Rebecca Zook - Math Tutoring Online

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Posts Tagged as "math"

Case study: a 10th grader goes from feeling like math is a foreign language to being the most-called upon student in her class

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

When this student first came to me just before the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, her mom told me that the tutor they’d just worked with had told the family that to this student, math was like a foreign language where she only spoke five words.

Somehow she’d made it to the end of 9th grade with Bs in math, but none of it actually made any sense to her. It was like she just knew enough to “get around” – like how to ask where the bathroom was and order a hamburger – but not enough to really understand what was going on around her, or communicate herself.

Once we started working together the summer before she headed into pre-calculus, this student’s mastery, confidence, and grades began to steadily improve. By mid-sophomore year, my student’s teacher mentioned to her that he had to be careful to call on other students because my student always gave the correct answer!

The “piece de resistance” was when my student had to take an oral final for her math class at the end of her 10th grade year. Her teacher gave them five very sophisticated problems that synthesized everything they’d ever learned in new ways they hadn’t seen before. They had unlimited time to prepare, and then each student was asked to explain one of the five problems, picked at random on the spot, in front of the entire class. My student did such a good job that she got an A, and she told me later that she walked out of that class feeling like, “I can do anything!”

When it came time for this student to decide what math class to take after pre-calculus, instead of taking the statistics class that many students take as a way to avoid math, my student opted to enroll in AP AB Calculus. Because math had become beautiful, fascinated, and intrinsically rewarding to her, she wanted to keep exploring and growing.

Here’s how this student and I worked together to completely transform her experience of math from a source of unbelievable stress and anxiety into a source of joy and strength:

1. We worked in an atmosphere of total camaraderie and trust. Our tutoring sessions were totally a lighthearted, safe zone where there was absolutely no judgement. This student was free to ask as many questions as she wanted, go over as many examples as she desired, or go over the same example as many times as she required, without any fear of being embarrassed.

2. We focused on filling in the gaps, while also addressing whatever she needed to learn that week or that day. When we would go over her current material and encounter a gap, we’d keep excavating backwards through the layers of prerequisite knowledge until we found the original misunderstanding. Then we’d fill that in, then the idea on top of that, then the idea on top of that, until we’d build back up through the layers to what she was responsible for learning today. This way she was able to repair gaps in her foundational knowledge, while also staying on top of her weekly curriculum and being prepared for tests and quizzes.

3. We really focused on approaching the material in a way that worked for HER. This particular student craves conceptual understanding, so we would approach the material from different angles until she understood WHY it worked that way. She also loves learning math visually, so we would frequently approach concepts and procedures in a visual way – like FOILing using a box instead of just parentheses – that made the concepts more intuitive for her, and easier to internalize.

During moments like this, she would share observations like, “I don’t know how I lived through math without completely understanding this, because it’s so much easier than I thought it was. My whole childhood with math has been completely relearned.”

As my student’s mastery naturally led to greater confidence and grades, her enthusiasm for math grew more and more. She recently shared with me, “This is actually so cool – when actually I understand it, it’s so much fun!”

Would you like your daughter or son to go from feeling like math is a foreign language to experiencing math as genuinely enjoyable, meaningful, and fascinating?

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 complimentary phone call to get clear if it would be a fit for me to support your child with math. I can’t wait to connect!

Related posts:
Case study: a 5th grader goes from believing “math doesn’t like me” to singing and dancing about math while wearing a purple tutu
Case study: a rising 8th grader masters her summer math packet
How to multiply binomials using a box (alternative to FOILing)
An easy way to remember how logarithmic notation works

Posts Tagged as "math"

How to raise a math-confident daughter (or son) (1)

Friday, January 15th, 2016

smaller high five

That’s me speaking at AAUW’s Tech Savvy event for 6th-9th grade girls and their parents!

Is your child plagued by math anxiety, even though they’re already busting their butt?

Or do you really want to support your child to be truly math-confident, but don’t know how to connect with them about math?

I recently got to speak to parents about “How to Raise a Math-Confident Daughter (or Son)”, and the response was so phenomenal that I wanted to share the highlights with you!

This approach totally works whether you’re coming at it from a parenting perspective or applying it in your own classroom or community.

I’ve come to understand that being math-confident all comes down to developing and nurturing a Mastery Mindset.

1. The first piece of a mastery mindset is to have a Growth Mindset – knowing that math is a skill that everyone can nurture and develop with effort. (Carol Dweck has an awesome body of research about this.)

One of the ways I help my students develop a growth mindset is through using empathy to create an atmosphere of camaraderie and trust, so students feel really safe to talk about what they don’t understand.

I’ve come to understand that what keeps us from understanding math isn’t our intellect, but our emotions. And instead of ignoring our emotions, we can respect them and work with them as a tool to create mastery.

For example, there’s a student who came to me at the end of her Algebra 2 year. Math felt like a foreign language to her. By working with her emotions explicitly as part of our work, she ended up becoming the star of her pre-calculus class, nailing her oral final in front of her entire class, and enrolling in Calculus because math became something she loved.

An easy way that you can start to use empathy to develop a growth mindset is just to ask your child the very simple question, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how does this feel?” This also helps students develop the super powerful meta-skill of self-assessing their own mastery.

Would you like your child to receive super-customized, one-on-one support in developing their own math mastery mindset – so math becomes something totally doable and enjoyable?

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 excited to connect!

Related posts:
The secret to getting straight As in math (it’s not what you think)
“Now I feel connected to math”
The Secret Ingredients of True Math Mastery
Do you wish your kid could feel like Albert Einstein?
Does having a math tutor make you a “loser”?

Posts Tagged as "math"

How to learn math when you’re in the car

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Do you find that your son or daughter is rocking out with their math facts and formulas – and then at the end of the summer, it’s like they’ve never heard of the nines times table? Or are you worried that your kid’s been trying to learn their math facts all year long, and it’s just not clicking?

A great way to learn or review math facts and formulas over the summer is to use math songs!

No worksheets. No flash cards. No silence.

What?? Yes. I do this myself frequently with my students to help them memorize and recall essential material easily, while having fun.

Whether you’re just listening, singing along with the recording, or belting them at the top of your lungs while you’re unloading the groceries (realizing you’ve unwittingly memorized them), math songs are a great way to move these key concepts deep into your long-term memory.

You can download them on your mp3 player and listen to them in the car while driving to the pool, going to ballet class or hockey camp, and even while you’re on a big family road trip.

I’ve listened to a lot of math songs on a quest to find ones that don’t suck and don’t insult my musical intelligence (or my students’ musical intelligence). Here are my three current favorite math song sources:

Rockin’ the standards. A school teacher created short, awesome, totally rockin’ songs for the times tables, concepts like mean, median, and mode, and shapes like quadrilaterals and triangles. Totally worth the price of the download (here) – or you can listen to them for free on youtube.

Multiplication hip-hop for kids.
If you’re more into rap than rock, these hip hop songs offer a great way to memorize the times tables up through the 12s. (“We don’t cry – we multiply!”)

An awesome music video about pi. This beautiful video has a super catchy song that helps students easily remember the first six digits of pi, with verses that explain where pi comes from and what it means. It is also really fun to do the chorus call and response with your kid!

This video also tends to be a great conversation starter for students who are new to the concept of pi. And it’s a big confidence booster to know not just the first three digits—which most kids learn—but the first six digits—which most people never learn!

Do you really want your kid not just to be singing their math facts loud and proud, but also using their math facts and formulas in ways that are meaningful and intuitive to them?

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 really clear about what’s going on with your kid’s math situation and explore whether or not it would be a fit for us to work together.

Related posts:
Surface area of a cylinder song
What does pi sound like?
What a Balinese dancing queen taught me about praise and encouragement

Posts Tagged as "math"

How to use the summer to catch up in math or get ahead – without burning out or going crazy (part 2)

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Are you excited about using the summer vacation as an awesome opportunity to do some serious math review or really get ahead? But does it feel kind of crazy overwhelming scary to do all that math without any structure – and to do it all alone?

In my last article, I talked about three simple ways to really learn a lot of math over the summer – starting with clarifying your goal, getting materials that you really enjoy working with, and being sure to get feedback as you go. In this article, I’m going to share three more special tips that I use with my own clients over the summer so they can walk into their first math class in the fall knowing deep inside that they’ve totally got it down and they are ready to do their absolute best.

Here we go!!

4. Pace and schedule yourself.
To make sure you reach your goal, you want to pace and schedule yourself so you know you’re on track to meet your goal before school starts.

Before you do anything else, go through and mark off on your calendar when you’ll be taking time OFF from working on math because you’re on vacation, at camp, or just having a weekend. This will make sure you don’t burn out and also that you don’t get resentful or cranky about working hard over the summer. You’ll get more done if you plan to take breaks than if you work every single day. If nothing else, be sure to take at least one full day off every week.

Once you’ve marked off your time OFF, estimate how long it will take to do each section or chapter that you decided is part of your goal of what you want to cover.

Then, schedule these sections onto your calendar, so you break your summer-long goal into smaller weekly and monthly goals. Be sure to leave a couple extra weeks that you’re not on vacation at the end of the summer, so in case it takes longer than you expect, you still have time to meet your goal.

5. Adjust your plan as necessary. Sometimes mastery just takes longer than expected. Remember, it’s OK to adjust the plan. If you find yourself taking more time to really internalize the material than you planned, adjust your pacing so you spend a little more time on math each week to meet your summer goal.

Or if you’re coming up to the beginning of the school year and you’ve still got a ton of stuff to learn, if you are really committed and focused and willing to put the time in, you can still get a lot done. (I’ll be writing more about this in an upcoming article!)

6. Be sure to get support.
When you’re working to learn math independently over the summer, make sure you have someone to go to when you get stuck and can’t figure something out, even though you’re trying your best. This could be a parent, sibling, classmate, or friend. Being able to talk things out with someone you feel safe with will only help you meet your goal, and also give you good practice for explaining your ideas to others! (Because your classmates and friends are totally gonna want you to explain things to them when they see how much math you know from your summer math practice!!)

If you don’t have someone in your life you feel like you can turn to with your questions, or you don’t have someone who can explain things in a way that makes sense to **you**, I’d be happy to explore whether or not it would be a good match for us to work together!

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.

Related posts:
How to use the summer to catch up in math or get ahead – without burning out or going crazy (part 1)
Got the summer math packet blues? Try some purplemath!
I was a t(w)eenage scheduling gladiator
Do you overlook yourself? Mindset lessons from the NYC Highline (and Moneyball)

Posts Tagged as "math"

How to use the summer to catch up or get ahead in math – without burning out or going crazy (part 1)

Monday, July 13th, 2015


Math in the summer can be an exciting, refreshing adventure… complete with exciting hair adornments!
#gideonputnam #saratogaspringsstatepark #yesimadethatfascinatormyself

When I was growing up, I did something pretty crazy one summer. I knew if I took Functions (also known as Pre-Calculus or Trigonometry, depending on your school curriculum), it would be with the math teacher I had for algebra 1, who was so confusing to me that I cried myself to sleep over my math homework many, many times the year I took his class.

I was so determined not to repeat that experience of working with that teacher that I decided to teach myself functions over the summer so I could skip his class entirely. So basically everywhere I went that summer I took my functions textbook with me, and I taught myself from it. It was one of the most powerful math learning experiences I ever had.

Since doing this when I was 15, I’ve helped a lot of other students use the summer to courageously and effectively catch up and recover from serious end-of-year math confusion and disappointment, as well as to prepare to skip ahead into a higher level of math.

The summer offers such a juicy opportunity to work outside the pressure, goals, structure, and rhythms of the regular school year. But it’s important to create your own structure, goals, and rhythms that work for you, so you can actually meet your goal without burning out! Here are six simple tips (three in this article, and three more in the next) to help you do the exact same thing!

1. Examine and clarify your goals. Get super specific. Is your goal to catch up? To get ahead? Or both? Do you want to cover material from specific chapters? (Like chapters whose tests you didn’t do so well on?) Do you want to master an entire school year’s worth of math? Do you want to get familiar with a really weird new curriculum in advance, so you don’t have to dive into it sight unseen in the fall? Are you preparing for a placement test? Are you hoping to bump up into a higher level class, like an honors class? Get as clear as you can on this.

2. Get materials that really work for you. Once you know your goals, get materials that really feel good to you, that you genuinely enjoy using.

If you’re aiming to get ahead, get a copy of the math book from the upcoming year. If your school won’t lend you one for the summer, you can buy just about any textbook off of Amazon that you could possibly desire. It can be very psychologically reassuring to know you’ve already worked on the exact material that you need to know in September.

If you’re aiming to review or catch up, it can help to use a combination of the textbook from the previous year with a new textbook that feels like a better fit to give you extra practice and a different perspective. But if you had a terrible experience with a textbook or looking at your old textbook just about triggers post traumatic stress disorder or makes you feel like a failure, just get a textbook that you like more and don’t worry about using the old one. There are hundreds of math textbooks out there, so there’s no need to suffer or settle for what you’ve been given to use in school.

If you’re preparing for a placement test, be sure to get a copy of the study guide or practice test from your school. Keep in mind that those materials probably won’t be enough to really review anything that feels shaky or master anything new – they’ll probably only give you one or two problems max for each problem type you’re responsible to know. So be sure to also get a textbook that gives you lots of extra practice for each type of problem that’s on the study guide, so you can do enough of each problem type that it starts to feel really automatic.

3. Get feedback. Even if you’re working completely independently, be sure to get feedback on your work as you go so you know whether or not you’re practicing correctly. Otherwise it can be super easy to do a bunch of work and not even realize that you’re practicing things the wrong way!!

To start, be sure to check the answers as you go. If you’re working from a textbook, aim to do the odd problems, which almost always have answers given in the back of your book. If you’re using materials from your school, check the study guide answer key you got from your school.

If you want to get answers or worked-out solutions to the even problems in your book, some math books offer a solutions manual that you can find and buy on Amazon, too. That way you can get even more feedback from the textbook that you’re working with.

If you find you want more feedback than you can get from the answer key in the back of the book just telling you if you got the answer right or wrong, and you’re craving something more interactive, personalized, and emotionally supportive, I’d be happy to explore whether or not it would be a good fit for us to work together!

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 excited to explore this with you!

Related posts:
Case study: a rising 8th grader masters her summer math packet
Got the summer math packet blues? Try some purplemath!
When a math problem just takes for-EV-ah (tips for parents)

Posts Tagged as "math"

How much do math grades really matter?

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Photo on 9-5-14 at 8.56 PM #2
“Practicing” wearing a sparkly new outfit!

So you may have gathered… I’m like, all about practice.

And I just can’t stop thinking about the student I told you about last week… the one who was focused on getting straight As.

What do you do when your unique, visionary kid is SUPER FOCUSED on grades?

Is this a practice to encourage, or something to fear?

Especially with kids who are usually very intrinsically motivated – who have their own plans, ideas, and passions – a sudden focus on grades can actually be a red flag that they are terrified of falling behind, not measuring up to their peers, or being excluded from the “smart kids group.”

When this happens, it’s really important to redirect the focus back to where it belongs – on the mastery process.

Grades CAN work like a thermometer. They have the potential show you what you’ve learned, and what you haven’t learned yet. In this way, they can give very helpful information.

But grades in and of themselves don’t give you the full picture.

Did you get an A because you really understood the material, down to your core, so much that it’s part of you? (True mastery?)

Or did you get an A because you turned in your homework, showed up in class, and raised your hand even when you knew you didn’t know the answer? (Being rewarded for appropriate behavior, even if you have no clue about the math?)

Did you get a D because you made a silly mistake, but you get the concept and you can figure out exactly what went wrong once you look over your work?

Or did you get a D because you have no friggin’ clue and you just wrote something down so you wouldn’t leave it blank?

Did you “complete” the worksheet by passively watching the teacher review a problem, thinking that this means you “get it” because you “got it done”?

Or did you complete the worksheet by truly understanding what is going on and practicing it until it’s automatic for you?

Did you get the GPA to be accepted to your dream college by flagellating yourself every night and focusing on fulfilling other people’s expectations, miserable, sleep-deprived, and constantly anxious that you won’t measure up?

Or did you get that GPA and receive that acceptance letter by pursuing your passions, taking care of yourself, and being intellectually nourished?

On the surface, it looks the same, but underneath, it’s much more complex.

This is why I find it’s so important for creative, unique, trailblazing kids to be focused on the true process of mastery, instead of just grades.

Just getting straight As alone doesn’t mean that you actually understand what’s happening.

It doesn’t mean that your dream college will accept you.

It doesn’t mean that you know yourself.

It doesn’t mean that you are prepared for life – especially if you are blazing your own trail.

Focusing on perfection (like getting straight As) can be extremely debilitating and discouraging.

It can make it harder to grow and learn and even suck all of the joy out of life.

But focusing on mastery, regardless of what’s happening with grades, is energizing.

You feel the thrill of understanding something new.

You focus on learning from your mistakes and understand that mistakes are just part of the process.

By constantly engaging with the process of learning – asking yourself, what makes sense to me here? what do I not understand yet? – you develop deep self-awareness.

You come to know who you are – not just how to “get through it” or “churn it out” for a teacher or requirement.

You are resilient in the face of challenges, because you are in the practice of joyfully engaging with challenge just as part of your routine.

You trust yourself.

You understand how you do your best work.

And paradoxically, by focusing on the immediate, incremental process of mastery, the great grades, with time, will just naturally happen.

Just to share, from my own personal experience, in college I had to take French in order to fulfill a requirement, and I had to maintain a certain GPA or I would lose my full tuition scholarship.

I got through it, and I learned French, but the process wasn’t that meaningful to me.

I remember feeling so frustrated that I was expected to speak French perfectly and it made me afraid to open my mouth. This wasn’t how fluent speakers mastered the language! It was so artificial and hollow to me.

In contrast, when I was 23, I studied Indonesian language (in Madison, Wisconsin, of all places) in a total immersion environment. Four hours, every day, all Indonesian, no English. We HAD to make mistakes in order to learn. The focus was just on communicating and being playful…on the process of mastery, rather than on being perfect.

It was the most incredible language learning experience I’ve ever had. I felt so confident and secure!

And when I went to Indonesia the following summer, I was completely prepared to speak Indonesian with the musicians and dancers who I truly wanted to study with – who happened to not speak English at all.

And the Indonesians I met on the street thought I had been living in their country for years because of how comfortable I was with the language – when I had only studied it for 8 weeks.

This astonished me. And it was all because of focusing on the process rather than on perfection.

So if you find your creative, unique, trailblazing kid is coming to you with goals like “I want to make straight As,” shift the focus back to the ongoing process of mastering math.

Do you want your passionate, visionary-of-the-future kid to receive totally aligned support with the process of true math mastery? (And to experience the awesome confidence and great grades that happen as a result?)

Then I invite you to begin the application process for my individual math tutoring programs.

Just click here to get started with your special application. This application process has been meticulously designed to help us both get clear about whether the special, magical way I work is a match for you.

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 look forward to connecting!


Dancing with my Indonesian dance teacher (who only spoke Indonesian to me)-
this is what can happen when you focus on the mastery process
instead of on “being perfect”!

Related posts:
What a Balinese dancing queen taught me about praise and encouragement
What I learned in the streets of Paris, and in a Dutch grocery store
It’s eraser time! (And other math mantras)
Is your kid a creative, passionate, unique visionary of the future?

Posts Tagged as "math"

What changes when someone believes in you?

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Math Butterfly

(Here’s a “math butterfly” one of my students and I created during a recent tutoring session!)

What changes when someone believes in you?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

I just had a huge performance breakthrough on my cello with my acting coach, and I’m getting ready for my quarterly business retreat with my business mentor. I’m going to be spending over a week surrounded by people who love me and believe in my highest potential and biggest vision.

In both of these situations, I feel so safe and accepted to really go for it, and I cannot believe how much better my music and my business and teaching gets as a result.

It completely changes my concept of what I’m capable of. It makes me believe that my dreams really can come true, because I can see it already happening.

Let me tell you, though, it hasn’t always been like this! At ALL.

Just as an example, not so long ago, when I was in graduate school for cello performance, I went to audition for two different summer chamber music festivals.

At the first audition, the person I was auditioning for radiated skepticism about me and my abilities. I didn’t feel very comfortable – I could tell she thought I had something to prove. She asked pointedly, “Do you have anything fast you could play for me?” I don’t even remember how I responded to that, but I remember thinking that if she accepted me into her festival, she would think she was doing me a favor, and I would feel seriously inferior.

The very next day, I went to audition for an amazing violinist, and took the commuter rail all the way out to New Jersey to meet her at the festival location. Her demeanor was so warm and welcoming and enthusiastic. I felt so comfortable!

I had fun playing for her, and when I was finished, she said very firmly, “You DEFINITELY have what it takes to be accepted to this festival!”

So guess which festival I ended up attending?

Yes, the one with the enthusiastic and welcoming teacher!

This experience was a real turning point for me. At this festival, I played the Cello 2 part in the Mendelssohn String Octet, which is both one of my most favorite-est pieces of music in the WORLD, and has an unbelievably hairy and notorious cello solo at the beginning of the last movement – that I had to learn!

This amazing violinist teacher went completely out of her way to set me up to really rock it. She even demonstrated how to play this solo holding a GRAPEFRUIT instead of using her fingers! And her musical partner and husband, also an incredible teacher, gave me a great fingering. I learned how to do it!

When we performed, I just went for it. And the audience response was so phenomenal. We were playing in a church, and the audience members stood up and BANGED on the pews, they were so excited! We were riveting!

This experience gave me the rock-solid conviction that classical music can be just as electrifying as anything else – and can truly bring an audience to its feet with RAUCOUS joy, not just polite or intellectual appreciation!

Looking back on this experience, it is so funny to me that that first person I auditioned for was skeptical that I could play fast. Because the second person, the amazing violinist, trusted me and helped me learn a SUPER FAST cello solo that I completely rocked (if I do say so myself)!

So what changes when someone believes in you?

I think it’s really simple.

1. When someone believes in you, they automatically ask you to do more.

2. Ideally, they also give you the TOOLS to actually DO it.

3. You have the opportunity and the tools to go beyond what you thought you were capable of.

4. You experience mastery! Breakthroughs happen! People respond with incredible enthusiasm! You are so excited and happy!

5. You believe in yourself, and you keep going. You begin to inhabit a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT REALITY.

Amazing, right? But – let’s look at the shadow side.

What happens when the teacher or mentor you trust DOESN’T believe in you?

1. They don’t trust you, so they don’t ask you to do more.

2. They usually don’t give you the tools to do more because they actually don’t know how to really help you, or they don’t even think you would “get it.” (A lot of times this is subconscious or unconscious on the teacher’s part, I’ve found.)

3. You don’t go beyond what you thought you were capable of. Your idea of what you can do starts to shrink.

4. Super important: you subconsciously pick up that they don’t believe in you and you start to entrain with that. You start to believe in yourself less, and you don’t do as well.

5. Or you start pouring an enormous amount of mental, emotional, and spiritual energy into defending yourself in your own mind. But inside you really just feel like you suck.

6. Downward spiral continues until you shift the pattern or reincarnate and start over!

Trust me, I know, because I’VE BEEN THERE! I have wasted so much time and energy with people who did not believe in me… constantly feeling insecure and defending myself in my mind. And I did not bloom. If I improved, it was so slow and painful. And I did not shine at my fullest light. This was not helpful for me or anyone else!

Two caveats:

1. Caveat #1: It doesn’t work if your teacher or mentor wants it for you more than you want it for yourself. You have to want it as much as your teacher or mentor, or even more.

2. Caveat #2: Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are times in life where we are going to encounter people who don’t believe in us. I’m not saying that we can only talk to or work with people who are constantly cheerleading us and telling us we’re awesome. (In fact, that’s not really what this awesome teacher did – she challenged me and gave me the tools I needed, which is so different from empty praise.)

But it IS up to us who we choose to study with and learn from. It IS up to us who we trust with our unfolding dreams. And it is so much more FUN and so much more POWERFUL and everything happens like a BAZILLION times FASTER when we choose to spend time with people who believe in us. It’s like the difference between picking crumbs off the floor of a MacDonalds and feasting on your favorite foods with people who love you!

If you or your kid is suffering in math right now because of a crisis of confidence – if you are feeling like your kid’s teacher doesn’t believe in them anymore, or you’re worried that your kid doesn’t believe in themselves, or that they feel deep down inside that “math doesn’t like me anymore” or “I’m not good at math” even though they’re busting their butt and trying their absolute best, I would love to talk to you.

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

Once your application is received, and we’ll get you all set up with a super special complimentary appointment, just me and you, to get clear on what’s going on with your kid’s math learning and whether or not it would make sense for us to work together!

Posts Tagged as "math"

How to experience math as your own unique creation

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

A great way to check if your son or daughter really understands what they’re working on is – once they’ve already spent some time practicing a particular problem type – to ask them to create their own original “designer” problem.

I frequently use the words, “Now I want to see a [student’s name] Original!” (Like if I was tutoring a student named Sally, I would say, “Now I want to see a Sally Original!”)

Why does this help?

1. First, being asked to create an original problem quickly reveals whether or not the student has truly internalized what they’re working on. If they can create and solve their own unique problem similar to what they’ve been working on, it means that they understand the material on a deeper level than just being able to DO it – they can actually CREATE it from scratch.

2. Second, it’s fun! Usually kids are really excited for the opportunity to create their own problem.

3. Third, when students do this, sometimes they’ll actually create and solve something much more complex than they have been working on. It’s like they want to take it to the next level, and they can without anyone stopping them, because they’re totally in the driver’s seat.

(Also, sometimes the opposite will happen, where a student will be reluctant to do this because they haven’t been asked to do it before, or they don’t feel ready. If this happens, you can just offer to go first or take turns, or if you really sense they’re communicating they need more practice first, do more practice problems before coming back and asking them to create their own.)

4. Fourth, it really helps them take ownership of their own learning. When you’re making and solving your own problem, it means you understand math is something you can CREATE – not just something random you’re being asked to do. This is a major confidence builder.

And it also really brings home the fact that math is a human creation, with its own beautiful idiosyncrasies!

Are you tired of not even having time to create dinner for your family because your kid’s math homework has become an overwhelming family-wide project? Do you wish that your kid could experience math creatively, as a source of fun, confidence, and security, instead of dread or incompetence? Are you ready to invest in high-level, super-customized tutoring 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.

Sending you love,

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Posts Tagged as "math"

What about the parts of math that you just… hate?

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Today’s video tip is about how to deal with the parts of math that you… just… ok, I’m going to say it… hate.

I mean, how are you supposed to cope with the parts that are just niggly-wiggly, yucky, or don’t make any sense? Are you doomed to feel this way forever? Should you just accept that there will be certain parts that will feel incomprehensible?

No — there is hope! Watch the video below for more details!!

Do you wish someone would explain the parts of math that you hate right now in a way that really makes sense – and might even be fun?

Then I invite you to apply for my super special one-on-one math tutoring programs!

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 look forward to hearing from you!

Sending you love,
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Do you overlook yourself? Mindset lessons from the NYC High Line (and Moneyball)

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Finally, I get to visit the NYC High Line!! This beautiful and unique park – which draws people from around the world and is now one of the top destinations globally – used to be an ugly, useless eyesore that would have been destroyed if a small group of determined citizens did not decide to rescue it and turn it into something new and intriguing.

Being here reminded me of watching the movie Moneyball – which you may have seen my other videos about. To me, one of the best parts of the movie was when the narrator talked about how baseball players get overlooked for all kinds of reasons – because they’re old, or weird-looking, or because they pitch funny.

At this point in the movie, tears started streaming down my face. I thought of all the times in my life when I was overlooked, and of my math tutoring students, how often they are overlooked.

The danger is if enough people overlook you, you can start to overlook yourself. You can start to let other people’s ideas about your potential determine what you become.

But what if there’s something inside you, neglected and unseen, just waiting to become a beautiful place that people all over the world want to visit and experience?

*Special thanks to my dear friend and magnificent video queen Therese Condit, who shot this video! Without her this would not have been possible!

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How to help kids be okay with things being hard
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