Five ways to “use it or lose it” during school breaks

“Use it or lose it!” Adults may have seen this adage on a meme about aging, or heard the advice from a sage physician. But the advice applies to learning, too— and especially what happens for some students during summer breaks.

It makes sense: We lose our skills at what we don’t practice regularly, and that applies to all the skills involved with learning. Research spanning back over 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of a summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer. 

The …

TUTOR TUESDAY: Margie Speer

In this occasional feature, we’ll be sharing profiles of some of our outstanding tutors. 


The first thing you notice about Margie Speer is that she sparkles.

As she shares enthusiastic stories about her work in education and her family, it’s easy to see that she’s high energy, 

It’s easy to hear how her experiences shaped her passion for math.

And it’s easy to see why she would inspire students to love learning.

She’s made that difference as a tutor for Back to Basics since 2011.

Speer’s background is not the traditional path for an educator. Her degree is in mechanical

How to support your child with homework

Is homework a struggle for your child?  Most of us remember homework as part of our own learning experience, but not all of those memories are fond.

You might remember slaving away over a research paper while your friends were having fun, or lower grades when you missed turning in a homework assignment. You might also remember discovering the key to a challenging math problem during independent practice, or discovering a passion through learning what you liked to spend the most time on.

Believe it or not, teachers don’t assign homework because they enjoy it. Most genuinely believe that homework

Preparation is key for parent-teacher conference success

It’s that time of year. Many schools have scheduled fall parent-teacher conferences as the midpoint or end of the schools’ first marking period approaches. These meetings with your child’s teachers are a vital opportunity to build the team that supports each student— and yet most conferences are scheduled in blocks of 30 minutes or less! Planning ahead for the parent-teacher conference can help you to make the most of the experience.

Remember that you are the expert on your child, while the teacher is the expert on teaching. The best outcome of a parent-teacher conference is enhanced collaboration on the

Governor’s World Language Expansion Initiative introduces language immersion in Delaware kindergartens

Thanks to the launch of the Governor’s World Language Expansion Initiative, kindergarteners in three Delaware schools (one in each county) will begin an elementary language immersion program in either Mandarin Chinese or Spanish. Children in Asia and Europe typically begin learning additional languages as early as 5 years old.

“World language capacity is crucial for Delaware to maintain and strengthen our state’s economy,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “Delaware graduates who enter the job market able to speak a language other than English will be at a significant advantage in today’s global marketplace. We want students in Delaware to have the …