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One of the things I love most about the Latin language is how its writers can massage it to add information and imagery without having to add more words.  I call this, personally, writing in two dimensions.  Here's an example:   At one point in the Aeneid, Aeneas and Dido are having a lovers' tryst in a hidden cave, which was dedicated to a god.  Because Latin is a highly inflected language, word order carries little grammatical information (unlike English), but can add quite a bit of what I call "two-dimensional" information.  So, in English the line might be written:   Aeneas and Dido were in the holy cave.   But Vergilius writes instead (only in Latin):   In the holy Aeneas and Dido were cave.   Thus, even in terms of word order, Aeneas and Dido are INSIDE the cave!  I find things like this absolutely thrilling.  But it's not my favorite half-line in Latin poetry.   That... read more

Don’t be stubborn: its The Monty Hall Problem. This is one of the least generally understood problems of all time. My hypothesis: the reason most people fail on The Monty Hall problem is that it isn’t straight, and it involves changing plans. If you don’t know, the way this works is that you are on a game show and must find a prize behind one of three doors. You pick a door and then The Game Show Host reveals that the prize is not behind one of the two remaining doors. With due intellect your supposed to reason that it is always advisable two switch your selection. What isn’t understood during the time the game show hosts open the door is that he will never open a door that has the prize in it. He will always open a null door. Vital information is encoded by the pact the game show host has with the producers and it moves in the transaction between the game show host and you. Think of it as the elements of America being encoded to the writing and voice of Stephen... read more

As a student myself, I have some pre-back-to-school rituals that I practice each year to help me get back into learning mode without struggling. Here are some of my tips that I hope you find helpful: 1. Get into your new routine ahead of time: If you’re used to spending your summer days sleeping until noon, a good way to keep from feeling fatigued once school starts is gradually working your way back to waking up at an earlier time. For the month of August, or the few weeks remaining, try waking up an hour and a half earlier than you normally would. It’ll give your body time to adjust to the new schedule gradually, rather than all at once. 2. Don’t stress about materials: Sometimes it’s easy to get organized ahead of time. Some teachers will tell you what materials you’ll need, others don’t. If you don’t know what you’re going to need, don’t stress! Just bring a notebook and one folder to school with you on the first days of class. Collect everything, and when you... read more

An old friend of mine told me on numerous occasions, "To fail to plan is to plan to fail."  I find his advice is truth.   A planner for the school year is a must.  Not only school related dates but extracurricular activities, family obligations and recreational events must be listed to give a chronological picture of commitments.  A to-do list posted prominently in the work area is also a help.   As tasks are completed, they should be marked off the list. There is a certain sense of accomplishment when one is able to mark a task "completed."   A 3 ring binder with dividers and filing pockets is very helpful to keep assignments, notes, and handouts easily accessible for each class.  The filing system only works if items are filed in the appropriate sections of the binder upon receipt of the paperwork.     When syllabi and course outlines are passed out on the first day of class, enter all... read more

While tutoring may be a help to studying and learning, a student should never depend entirely on tutoring to teach all the concepts learned in a semester course.  The world we live in is a quick world -- get in -- get out -- get 'er done.  But most educational courses such as math, English, reading, science, and social studies require more in-depth thinking.  They are not subjects that can be learned well in a quick few hours of tutoring.  Related to this is the thought that many students do not want to read lengthy texts or lengthy explanations, or wade through lengthy examples as in a chemistry course.  However, in order to learn the concepts well and to understand them and make them part of oneself, it is necessary to find the quiet time to do this type of reading and studying.  Those who really want to learn, will take heed, and invest the time and mental energy to learn thoroughly instead of too quickly, as just to pass a test or pass a course... read more

In math you learn new terminologies and many significant things pop up. Guys, do you ever dream about analytical calculus? No? Well, why not!   As a high school student you learned algebra and pre-calculus and those are great, but you can really figure that there is more to math than just that. I assume you were dazed and confused. That's okay. Perhaps though you enjoyed your subjects. That is pretty good.   There, you must try to learn analysis, because it is the most-funnest part of mathematics! Do you think I'm wrong? Well, begin with a subject like real analysis. During your study of analysis, you learn about continuity, metrics, and integration. I would like to know more about metrics.   The weird thing is that math is everywhere. Sorry, but I like math because of this fact.   It takes a real scholar to learn math. Got me wrong? Gals sometimes support the most advanced mathematical conclusions. You can make their notions... read more

As we go about the beginning of yet another school year, let us not forget about the al importnat tutoring. I have had students who want to try the beginning of the school year on their own. I woudl suggest to any parent to allow their student to be a bit independent but ensure tha tthey are staying focused on their school work and not being dsistracted by their technology (smartphones, tablets and ipods)! I would recommend tutoring at least once a week during the first few weeks to make sure that they are staying focused and 9 times out of 10 the student will be ready for you to come for tutoring. This way they can answer all of the questions that they will not ask in class and their grades will remain consistent. There is nothing more stressful for a child and parent than trying to find a GREAT tutor that can improve low scores in a weeks time. So get a tutor that is comfortable with the student and with the family.

It's time to look ahead and plan your weekends.  You can still register for the September test this week.  This information is found on the ACT website.  Do you need a course of study to get ready for the ACT?  I offer personalized study plans to motivated students, so that you can get going the right direction, on your timeline, even if you decide not to use a tutor.   Test Date: September 13, 2014 Registration Deadline:  August 8, 2014 (Late Fee Required):  August 9–22, 2014   Test Date: October 25, 2014 Registration Deadline: September 19, 2014 (Late Fee Required): September 20–October 3, 2014   Test Date: December 13, 2014 Registration Deadline: November 7, 2014 (Late Fee Required): November 8–21, 2014   Test Date: February 7, 2015* Registration Deadline: January 9, 2015 (Late Fee Required): January 10–16, 2015   Test Date: April 18, 2015 Registration... read more

Students,   To start the new school year strong, it is very necessary to understand the first few days and weeks of instruction.  That is because in the first days, basic material is presented, upon which will be built the remainder of the course.   In a challenging course such as chemistry, earth science, algebra, or trigonometry it is doubly important to get a good strong beginning.  You do that by completing reading assignments, completing activities in the textbook or online, keeping a vocabulary list of new terms with their definitions and use in a sentence.     All of these types of studying require a lot of effort and dedication on your part.  For that type of effort and dedication, one thing you will need is energy, physical and mental energy.    So plan to make sure your body and mind have the required energy to make a strong start, and then to carry through for the entire semester or school year... read more

Dear Students,   As both a tutor and teacher, it is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I welcome you back to school for the 2014-2015 schoolyear!  No matter what grade level you are now attending, or where you go to school, transitioning from the long two-three-month summer break to the regular school/learning routine can definitely prove challenging for students, teachers, and even parents.  Please take a couple of minutes to peruse the following tips I have for you and your following, in hopes of making your schoolyear ahead a positive and fulfilling one, starting from Day One of your return.   Tip #1) Put yourself into the frame of mind required for successful learning in school.  Did you have a good schoolyear last year?  If so, what did you yourself do to make that schoolyear uplifting?  If not, what could you do differently this year to turn things around?  Rely on your own conscience to guide you from your... read more

I created this game as a way for kids to have a fun way to practice and remember their multiplication facts. It can be played child against child or child against adult.     Multiplication War   You will need 1 deck of cards with the jokers removed.     Card Value Ace = 1  Jack = 11 Queen = 12 King = 0 Number cards equal the number on the card     Parent/Adult versus child version Divide the deck so both players have an equal number of cards. When you are ready to begin both players put down a card.  The child needs to multiply both numbers correctly within a certain time period. This can be anywhere from 10-30 seconds depending on their skill level. If the child answers it correctly within the time frame, the child keeps both cards. If he/she doesn't the adult gets both cards. The game continues until the adult is out of cards. The object of this... read more

Parents and students who opt to obtain tutoring early in the school year are very wise.  It enables the tutor and the student to get on the same track early on, and to work together throughout the year through the midterm and through the final exam in the course.     However, many parents and students wait until way late into the course to think about acquiring a tutor.  By then, it may be too late because of the vast amount of subject matter that needs to be reviewed, learned, and put into practice.     So, for any student who has not been outstanding in his or her performance thus far, obtaining a tutor early on is very important and makes good sense.     A parent or student does not want to end up, senior year, having to get an alternative diploma because of some class deficiency.  Get a tutor as soon as possible in the school year to ensure success, and to ensure graduation!   Judy L., Ed.S., M...

College admissions officers first look at test scores, grades, and the rigor of courses students take in high school. However, what are also important in the admissions process are a student’s extracurricular activities. Students are a representative of the college they attend, and it goes without saying colleges care about the character of the people they admit to their school. Extracurricular activities are a good indicator of what a student does during his or her time spent outside of school. In other words, what a student is doing over summer vacation and on the weekends, gives admission officers a good idea of what kind of individual they are considering admitting to their college. No doubt about it, volunteerism is very important; however, admissions officers are looking for real hands-on involvement. There is a difference between the student that volunteers once to collect money for a charity and the student who spends every Saturday helping clean up city parks... read more

It's the first day of the new school year and your parent runs into your room, lifts the blankets, and gives a slight pat to help with the waking process. It doesn't work and with a moan, you simply grab the blankets tighter and roll into a cocoon.  Meanwhile, your mom can't locate the new lunch bag you purchased, not to mention finding the convenience lunch items you had planned to toss into the bag.   Ten minutes later your parent returns to your room, turns on the light, and strips away your cozy cocoon.  "Get up, it's the first day of school and you're going to be late," you hear announced.   It is now five minutes before you should start walking to the bus stop, and you can't locate one shoe, paper for the new binder you shopped for, and breakfast isn't on the agenda anymore.  You find the missing shoe, grab everything for the backpack you can manage to carry, and hold the new lunch... read more

I have been very pleased to find that all of my current students are enjoying a game I've had for years that uses math skills. I purchased it nearly 20 years ago at a Homeschool Conference. It's made up of a wooden board with holes carved out for marbles. One side has a game called MUGGINS and the other side has a game called KNOCK OUT. Math skills have to be used for both games and the level of difficulty can be increased by using dice with 16 sides rather than 6 sides. I have an elementary student with Asperger's Syndrome and he loves the game more than anybody. My students are so pleased when they win and I keep a bag with packs of gum of various flavors and candy bars for the winner to choose from. I use the game when all of the material has been covered and we have a few moments before their parents arrive to pick them up. Sometimes the student requests to play after the hour is up so as long as the parent is willing to wait, I am so very pleased that they are doing math... read more

I have found that many students know the words because they understand it by using it. However, they often do not know how to read the word. Please check out this amazing site that will use videos in sentences to teach over 1,000 words.  There are so many ways this site can prepare your child for reading.   http://www.gcflearnfree.org/featured/learnenglish/simpleenglish   ESOL see below   http://www.gcflearnfree.org/learnenglish

My advice for students heading back this fall is be willing to ask for help.  Nobody expects you to have all the answers right away.  Remember you are the captain of your learning--be willing to get through the choppy waters, but don't go it alone!  Your goals are within reach...

Transitions! They can make or break your essay. You may have some great ideas that you write down, but if you don't connect them, it's hard for your reader to follow. People forget how your ideas are interrelated, and they therefore forget your main ideas.   The point here is: DON'T try to write without transitions. Here is a list of transitions to help you keep your ideas well-organized: first next then after after that afterward finally in conclusion in summary to start with in addition additionally second third moreover furthermore    

These days, high schools tend to defer to parents. If there's a family event, kids are pulled from school. If Bobby gets a bad grade, Mom launches herself into the teacher's office to give her a piece of her mind! Parents track their kids through the day, texting and calling multiple times.   College is different and not just because your kids are away from home, perhaps for the first time. It's different because your kids are expect to behave like adults. That means reading the syllabus, showing up for their classes, not making excuses for work not done, staying clean (yes, clean!) and sober (absolutely sober!) and taking real responsibility for their behavior and work.   Parents need to be aware that the "helicopter parenting" they have done for years not only isn't welcome by colleges, but most often is not welcome either by their kids. Besides being a time of academic preparation, the high school years need to a time when parents start... read more

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