Janet’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Janet’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
ACT English is an important tool for gauging a student's knowledge and ability to use this language. It also forms one of the core scores that college and university acceptance committees look at when considering applications. Good ACT totals are therefore necessary, especially when higher education is planned. They also can make a difference in upper levels of business. It all comes down to communication--the better the student's English acuity, the better her or his future is likely to be.
ACT scores are one of the ways educators find out how consistent a reader's understanding is. The ability to comprehend the most important concepts in an excerpt is also fundamental to a student's future in any type of business. Good reading is paramount, and good understanding of what one reads is its partner.
American History is our identity as a people, as well as part of our identities as individuals. We can go nowhere without it. It clothes our souls with its negative aspects, as well as the good. I'm fascinated with what people who built this country have done, as well as the actions of those who continue to influence its affects on the other nations of the world. Where would we be without Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Harriett Tubman, Dolly Madison, and so many more. Their stories resonate throughout time, and form the bulwark upon which this nation was built.
Modern literature is mostly based on classics. Timeless themes such as heroism, love lost and regained, personal triumphs and declines, and the ability to succeed despite oppression always resonate with the human spirit. These are subjects found in Chaucer and Shakespeare, in Moliere and Steinbeck, in the ILIAD and the ODYSSEY, in DON QUIXOTE, throughout the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, and within the Upanishads and the "Epic of Gilgamesh". I became intrigued with mythology as a child: that led me to the classics of world literature. I will never stop reading them. I enjoy sharing my love of these works with others, hoping that they, too, will become fascinated with the diverse plots and memorable characters that inspired modern writers.
English is a language that offers readers and writers marvelous texture and facility. I love its flavors, from Chaucer to Shakespeare to Lewis Carroll, and from Bob Brier to Joseph Campbell. It is enriched by its borrowing from German, French, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon, as well as the new words that daily expand its perimeters. It froths with life. The more I read English works and write my own, the more richness I discover within the language. I enjoy talking about English and its usage with others who have a similar passion. This is part of the reason why I tutor: teaching allows me to share my love of English with others.
History is the anvil on which our future is hammered. A good knowledge of past events is required to make intelligent decisions today. I revere history in all its variety. One of my favorite activities is sitting with a pile of books or my computer and pursuing a little-known detail that suddenly makes surrounding dull facts brilliant and memorable. History should be taught from the wealth of wonderful characters who populate our past, those people who imbued it with decisions and actions both wise and frivolous.
I love literature of all sorts, especially novels. My interests range from Geoffrey Chaucer to "Jabberwocky", from Thomas Malory to Shakespeare, and from e.e. cummings to E. T. A. Hoffmann. I have imbibed Dorthy L. Sayers' mysteries, most of the Pern fantasies by Anne McCaffrey, and several of James Mitchner's historical fiction, with a generous serving of Ayn Rand, Issac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke on the side. My published short story "And With Finesse" was based on Lewis Carroll's THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. Although my reading has been dedicated recently to biographies, mythology, and non-fiction for the historical fiction series I'm writing with my co-author, I delight betimes in finding a good novel I have not experienced.
I couldn't help myself--I started singing when I was two, and could stay on key without accompaniment. My Dad had a tape to prove it. By the time I was five, I was hooked on opera and classical music. I started piano at age five, trumpet at age seven, and private singing lessons during junior high. I sang in the church junior choir and then in the adult choir, and also became a frequent soloist. My love of music continued after band, orchestra, and choir in high school when I attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. There I sang in the performing choir for three years, and specialized in comic opera roles such as Cherubino and Prince Orlovsky. Along with choir and voice lessons, my favorite class was Opera History. I graduated in 1975, and kept singing for many years after. My original music has been published in game supplements, as well as part of a seven-book fantasy series called "The Death Gate Cycle".
I continue to read about music history such as THE RING RESOUNDING which was the history of the incredible DECCA recording of Wagner's "Ring" cycle, and the story of New York's Metropolitan Opera entitled MOLTO AGITATO. Biographies of Zubin Mehta, Beverly Sills, Placido Domingo, Mozart, Bach, and Ralph Vaughan Williams share a shelf in my library.
Starting piano at five years old was a challenge, but I loved music so much I begged for lessons. My aunt Beatrice Darling of Independence, Missouri, taught piano and organ students, so it was natural I join her cadre. My lessons continued for 12 years; after she moved, I was accepted by Beatrice Mengel, also of Independence. I continued private lessons for a year after I began studying at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. In particular, I learned and adored pieces by Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and Chopin. I have had several beginning piano students of my own since then, mostly teens who wanted to better their musical understanding and reading abilities.
Details are important. Good proofreading is the difference between a professional appearance and an amateurish one. Style should glow through the language, but is often wasted in peculiar syntax, bad spelling, and poor grammar. Most people have laughed over mistakes on menus and in newsletters: a good proofreader can alleviate such oversights. A published author, I have had many years of experience proofreading my manuscripts, as well as those of other writers.
Reading opens doors to everything. It is the basis of understanding life and gaining knowledge in the most practical way. It fosters self-discipline and focus like nothing else. It also encourages understanding a language from several different aspects such as spelling, syntax, and grammar. Reading offers entertainment as well as learning, enjoyment in the flavors of word usage, and the ability to experiment with thoughts and philosophies offered by authors across the world. In modern language, the verb "read" means "to understand". I believe that the more one reads, the more one begins to understand people, and gains insight from the reasons the world has become as it is.
Grandma started me sewing, joining rags together for her knitted and crocheted rugs. I took over making most of my clothes from Mom during my school years. My sewing skills benefited the choir at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, where I sewed shirts and vests, formal dresses, and bow ties. I beaded a friend's wedding gown and veil. My own self-designed wedding ensemble featured a 12-foot velvet train. I made costumes for the Weis and Hickman Traveling Road Show for 11 years, for individuals involved in Renaissance festivals, and for people wanting themed dress for fantasy and science fiction gaming conventions. One of the most elegant gowns I designed was that of Lady Maigrey from a science fiction series: a fitted sweep of midnight blue velveteen flowing into a wide hem with long narrow sleeves and metallic silver piping. I recently inherited Mom's old workhorse Singer, insuring that my sewing will continue.
These days, good spelling indicates a better-than-average knowledge of English, whether American or British. With the propensity of shortening words for texting and the abbreviations used in advertising, consistent spelling is insisted upon these days only by a few professional people such as businesspersons, teachers, editors, and authors. Spelling correctly is difficult because of the many languages that contributed to English. Good spelling, however, offers benefits such as a greater understanding of words and how to construct coherent sentences. It offers insights to better pronunciation. It can also sometimes lead to a better job. Good spelling is still necessary in modern life.
Good study skills are essential to learning. When children or adults focus more on the subject, their assimilation of information improves. An area designated for study, the ability to ignore or remove distractions, and the motivation to learn all contribute to success. So do consistency, sincere goal-setting, logging assignments in a date book, and scheduling time considering the difficulty of the subject. Admitting procrastination and having the resolve to take steps to banish that problem contributes greatly to good study habits. With such elements in place, most people can learn anything.
English is a rich language, and a living entity. The more a student embraces and extends his or her fluency in English, the more she or he begins to understand the language itself, along with its rare diversity. Every author, poet, and public speaker uses words in a unique style. In learning to decipher not only individual vocabularies and their overall arc of resonance, the listener becomes involved in the beauty of English words and their meanings as they daily grow and change.
I love writing. Finding the right words that fit together into layers of meaning is the discipline I enjoy most. English has a wonderfully rich background, and changes by the day. It is a challenge as well as a delight to keep up. Experiencing Chaucer, Shakespeare, and other masters of the language allows me to contrast what they wrote with the works of modern wordsmiths. I always find something new, something interesting, in these comparisons. Every day I write, honing my craft. I also enjoy sharing my love of writing with others by teaching seminars and tutoring. My world would be a truly dull place if I could not write.