridges. I never questioned whether I could succeed as an engineer, and as I head into my final year of engineering school at Santa Clara University, I realize my dad played a huge role.

While some young girls might give up on a math question if they didn’t know the answer, my father was patient enough to walk through a problem with me—not just walk me through it. He let me re-work problems until the dry-erase marker was whittled to a stub. I was never tempted to smile, nod, and simply pretend I understood. I always keep the whiteboard in mind when tutoring younger girls in algebra.

Nicole’s father walked alongside her, and now she is using what she learned from him to invest in the next generation of engineers.

Stephanie Coppedge, VP of Gideon, can still remember something her father said to her once after graduating college. They had a new employee still in high school who was very self assured and capable.

Stephanie’s father said, “She reminds me of you.  She can do anything she wants.”

While Stephanie knew her parents thought she was smart and wouldn’t allow her to give up during difficult projects when she felt like quitting, this statement has stayed with her and gave her confidence on days she needed it. Parents, your words have a impact. Make them inspiring!

2. Involve them in the household repairs, projects, and everyday calculations like cooking.

My father, who is an engineer with a microprocessing company, encouraged me to be hands-on in whatever project he was working on. I remember learning how to use a saw and gleefully shouting “timber” as 2x4s hit the floor.

I’m passionate about engineering now because it helps me make sense of the world. By letting me problem-solve and get hands on with projects as a young child, I’ve learned how to make the world compute.

This daily interaction with math helps the child see the real-world application of all the things he is learning. It’s one thing to do a word problem about a recipe and another to cook it correctly yourself. Involve your children in the things you do around the home or the office, and you will watch things start to click into place for them.

3. Encourage your child to develop a strong work ethic.

One of the biggest ways my father nurtured my advancement in engineering was helping me find my passion and encouraging me to put in the hard work.

A strong work ethic will carry your children into adulthood and through the times when things aren’t easy and fun.

Even while doing their dream job, there will be times that you child will have to do tasks or deal with problems they would rather not. Learning to deal with hard work early helps them keep going later in life. Grit can make a big difference in the path to success.

In Conclusion…

Nicole knew what it was like to complete a supplemental math program (like Gideon). At first she would whine and complain that none of her friends had to do it. When she would try any way possible to get out of doing it, time and time again her father would simply ignore her frustration and tell her to try again.

Don’t forget that your belief in your child, your everyday interactions with them, and your encouragement for them to work hard are essential to their education from a very early age.

If you want more inspiration for parenting in the midst of a crazy school year, read the entire article HERE.

You Are Essential to Their Education!

How to Handle Kids’ Mistakes

Jumping into a new school year—and possibly still learning from home—presents new challenges for children and parents alike. One of the best parts of this experience is the opportunity to learn together. As a parent, you will be learning how to work with your student whether that takes place during the day or in the afternoons for homework.


While you figure out how to help your specific child, both of you may make some mistakes along the way. The good news is that how we handle our children’s mistakes and our own can be beneficial to them in the long run. Keep a growth mindset and celebrate mistakes!

Making mistakes is one of the most useful ways to learn in math. Our brains develop when we make a mistake and think about the mistake. This brain activity doesn’t happen when people get work correct.


Here are three steps to handling your own blunders and managing your response to your child’s mistakes.


1. Learn from Mistakes

While our first instinct may be to jump in and fix a problem that may arise, learning from the mistake is more important. A gentle explanation of a math problem can help a child more than simply giving them an answer. Break their problem down into bite-size chunks of information, making sure they understand each piece. This leads the child to a deeper understanding of how to solve future problems on their own. In this explanation and subsequent learning, a child can learn from their mistakes instead of reaching an easy answer that they don’t understand.


2. Fix Errors

After learning, there is a time and place for fixing mistakes. If you see a mistake in your child’s homework, it may be a good time to help them fix it. Guide your child into double-checking their work before turning it in. Recognize that they may not know how to identify their own errors at first, but they will learn to do it on their own with practice. This is your opportunity to model correction and self-improvement for your child: Show them how to fix a recurring error. Then work with them to complete the task together. Then watch them do it themselves!


3. Extra practice and repetition

When working on mastering a skill, which Gideon helps students with, sometimes extra practice is needed. Don’t be afraid of going over the same math skills or phonics flashcards on repeat. Your child’s ability to use a skill with confidence is different than simply understanding how to do it. Repetition is vital when it comes to preparing for more advanced learning as well as standardized testing. It is better to learn and master new topics at Gideon to stay a step ahead with no school grades or pressure.


At Gideon, we are here to support you with all that comes with virtual learning and after-school learning. We want to work with your child to give their education the attention it deserves. Sign up today for our math and reading programs that help children fix errors, learn from mistakes, and build confidence through mastering skills!

3 Tips to Make the Most of Virtual Learning

3 Tips to Make the Most of Virtual Learning

With fall around the corner and the school year gearing up, fresh starts are everywhere. Your kids have new classes, new teachers, and new schedules. They may be learning virtually or in a hybrid model. They may need more hands-on help or more time to quietly focus.

While the year may not look like what you anticipated, here are some tips to make the most of your child’s virtual learning experience. (more…)

Ready to Catch Up or Get Ahead? How to Get Back on Track Now!

Ready to Catch Up or Get Ahead? How to Get Back on Track Now!

Even if your school has done a great job with its virtual/hybrid classes during the COVID-19 year, getting real academic progress in a hybrid classroom where the teacher has virtual students as well or while at home can be a challenge. Mom and Dad need to work, the dog is barking, and the baby is crying. It is hard enough to teach every child well with in-school ratios of 25+ students to 1 teacher. Video conferencing, with its distractions and those ratios, can be especially difficult.

Researchers found there was a ‘COVID slide’ by fall 2020 for math. This is similar to the commonly known ‘summer slide’ where the student loses ground on the academic progress made due to no learning for several months. And if we combine a weak spring semester with an inactive summer, you will have a difficult next fall semester on your hands. Don’t let this happen to your child.

In almost all grades, most students made some learning gains in both reading and math since the COVID-19 pandemic started. However, gains in math were lower on average in fall 2020 than prior years, resulting in more students falling behind relative to their prior standing. LINK

If you are wanting your child to get up to grade level or beyond, there are several things you can do to get back on track NOW.

1) Memorize math facts through daily practice. – Download our FREE oral fact sheet cards here.
2) Read daily with your child and emphasize any phonetic rules he or she hasn’t internalized.
c) Find a program that can fill in any specific holes and gaps your child has through daily practice.

A weak foundation from just one year can create struggles in next few years, and if not addressed, into high school and beyond limiting your child’s opportunities.

With low student to teacher ratios of 2:1 and 4:1, Gideon’s individualized, self-paced math and reading programs solidify students’ foundations step-by-step and build confidence through mastery. A solid foundation will propel students through high school and college allowing them to pursue their dreams.

When students have a solid foundation in math and reading, they are more likely to succeed in school and beyond.

The good news is you just need to get started.  Get back on track with Gideon.  Find your location now!

Let's get started.

Contact us today to receive more information about your selected center. That’s one step closer to mastery!

Two Skills for Superhero Readers

Two Skills for Superhero Readers

Decode: to change (secret messages, documents, etc.) from a set of letters, numbers, symbols, etc., you cannot understand into words you can understand

If you cannot read a language, even one you speak already, all written text is a secret message.  Text is useless to us unless we can decode and understand it.  How can your superhero understand his mission to make his bed and take out the trash if he cannot decode the mysterious chore chart?!

Chore Chart

However, once you learn to decode those symbols, suddenly the world opens up.  Those chores can be conquered and allowances can be seized.  But how do we decode a language?  Using our special superhero decoder ring: PHONICS!

Phonics:  the ability to identify that there is a relationship between the individual sounds (phonemes) of the spoken language and the letters (graphemes) of the written language.

This means understanding that the letter P has a /p/ sound and when SH is together as in SHACK, it makes an /sh/ sound instead of /s/ + /h/.  (English is tricky like that.)

Consonant Sound Chart

Studies have shown that phonics based instruction is the most effective way to teach learning to read.

Students who know how to sound words out well have better fluency, spelling skills, and comprehension as they are not bogged down by the components of the words and sentences.  Similar to math, solving an algebra equation such as: 3(x + 4) – 5 = 25 is difficult if you are cannot add 25 & 5  or divide by 3 quickly.  Those basic skills are needed to decode this equation for X.

Once phonics skills are mastered, students will be able to decipher words encountered in reading and spell the various words they wish to write. When students are focusing less on decoding, they can spend more attention on making meaning from the print they are reading.

From the National Reading Panel:

The meta-analysis revealed that systematic phonics instruction produces significant benefits for students in kindergarten through 6th grade and for children having difficulty learning to read. The ability to read and spell words was enhanced in kindergartners who received systematic beginning phonics instruction. First graders who were taught phonics systematically were better able to decode and spell, and they showed significant improvement in their ability to comprehend text. Older children receiving phonics instruction were better able to decode and spell words and to read text orally, but their comprehension of text was not significantly improved.

Since Gideon is in the business of creating superhero readers, our learning to read program has all the components of a solid, systematic phonics instruction for superhero decoding skills which include:

a) knowing the sound for each letter / b) blending: 2-letter sounds together

Learning Letter Names and SoundsBlending 2 Sounds

c) blending: 3-letter sounds together

d) Phoneme Segmentation for all booklets: spelling the word by saying it out loud to hear the sounds

e) Consonant blends such as: ‘bl’, ‘sp’, ‘tr’, ‘nd’, ‘nk’

Spelling - PhonicsPhonics - Blends

f) Consonant digraphs such as: ‘ch’, ‘sh’, ‘th’ / g) Long and short vowels

Phonics - BlendsPhonics - Long and Short Vowels


h) Vowel digraphs such as: ‘ai’, ‘ee’, ‘ow’ / i) R-controlled vowels such as: ‘ar’, ‘ir’, ‘ur’

Phonics - Long A

Phonics - Bossy R

Phonics – Bossy R

j) Diphthongs such as : oi, ou / k) Advanced spelling patterns: ‘-tion’, -‘le’

Phonics - Ou/Oy/Oi Sound

Phonics - /ed/ sound

Phonics – /ed/ sound

Gideon also has easy comprehension storybooks to go along with all our 30 Word Builders – phonics level booklets.  These are read in class and sent home to be read again and again (when your superhero has some free time away from cleaning her room).  They are a review of the previous sounds already taught. We intersperse our phonics level with more in-depth comprehension booklets called Ready Readers which also review previous sounds and words learned in the midst of longer passages and exercises.

Can’t make it to a Gideon Math and Reading center? Another great phonics program is Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. And what about sight words?!  Superhero readers cannot be deficient in any aspect!  What does this cryptic message mean?!  Hint: that’s not a long o.


Did you know that most of the Dolch High Frequency/Sight Word list can be pronounced phonetically?  Phonics is still the best starting point.  However, many English words are exceptions with irregular spelling and pronunciation such as ONE which is /wuhn/.  Gideon introduces some of these high frequency words with their phonetic spelling AFTER solid phonetic skills are mastered, and we recommend you do the same.

Dolch List - Commonly Used WordsDolch List - Commonly Used Words

Follow a systematic phonics instruction system, and you’ll have a superhero reader in no time!

Ready to learn more?

Schedule your free placement testing today.  That’s one step closer to superhero reading!
10 Tips for Easy Back to School

10 Tips for Easy Back to School

Maybe you are wondering how to get your kids from lazy summer days of sleeping in and staying up late to early school mornings of being dressed and out the door or in front of the computer for virtual learning by 8. Not to worry! We have scoured the internet to find all the best tips for transitioning back to school for you.

1. Ease back into a school based sleep schedule. Those early mornings will be here soon so start putting the kids to bed and waking them earlier a week or two before school starts.  Kids aged 5-12 years need 10-11 hours of sleep. WebMD recommends:

“Begin with a wake up time that is about an hour earlier than usual. For example, if your 6-year-old goes to bed at 9 p.m. during the summer and needs to get back to an 8 p.m. bedtime for school, begin by waking her up at 7 a.m. instead of letting her sleep until 8. Then try inching her bedtime back the next night to 8:30 p.m. On day two, wake her up at 6:30 a.m. and aim for an 8 p.m. bedtime.”

2. Get your family’s calendar organized.  All the soccer practices, school holidays, and Gideon center visits or online classes need to marked clearly on one calendar where you can see everything coming up to avoid surprises and missed appointments.  Organized Home suggests:

Add other calendars to Calendar Central: lunch menus, class assignment sheets, sports practice schedules, virtual classes, Zoom parties, etc.

3. Go visit the school and meet the teacher OR join the virtual meet the teacher night.  If your child is able to get to know his new in-person or virtual classroom in advance, this make him more comfortable when he returns or logs on.  This is especially important with a child who has any back to school anxiety or if he is attending a new school.  Familiarity breeds confidence!  WebMD also give this tip:

“These are good opportunities for you to meet the key players: your child’s teachers, school counselors, the principal, and most importantly, front desk staff. “The secretaries know everything and are the first people children see when they arrive at school every day.”

4. Create a structured morning routine.  Is there anything more crazy than trying to get out the door or logged into the virtual lesson in the morning while trying to find last night’s homework, pack lunches, and finish your own breakfast?  Oh, and did the kids brush their teeth?!  Do yourself a favor and write out a morning to do list.  You could even laminate for the kids to check off each morning as they complete tasks.  This helps them remember what is still needed without you repeating yourself 8 times.  Here are some printable options from Family and PinterestLifehacker offers this protip:

“Once you have picked a morning routine for kids, go through all of the steps with them, talking about each step as you go along your morning. This will help you recognize any glitches or perhaps the need to re-order some of the steps.”

5. Plan out lunches in advance.  Here are ton of lunch ideas from 100 Days of Real Food.  Or search Pinterest.  Batch as much food prep together as possible.  Giving out a bag of baby carrots each day? Create each day’s portion as one task and then you only have to grab a bag later – whether staying at home or going to school.  Here’s some money and time saving bonuses from

Also, by taking a few minutes to portion everything out before the week starts, I know that I we’ll actually eat the food and those strawberries or cucumbers won’t go bad sitting in their original cartons in the back of the fridge.

Involving the kids has really made a difference this school year.  Many of the softer fruits like strawberries can be sliced with a not-too-sharp knife and the kids don’t mind helping to slice and package if they can sample a few.

6. Stay positive about any stress or anxiety your children are expressing.  They take their cues from you.  School says:

“A parent’s attitude has a strong influence on how children view the beginning of school, says Kennedy-Moore. Children pick up on their parents’ feelings, react to them, and often magnify them. “You have to have faith that they’ll be able to get through [changes], even if it’s hard. It’s a powerful message to give kids,” she says. “We don’t want to dismiss their feelings, but we do want to normalize them and say ‘Everyone feels a little nervous going or logging into the classroom, but I really think you’re going to be fine.’”

7. Create a launch pad!  This is where all the next day’s needed items are gathered such as school bags, coats, shoes, and basketball uniforms or just the needed assignments if staying virtual.  When your have a place for everything, your child knows how to stay organized and where to find it the next morning. Do as much the night before as possible. WebMd offers this extra reminder to “have your child make a list of things to bring to school and post it by the front door.”

8. Nuture independence.  Your children can help with many of the above named tasks to make these go faster and easier.  It may slow you down at first, but don’t bypass teaching them life skills for a short time gain.  Once they are capable, it will be faster overall.  Involve them in some of the smaller decisions to create ownership by letting them decide between two acceptable choices.  The more your child does for herself, the more confident she will be.  Maria Montessori says in The Absorbent Mind:

Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.

9.  Do a practice run.  Try it the morning routine and route to school a few mornings on time.  Then you can determine how long it really takes to walk to school or gather everything and get out the door.  As we say at Gideon, practice makes perfect!

10.  Keep your Gideon math and reading work routine going.  Our students who have been working all summer have avoided the summer slide.  If you took the summer off, re-enroll to get those brains warmed up.  Students doing Gideon work are already in the homework habit and will ease back into schoolwork easily.  The school year is a great time for Gideon as we first solidify the foundation, filling in any holes and gaps, and then we allow your child to go beyond grade level at his own pace.  We are building confidence through academic mastery step-by-step which will translate into all areas of your child’s life.

Contact us today to enroll!