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It is hard to believe Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was first published nearly 30 years ago. Although all 7 habits are excellent tools for both tutors and students, I believe the Second Habit -- "Begin With the End in Mind" -- can play an important role in creating the foundation for a productive and satisfying learning partnership.   For example, it is no use for a tutor to expect a student to go back and read the assigned book when the analysis paper is due in 48 hours. Similarly, a parent will be bitterly disappointed if they expect an "A" in Chemistry after only a few tutoring sessions. And a student shouldn't expect to learn a semester's worth of Physics without completing a single assignment.   Tutors can start this conversation by asking a few key questions: "What would you like to accomplish during our time together?" and "How would that accomplishment look to you?" Follow up questions... read more

For most fluent readers, it can be hard to imagine how the sight word "have" can be tricky for emerging readers. Yet many parents drilling the Dolch sight words find "have" is misread over and over again, made to rhyme with "gave" and "behave". The child is likely making this mistake because he or she is diligently applying the guidance that a silent final E makes the preceding vowel say its name. And for many English speakers, that's the only purpose known for a silent final E. But, that only explains half of the words with a silent final E and has nothing to do with why there is a silent final E in "have". So, why is there a silent final E in "have"? Check out rule #3 in the list posted here: Rule 3 states that English words do not end in I, U, V, or J. The silent final E in "have" is there to prevent the word from ending in V, just as... read more

Have you ever wondered what spelling bee champs know about spelling? I have, and my research led me straight to the 31 spelling rules as taught in the Logic of English method. These simple yet powerful rules explain 98% of English words when coupled with 74 phonograms. While that may not be enough to win an elite spelling bee, its a huge step forward for everyday literacy. The 31 rules are posted here: While most are remarkably simple, they are quite powerful. Consider how the very first rule explains the answers to these tricky word equations: picnic + ing = picnicking notice + able = noticeable Rule 1 states that "C always softens to /s/ when followed by E, I, or Y. Otherwise, C says /k/." Thus, picnicking gets its K because without it, the word would say /picnising/. Likewise, noticeable retains its E because without it, the word would say /notikable/. I'd love... read more

English is widely regarded as being full of exceptions, and often logical/literal learners struggle with the ways in which it is commonly taught. Fortunately, though, there is logic to our language, and methods have been developed that carefully distill it into a limited number of spelling rules and phonograms. These concepts are quite simple to learn but very powerful in application, transforming English from a confusing jumble of exceptions to a deliciously rich and robust code. An introduction to these concepts is posted at The entire video is informative and inspirational, but if you’re pressed for time and want to sample some of the real meat of the content, jump ahead to the 20 minute mark and watch for about 8 minutes. I'd love to hear what you think. Is this content helpful? Did you learn anything new? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

This blog is primarily for parents and guardians:   Why do I encourage students to attend after school tutoring for two hours every week day?  After all, the student could do a variety of other things during such time-span, right?  Though we live in an era of diversity, busy schedules, and opportunities; wisdom demands a solid focus on the most and more important.   You would not propose to build or buy a family home that has a predetermined weak, unstable, or failing foundation.  Most would take measures such as proactively focusing on, developing, repairing, and verifying the strength of the very layer the rest of the home's structure and future depends.  So much more should we do the same with our children, our future leaders!   My after school tutoring group strives to give these young people the time to filter out all the noise (hobbies, talent building, sports, video games, etc), and establish life skills while improving... read more

Tutoring students for several years, I have realized that the relationship my students have with their parents plays a major role in their success with me and in school. I find that parents who are supportive, yet assertive and set clear boundaries and expectations of success for their children, breed motivation in their children's educational work. Parents certainly need to be assertive and care for the progression of their child's success and education. It's important. I post this blog because I want to help parents be encouraging in a kind and empathic manner in which their child can feel supported and proud of doing what it takes to do their best to succeed. Talk to your child. Ask about their struggles. Ask him/her about how the tutoring lessons are going. Are they connecting with the tutor in a beneficial/educational way? Do they feel the tutor cares about the child's wellbeing? Are they grasping concepts?    Connect with your children and be supportive... read more

I have found that one of the most important elements to successful tutoring (of minors) is including the parents. Most of us would agree that parents have a primary and weighty role in the development of their children. Academia is no exception. I have developed a few methods to include parents in a manner that positively channels their influence towards my goals as a tutor. Thus far, the result has been excellent; parents are more satisfied, children learn with more enthusiasm.   Engage in respectful, meaningful correspondence with the parents. Learn what their specific concerns and goals are.  Parents are likely to know your student better than anyone else, and the information they can provide upon further questioning may prove invaluable. Always provide a succinct explanation of how you tutored, the milestones you achieved, your observations, and ways the parent can help the child improve. This not only keeps... read more

When you are preparing to go meet your new tutor for the first time, remember the tutor is just as excited to meet you too! To make the most of everyone’s time, remember a few simple things: Everyone will be a bit nervous! It is everyone’s first time meeting each other. The younger your child is, the higher the chance they will be shy or possibly cry. Schedule- Try to come prepared with a schedule/calendar of when you can meet us on a regular basis. At the end of our first session we will be ready to schedule our next session, we request that you are too! Neutral Territory-Since it your first session, try meeting at a neutral place like a local library or school. Bring Work Samples- Try to bring samples of what your child is doing in school: classwork, homework, tests, etc.  Anything that the teacher has requested that they need to work on/improve on. We will go over with you the goals and needs of your child at this time. We will design our future lessons... read more

After over 20 years of working as a professional tutor, I have made some observations on the types of parents we work with in addition to working with their student.  I view the parents of my students as if they were "my bosses", because they need to be pleased with my services just as much as their student needs to be pleased with his/her progress. Thus, for every student, I have at least one to two supervisors watching the quality of my work (and sometimes even more, depending on ex-spouses or grandparents who are part of the schematic of payment and support).  It is beneficial to be aware of how best to work with different "types" of parents.   Surprising to me, I have noticed many times over the years that the parent who may submit many complaints or try to negotiate a different payment amount for my services is the parent who actually can afford to pay my fees and has time to bring his/her student to sessions with me.  This parent... read more

A: Yes!  In fact I highly recommend this!  In most cases the parent will have to sign an information release in order to discuss student information with someone other than a parent or guardian.   The best chances for student success happen when the student, parent, teacher, and tutor, work in concert to help the student meet academic goals.  All play an important part in this process, not just the student and tutor.  When Tutors and teachers work together, study is streamlined, not going off in different directions.   As with any worthwhile goal in life, working smarter, not harder, using the correct tools will achieve the results we want for ourselves and our children!

With the technological push drowning us with zillions of interactive make-life-easy options, people are loading up on technology like sugar during WWII! Kids have Wii's, iPads, smartphones, 4G connections, Kindles, and more. And that's at home! Many schools have joined Mission Technology in an effort to help children remain engaged in the classroom amidst our changing world. People think if they have the latest technology, they're the 'best on the block'! People believe that technology helps make reading and math easier for kids and communication easier for adults (which means gossip). People believe that if their HDTV streams Netflix movies while they check their online dating account using their ipad, and upload pictures using their smartphone, they've hit the mother load! While others allow their little ones to paint, sans the paint and the teens get to facebook and tweet and instagram on their smartphones until they fall asleep! Here's the truth. Unbalanced technology... read more

So the school year started and so did the changes in our educational system. It used to be simple back in the days - kids went to school, teachers gave homework and parents helped to the best of their knowledge. And now, all of a sudden all these fancy words like Common Core, Data Driven instruction, placement tests, standardized assessments come into play. How does one make sense out of them? Textbooks now look so complicated that many parents can't even figure out what should their child carry to school or bring from school for that matter. Well, luckily Engage NY is a great resource that tries to make a little sense out of this educational cluster. I have accidentally come across a little brochure called "Parents Backpack Guide to Common Core". This publication is priceless! It helps with understanding the basics of the Common Core ELA and Mathematics standards and gives suggestions on how to best help your child as a parent.   So, I felt I have to share it... read more

Hello Fellow Tutors,   I have lost two tutoring clients due to my honesty. I'm not asking for a medal or anything, but I'm wondering how best to handle this situation AND keep the business.   The first time was subtle. We met through Wyzant of course and it had never even occurred to me to discount my rate and NOT use Wyzant. Partly because of tax season and partly, because, well, we had met through Wyzant! I was surprised by this suggestion and just said softly, "I would prefer to go through Wyzant." I never heard from this client again.   The second time was more obvious after I billed one session through Wyzant. He sent me a message through Wyzant that simply said, "Call me I want to talk to you." Okay, no problem. I did and was asked if we could, "work something out." Immediately, I am suspicious. After my clarification, I realized I would definitely be making about $4 more per session than I would through Wyzant... read more

As a college student, I’ve heard numerous complaints about the GERs (General Education Requirements) we must complete before graduating. “Why do I need to take a science with a lab when I’m a history major?” or “I’m studying Philosophy; what do I need a math class for?” These sentiments are often echoed by grade school students I’ve tutored (and even their parents!) – so I thought it might be useful to give my opinion of the situation, as I’ve explained it to friends, students, and parents.   Most students in grade school (and early in their college careers) don’t know exactly what they want to do yet and haven’t explored all of their interests. I took a Philosophy of Art class my freshman year of college, despite having no experience with philosophy classes or art classes. I found that I quite enjoyed the philosophical debate (though I wouldn’t want to pursue a career in the field) and that, while I don’t draw or paint, I enjoy studying artwork. Had I taken the typical... read more

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