Rebecca Zook - Math Tutoring Online

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The Math Unicorn is Back! Free Magical Math Tea Parties, Thurs 5/14 and Fri 5/15 @ noon eastern!

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Yesterday, a 4th grader who came to our first math tea party wanted to know, “When is the next one?”

Well, good news! Our next math tea party is next week!

And you’re invited!

Do you feel overwhelmed by suddenly having to homeschool your child with math?

Wondering how you’ll make it through the rest of the school year?

Filled with dread trying to explain math homework?

Do you wish you could actually make math…magical?

Then come join us this coming Thurs 5/14 and Fri 5/15 @ noon eastern,
as I join forces with beloved tea party legend, Mrs. B of Tea With Mrs B,
for this fun virtual event.

We will unveil the secrets of making math magical that I’ve discovered over my career as a Virtual Magical Math Tutor, helping creative, passionate, unique kids achieve true math mastery.

You will learn simple, effective, fun tools that can be used on any problem and at any grade level.

Then we will practice applying these tools together,
choosing from problems you bring to class,
with participants taking turns in the spotlight getting help directly from me.

Wear your favorite tea party hat, and bring your favorite tea!

This event is designed for:
– parents, 
– or parents and kids *together*,
– but is NOT for kids to attend solo. 
(This is NOT a “drop-off” event.)

NOTE: This time we’re splitting it into two age groups: 

Thurs 5/14 @ noon eastern 
for 3rd graders and up, with their parents
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER yourself & your 3rd-12th grader

and Fri 5/15 @ noon eastern
for 1st & 2nd graders, with their parents
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER yourself & your 1st-2nd grader

COST: Free!  
LOCATION: On zoom! You’ll get the link when you register

And please share with anyone who you sense could use this support!

Related links:
Testimonial: I’m Officially a Math Unicorn
Case Study: a 5th grader goes from saying “Math Doesn’t Like Me” to singing and dancing about math while wearing a purple tutu
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #1

Thurs April 23: Virtual Math Tea Party–you’re invited!

Friday, April 10th, 2020

Feeling stressed out about doing math with your child?

Come to our virtual math tea party, Thurs April 23rd, 6-7:30 pm eastern!

Parents have been thrust into a trial by fire—learning to balance on the tightrope between our jobs and as de-facto in-home teachers.

If you’re finding yourself at the end of that (tight) rope, and you’d like support, join me (along with co-host, beloved etiquette legend Mrs. B of Tea With Mrs. B) for a virtual math lesson and tea time!

During this lesson:

1. We will unveil the secrets of making math magical. You will learn simple, effective, fun tools that can be used on any problem, at any grade level. 

2. We will practice applying these tools together, choosing from problems you bring to tea. Participants will take turns getting help on their specific problems.

Brew your favorite tea, and don your most festive party hat! 

Please email 1-3 math problems in advance to work through together during the call. 

We are in this together, and will walk you through this rather intimidating subject with our signature magic and whimsy. 

WHEN: Thurs April 23rd, 6-7:30 pm eastern (register here)

WHERE: on zoom! (link provided after registration)

COST: It’s FREE! Parents and children are welcome to attend together or parent may attend on his or her own.

AGES: Parents & children from 3rd-12th grade

I’m excited to see you there!!

Sending you love,
REBECCA,
The Professional Math Unicorn 😉

PS. Just click here to register!

Math Tutoring Is Not Cancelled

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

I know that your school/community is probably either closed, switching to remote learning, or deciding to do one or the other, and that this is probably super stressful for you.

I’ve been working remotely with all my clients since 2010. Working this way is totally normal for me.

So if you (or someone you know) are looking for one-on-one remote math tutoring during this time—even when you’re super stressed, worried, overwhelmed, and/or uncertain—just call me, 617-888-0160, or email me, rebeccazook@gmail.com.

We are in an exceptional time, but learning is not cancelled. Mastery is not cancelled. Creativity is not cancelled. Joy is not cancelled. Math tutoring is not cancelled.

I’m here for you.

Sending you love,
REBECCA
Professional Math Unicorn

PS. Please share with anyone you think might find this helpful!

PPS. Here’s what one of my student’s mom’s recently shared about their experience with me: “My daughter just did not get math. At all. As she progressed through elementary and middle schools, tutored all the way, she kept falling further behind.

“[Now], my daughter is on a steady trajectory forward, enjoys geometry, loves Rebecca, and is looking forward to higher level math. My daughter participates more in class, isn’t hiding from math, and seems to actually enjoy learning geometry. I call Rebecca my daughter’s unicorn – a rare and wondrous thing – a teacher worth her weight in gold.”

Testimonial: I’m officially a unicorn

Friday, February 21st, 2020

I was very touched to receive this testimonial from a current client whose daughter I’m tutoring in 10th grade Geometry:

Ok, my kid is a quirky, intuitive, kind, and wonderful person. She just did not get math. At all. As she progressed through elementary and middle schools, tutored all the way, doing math camps over the summer, and stints at Mathnasium, she kept falling further behind. I couldn’t help her because I didn’t know how. My husband’s approach hurt more than helped, adding to her anxiety and worsening her self esteem.

I was pretty desperate by the time I connected with Rebecca. Our first couple of phone calls, learning about her and her approach, were like taking a step back, a deep breath, and looking at my child anew. I felt hopeful because I knew Rebecca’s work would never hurt my daughter and may even help her.

Fast forward 4 months. My daughter is on a steady trajectory forward, enjoys geometry, loves Rebecca, and is looking forward to higher level math. She is getting it. Rebecca is patient and explores why she doesn’t understand something, helps her fill in the foundational gaps, and build up her knowledge. She participates more in class, isn’t hiding from math, and seems to actually enjoy learning geometry. An added plus is that she loves being smarter than me!


I call Rebecca my daughter’s unicorn – a rare and wondrous thing – a teacher worth her weight in gold. — mother of 10th grade geometry student at Yorktown High School

If you’re looking for a math unicorn — someone who will actually connect with your child and explain in a way they can deeply understand and remember, so they actually look forward to tutoring and get great grades — call me at 617-888-0160.

We’ll have a brief conversation about what’s not working, what you want instead, and how I can specifically help your child. And if it makes sense, we’ll go ahead and set up their first session.

I’d love to connect with you about how your child can go through this same transformation for themselves!

Now accepting new students!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Do you wish math could feel like this?

Since I got back from my magical cello adventure in Iceland (pictured above), so many people have been asking me if I’m still tutoring.

The answer is YES!

In fact, I’ve recently streamlined my intake process to make it so much easier for families to get started with me.

AND I have some amazing specials for new clients that are extremely accessible!

If you or someone you know would like to connect
about if my making math magical one-on-one mentoring programs
would be right for you,
just give me a call at 617-888-0160.

We’ll have a quick chat about what you need,
and if it makes sense, we’ll go ahead and set up a very simple, paid introductory get-to-know-you session for your child to work with me.
After that session, we’ll debrief together and go over whether a one-month or three-month package would be the next best step.

Just call me at 617-888-0160 to get started together.

I know that dealing with math stress can be extremely painful, and it’s very normal to hope that the problem goes away on its own, or to tell yourself that you’ll deal with it “later.”

But please know that I only have a few open spots left, so I recommend you reach out now if you think this is something you want to do.

I’m excited to connect about how we can actually make math magical for you and your child!

CASE STUDY: This 11th grader stopped binge eating because the math stress was gone

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Is your child consumed by math anxiety, even though they’re “doing everything right?”

These are some of my favorite students to work with, because I used to struggle with the exact same thing.

When this particular Algebra II/Trig student first came to me, she was making decent grades – Cs, Bs and low As – but at enormous psychic cost.

She would spend hours every night perfectionistically slaving over her math homework, but still feel completely unclear about the material and consumed by math anxiety.

Math felt like a collection of shards of broken glass that she was putting massive energy into “keeping together,” but they never actually fit together or added up to a cohesive whole.

How did she shift from perfectionism to mastery?

Let’s break it down!

1. When this student started working with me, one of the things that really stressed her out was her formulas sheet.

A page covered in things she hadn’t yet learned, that she would eventually have to memorize, many involving symbols or terms she’d never heard of yet, all crammed onto one scary page.

OF COURSE this freaked her out!

So we set the formulas sheet aside.

2. And instead, we built the formulas sheet from scratch – one formula at a time.

First, we started with the simplest, most basic formula, and built it from scratch using foundational concepts that this student already knew, like the Pythagorean formula.

And we’d make it super visual, drawing diagrams that explained why it worked.

Then she’d “teach it back to me” and build it from scratch and draw the diagrams herself.

Then the next session, we’d do the same thing again.

And again.

And again.

Until each formula was totally internalized, and she could build almost the entire formulas sheet from scratch, all by herself.

3. This created massive self-trust.

Not only did this student KNOW all the formulas, she knew WHY they worked, AND she could build them on her own.

Also, taking the time to do this so slowly, in the end, created massive speed.

This student became one of the fastest problem-solvers I’ve ever seen at this level …

BECAUSE she had taken the time to understand the fundamental concepts so meticulously.

The end result was that, without trying to be fast, this student breezed through the material, understanding at a deep conceptual level problems that many other students just experience as a random collection of rules or weird answers spit out by their TI-82.

Now this student experienced math as a cohesive whole, where she belonged, instead of a random collection of disconnected shards.

4. So, how did this play out in her classroom?

As a result of our work, this student’s grades hit the roof.

She was awarded the “most improved student” award by her teacher – in front of her whole school.

She was so much less stressed that she stopped binge eating…
…just because the math anxiety was gone.

And she applied for and won a prestigious internship at a European research-based skin care company in Georgetown, DC – being chosen over COLLEGE STUDENTS!!!

(This is an awesome example of how when math is no longer an obstacle, students can really bring their dreams and visions out into the world.)

Do you have a child who is struggling with this kind of math anxiety?

Maybe they’re actually getting good grades, but not really understanding how the pieces fit together.

Or maybe their grades have started to suffer.

Either way, I’d love to connect with you get clear on whether or not my work would be a fit for your child.

Just fill out this application to get started: fill out your application here

I am so excited to connect!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

Related Articles:
Case Study: A 5th grader goes from believing “Math Doesn’t Like Me” to singing and dancing about math while wearing a purple tutu
Afraid Your Math Teacher Will Judge You?
Case Study: A 10th grader goes from feeling like math is a foreign language to becoming the most called-upon student in her class
The Treachery of Invisible Math Anxiety

Making Math Magical is in the newspaper!

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Hey beautiful readers!

I’m so excited…. I was interviewed about the process of making math magical for an article for the Rye Record newspaper by the fabulous Maureen Mancini Amaturo!

Read on for the full article 🙂

Math + Rebecca Zook = Magic

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

Rebecca Zook, musician and fairy godmother of math who works with kids all over the world, will be at The Rye Free Reading Room November 9, 2017 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. She’ll present, “Making Math Magical: How to End the Math Freakout and Raise a Math-Confident Daughter,” a program that is just as effective for boys. Her mission: to conquer math anxiety. Because of her unusual way of guiding all those who say, “I’m not a math person,” there are a lot more people out there adding to their potential.

“I work with girls and boys, but the majority of my students are girls. There is lots of research on girls and math. From my own experience, I find that the reason is not that our intellect is an obstacle. It’s emotion. There is a larger shift in our culture now of women coming more and more into positions of leadership and in fields not traditionally slated for them. There is greater awareness of where women are underrepresented and a lot of positive energy going into changing that.”

Rebecca is a musician, really, with a self-designed interdisciplinary degree in Music and the Humanities, and she performs around the globe. “I find that because I am a creative, artistic person, I understand what creative, artistic people need to feel comfortable with math. This helps me connect with kids having a hard time.”

When Rebecca heads out to tutor math-phobics, she arrives with her cello. Memories of struggling with math as a young girl motivated her to find a way to help others avoid that stress and discover the skills they they don’t have. “A big part of my work is hearing, ‘I wish I worked with you when I was growing up.’ I say I wish I had worked with myself!”

Her students have shown incredible growth. “Many think once you have a hard time with math it’s game over. You work hard, and it’s not clicking. You think something is wrong with you. Over time, you disengage and give up. I am amazed at how much transformation is possible.” Rebecca has perfected a process to subtract the anxiety and add confidence. “I work with students to eliminate the negative emotion — the nervous feeling, anxiety, fear­, and help them slow down.”

So, what’s the key to unlocking math phobia? “There are three fundamental pieces,” she says. “One: have a growth mindset about math which means to understand that math ability is something you can cultivate and grow with comfort, and it’s not something you either have or not. It’s such a toxic mindset to think that you’re either a math-science person or humanities-language person. I’m living proof you can be both.

“Two: Stay in the sweet spot where it’s not so hard you are overwhelmed and not so low you get bored. Break it down into pieces that are small enough for you to handle.

“Three: Take a mastery orientation approach with math. We have an understanding in our culture with athletics and art that you practice, and it’s enjoyable. With math, we think if we just do what we are told, that’s enough. Mostly, the curriculum doesn’t identify that, and kids give up and opt out. Practicing math in a way that is pleasurable and customized is crucial.”

Rebecca is the magician that dispels the fallacy that if you are working with a tutor, you’re bad at math. “If you want to bring your dreams and vision to the world, you have to support that desire. All winners have coaches, trainers, guides, mentors, and teachers. Support is not about dependency. It’s about facing new challenges and growing.”

Hear more about Rebecca’s unorthodox approach to developing a successful relationship with math at the Rye Free Reading Room, visit makingmathmagical.com or contact her directly at rebeccazook@gmail.com or 617-888-0160.

Is your creative kid freaking out about math? Do you want them to truly master math and love it so their dreams can come true without experiencing math as an obstacle?

I’d love to connect and explore if my work would be a fit for your child!

Just click here to take the first step: click here

What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #5

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

5. Math-masterful parents commit to steady math mentoring support for the long haul.

Typical parents try to “get tutoring over with” or “wean off” the tutoring out of fears of dependency.

But math-masterful parents understand that high-level mentoring support is actually a path to deeper and deeper independence, and allows their child to be nurtured in continually more sophisticated ways as they gleefully move up the upwards spiral of true growth.

So they keep math mentoring support in place, month after month, year after year.

They say yes to support again and again, making sure their child continues to be mentored even after their child starts to consistently get straight As—just like an athlete continues to train after they make a national team, or just like a ballerina continues to do barre after she is chosen for a renowned company.

Because the parent and child have this support in place, neither of them is worried about what will happen when the going gets tough (and they know that it will).

They know that support is already there, ready, waiting, on the calendar, and they never have to go back to those dark days of math desperation again.

As a quick example of this, there’s a family that has been working with me now for over 4 years.

Because of the consistent mentoring support they have in place, this student just had the most relaxed experience of finals ever and was able to stay calm when she was surrounded by peers who were panicking.

This meant that her parents, instead of feeling miserable during finals because their daughter was so stressed and overwhelmed, actually felt relaxed themselves during finals.

Do you wish your child could go through this same transformation?

I would love to talk to you.

Just fill out this application here.

As soon as your application is received and reviewed, I’ll reach out to schedule a special appointment for us to connect on the phone and get clear on how I could best support your family.

I can’t wait to connect!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

Related posts:
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #1
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #2
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #3What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #4

What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #4

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

4. Math-masterful parents are focused on the long-term process of mastery.

Typical parents focus on just getting math over with.

Math is so stressful that they just want to help their kids complete their homework assignments as quickly as possible.

But this never gets below the surface to the actual root problems that are causing the math anxiety and stress.

In contrast, math-masterful parents focus on whether their child is deeply understanding and internalizing the material, not just getting their homework done.

As part of this, math-masterful parents are proactive, not reactive.

Instead of being in crisis mode, waiting to see if they have math issues, scheduling support only around tests, or reacting to the artificial rhythms of the school year, these parents put support in place consistently and let their child’s mastery needs set the pace.

Like athletes or performing artists, math-masterful families train consistently.

They still take breaks and vacations, but use holidays and summer breaks as a powerful secret compartment to catch up, get ahead, and stay connected to math—to enjoy math on their own terms.

This consistent training develops their own inner math sanctuary that supports them, once they’re back from vacation, no matter what is going on in their classroom or curriculum.

And because they invest this time and energy in consistent math mastery training, they end up having a much more relaxed and happy school year, because their child is actually confident and prepared.

As a quick example of this, one family came to me towards the end of 5th grade after years of struggling with math and not getting what they needed from typical tutoring.

We worked together throughout the summer between 5th and 6th grade—still taking some breaks, but making sure that this student was really connecting to math and loving it.

Her first day back of 6th grade, this student was the only kid in the room who knew what the commutative property was, and nailed question after question after question until her teacher just started laughing!

More recently, a student and I used her spring break as an opportunity to get ahead and really understand logarithms.

Just a few days ago she told me that she was the only student in her class who actually understood them.

And her mom now experiences her daughter’s school vacations as much more relaxing, because there’s no more math dread.

Do you wish your child could go through this same transformation?

I would love to talk to you.

Just fill out this application here.

As soon as your application is received and reviewed, I’ll reach out to schedule a special appointment for us to connect on the phone and get clear on how I could best support your family.

I can’t wait to connect!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

Related posts:
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #1
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #2
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #3

Case Study: A 5th grader goes from believing “math doesn’t like me” to singing and dancing about math while wearing her purple tutu

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

When this fifth grade student first came to me, her mom told me, “My daughter is joyful about everything in her life – except for math.” This student was so anxious and uncertain about math that she refused to do her homework unless she was literally sitting next to her mom. She would tell her mom, “math doesn’t like me.”

This put a lot of pressure and stress on her mom, who was doing everything she could to try to help her daughter succeed at math, but she felt like she she was failing her daughter and being a “bad mother” because she couldn’t find a solution. The mom felt anxious picking her daughter up from school because she wasn’t sure whether or not her daughter would have a math temper tantrum. And even though when her daughter would express her feelings of math inadequacy, she was really just asking for help, it was so stressful for the mom that the mom sometimes would react with frustration just because she was so worn down from the seemingly endless math stress.

2013-09-04_2102

I started working with this student towards the end of her fifth grade school year. Because this student loves to dance and sing and has a great passion for musical theater, I started teaching her math songs to help her remember different concepts and formulas. We also really focused on filling in the gaps and building a strong foundation.

Midway through the summer, this student started spontaneously singing her math problems! She would make up these little operas about all the different math operations she was doing – as well as songs just about math concepts in general, with sophisticated lyrics that showed she really got the concepts. She would even come to some of her sessions wearing her purple tutu. I was overjoyed to see her expressing herself so confidently and creatively with math, even with her outfits. At the same time, her mom and I also weren’t yet sure how this would transfer to the classroom.

Her first day back at school, her first middle school math class of 6th grade, the teacher asked a question, and my student just couldn’t help herself – she shouted out, “It’s because of the commutative property!” It turned out that no one else in her class – even the students she thought of as being very strong mathematicians – had even heard of the commutative property before! This was a huge boost to my student’s confidence and enjoyment!

2013-10-06_2102

Since her first day back at school as a sixth grader, she has consistently made 90s or 100s on every single math test and quiz she’s taken – except for one! On this test, she got an 88%, and what is so interesting is that this absolutely didn’t defeat her.

When she talked about it with her mom, the focus was just about making sure to get the test back from the teacher, so we could go over what she didn’t understand in our tutoring sessions and learn from it. In some ways this was an even bigger victory than the tests where she scored higher, because it showed how much her mindset had shifted. We could see her resilience in how she dealt with a lower grade, and how her attitude had shifted to “I’ll get it, because I know I can get it.”

Just as important, the mom’s experience has shifted dramatically now that she isn’t the one who is helping her daughter with math. She shared with me that when she comes home from work, it’s easy for her energy to be fully engaged with her daughter because it isn’t sapped by worrying about helping her with her math homework right away. She can just decompress and regroup and be energized and be a good parent. And her daughter has become so much more independent that the mom can be reading a book in another room while her daughter is doing her homework on her own!

How did we create this totally awesome math transformation? Let me tell you all about it!

2013-09-04_2103

1. Positive, relaxed environment. We fostered an environment of trust and camaraderie. Our work together is committed and also relaxed; this student is totally free to make mistakes, ask questions, or go over whatever it is she needs to go over, no matter what.

2. Dealing with math feelings.
When this student is overjoyed, anxious, or heartbroken, we deal with it together head-on. There was one session very early on where she (quite understandably) cried because she was so disappointed and frustrated with a recent grade. Instead of squelching this or ending the session, we just talked it out, making a safe space for her to feel, express, and release her frustration and disappointment. Other times she was so happy with what she was learning and accomplishing that she would dance and sing with glee and pride!

3. Consciously fostering a “growth mindset” with math. This student has an awesome “growth mindset” when it comes to her work in musical theater. She will audition over and over again for the same Broadway show, and instead of getting discouraged if she hasn’t gotten a part yet, she is just really excited about the process and the experience.

At the same time, there have been periods where she has really expressed more of a “fixed mindset” about math – “you have it or you don’t,” and being worried that she wasn’t one of the ones who “had it.” We deliberately take time to talk about this together and draw parallels with her work in the theater so that she can pull that already-existing growth mindset into her math.

2013-09-04_2103_001

For example, just this week, this student expressed both concern and hope about a state-wide test she was taking the next day. She wanted to score high enough to be selected for state and national math events, and she was also worried that there would be stuff on the test that she didn’t know because she wasn’t in the “honors level class.”

We discussed at length how it’s like if she went to an audition and they asked her to play the bagpipes and do a Scottish accent, she wouldn’t beat herself up for not already knowing how to do those things – after the audition, she would just ask her teachers and coaches to help her learn, if that’s something she was interested in being able to do. Then she shared her philosophy of auditioning, which is that “it’s not just about the part, it’s about the experience, and if you’re not focused on the part, it will just naturally happen.” We drew direct parallels with what she tells herself during her auditions and what she can tell herself during her math tests.


4. Self-expression.
In the context of a supportive environment of trust where all of our work is super individualized, this student started to express herself more and more, whether it was singing the math songs she’d learned, making up her own original math songs, singing herself through the math problem she was working on, wearing her purple tutu, or decorating her problems with hot pink drawings (some of which are included in this very blog post)! Seeing her experience math as a vehicle of self-expression is absolutely encouraged, because it’s a huge sign that the student is getting way more comfortable and also really internalizing the material at a deeper level.

2013-10-06_2101

5. Support is normalized. Just like this student didn’t stop taking voice lessons or going to dance class once she started getting parts in musicals, math support that fosters her autonomy is now just part of her normal routine. Instead of saying, “Well, now her grades are higher, she’s done with math mentoring,” this student and her parents have recommitted to receiving support so that she can just continue to grow her math abilities and confidence more and more, and that her family can experience an even deeper experience of harmony around math.

I am so, so proud of this student, and how her persistence, vulnerability, and commitment has created such true mastery, confidence, and JOY with her math!

Are you tired of feeling like a bad parent because even though you’re doing everything you can to help your kid with math, it isn’t working?

Does it break your heart to see your own purple-tutu-wearing kid have meltdowns about math?

Are you ready to invest in high-level support?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs.

Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

Related Posts:
Case Study: A Rising 8th grader masters her summer math packet
Case study: A seventh grader goes from “I don’t get it” to getting 100 percents
Case Study: an ADHD student goes from a D to an A
I just can’t keep this a secret any longer