For the first session with new clients, please provide the following:
1. Obtain (1) small assignment notebook (3" x 5"), and a journal type (8" x 10" max) hard bound book of 50 - 100 pages of blank paper. This will become your 'Subject Bible', for which you will create content for based on the course materials, my insights into the subject (as well as your own) to use for your semester final test, and to take with you to college, your professional career and beyond. This will be a distillation of the various "pearls of wisdom," such as problem solving methodologies, testing strategies & tactics, important - even transcendental - relationships; constants, functions, expressions, formulae, anecdotes, metaphors, and websites. Also, get a 3 - ring binder, as here will be handouts/ study guides and your own materials (from class, the web or other sources). This binder will be your resulting Study Guide, hopefully the first of other representative works by your own hand, and will help make our time together an 'enlightening experience.'
2. Of the more important skills to posses in our data-saturated, information overloaded, poorly organized (and foolishly legislated..) society, time management and information organization should have a lot more focus than it does, especially with typical teenagers. From the decade I spent writing software, I have become a firm believer in the value of data structures, and classifying information into a sound, hierarchical 'taxonomy' (such as the Linnaean classification system for organizing the Plant and Animal Kingdoms). It's one of the rarer skills that in my experience few posses. After a few sessions, you will understand why it is so important in math (as well as computer science,and even music). If you can, read a brief Wiki review on "taxonomy" and/or "Carl Linneaus", you will have a leg up on the first meeting.
3. Make sure you have in your possession your textbooks, work sheets/ handouts, blank paper, pencils, calculator, laptop (or iPad, if you own one!) and most important, your current assignment (noting which question(s)/ concepts are giving you trouble). Most subjects require some form of 'prior knowledge', and a certain level of skill necessary to be successful in the subject, so try to know what that is.
This is just a brief overview of how I like to work, but don't be intimidated, because my job is to help you! One of the added benefit my clients get is a copy of various study guides/ review notes, depending on the specific subject. In time, I will have a whole suite of them, one for each subject. But as of April 2011, I only have a few math topics completed, so I am sharing these drafts with my students, for help proofing and getting feedback.
I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm and techniques with students of all ages! But regardless of our business dealings, may your lifelong journey of learning bring you joy and wisdom!