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So, the majority of my tutoring students end up being math students, and generally elementary. I have had a few middle and high school math students, but they tend to be temporary, just to get through a rough patch. Whereas my elementary math students typically remain with me for a year or more because they are so far behind their peers. So I was thinking... I asked myself some questions. What do all of these students have in common? Of course I thought of their differences first. Some were girls, some were boys. Some have had family problems and come from broken homes, others live in a stellar two-parent family. Some are middle class others are near or at poverty level. Some parents have had college experience or degrees others didn't even finish high school. Some have IEPs and others are in the regular classroom. So what did they have in common? It was language! Funny thing is, they all speak English as their primary language. It is the language math. They needed help understanding... read more

It is becoming more and more apparent to me that the number one mathematical issue today's students face is simple arithmetic. It surprises me how few students in the middle grades know their times tables. Teachers start teaching the concepts of skip counting and grouping as early as kindergarten, yet 7th grade students constantly rely on their calculators to find 4x8 or 45/9. How can teachers, and tutors, help these students understand positive and negative integers, order of operations, calculating percentages and proportions, and evaluating exponents if the students don't know their basic facts. Here is my advice. If your child/student is finishing the third grade and can't multiply through 9x9 and divide the relating facts BY MEMORY, they need help over the summer. Entering fourth grade without this basic skill leaves children in the dust, and unfortunately the remedial programs do little to nothing to help catch the students up. In Michigan, at least, they simply remove the... read more

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