When tutoring is necessary and how much time should you spend?

What method is recommend to begin the tutoring sessions?

Every child is different so how often they should attend depends on age and subject. We recommend each child starts with one session. After the first session the tutor is able to get a better gauge on the student and recommended to the parent how many sessions they think would be appropriate. We always keep in mind the age of the child as younger children are going to get burned out coming to often and tutoring will not be as effective. High school students can usually pull off more tutoring as their attention span and what is required of them is more than with younger children.

What is a good routine and how can you give the tutor the opportunity to do a proper follow up?

One of the most frequent questions we get is what should my child bring to tutoring. We suggest having them bring everything. Bringing good grades as well as bad grades helps the tutor to see what your child’s strengths and weaknesses are. I tell parents who have teenagers to just have them bring their entire backpack because we all know important things are not always in their binder where they should be, but shoved at the bottom of their bag. Doing this can help the tutor get a better understanding of your child’s needs quicker.

What if a student is significantly behind?

No student is too far behind that we can’t help them get back track. Several students feel they are in a hole they can’t seem to dig their way out of. Individual tutoring is perfect for someone that needs extra attention and help filling in gaps. Sometimes parents think their child is much farther behind then they really are. Many times it has to do with the child’s confidence and once we can get that back up we see them thrive with everything they do. Noticing when your child begins to struggle and offering help right away is the most important step. Teach your children it’s okay to get tutoring, it is okay to seek out help when you need it. This will be a valuable lesson throughout life.

What about when end of term exams are around the corner? More sessions? Group sessions?

The end of the semester can bring about a ton of stress for both students and parents. Many students tend to add in an extra individual session as well as attend one of our extra long cram review sessions. Group classes and individual classes both have their advantages and a mixture of both the week before exams can be extremely helpful. Some students are afraid of group classes, but they can really be fantastic to hear other peoples questions and also get yours answered. Our hour and a half review sessions are ideal for anyone looking to get help with their review and get any questions answered they may have.

Is one hour enough? Is it too much? How long should a tutoring session last?

After doing a lot of research and many many tutoring sessions we have found 45 min is the ideal time for a normal tutoring session. It is about all the time you can hold someones attention. We want to make sure the time students are with us are spent in the most effective manor. Our group review sessions are always a little longer (1.5 hours) as these are cram sessions and are only held once a semester right before mid-terms and finals.

Is it preferable to have the meetings at home or at school? At the library or at the coffee shop on the corner? Online?

Each child is different, but after meeting with many different families over the years we have found meeting at a different location then the child is use to is the best. If the child were to have a tutor come to their home they may be to comfortable or hungry etc. Meeting at school is hard, but it continues the child’s school day and this has been shown to have negative effects and shut the brain down. We offer a comfortable store front location that your child can come to and know they are going to succeed and become the best person they can when they walk through the door.

Tips for best outcome:

Be well rested,

Be prepared,

Stay organized,

Good communication is key,

and have a positive and willing attitude to succeed!

When to begin preparing for college applications.

When to begin preparing for college applications!

Summer Before Senior Year

Start the preliminary phases of college admissions

Guaranteed you have thought about which colleges you want to apply to for a long time. Make sure you know when all the deadlines are for applications and also what applications and materials you will need to start collecting.

Ask for letter of recommendation

You want to keep a list of people that can provide you a recommendation as early as Freshman year. You want to make sure you don’t leave anyone out as the more people you have on your side the better.

Personal essay or personal statement

Most colleges read every singe essay that comes across their desk, this is your time to shine! You want to make sure the admission committee gets to know you on a more personal level. Keep notes about the things you do throughout high school and the accomplishments you reach as when you look back you don’t want to leave anything out.

Explore their websites to learn admissions requirements

This is very important as every school is different. You want to make sure you know when every deadline is and that you know everything that is required. Missing something will not be a good first impression.

Request an application

Make sure you have an application well in advance so you can begin this process early and not let is eat you alive.

Required courses you’ll need for enrollment

You really need to start looking at this as early as freshman year as many classes are going to need a prerequisite and you are going to need to know that early so you can take the necessary classes so everything lines up like you want.

October through January

Meet with your school’s guidance counselor for assistance

Sometimes this can be a hidden gym. You counselor is there is guide you along this journey. Many schools now have a college room in which they have personal advisors and information that is super helpful.

College essay is in tip-top shape

Make sure when writing this you go through several rounds of edits. It doesn’t hurt to pay someone to look over it for you and provide you with some feedback, you could receive more money back in scholarships for a good essay so it could totally be worth it.

Request your high school transcript

Sometimes people think this process is easy and it will be quick. It doesn’t always happen that way and you don’t want this to hold up your application process. Order this in enough time to give yourself some wiggle room.

Send your ACT or SAT scores

Make sure you are only sending in your best score. If you have taken it several times to get the best score that is ok as they will only be sending the best one in.

Early decision deadlines

If you are looking into early decision make sure you know all the requirements that go with it and also all the rules as they can be lengthy at some schools.

Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as January 1st

Why not apply for free money, the worst thing they can say is no and then you are in the same boat as you started. Get use to requesting money from places you never know what you may receive.

February through April

Avoid contracting senioritis

Many students love to slack off their senior year and take easy classes, I have to admit I was one of these students. Learn from my mistakes that is not the best thing to do. Colleges want to see what course load you took your senior year. You wont be able to submit your final grades from senior year when you apply so they will be looking at course load and your essay so make these count!

Keep track of all acceptance letters, rejection letters, and wait lists

Create a folder (paper or on the computer) where you keep track of everything., There may be a time you will need it again and it would be really nice if it was easy to pull from.

Don’t wish to attend, notify them promptly as a courtesy

If you know you aren’t going to attend somewhere that has accepted you, let them know. You are holding a spot that could be offered to someone else. Colleges are use to this so don’t feel bad just let them know so they can offer that spot to someone else.

Acceptance letters Compare financial aid packages

When you do get accepted to a college look at what is being offered to you. financial aid is a big deal to many and this is something that doesn’t need to be overlooked. Some colleges will offer you more.

Stay organized

Make sure you keep everything together and easy to find. Last thing you want is for the college to request something and it takes you a week to find it. Starting off being organized and having a plan for everything will help you going forward.

Carneys Tutoring in Kingwood, Texas
Tips, Tutors

How You Can Help Your Student Balance Their Busy Schedule

1. Time management

Time management is important for students to begin learning as early as elementary school. Teaching them early when to do homework and when to play is important at a young age as school work tends to be lighter at those times. Making those habits young will help them as they get older.

Finishing as much work and studying at school as they can is the most important piece of advice. Many times parents don’t realize how much time students are given in the classroom to complete tasks, but they don’t take advantage of it. Working on homework and studying in school is so vital because you have the teachers and help available right there when you need it.

What can’t be finished at school should be done as close to the time school lets out as possible. You want students working on school work when it is fresh on their minds not after they have done one thousand other tasks and have forgotten the main points.

Structure is key when it comes to time management. Come up with a plan that works for your child and your family and try as much as you can to keep that same structure and routine in place from day to day.

2. Life experience

Many students have so much else going on in addition to school and extracurricular activities. They are involved in charities, they have jobs and the list goes on. If at any point you see your child is struggling to keep up you may need to cut back on these things. Kids need time to decompress, they need time just to veg out just like we do as adults. Packing their schedules full may look great on their college application, but it wont be good for their whole self.

Incorporate more things into your child’s life as they can handle it. DO NOT compare your child’s after school activities to those of others. Students who are taking AP classes are not going to be able to take on as much outside of the classroom because of the extreme work load of the college like classes. The good news about AP classes is they are earning college credit and this too looks good on a college application.

Make sure you are focusing on your child as a whole and their mental well being. School and education are priority number one.

3. Getting enough sleep

We are all at a loss of sleep these days! We have so many distractions! So much research says students should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Here is a great article about students and their sleep

I feel these articles can preach all day long about how much sleep my child should be getting, but it is impossible. We as parents can kill ourselves trying, but personally there is no way my kids get this much sleep. You as a parent need to make sure your child is rested. There are days just like adults have that are worse then others. Days when you will be sick and cant sleep, days when you get to sleep all day. The most important thing for you to do is listen to your body and listen to your child and make a sleep schedule that is good for both of you.

4. Eating well

If we aren’t getting the 8-10 hours of sleep we need then we need to focus on making the hours we are awake count by watching what we put in our kids mouths. As a mom myself it is so hard sometimes to make sure every meal is balanced and healthy and honestly I think that’s totally unrealistic. All parents want their kids eating healthy and want their kids to be in lean shape, but that’s not reality. Our lives are so crazy and we are always running everywhere. Chick fil a knows us by name because they have great side options that make me feel like mom of the year for getting my kids the fruit vs the fries. Sometimes we need to let ourselves off the hook and realize its ok, we are doing the best we can.

Sitting down and meal planning has been a huge help to me and my family. By doing this I can have a plan ahead of time so that its easier to reach for something healthy vs unhealthy.

5. Making time for friends and down time

This is one of the most important things parents need to realize! Scheduling our kids out may look great to other moms or on applications, but it may not be the best for them. Remember the days growing up before there were cell phone and the internet (yes, I know how did we survive?) We use to go to our friends house and play outside and not come in till the street lights came on. Some will say “but its different now there are more requirements”. I am not sure I agree, our kids only have the requirements and  commitments we give them. They are kids we are in control. If your child is not having fun in life and always stressed out and so are you, what is the point? Why are you driving them everywhere if you both hate it? On the other hand what if they love it all and you are trying to make sure they can do it all. It’s not possible to do it all! Maybe you have to compromise and say this semester you can do this activity and next semester you can do the other. You have to be in control of letting them be a kid!

6. Mental health

More and more these days we hear about mental health. It is widely talked about a lot more then it ever has been before and I think it is very important. Make sure you are doing a check in with your child. They may not let you know when they are burnt out because they don’t want to let you down. Ask them how they are doing possibly even schedule some down time things they love to help them relieve stress. As a mom of three I love a massage! This is something I do for myself to relieve stress. What is it for your child? Is it riding bikes, skateboarding, reading a book? Whatever it is make it acceptable for them to fit this time in. We all need mental health breaks and kids these days especially need them!

7. Staying connected

I always talk about communicating with your child this is so important! I have heard several times though “my child wont talk to me”. They will you just need to find the right time and place and DO NOT JUDGE THEM. Many times kids feel reluctant to share information or scared to tell you things because you could become angry or judge them for a decision they made.

I always tell my kids they can always talk to me and if anything is going on to talk to me about it and we can come up with a solution. If they get in trouble at school I make sure to tell them they always need to tell me before the teacher does because that way we can talk about it and find a better way to handle things next time, but if they don’t tell me and the teacher has to then the punishment is not just going to be a talk. I find the best time to talk with my kids is in the car! Talk to them let them know they are safe and you wont judge them, you just want to hear them. Everyone in life just wants to be heard at times!

Sometimes if you have family or friends that are close your child may feel better talking to them as well. No matter who they are talking to just make sure they are talking to someone about their day to day things as everyone needs an outlet.


Stressed out child

Three mistakes parents make when their child is struggling at school!


1. Checking kids grades constantly causes anxiety.

Some of the pressures kids are under at home can make things worse.

Kids have a ton of activities now-a-days and also with social media our children are feeling the pressure. No child wants to feel as though they are failing or struggling with something. Many children want to ask for help, but don’t know the right way to ask or feel they will be judged for doing so. Removing that pressure and setting a time each day or every other day (I find the best time is in the car on the way to activities) to discuss everything going on with them including grades is a wonderful way to open up the lines of communication and help them be heard and seek out help if needed.

Parents stressing out their kids

2. Don’t fix it!

Every child is going to struggle at some point, heck every adult does too.

When our child starts to struggle our nature is to immediately try and fix it for them. We as parents need to realize fixing the problem for them is doing more harm then good. We need to help them, but to do that we need to give them the tools they need to get through whatever they are struggling with. If your child is starting to not want to talk about school or doesn’t come home with papers they are proud of this may be a red flag. Naturally people want to hold in what they are ashamed of and not share it with anyone for fear of being judged. If you notice your child not as happy with school you may need to step in and offer some help. Remember every child is going to struggle, getting them the help they need is going to help their confidence and make sure they don’t fall to far behind.


Protective mom


3. Don’t underestimate their ability to communicate their needs.

Get your child’s opinion and let them take ownership in their learning.

If you notice any of the above things or your child tells you they are struggling first thing to do it figure out what they are struggling with. Are they struggling socially? Are they struggling with school work? math? English? etc. Then talk with them about why they feel they are struggling and how long they have been feeling this way. Talking with your child and letting them have some ownership in their struggles and how to fix them will help tremendously. If they are struggling academically tutoring may be a great option. Carney’s offers pay as you go tutoring so if your child just needs a few sessions to get back up on their feet, we can help with that. If it something they are going to need weekly for a semester we can help with that too. The main thing is to get your child involved.

Father and son talking

You need to prepare for ACT and SAT now!

You 100% need to prep for ACT and SAT right now!!

Here are 7 Reasons that you should take prep classes for the ACT and SAT exams!


1. Admission to your top choice school.

Many schools now will automatically admit students not only in the top 10%. Many schools like Texas A&M and Texas Tech offer admission with your GPA and ACT or SAT score. These schools require you be in the top 25% with a minimum score on the ACT or SAT. Make sure to research your schools rules to see what minimum score you will need for automatic admissions.

2. Boost your ACT and SAT Score.

The world we live in today is very competitive and you are taking the ACT or SAT to stand out from the other students. You want to put your best foot forward and show colleges what you are capable of. Having a higher test score mixed with a good GPA will guarantee you colleges you want as well as some financial freedom when it comes to paying for college.

ACT and SAT scores can be a good way to increase your chances of getting into a school of your choice if your grades slipped a little one year and knocked you down in the class rank. By taking some time to increase your score you could be moving yourself way up the list in terms of admissions.

3. Develop test-taking strategies.

Test-taking strategies can help you in all aspects of school, but most importantly with the ACT and SAT. Both of these tests have simple tricks that if known can help raise your score.  Some test-taking strategies seem simple and ones that everyone should know, but others are more difficult and are very specific to the ACT or SAT, knowing these ahead of time can greatly increase your chances of scoring higher.

4. Build your confidence and lower anxiety.

For many students taking test comes with tons of anxiety and stress especially one that has so much riding on it. Having a prep class can help student alleviate the stress involved with the test as they will see a sample test and learn all the strategies needed to feel successful.

Many students become overwhelmed by these tests because they are unfamiliar with them. By taking a prep class you become more familiar not only with the material on the test, but also the structure. Knowing what you are walking into helps a lot and can help increase students scores.

5. Could qualify you for a scholarship.

Who doesn’t want free money? Scholarships are the best way to go to college, have someone else pay for it. Some scholarships are athletic based, some are based on talents, but many are based on academics. Having a great ACT or SAT score can greatly improve your chances of getting funding for college from somewhere else other than your parents pocket book!

I found some great information on scholarships and how much certain schools offer at this site:

 Always make sure you start early looking for scholarships as some have early deadlines.

6. Effects approval for financial aid.

Higher scores can increase a students chances of receiving more financial aid. Financial aid officers see students as more desirable if they have higher test score and are willing to offer them more money.

7. Better job opportunities.

 Not every student that graduates from high school is going straight to college. Many students choose to go to a trade school or go right into working a full time job. For students that are going to a trade school or full time job employers are going to want to see your ACT or SAT score to see how well you did. A higher score could set you up with a better starting position or even a high salary.

kids are driving mom crazy

School is back in session and routine is the key to your sanity!

10 Tips on how to establish a routine ASAP!

Kids are going back to school! You are either crying in your coffee, or you are praising the big man upstairs…but either way you are probably like most people are NOT READY. Summertime often means schedules and routines are out the door. Bedtime and wake time are no more, dinner time is all over the place and chores never get done like they usually do. It’s a circus, right? Well hang on to your hat because once school starts back you need to be ready for routine. It’s a mental health precaution…trust me. So stick with me, as I give you 10 GREAT tips on how to get organized NOW and take on the school year like a NINJA instead of a headcase.

Tips for Routine when school is back in session

  1. Same bedtime every school night. Studies have shown that older kids need 9-11 hours of sleep each night and younger kids need 14-24 hours. If you are anything like me my kids are not getting the recommended hours of sleep, but we try. Setting the same scheduled bedtime each night really helps so we have a goal and can make sure we are working towards getting into bed by a certain time. Will your child fight you, YES, but ultimately we know it is what’s best for them and it gives us some time after they are in bed to complete the things we need to do before we go to bed as well.
  2. Have a designated homework spot. Ours is the kitchen table, yours could be in the office, in the backyard, wherever your child can focus and not be distracted by things around them. Picking out a spot before hand and using the same one every time they have homework takes the guess work out of where they will do their work and they know exactly where to go, how to get started and will have everything they need to finish their homework successfully.
  3. Set up a homework time. There are three times that are good for doing homework and which is best is different with each child. The best times are right after school, before dinner or after dinner. Everyone is different on what works for them. My daughter does best when she completes her homework right after she gets home so it doesn’t weigh on her for the rest of the night and she has a sense of freedom from it. That doesn’t work though on nights she has activities right after school so we have to change it up on those nights. Having your student know ahead of time when they will be completing their homework will help them be more successful. If one of the above times isn’t working try another, don’t be afraid to change it up.
  4. Plan out each week. Know when tests and quizzes are so you aren’t cramming last minute. In the digital age we live in we now have instant access to a lot of information including teachers websites. Many teachers put their upcoming calendars online so students know when their next assessment will be. Have your child check this on a weekly basis so they can write in their agenda when their next assessment will be. This way they can plan out and see the date approaching and make sure to study ahead of time and not cram everything in the night before.
  5. Use Sunday’s before bed to decompress and prepare for Monday. A good start on Monday makes for a good week. Sunday’s are family days for most and are a great time to get prepared for the school week ahead. Have your child use Sunday’s to look at the upcoming week see if there are assessments approaching or books that need to be read. Make sure they use Sunday to get to bed early so they can decompress from their weekend and have their mind prepare for the week ahead.
  6. Meal plan! Easier said then done! I use to be the worst at this and without a plan found myself ordering out for my family more times then not during the week. Taking a few minutes on Saturday or Sunday to look over some recipes and pick which ones you think your family will like will save you a ton of time during the week. Many people will take this an extra step and actually meal prep on Sunday. I admit I am not that good, but after finding the an app I like to store all my families favorite dinner recipes it has made it a lot easier during the week. Let yourself have a day for leftovers or eating out. I always plan a day or two when I know I will have a crap day and just need to pick my family up something fast and that is ok, but planning ahead for meals really saves my sanity in the evening.
  7. Pick outfits out the night before. So not one is fighting or rushing to find clothes in the morning. It could be you picking out the clothes or your child, but having that outfit laid out and ready the night before is a huge time saver in the morning. I personally have left this to my children to do and believe me they have come down with some interesting outfits, but I feel like I am winning because they are at least dressed and ready for the day. Starting the day by having someone searching for a item of clothing and coming down half dressed puts everyone in a bad mood. Give this task to your child and again save your sanity.
  8. Use the same spot everyday for backpacks and materials. This way everyone will always know where the school items are. Ideally this is located near the door in which you will leave out of in the morning. This way your kids are less likely to forget something in the morning that has you running up to the school to bring it to them.
  9. Pack bags the night before. Have everything ready to go and in their bag. I don’t know how many times my kids have left things (books, homework) on the counter and it never made it to school. Checking their bags and making sure when homework is done it goes right into the backpack. The last thing any mom or dad needs is a frantic phone call from school that your child left something very important at home.
  10. Have a planner. I am a huge paper planner girl myself, but many are moving to the digital planners. Make sure you write things down, add an alarm for things to make sure you stay on course.

So there you have it people. Some good old fashioned CONCRETE ideas to get your home in order so that life will hand you lemonade and not lemons as the kids go back to school. Did you feel like some of these ideas were specifically for you? Did you feel like I wrote this blog TOO YOU? Are you wondering if I can see you right now and have been watching you on a spy cam? I’m kidding of course, but seriously…what changes are you going to make TODAY to get your butt in gear? Comment below!!