Tutor of the Month: March 2019

Christie M is our March 2019 Tutor of the Month!

Christie has been a BrightSparkz tutor since July 2016, and she has done an impressive 113.5 hours of tutoring for us!
Christie matriculated from Rhenish Girls’ High School in 2015 with excellent results, including 88% for Maths and 89% for Physical Science. She is currently studying her BSc majoring in Ocean, Atmosphere Science and Marine Biology at the University of Cape Town. She received full academic colours in high school, while also working part time and has been volunteering at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Christie has also studied Manderin for the past 4 years. Christie is engaging and passionate about teaching and helping others. Christie enjoys going diving or hiking in her free time and describes herself as honest, empathetic and understanding. Christie joined BrightSparkz in 2016 and has an amazing achievement of over 113.5 tutoring hours with us and shows no sign of slowing down.
Christie tutors a variety of subjects, including Maths and Physical Science and has had outstanding feedback from her clients:
“For the first time she understood how to do fractions in a simple way. Christie seems to have explained and shown the concepts of multiplication and fractions very well. My child is so confident even if it’s only the first lesson.”

The Importance of Extra-Curricular Activities at School

With the busyness of everyday life, you may be wondering if it is worthwhile for your child to participate in extra-curricular activities at school. Won’t it just add more pressure onto your child, and onto your already hectic schedule?


However, there are definite benefits to allowing your child to participate in extra-curricular activities:

Sports & team activities

  • Participating in sports will develop sport-specific skills in your child if they show interest in a certain sport.
  • Fitness, strength and endurance will be developed, to counteract all the sedentary activities (TV, PlayStation, Cell phone usage and computer games) that many children engage in.
  • Children also learn to play in a team and develop sportsmanship.

Physical activity will also lessen the risk of your child becoming overweight due to too many sedentary activities. Alarmingly, South African has a rapidly rising childhood obesity challenge which is worse than the situation in the US!

Other physical activities

Of course, not all children enjoy sports participation or have the co-ordination to participate in ball or team sports. You could also consider activities like the following, depending on where your child’s interests lie:

  • Swimming
  • Dancing/ballet
  • Martial arts
  • Gymnastics or trampolining

Physical activity of any type is great for your child’s concentration at school with the increased flow of oxygen to the brain and the release of endorphins whilst exercising. Furthermore, it enables children to build their confidence as they master new skills and participate in activities.

Non-physical extra-mural activities

Your child may also develop other interests which do not involve physical activities, such as playing chess, art classes, drama, science club or music. You may have a future chess world champion or another Einstein living under your roof! All of these are avenues for your child to grow and discover where their talents lie!

School activities versus club activities

Your child may have interests which are not offered at school, such as martial arts classes or horse riding. If you can, send them for lessons at an outside club. They will meet new people in different environments and be able to grow a larger network.

If not, encourage them to participate in school activities or activities offered in the community which also offers many benefits.

The importance of participating in school activities

Participating in activities at the school, and perhaps being part of a school team representing the school, offers several benefits to your child:

  • They get to know some of their teachers outside the classroom environment. This can lead to better relationships with the teachers and their team-mates.
  • They will make a name for themselves at school. This may help them be more visible to the student body when it is time to choose prefects or learner representatives when the student body has a vote.
  • It will help them develop a sense of pride in their school and leave them with fond memories in the years to come.
  • They will learn the value of teamwork, give them a sense of belonging and accomplishment.
  • Involvement as part of a team or another extra-curricular activity is important especially if your child is not particularly strong academically. Being involved and being good at activities other than school work will raise their self-esteem.


If you would like to see your child improve confidence in their academic performance, there are some extra-curricular activities available which will assist your child to a greater accomplishment in their academic realm.  These include:

Afrikaans Boot Camp – this will help the child struggling with poor Afrikaans marks to improve their marks and confidence.

Zulu Boot Camp – to assist the child who has just started learning Zulu at school to be ahead of the pack.

Study Skills Crash Course – this short, two lesson course will assist your child to know what learning style they prefer and give them study tips to improve their confidence.

If your child already participates in a variety of extra-curricular activities but you would like to see equal commitment and improvement in their school marks, why not get a hand-picked tutor to assist? Your tutor will assist not only with academic subjects, but very often they make a difference in your child’s life by motivating and encouraging them as well!

A well-rounded child is a happy child! Balance is key to your child’s ultimate success in life, so encourage them to participate in suitable extra-curricular activities at school.


Written by Natalie Wilke, BrightSparkz Staff & Blog Writer

Surviving University

Tips for Surviving Your First Year of University

Congratulations! You’ve completed school successfully and now you’re proceeding to the “rest of your life!” It is an exciting time of life for you! No more school bells, uniforms, book covering or teachers! Freedom calls.

You are looking forward to university (where you don’t have to wear a uniform, listen for the bell or cover books). You have far more independence and will be able to structure your own time. People are treating you more like an adult, and with that, they will also be expecting more from you.

Perhaps you are going to a university far from home and not only do you have to learn to adjust to university life, but also to living in a student residence far away from everyone you know. Even if you’ll still be staying at home, there are adjustments you should make, and things you should know.

Time Management

  • Managing your own time effectively is a vital life skill you will have to acquire quickly if you are lacking in that area!
  • Get yourself up on time in the morning. Get to classes on time – some lecturers may lock you out of the lecture theatre if you are late! They will NOT repeat anything that they have already said if you come in late. They will not prompt you or fuss over you like your teachers may have done.
  • If you are commuting by car or public transport, make sure you factor in that time. You may face traffic or the unreliability of public transport.
  • You will have to submit your assignments on time. If you don’t, or don’t apply for an extension (which you won’t always get), you will fail that assignment, and possibly even the semester.
  • Ensure that you have enough time planned for doing your studies and managing your social life.
  • You can, and should, get involved in activities at university as it enriches you as a person. However, don’t do so much that you have very little study time! Value and protect your time.

Money Management

  • Most students find that money is short. It may be a stretch for your parents to send you to university and there is no money left for entertainment or petrol. You will need to get a job. A great choice of student work is to become a tutor.
  • Tutoring offers you flexibility (only tutor in the times that suit you), and it is a great way to gain skills like time management, building relationships and goal setting with your learners. Some feedback from our tutors:

“I can schedule my own times for tutoring and the pay is really good” Steven H.

“I think it is a wonderful opportunity to not just serve but in the process to build relationships as well”. Marlene v. H.

“I’ve had an amazing experience with Brightsparkz. There are always new opportunities to learn and expand your horizons and give back to the youth of today and leaders of tomorrow”. Chelsea S.

  • Petrol is expensive, so if your friends want you to drive them around, consider forming a lift club. If you are the only one with a car, everyone needs to contribute!

Managing your studies

You will find that university study is far different from studying at school. The work load is far more than you ever had before.

  • You will have to take notes during your lectures at the pace that the lecturer is speaking. Usually, lecturers don’t slow down and dictate notes at a speed suitable for you – they have a lot of material to get through. Learn to write quickly and legibly or try to record the lecture to play back later.
  • Get into the habit of reading over your notes after lectures so you can ensure that you understand the content and can do something early if you are lost. If you don’t act swiftly to get help, you will soon be faced with a huge backlog of work that you don’t understand!
  • If you are struggling in any of your subjects, get help fast! Check if your lecturer or mentor is available to assist, or hire a professional tutor who has already successfully passed the  module or degree you are doing.
  • When your study break comes before exams, make a study plan and stick to it! You will find it difficult to get away with studying the day before as you may have done when you were at school.


Your first year of university is indeed an exciting time for you! Enjoy every moment. It is a privilege not to be taken lightly as many deserving students do not have the means to study at a tertiary institution. Plan properly, and you will have a successful and memorable first year!


Written by Natalie Wilke, BrightSparkz Staff & Blog Writer