Brainiacs Blog

May 13, 2014

This week marks a great milestone for us at Brainiacs:  It was one year ago that we officially opened the doors to our learning facility.

It was an exciting time as we embarked upon a dream, and the excitement continues as we now help you achieve your goals for your children.  At this time of reflection, we see how much we have grown and learned, and how our dreams of being a “different” type of learning centre has come to fruition.  You see, we use a holistic approach in our teachings:  We teach the academics, but most importantly we address confidence.  We want to thank you for believing in us, and allowing us the opportunity to make a difference. 

As we researched, and began structuring our program, we discovered that we are offering something special to our students and their families.  We know that “one size doesn’t fit all” which is why we meet with families, listen to concerns, provide Ontario curriculum-aligned diagnostics in literacy and mathematics before we devise a custom program for each student.  At Brainiacs, it is your program; it is designed to fit you. 

Being parents ourselves, we know that everyone is busy, and sometimes it may seem more convenient to have a tutor come to you, but we also know that having an ideal learning space is the way to go.  It is not mere coincidence that Brainiacs is designed the way it is:  from paint colour, to classical music playing in the wait area, to private learning areas that keep students engaged and distractions-at-bay.  Our resource room is packed with technology and hands-on learning tools:  every colour and size, and we keep adding to it.  Our centre came about through years of research and careful planning.

As educators, we know that children need to see that we are all working as a team for their success.  That is why the last five minutes of each session is face-to-face communication time between your child’s Brainiacs’ teacher and you.  Your child wants you to hear all about their successes each time!

At Brainiacs we really care about each child, not just as a student, but as a person.  One must believe in himself to achieve greatness.  Our OCT certified teachers help each student see their strengths, and believe in themselves – then the learning happens.  Simple?  Yes, simple, but effective.  It is our secret.

We cater to students of all ages… from preschool to grade 12.  Some come for remedial help, others come for enrichment opportunities, but the common denominator is success and confidence.  We tell parents during our initial meeting that their child’s world will change because we know it will:  We believe in our kids from the on-set.  It’s the most incredible feeling when we receive cards, emails, hugs and tears of gratitude from you telling us about the positive changes in your child.  That’s how we know we have something good happening here.  Brainiacs thanks you for sharing your successes with us, and for your positive word-of-mouth referrals.   We are grateful to you for allowing us to be a part of your family. 

Our students have made huge strides in this past year, and we are thrilled!  The waiting area shows it all as the air buzzes with students sharing accomplishments and taking pictures at our “selfie” wall. 

We have had a phenomenal first year!  We would be remiss if we did not mention our wonderful staff of dedicated educators.  Our team of professionals have proven their commitment every step of the way.  They prove to us daily why they are the greatest group of teachers! 

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and we look forward to servicing our wonderful community for many years to come.

Mike & Gail


The Brainiacs Team

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April 17, 2014

One of the questions that we hear most often – and we usually hear it from apprehensive kids – is “Will there be a lot of work to take home?”  Well, for those who come to Brainiacs for help on their schoolwork, the answer is always the same…”We aren’t here to give you more work, we are here to help you have less work.”

Today’s kids have a lot on their plate: hockey, dance, karate, piano, religious school, swimming, and so much more.  The last thing that most of them need is more work piled on top!  What they need is better understanding of the work they already have.  At Brainiacs, we help them understand their work, and help give them the tools to ease the difficulties associated with learning. 

Brainiacs’ students have their workloads lessened, not increased.  We are here to help make their lives easier!

March 24, 2014

A high school student was asking us today if he would be better off coming in several times right before tests and exams instead of regularly each week.  His logic was that he would probably come in the same number of hours over the course of the semester, but would concentrate most of his hours closer to exam time.

We understood his logic, but explained why it was better for him to come in regularly throughout the semester.  It comes down to long-term memory vs. short-term memory.  Simply put, when people learn new material at a steady pace (one unit at a time), they master the material – it becomes a part of their knowledge base.  When people cram, they are memorizing, and chances are, that they will not be able to retain the information for long, or won’t be able to “apply” the facts. 

So what does this all mean to the student?  Well, when the time comes for exams, he would have to re-learn each topic all over again, almost like it is brand new to him, instead of just using his time with us to review the material.  Perhaps he’d be able to retain the information long enough to successfully write the test/exam, but success isn’t about memorizing – it’s about learning and understanding the material. Knowledge base is essential for future academic success – one can’t build the second storey of a building, if the first storey doesn’t have the proper foundations in place.

He understood and agreed with this analogy.  He will understand and agree even more in June, as he strides confidently into his exams (on a good night’s sleep), and walks out with the same, self-assured smile feeling so good about applying his knowledge…


February 7, 2014

We are excited to begin our blog, in order to share some of our thoughts and insights with you.

For our initial entry, we’d like to share the story of how Brainiacs came to be.  This will help explain the dedication and philosophies behind opening our centre, after years of in-home tutoring.

Brainiacs was founded by a school teacher, who works for a public board.  Over her years of teaching in the classroom, and tutoring one-on-one, she encountered many students and families, some of whom were seeking out extra help.  They would ask where they could get the specific help that they needed, catered individually to the student: Taught by somebody who understands not only knows the curriculum expectations, but who also understands how the students think and learn, and the most effective way this can be done.

Our teacher was beside herself.  She knew that there were plenty of services available, some of which could be helpful, but none that would do things the same way that she knew was required: The right way – by addressing individual needs in a way that works best for each student, and in a distraction-free environment equipped with a multitude of resources and hands-on tools.

This is how the idea of Brainiacs was born, but it didn’t stop there.  The idea was not to simply provide tutoring, nor was the idea to just do it well.  At Brainiacs, our goal is to do it better than any other tutoring service.  How do we do that?

We began by designing and building a centre that provides students with an ideal learning environment.  A distraction-free space where they can come and feel comfortable – their place.  Our tutoring centre is equipped with a large resource room, containing ample tools for learners of all ages, and learning styles. We provide opportunities to use our iPads and laptops, with Wi-Fi if needed.  We provide school supplies so that there is no need to interrupt sessions.  Whiteboards with markers allow our students to visualize the concepts they are learning.  We provide a multitude of hands-on tools that students can manipulate so they truly understand a concept. It is much more effective to teach time, when there are teaching clocks available. Kids have access to the right tools for learning at Brainiacs.

We then had to decide who would be there to teach the kids.  There were plenty of options to choose from, but only dedicated teaching professionals would care about teaching kids the way that we do.  This is why at Brainiacs, our students are taught by OCT certified teachers, and teaching candidates.  Our tutors (or Program Specialists which is what they truly are) work with students who are studying within their areas of specialty.  Our teachers view Brainiacs as a place for them to practice their craft.  They are there because they are dedicating their lives to education, not only to collect a paycheque at a part-time job.

Another key factor in being the best is that Brainiacs tutoring is strictly one-on-one:  Private lessons! This is the only way to do it right.  Our students learn, receive a boost in self-confidence, and are given the tools to become lifelong learners all at once.  Our students are able to move their lessons along at their own pace.  Once they understand what they are learning, we move on to the next concept.  They feel safe, not ashamed, to ask questions if they don’t understand something.  They know that the entire focus of their lesson is on them.

Finally, at Brainiacs, everybody works together toward a common goal, and that is the education of your children.  Our tutors share their expertise and experiences in order to make each other better.  We share ideas and strategies, and work as a team.  Teachers also have their knowledge of the school system to share.  We are often asked questions by parents regarding education, the school system, Ministry expectations, IEPs, psych reports, the differences between different high school courses and levels, and much more.  This is information and advice that we are able to share with our valued clients.

That is a little bit about us and how we do things.  Please feel free to send your feedback, and any questions that you may have – whether about Brainiacs or your child’s education.  We are here to help.

Over the coming months, we will be addressing many concerns from all different perspectives – as teachers, students, and parents.  Please let us know how we can help you!