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This photo was taken of me outside the Martin Van Buren home in New York, which I was able to see in the summer of 2009 while spending a week in the Hudson River Valley. Van Buren represents the move to modern American politics, and his home reflects the changing nature of how people of importance established themselves in houses of comfort. Touring historic places, seeing new sites and enjoying the company of others who enjoy the same things are hobbies of mine. I also love the Hudson River Valley north of NYC. It is one of the most attractive places on the East Coast of the U.S.

Are you wondering about how normal learning occurs as you try to help your student or perhaps yourself acquire new concepts? First, let’s think about what is normal. Normal is not a single state. In reality, every person is unique. Our brains all have the same basic structure but each person seems to be wired slightly differently. That is both wonderful and frustrating for someone trying grasp new ideas. In the beginning of life: As a child develops the parents and family members surrounding the child are the first instructors. Whether this teaching is done with intention or happenstance, everything that occurs around the child provides stimulus and occasions for learning. Most of this learning is by imitation. That is the moral behind the maxim to parents, “watch what you say, little pictures have big ears.” It’s also why the admonition “do as I say, not as I do” creates tension in a household. By now, since you are on a tutoring website, I think it safe to assume... read more

This is my very first blog. I have never done a blog before so this is all new to me. I am very excited about getting started as a tutor for WyzAnt. I have an AA degree in education and love teaching elementary grade students. There is just something about small kids that impresses me. They have the desire to learn something new or to learn the way something is done. They are really interested in what I have to say and what they can learn. I try to teach at a level that they will be able to understand and can figure it out and then tell me what it is that they learned. I have been around kids and taught them for a long time. I have about six years experience in teaching children and have loved every minute of it. I work with my 11 year old all the time and she makes all A's and B's. I also teach computer, American History and cooking as well as elementary education. I am certified in all these subjects and would love to be able to teach someone who needs my help. I am really excited... read more

Much like the years prior to the fall of the Roman Empire, America too has fallen into the same downward spiral of self destruction. This is an article on how we can reverse this downward spiral. When the first English settlement arrived on this continent there was an aurora of hope unlike any that had preceded it. Never before had an organization of trust between total strangers been arranged so eloquently. They wrote what is known by many historians as the Mayflower Compact. Little did they know the significance of its impact on America let alone the rest of the world. Of course it took over one hundred years for the results to be truly felt. Within its few short paragraphs a belief was displayed that had never before been seen in the history of the world. A belief of unity not under the leadership of one man or one woman, (monarchy) but a democracy; directly ruled by the people upon that boat. They almost attempted to form a theocracy, having a strong reliability on direction... read more

Do you find yourself getting scared or freezing up just thinking about a test? Do you get so nervous preparing for a test that you feel like spinning your wheels? Do you feel overwhelmed because it seems like there is a huge mountain of material you do not know? Let's approach it differently! One tactic you can take is to take a piece of paper out (or some index cards, your choice) and write down everything you can think of that you do know! Look at the chapter headings in your text, and write down what that triggers in your mind. Doing this will help you focus on the positive. You know more than you realize! And if you know nothing, remember, you can only improve! Now: do you get really jittery during the test? I am sure you have been told to breathe deeply or slowly, and you say "I have tried that and it doesn't work". Well, here is an idea for you. If you are permitted to have 2 pens or pencils while taking your exam, hold one in your non-writing hand, and... read more

I hope that everyone is well and paying attention in class. Today I want to discuss further and briefly the State of the Union Address that will be on tv tonight. Many of you know that the president does this every year. But did you know that the State of the Union is required by the Constitution? Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution says: "He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States." So in other words, the president has to make a report... read more

I'm sure we all remember school days in our past, subjects we loved, those we dreaded, and those that never made much of an impression on our youthful souls. Always a lover of literature, reading, and writing, for some reason throughout elementary and high school days, I loathed history. And then in college, I had an epiphany when I not only had professors that brought it alive and made it real, but inspired me to take a degree in the subject and actually be nominated into the honorary Phi Alpha Theta history fraternity for outstanding scholarship. In grad school, though, I majored in gifted counseling and education, my minor was once again, history. And now I tutor the subject, loving every minute. As we all gain experience and learn from it, I hope, so too do we find ways of incorporating that experience into our teaching and sharing with others. And here I am beginning a new venture with WyzAnt and starting amazingly, by tutoring a subject I truly love: of course, history.... read more

There are many reasons that teachers and tutors give for teaching. Typical reasons include the joy of seeing students learn. While this is certainly the case for me as well, an even more important reason to me was to help students see that they are WAY more capable than teachers and peers have told them. I believe that failure in school is much more complicated than "I am smart" or "I am dumb". Repeated failure and frustration convinces students that they are stupid. This belief imprisons them. I tutor and teach to empower students. Every step of the way I show them HOW to learn. We calmly discuss, back-and-forth, how to approach the problem or subject. By going through this exercise, the student begins to see proof that his/her new approach empowers them and makes excellence possible. I see tutoring as a golden opportunity to start your own little school---and help students learn the material (of course), but learn also how to play to their own strengths even... read more

Two things are remarkable about the last 3,500 years of human history: that things have remained so stable, and that so much has changed. If, as Pablo Picasso is said to have remarked, we have learned nothing, based on his assessment of the cave paintings of Lascaux, we have managed quite a lot by way of adaptation and creative thinking. As a Californian, I take change for granted. The very landscape is a journal of upheaval. The Sacramento valley occupies the site of an ancient sea, and is surrounded by lands uplifted through vulcanism and tectonic drift. Earthquakes, geysers, old piles of lava and basalt flows all remind us that nothing is as it was. Yet to stand on the sea coast and examine the march of hills, rising wave over wave into hazy distance, or to rest under a valley live oak on a summer afternoon, suggests timelessness, permanence and order. Only a few Californians can claim as many as seven generations' ancestry in the state, yet the native people, descendants of a multitude... read more

As I grew up, I had a lot of health problems. Subsequently, I missed quite a bit of school. To compensate for this, I required a lot of assistance with my studies; however, while I did not realize it at the time, my family was quite poor, thanks to my medical expenses. So, after putting in between eight and ten hours each weekday, and many Saturdays, at work in a cardboard box factory, Daddy came home and helped me with my studies. Here are just a few of the ideas he had to help make learning fun and engaging for both of us. First, since my teachers graded my artwork on what it looked like, Daddy always helped me make the projects look their best while never criticizing how imperfect my work might have been. Second, when I began to have trouble with mathematics, it was when we were learning fractions, percentages, decimals, ratios, and proportions. He had my mother bake three identical cakes. Then, after dinner, he sliced one cake in half, another into sixths, and the third... read more

Do you find yourself giving up or procrastinating on your reading and studying? Does it seem like there is an endless amount of work to finish between now and Christmas? I know you have heard a million times, "break it into smaller pieces". Maybe you need another way to do that. Here is a way that has worked for some of my students. Let's say you have 9 chapters in your history textbook to read and understand by the end of the semester (and 3 exams---3 chapters per exam). Rather than be overwhelmed by that concept, what you can do is make up 3 separate index cards (one per exam--and write which chapters must be covered for that exam). For now, just refer to the card for the first exam. Take 3 post-its (and write 1 chapter on each). Stick the post-its on the exam card. Pick a deadline for each chapter. As soon as you finish a chapter--throw the post-it for that chapter away. There is something very satisfying and empowering to be able to pitch that post-it. As... read more

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