Robb’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
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Robb’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
The next step above basic mathematics, algebra is one of the building blocks of society. Allowing us to begin to see numbers in a different light, algebra helps enable one to "think outside the box". There are times where a problem provides the whole, but we need to find the parts. Furthermore, algebra brings us into a different realm of numbers below zero.
Granted advanced mathematics can be intimidating at first, but with effort and patience, one can achieve understanding of the subject and continue to grow.
Algebra 2 is the next step on the mathematics road. Utilizing the manipulation of complex polynomials, quadratics, systems of equations, and trigonometric functions will help one be more prepared for calculus. Having taken calculus, algebra was a very important component in terms of simplifying equations into baser forms. This also allowed me to work with equations for 3-D drawings, by breaking down given equations into simpler terms. I have needed to work with students in school on thinking in simpler terms with this subject instead of taking on the problem as a whole. They say that a problem is merely the sum of its parts; one should not "bite off more than they can chew" from the start.
American History tells the story of how this great nation got started. From the time the Pilgrims crashed on Plymouth Rock and the American Revolution against Great Britain to Women's Suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement. In addition, history is continuing to be made in this country as the nation has its first black president and prices of precious metals in the US rise due to the economy.
I first started learning about American History in elementary school and continued to learn all through high school about what shaped this country. I have a feeling that many more changes and historical moments are going to be made in my lifetime.
I have taken chemistry in both high school and college and they are both very much the same, one is no more in depth than the other. The best way to approach this subject is one piece at a time (no pun intended). Since chemistry is based off of the building blocks of life from chemical composition to molar percentage and even balancing net ionic equations, this subject can be intimidating at first. However, if chemistry were easy, everyone would get an A.
I took differential equations as part of my final semester in college in concert with Mathematics for Physicists and Engineers and balancing the two was a chore (even the department head for math though I was crazy). Furthermore, I understood what was being taught, but there was not much application to what I was studying. However, looking back, the lessons taught in class carried over into the real world and most of the problems that looked overly complex had very simple solutions.
In preparation for more advanced classes (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, etc.), one needs to understand the basics, ranging from addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and the order of operation (a simple process that can be confusing at first).
Elementary Math can also allow one to make quick, mental calculations with proper discipline and this is very useful later in life when one needs to make change during a purchase, along with factoring in a rough estimate for tax.
Elementary science helps open the door to higher levels of scientific study from chemistry to physics and beyond. During my studies in Meteorology, I have needed to bring back my former studies of gravity and molecules to gain deeper understanding of how the earth operates. Knowing about volcanic activity allows for understanding of how the land can change and how the ash can impact the atmosphere. Furthermore, the water cycle grants knowledge about how moisture accumulates in the clouds. I have used this knowledge and much more to help many people over the years from terms of simple physical problems (i.e. dizziness from dehydration or lack of oxygen) to factoring in the gravitational constant for determining how fast an apple falls from a tree and hits you on the head.
English is one of the first languages American-born children learn, and sometimes relearn. Branching off from many different dialects and having a Latin base, the language is ever evolving to suit the needs of society. There are often times where people forget what proper English is because they incorporate the mannerisms of technology and texting to common interactions with others. Many people accuse us of "breaking the rules" when it comes to learning English; sadly, they're right. I have been using English for the vast majority of my life and I still find myself learning the new meanings and syntaxes for some of the most common words. Furthermore, knowing the vernacular of certain groups allows for better interaction with people of a different culture or generation within one's social circle. Sometimes when I speak to a friend using a metaphor, I have to explain what it means before he understand; that is one reason why people say we "break the rules of our own language".
I have been around computers for the majority of my life. Knowing the ins and outs of how the computer functions from the hardware it comes with or is built with to the software programs and operating systems is vital to the person using the computer. There is a lot more to the computer than merely pushing the power button and turning it on to make it work. Also, having a little knowledge of how to work with the command prompt will allow for one to perform a variety of functions (i.e. renewing the computer's IP address when the internet is not responding).
Many people associate geography with knowing the locations of countries and capitals around the world. When I was taking geography in college, I was informed that there are many other types of geography (economic, religious, cultural, etc.) and it was this study that lead to the creation of maps and mapping technology. The first video shown in class was "Nations of the World" from the television series "Animaniacs" and it was this song that helped me remember the countries (despite the fact that several new countries have sprouted over the last several years since the song's creation). The subject is so broad that some people have to break their study down into pieces and study each piece in order to get a greater understanding of the whole.
Geometry is one of the very early introductions into higher orders of mathematics. After taking the class during my sophomore year of high school, I had a better understanding of vectors, perimeters, volumes and even areas. My studies even took me through many various theorems (a real headache at first, but worth the effort), including the Pythagorean theorem.
Geometry is a small step above algebra, but a crucial one before one can approach trigonometry and calculus.
Grammar is one of the trickier substances of the English language to grasp. Many a word sounds similar to another, but it really comes down to the spelling and definition. All through my life, I have encountered problems with grammar, and not just my own. I have helped friends correct errors in their grammar for the last 10 years. My seventh grade English teacher truly drove the subject matter in terms of proper grammar and this has stuck with me ever since. Keeping excellent grammar will help avoid confusion by many whom are trying to read a book or even a research paper.
Literature has been a part of my life for the better part of the last 20 years. Through the early years, I was exposed to a lot of great classics from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane through the television series "Wishbone" and that knowledge stuck with me. I further got involved with literature when I was reading assigned novels in high school and in my freshman year of college. A lot of history can be traced through the great works produced by many different authors. One way to study some of the works (i.e. Shakesphere) is to read a passage and then break it down in to parts that are easy to understand, even though it may turn out to be complete gibberish at first (as some thought while reading Hamlet or Othello).
Microsoft Excel is a great program for keeping track of all sorts of data. Some people use it for creating rosters and bookkeeping, and others use it for tracking data for exercise or scientific research. Throughout my high school career and even into college, I used Excel to keep track of data for class assignments and even was asked to convert the data into graphs or charts. Taking each function of the program piece by piece is the best way to learn the overall functionality of Excel.
Microsoft PowerPoint has been around for easily the last fifteen years and I have seen the evolution of this program since I was in middle school. This can be used for basic presentations for a small class project or even a major thesis presentation in college. I have also used it to create some very cheap animation videos for class and for fun (even though the number of slides can exceed 1000). Utilizing various mediums besides bullet points (video clips, clip art, pictures, music, etc.) are essential for delivering effective and entertaining presentations no matter what the occasion.
Microsoft Windows was one of the first operating systems I have had the opportunity to work with. An off-shoot of the Linux operating system, Windows has a similar command interface but with many different commands that take some getting used to.
Many software programs are compatible with this OS from simple word processing programs to heavy-duty games that are now being played. I have used Windows for the better part of 18 years and still continue to use it. Several changes between new OS upgrades have included the layout of the start menu, icons, and various keyboard shortcuts. Knowing how to interact with these shortcuts allows for greater use and ease of the overall system.
I have also found that changing and upgrading components for Windows platforms is very simple from changing RAM cards to upgrading entire motherboards for faster processing power.
Word processing is one of the easiest forms of documenting papers, keeping records, and writing journal entries. Usage of charts, pictures (be they photos or clip art), and word art can truly allow one's work to "pop" at the reader. I have been using Microsoft Word and its predecessor, Microsoft Works, for the better part of 15 years and with every new installment of the software comes more ways to customize the work I create. I have also needed to assist a student in the use of the software and show that there are more functions to behold beyond the simplicity of Notepad.
Physics make the world go round...and it can make another person's world crash. It can also be as simple as plugging in values for variables...or as complex as deriving one formula to arrive at the proper one. This subject helps one understand the various phenomena that occur on Earth from the effects of gravity on humans and objects falling out of the sky to understanding the effects of electricity in a circuit.
Actual physics topics vary depending on the class being taken. Calculus-based physics may be more complex than algebra-based at first glance; in the end, you mostly find yourself "plugging and chugging" the answer.
Prealgebra is one of the baser forms of higher mathematics. One of the benefits of learning this subject is to enhance one's critical thinking and break down the problem at hand. It never does one any good to merely jump to the answer and assume it is correct. I have had to put prealgebra into use for years all through high school and college and it still continues to serve me. Additionally, it takes all of the skills from elementary math and builds upon them. Working with ratios and knowing how to convert distances is invaluable later on in life and education.
Precalculus is another stepping stone on the road to mathematical mastery. Granted you do not graph as much as you do in algebra, but you do work more with equation manipulation with many more variables. Furthermore, you work with equations for figuring out interest on set amounts of money, finding where two or three equations meet at one point, and working with the Law of Sines and Cosines. I myself needed to work with everything listed through my college career and it served me well. I was also asked to tutor another student in this subject during his first semester of college. He got the grade he was looking for.
Proofreading is a must-have skill for self-correction in any work of English, be it hand-written or typed. I have been proofreading my own work and the work of others for the better part of 16 years and people still ask me to look over their work to ensure perfection. Editing the work yourself will help eliminate the need for a teacher or colleague to "hunt you down" to make corrections before the final product is turned in. Furthermore, it helps minimize mistakes made on reports in the office or in the field; mistakes can lead to many problems down the line, along with misunderstandings.
Public speaking can be a very terrifying experience for those that are not accustomed to it in the slightest. One symptom is the fear of exposure, that a single slip of the tongue or getting one's tongue tied will generate significant repercussions even after the speech is over. Some settings for this form of English can be debate, formal presentations for class, or even complimenting a teammate for something they did in front of the team, the coach, and the crowd. I have been down all three roads over the last 10 years of my life.
Reading is one of the fastest ways to grasp any language in terms of grammar and syntax. I first started learning to read when I was four and over the next 20 years, my craving for books and reading grew. When I was in my junior year of high school, I already had a college sophomore reading level.
Reading is important when it comes to receiving an email or letter from a friend or family member. It can also help with researching topics of importance, from a high school book report to voting our next official into office. Furthermore, it helps you understand the "fine print" on a contract that you sign further on down the road.
Without reading, one can not explore the pages of books that authors slaved over for months or years, expand their knowledge, and will take a proverbial shot in the dark during the next election.
American Sign Language is the language of the Deaf culture. Some may think it silly when they see people move their fingers about rapidly, but this is hardly the case.
With a grammar and syntax all its own, ASL is a very unique language. At the core, the signs and gestures are not everything; the important factor is the facial expressions that one includes with the signs and that allows the person they are communicating with to understand the emotions behind the signing (i.e. smiles when happy, narrowed eyes for confusion, etc). Practice makes perfect.
I took ASL for my foreign language requirement in high school for three years. I even went on after that period when I was dating my ex-girlfriend who was hard-of-hearing, but used ASL as a primary means of communication. My sophomore year of high school and my first real lesson in the language was taught by a deaf teacher and that put the entire class into the water from the start. With no interpreter, everyone had to learn the language on the fly, which was very enriching.
My second and third years were spent working on the grammar and syntax of the language as a whole, from watching videos and interacting with the community at large, to taking song lyrics and translating them to ASL GLOSS (the basic breakdown of the signs, finger spellings, expressions, etc.) and then having ourselves filmed in front of the class signing the song to the actual music. A very unique experience, but also great practice for everyday life in the deaf community. Even knowing how they interact in social settings (card games, board games, movie theaters, etc.) is an excellent way to immerse oneself in another culture.
Spelling is as important to learn as 2+2. Granted there are times where "i" and "e" can be put in the wrong place or that some words sound just like others, but the critical thing to remember is the meaning of the words one uses in speech or writing. I have been working with my own spelling for 18 years and even then, there are times I make mistakes. Knowing how to spell allows for one to work without the constant need for the internet, spell check (though it is handy while working on a major paper), and a dictionary, especially when you do not have one close at hand. Self-reliance is one of the keys to living in today's modern world and knowing how to spell is a great place to start.
One of the major pitfalls when it comes to studying is time management. Going through high school and college, I have come toe-to-toe with this issue time and again... and I still go through it now. The best way to overcome this obstacle is to sit down, think, and analyze your priorities. During my senior year of college, I mentored a small class of incoming freshmen through a course in time management and study skills. Providing examples of what to expect on upcoming exams as well as what I found to be personally beneficial afforded them the tools they needed to survive their first year in college and to avoid the fiascoes I endured.
Vocabulary is the gateway to intelligence. It can mean the difference between an A and a B on a research paper or whether you gain acceptance into the college of your dreams. From age five, my vocabulary has been fueled by the books I have read and the occasional "slip of the tongue" from my dad. Substituting words for their equivalent counterparts will open the readers eyes, and occasionally drop their jaws. For example, one can improve the meaning of the sentence "I want to go to college" by grabbing a thesaurus and finding certain words within; thus, the sentence becomes "I aspire to further my education beyond what I currently have." This will help extend a sentence in a five paragraph essay, demonstrate good vocabulary, and provide deeper meaning of what is written or said.
Writing is one of the most basic ways of getting one's ideas onto paper along with passing quick notes to a friend or even taking notes in class for yourself. I have been writing for the last 18 years and with the evolution of the English language, my writing evolves with it. My true training in writing started in 7th grade when my English teacher drilled the five paragraph essay into my skull. From there, my writing skills took to new heights when I wrote book reports and that eventually led to drafting my senior thesis research paper for college. Organization of one's thoughts regarding what is being written is paramount to the reader understanding what is being said. One sentence out of place and the whole meaning of the paper or paragraph could be lost to the reader's comprehension. Proper sentence structure helps provide a road map toward the final meaning of the piece.