Rebecca Zook - Math Tutoring Online

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Update: Me + my cello are going to Iceland!

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Rebecca Zook playing cello in Central Park – Photo Credit Martin Lee #ChineysPhoto

Hey beautiful ones!

I am so excited!

I’ve been invited to Iceland to perform and record with my cello this August in a sacred cave, on a magical glacier, and in an ancient forest full of elves!

So I will be stepping out of my office to fully immerse myself in the Iceland experience.

After taking two weeks as a full break, I’ll just be serving my magical math mentoring clients from Iceland while performing and recording.

I am totally looking forward to sharing this new magical Iceland energy with you when I return!

In the meantime, if you are interested in working with me one-on-one, you can submit your application for my special math mastery programs here.

I will be scheduling application interviews for when my schedule is open in September.

In the meantime, if you’d like to to follow my magical cello adventure in Iceland, I’ll be sharing updates right here on my facebook music page, including videos of me performing.

Sending you love,
REBECCA

PS. Update to the update: I’ve now returned from Iceland and am accepting applications for new students!

If you would math to feel like a magical adventure for your child,
just fill out this application here.

Once your application is received, I will reach out to schedule a special application interview for us to get clear on whether my work would be a fit for your family.

I’m so excited to receive your application!

Now interviewing candidates for Making Math Magical Summer Mastery Program

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017


I am super excited! I am starting to interview candidates for my very special Making Math Magical Summer Mastery Program!

Here are the details:

This summer, Rebecca Zook, Math Mastery Mentor and Joyful Learning Expert, and founder of Purple Tutu Math Tutoring, is offering a very special
Making Math Magical Summer Mastery Program:
a private, one-on-one, live, math summer camp
completely customized in every single nanosecond to your child’s unique, magnificent mind.

Do you feel totally lost when it comes to setting up your child to be successful with summer math?

Are you worried about the 2.6 months of grade level math learning that are typically lost each summer?

Your child can use the summer to catch up or get ahead with math without having it be a boring, stressful chore, but actually magical, meaningful, fun, and effective, so your child is competent and confident.

This camp is especially suitable for creative, passionate, unique, visionary kids,

whether they are in crisis (freaking out, failing, or secretly crying themselves to sleep about math, even though they’re trying their best),

or if they are in “math-preventative” or “math-acceleration” mode and want to use the summer to get ahead or bump up a level.

Making Math Magical: Summer Mastery Program is the equivalent of private training with an elite athlete or performing artist, nurturing your child to achieve math mastery and experience math as a source of joy and strength.

For students from rising 4th through 12th grade.

Does this sound like something you’d like to explore?

Just fill out this special application.

Once your application is received, I’ll reach out to schedule a special interview appointment for us to talk on the phone and get clear on whether this program would be a fit for your child.

I am so looking forward to connecting with you so we can make math magical this summer!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

UPDATE: Enrollment for my summer programs is now closed. Click here to apply for my magical fall programs!

What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #3

Friday, May 5th, 2017

There’s a very specific set of PARENT beliefs and behaviors that allows a child to actually go through this life-changing transformation from math freakout to math mastery.

But most parents don’t know about these beliefs and behaviors – and don’t fully understand what a child in math crisis actually needs to become math-confident.

So I am on a mission to educate parents about this!

In my first article in this series, I shared how math-masterful parents see high-level support as normal and desirable, both for their child and for themselves. (Full article here.)

Second, parents of Math Masters are no longer willing to suffer or wait. (Read the full post here.)

And third…

3. Math-masterful parents recognize when it’s time to bring in outside support.

Typical parents do not recognize when their help is no longer moving their child forward.

They tend to deny it, or overcompensate for it.

They tell themselves things like, “Well, even though my daughter’s telling me she never understands my explanations, I’ll just get better at explaining it to her somehow.”

Other typical parents will just continue to acquire more and more information, believing that if they just get the right workbook or alternate curriculum, somehow it will mean they’re suddenly able to connect with their kid.

They tell themselves that, even though they’re completely exhausted,
“I just need to find more energy” (out of nowhere)
or “I just need to be more positive” (even though they’re completely discouraged).

In contrast, math-masterful parents recognize when it’s time to bring in outside support.

For example, a parent came to me because she was locked in a toxic math dynamic with her daughter.

Her daughter refused to do her math homework unless she was sitting next to her mom, but was so anxious that she would trigger her mom’s frustration, and then, massive guilt.

Even though they were working super hard, the daughter’s math grades continued to slide, and she wasn’t truly mastering the material.

This mom recognized that she was not the one to help her daughter, and chose to bring me in to break the pattern.

Now her daughter happily does her math homework independently, and her mom can literally relax and read a book in another room.

Their toxic mother-daughter math dynamic has been totally healed.

Would you like to experience this same transformation, from math freakout to math mastery and confidence?

I would love to connect with you and explore how I could best support your child to truly love math and experience it as master-able and magical.

Just fill out this application here.

Once your application is received, I’ll reach out to schedule a special time for us to talk on the phone and get clear on if my work would make sense for your family.

I can’t wait to connect!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

Related posts:
How to know when it’s time to stop tutoring your own kid
What to do when your kid’s math fills you with dread
Do you wish your kid could feel like Albert Einstein?

What parents of math-confident children secretly do (that typical parents don’t) – #2

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

I’ve come to understand that many parents tend to misunderstand what is actually needed for a child in math crisis to become math-confident.

Did you know that parents of math-confident children have a very specific set of beliefs and behaviors that set them apart?

I’m on a mission to educate parents about this.

First (as I shared in my last article about this), math-masterful parents see high-level support as normal and desirable, both for their child and for themselves. (Full details here.)

Second, parents of Math Masters are no longer willing to suffer or wait.

Typical parents tend to respond to a child’s persistent math struggles by waiting and hoping that their math issues will just magically go away by themselves.

They will tell themselves things like, “Let’s just wait and see what happens,”
“Let’s see how my child does between now and the end of the year,”
or “It will start clicking for my child eventually.”

But almost always, what happens is, in the best case scenario, the child barely manages to keep their head above water.

Or, worst case scenario, the child’s math understanding spirals downward…and the situation just keeps getting worse.

In contrast, math-masterful parents face reality and take control.

They understand on a deep level that if they continue to do the same things that aren’t working, they’ll just continue to get the same results.

Their child will struggle and suffer, and so will the parent.

So math-masterful parents choose to take a different action to create a different result.

When faced with an opportunity to receive support that will actually help their kid, they say yes and move forward.

As a quick example, one family was referred to me by a colleague at the child’s school. The student was tired of struggling and went to the math department head with her mom to ask for a referral to a math tutor.

This department head knew that the student loves to sing and dance, so she told her and her mom, “You should call Rebecca, because she sings about math.”

When the daughter told her mom, “Let’s call Rebecca right away,” they ACTUALLY called.

And we started working together almost immediately.

After our very first session, the mom emailed me that a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

And the mom’s relief only increased as her daughter continued to receive this aligned support and get consistently great grades.

Did I just describe *your* mindset? Do you see high-level math mentoring support as normal and desirable? Are you no longer willing to wait while your child continues to suffer from math challenges?

I would love to connect and explore how I could best support your family.

To take the first step, just fill out this application here:

Once your application is received, I’ll reach out to schedule a special appointment time for us to connect and get clear on what’s not working, what you want instead, and whether my work would be a fit.

I’m totally excited to hear from you!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

Related Posts:
What parents of math-confident children secretly do (that typical parents don’t) – #1
The secret ingredients of true math mastery
When doing your math homework just isn’t cutting it

What parents of math-confident children secretly do (that typical parents don’t) – #1

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

I recently had an epiphany.

I’ve come to understand that in my case studies and articles, I’ve been focused primarily on student behavior and student results.

Yet each of these transformations was only possible because of their parent’s behavior and beliefs.

Just like a Wimbleton champion works out differently than a typical person, or a billionaire invests differently than a typical investor, parents who set their kids up to be math masters (whether or not they’re involved in their child’s day-to-day learning) have a very specific set of beliefs and behaviors that set them apart.

Let’s look at exactly how you can choose to adapt these beliefs and behaviors to create this transformation into math mastery for your child.

1. Math-masterful parents see high-level support as normal and desirable, both for their child and for themselves.

A “typical parent” mindset is usually something like,

“If my child has a math tutor, it means that they are in some way ‘less than’ or ‘not smart,’ because smart kids don’t need help.”

And then they focus on getting away with as little support as possible, or ‘weaning’ their child off of the support they have in place, because they’re concerned their child will be dependent.

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to truly be a master.

Masters receive the highest-level support available.

And they do so consistently.

You wouldn’t quit singing lessons after winning the lead in a musical.

You wouldn’t fire your personal trainer after qualifying for the Olympics.

You wouldn’t get elected President of the United States and then not have a cabinet.

Just like that, math-masterful parents understand that having high-level math support is normal AND desirable, and they set their kids up with the highest support available.

As a quick example, one mom came to me because her daughter was joyful about everything in her life except math, which made her miserable and anxious. And then the mom was also miserable and anxious.

Her approach was to set her daughter up with math support just like singing lessons and dance classes—as just another important piece in the big picture of her daughter’s life.

Now her daughter is happy and confident about math, and the mom is relaxed because her daughter is relaxed.

Did I just describe *your* mindset?

Do you see high-level math mentoring support as normal and desirable?

Are you no longer willing to wait while your child continues to suffer from math challenges?

I would love to connect and explore how I could best support your family.

To take the first step, just fill out this application here.

Once your application is received, I’ll reach out to schedule a special appointment time for us to connect and get clear on what’s not working, what you want instead, and whether my work would be a fit.

I’m totally excited to hear from you!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

PS. More secrets of math-masterful parents will be posted here – this is just #1 of 6!

Related posts:
Does having a math tutor make you a “loser”?
What to do when your kid’s math terrifies you
How to know when it’s time to stop tutoring your own kid

What to do when your kid’s math fills you with dread

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Parents routinely come to me with this situation. Your passionate, creative, unique, visionary kid has been struggling with math for months (or even years), even though they’re already giving it everything they’ve got.

You’re spending hours on Khan Academy every night trying to untangle your kid’s homework, teaching yourself so you can teach them. Instead of having dinner as a family, you’re working on math.

Your kid is so frustrated and stressed about math that they routinely break down and cry. Or maybe they’re just so anxious that you’re starting to pick up their anxiety yourself, and you’re struggling to filter everything you say, just to make sure you don’t snap at them.

You feel drained, burdened, even resentful. You come home from work, and instead of being excited to see your kid and have this precious time with them, you are filled with dread about the math you’ll need to help them with tonight. Again. Night after night. No end in sight.

And the days when they have tests are the worst. When you pick them up after school, you feel this knot in your stomach worrying about how they did.

You’re already worrying about the doors that will be shut to them if they don’t feel comfortable with math. You don’t care whether or not they pursue math as a career – you just really, really don’t want their math phobia to get in the way of their dreams coming true.

You might have even already taken then to a tutoring center and they hated it. Maybe they felt embarrassed that someone they knew might see them. Maybe they were just turned off by having to do worksheet after worksheet. And even though it was supposed to solve the problem, the tutoring center wasn’t able to help your kid either.

And you’re starting to feel extremely guilty, because even though you’re trying everything you can humanly think of, your superhuman efforts are not creating results. Your kid isn’t really understanding, they’re not really learning, and they’re not getting good grades. Sometimes you feel like a failure as a parent.

In a few years, your kid will be in college, out of the house forever, and right now, your precious time together as a family is being completely consumed by struggling with math.

You feel completely stuck.

Does this sound familiar? Is this what you’re facing?

Please know that you are not alone. Nothing is wrong with you. There is just something missing. You aren’t getting the support you need to truly understand, and neither is your kid, but that doesn’t mean that either of you is mathematically incapable. There’s just a gap between what you need and the resources that you have in front of you.

Please know that what you’re facing is not insurmountable. Just because you have been struggling for months or years does not mean that you have to struggle forever.

For example, I personally spent years struggling in silence with math and thinking that I was “not a math person.”

Now I’m on the other side, and I have helped many other families go from being completely consumed about math to feeling happy, relaxed, and confident about math – even in really extreme situations where a kid was so anxious about math they refused to do their homework unless they were sitting next to their mom, or, another example, where a previous tutor had told the family that math was like a foreign language and their daughter only spoke five words.

Please know that you don’t have to stay stuck. It is completely possible to find support that results in lasting math transformation – even if you feel like you’ve already tried everything and nothing has worked.

Please know that you don’t have to keep doing what you’re doing. If it’s not working, doing MORE of what’s not working is not going to create the transformation that you desire.

Please know that you don’t have to do this by yourself. You do not have to reteach yourself all of the math you ever learned. You do not need to be the one trying to ensure that your kid understands. You do not need keep spending hours on Khan Academy every night trying to figure out what they heck your kid is supposed to do. You do not need to continue to feel this dread about your kid’s next math grade.

If you’re ready to invest in world-class, one-on-one math mastery support for your passionate, creative kid, 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 explore whether or not the magical way I work would be a good fit for you and your family! I can’t wait to connect and create this same lasting transformation for YOU!

Related posts:
How to know when it’s time to stop tutoring your own kid
Case study: an 8th grader goes from “math meltdown” to “math touchdown!”
What to do when you get a disappointing math test grade

Three simple steps to tell if your kid actually understands what’s going on with math

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Have you ever been helping your kid with math, and just really wanted to know whether or not they were getting it? Or maybe you got the feeling that your kid might be confused about something, but you couldn’t put a finger on what it was yourself. Well, let me share with you my special time-tested technique for dealing with this exact situation!

First, ask the question, “What questions do you have?” instead of “Do you have any questions?”

There are several reasons for this:

When we are asked “do you have any questions?” most of us have been socially conditioned to say “no,” without really thinking about whether or not we do need something cleared up. So asking “DO you have any questions” is not super effective.

“WHAT questions do you have,” because it assumes that you have questions, encourages people to actually try to come up with something they have questions about, instead of just glibly saying “no.” It also makes it normal to have questions, and treats the need for clarification as just a natural, built-in part of the learning process.

Second, wait up to seven seconds for your kid to respond. Why? Research has found that it usually takes seven seconds to formulate a question when you’re asked if you have one. This can feel really uncomfortable the first few times, since we’re not used to waiting like this. But it is absolutely worth it.

Third, only ask “What questions do you have?” if you genuinely want to know and you have time
to address the questions that your kid may have. If you don’t actually mean it, A, over time, the question will lose its power, and B, your kid will feel that they don’t actually have a chance to ask their questions and it just becomes a fake formality.

(I’ve had to be careful with this myself – for example, to not ask for questions when I only have 30 seconds left before I need to talk to my next student! If you’re in that kind of situation, just trust that you will be able to take care of the questions your kid has at a later moment when you can give it your full attention.)

Do you dream of your daughter or son receiving high-level, individualized one-on-one support that’s customized completely in every nanosecond? Do you prioritize investing in your child’s education above all else? Do you just want a caring professional to take over your family’s “math situation” so you can just focus on being a mom or dad, and not have to do the tutoring yourself?

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’m here for you, and I’m so glad we’re connected!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

“End the math freakout” live in LA: Tues 1/31 in Santa Monica

Friday, January 6th, 2017

I’m very excited about this rare upcoming West Coast appearance!

On Tues 1/31 at 6 pm, I’ll be speaking to parents at the Montana Avenue Public Library in Santa Monica, Los Angeles about how to raise a math-confident daughter!

Come and join me, and please spread the word to parents who you think may be interested!

Math can be an enormous source of parental anxiety, where even the most math-confident parents can find themselves stuck when it comes to supporting their own child. Make sure that math anxiety isn’t an obstacle to your daughter’s dreams.

You will discover how to support your daughter to achieve true mastery, rise to the top of their class, and even come to experience math as a source of joy and a type of self-expression.

You’ll walk away with clear steps, case studies, and tools that you can use immediately at home to ensure math confidence and success.

Talk title: End the math freakout: How to raise a math-confident daughter

THIS TALK IS FOR: Parents of creative, passionate, unique daughters from 4th grade through high school who are having issues with math and know that something needs to change.

Date: Tuesday, 1/31

Time: 6-7 pm

Location: 1704 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90403

Cost: Free and open to the public.

I would love to see you there!
Sending you love,
REBECCA

The treachery of invisible math anxiety

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Getting ready for my upcoming presentation on Making Math Magical!

My brother introduced me to the term “math anxiety” while I was in high school.

When I first heard it, I felt massive relief that there was actually a term for what I was experiencing! That meant I wasn’t the only person suffering through it!

But math anxiety can mean MANY different things.

It can look like:

You’re doing everything you can, and you’re not doing well.

This is what a lot of people associate with math anxiety – despair, overwhelm, crying, puking, and most of all, failure and bad grades.

OR

You’re doing everything you can, and you’re doing “well,” but it doesn’t actually make any sense!!

This is what I call “invisible” math anxiety.

If this keeps happening, over time…

-you become afraid that’s something’s wrong with you,

-you become afraid that you’ll never get what you need (because you aren’t getting it now and you’re already doing your best)

-and you give up on it ever feeling clear, pleasurable, meaningful, enjoyable, or a cohesive whole that actually makes sense.

You just focus on—or settle for—going through the motions.

Getting through this night’s homework.

Getting through this test.

Getting through this class.

Getting through this degree.

What’s really insidious, and tragic, about invisible math anxiety, is that it can happen very slowly and even to students who appear very successful on the outside.

Recently, over dinner, a woman shared with me how when she was growing up, she got math tutoring and made Bs, but she never really felt like math made sense to her.

The tutoring was just about getting through her homework and getting through her tests.

She wanted to be a doctor, but chose not to do pre-med in college because she was afraid of the math requirements.

Then, when she worked in retail, she wanted to be a buyer—a powerful position as the person behind the scenes who chose the merchandise—but never sought that promotion because of all the math involved.

Worst of all, she ended up in an abusive relationship, because she didn’t think she could take care of herself financially on her own.

All because of math anxiety.

And this is a B student we’re talking about — who everyone else thought was doing fine!

It doesn’t have to be that way.

I’m on a mission to shift the paradigm from “just getting through it”

to “actually understanding it and mastering it and loving it”

so you can REALLY make your dreams come true,

instead of giving up on them out of math fear.

Math is a world in which we can all belong, in which we can all experience clarity and joy.

If you sense your child is struggling with any kind of math anxiety — whether it’s the classic “visible” type, or the more insidious “invisible” type, I’d love to connect and explore how I could support your child in truly loving and mastering math.

To take the first step, just fill out my super special application here.

Once your application is received, I’ll reach out to schedule a special time for us to talk on the phone about if my work would make sense for you.

Sending you love,

REBECCA

Related posts:
Afraid your math teacher will judge you?
What to do when your kid’s math terrifies you
Face your fears, get a higher grade

Are you tired of watching your kid give up on math? Or, the secret of the tiny crumb of doability…

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

What do you do when you see a problem full of weird things you’ve never seen before?

Or a super-long problem?

Or just a problem that combines things you’ve learned in a way you’ve never encountered?

What MOST people do is look at the problem, and as soon as they register it as “unfamiliar,” they give up.

They think, “I don’t know how to do EVERYTHING in this problem, so I must not know how to do it AT ALL.”

Like, “If I don’t know everything, I don’t know anything.”

But my students and I have encountered a fascinating phenomenon.

Hidden inside most “seemingly impossible” problems is a tiny crumb of do-ability.

If you find this tiny crumb and you start there…

… a lot of times, that’s all you need to get started…

… and once you get started, a lot of times, that’s all you need to get going… and solve it!

For example, a student of mine came across a problem that combined a bunch of negative and positive integers with brackets and parentheses:

[(-8*5)-(6*-9)](-2*3)

My student’s first reaction was, “I don’t know how to do this.”

Then she realized that she DID know how to do 8 times 5… (to quote her, she said, “I could do 8 times 5 like in second grade”)

…and then she remembered that negative 8 times negative 5 is positive…

…and by finding the “tiny crumb of do-ability”, she was actually able to get started and complete the entire “scary/impossible problem.” It actually took her less than a minute to do the whole thing!

And she observed, “All I had to do was use what I learned in 2nd grade,” just in a slightly more complex combination than before.

For another example, another student of mine got stumped when practicing translating English into math, a problem like, “The difference of seven times n and three is twenty-seven.”

Her first reaction was, “I haven’t learned this yet.”

She looked for the little piece she did know… which was that ‘is twenty-seven’ translates into EQUALS 27.

Once she got started with that little piece, she was able to build out from there, that ‘seven n’ is 7n, and ‘the difference of seven times n and three’ is 7n-3, all the way to the full translation, 7n-3=27.

To quote one of my students on how she felt after we worked on this approach together, “Problems are never so hard when you break them down. You can’t judge a problem by its length or numbers. Even if it just looks really hard, you have to break it down.”

So the next time you encounter a problem that just stops you in your tracks, looks super long or complicated, or overwhelms you with unfamiliar symbols, look for the tiny crumb of do-ability.

Even if it seems insignificantly small, a lot of the time it’s all you need to get on your way to the solution.

This is also a great way to practice deliberately being with the UNKNOWN and setting yourself up for revelations and lightbulb moments, like I wrote about in “Do you wish your kid could feel like Albert Einstein while doing math?”

Do you wish your passionate, unique, visionary kid could be supported in breaking things down and experiencing math as fun, do-able, and creative? Then let’s get you started with your application to my powerful private tutoring programs!

This application includes the super valuable opportunity to speak with me one-on-one and get clear about exactly what’s going on in your family’s math situation.

Just click here to get started with your special application.

Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to explore whether or not my magical math tutoring programs would be a fit for your family! I’m excited to connect with you!

Related posts:
How to help your kid with their math homework
How to get your kid talking about math
What changes when someone believes in you?
A 5th grader goes from believing “math doesn’t like me” to singing and dancing about math while wearing a purple tutu