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The Math Unicorn is on Vacation until Tuesday Sept 6th, 2022.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

Just a heads up, I’m on break until Tuesday, September 6th, 2022.

I am pacing myself for the ongoing marathon of COVID and 2022, and want to make sure that I am fully rested to wholeheartedly serve my clients in the new school year. 

So if you’re submitting an application for your child to tutor with me, or you’ve purchased an intro session, you’ll hear back from me the week of September 6th, 2022.

I’m excited to connect with you on the flip side, in a replenished and re-energized state!

Sending you love,

REBECCA

The Top 3 Summer Math Mistakes

Friday, June 18th, 2021

The view from my desk — literally

What are the biggest mistakes when it comes to doing summer math?
 

MISTAKE 1.  YOU HAVE NO PLAN.

If you don’t make a plan,
it’s very likely that you will get to the end of the summer
and realize that you didn’t do any math at all.  
 

And most kids forget 25-40% of their math over the summer,
unless they practice,
and after what we’ve been through for the past 15 months,
no one wants to lose that much!!!!!

MISTAKE 2.  YOU’RE JUST COPYING SOMEONE ELSE’S PLAN.

A lot of families will look around and see,

my neighbor’s kid is doing a math workbook…

or, my kid’s best friend is going to math camp…

or, my niece is doing a math app…

or, everyone in my neighborhood goes to Kumon…

So I guess I should do [insert thing other people are doing].

But if those solutions don’t work for YOU, then they’re not a good plan. 

Even if they’re a good plan for someone else.  

MISTAKE 3.  YOU KEEP DOING WHAT ISN’T WORKING.

If there is ANYTHING we have learned from the pandemic, I think it is, stop doing what’s not working!

This is probably the biggest mistake and the most common mistake of all.  

There are LOTS of ways to learn math! 

If one way doesn’t work for you, that doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you. 

It just means that you need something different.
 

So if something’s not working, you have options!  

You just need to ADJUST based on what you need.

You don’t have to keep suffering, repeating what doesn’t work!

And once you stop doing what’s not working,
it opens space and time for what DOES work instead.

To be continued….

Sending you love,
REBECCA,
the professional math unicorn

Case Study: A Rising 8th Grader Masters Her Summer Math Packet

Friday, June 10th, 2022

When this student came to me this past June, she had been invited to take a placement test in the fall to see if she would place into an honors math class, and wanted help pacing herself on her summer math packet.

I just found out that she placed into honors, and she was so excited when she told me that she screamed on the phone! I am SO proud of her hard work and persistence!

Here’s how we made it happen:

Openness and Trust. Throughout our sessions together, this student was extremely transparent about what she did and didn’t understand. This was enormously helpful, especially because while we thought the summer math packet consisted of review only, it turned out that a ton of material was stuff that this student had never learned. Her willingness to tell me whether she was elated or frustrated–frequently with a self-deprecating sense of humor–helped us build camaraderie and also made our work together much more effective.

Which brings us to…Adjust as you go. When we realized that we had a lot of material to cover from scratch, instead of just reviewing, we adjusted the plan and decided to meet more frequently.

Break it down. The packet was extra-challenging because each page was like a tossed salad, blending problems from all different parts of the curriculum. While this is a great strategy to use when you’re reviewing material, it is not an effective way to learn something new.

So we backtracked, and my student learned one prerequisite skill at a time, practicing it thoroughly until it felt comfortable and automatic. Then, we combined these skills in more complex problems, gradually building up to problems as hard as the ones in the packet.

Practice outside of sessions. I also gave this student individualized worksheets that gave her a chance to practice and internalize the skills we were working on, with answer keys so she could check her work as she went (instead of waiting to talk to me and then finding out that she had practiced something the wrong way). This was especially important because it was the summer and she wasn’t getting a regular dose of math from a school math class.

Feedback on solo work. After building up her skills, my student worked independently on chunks of the packet at the time. This way she got comfortable with problem sets where different kinds of problems are juxtaposed on one page, just like they would presumably be on the placement test. Then, when we worked together, we would go over all of her work so she knew she was on the right track.

Which brings us to, “What did I do wrong?” At first, my student just seemed annoyed with herself when she made a mistake, but I really emphasized to her that it’s okay if you make a mistake as long as you take the time to ask yourself why and learn from it. Scrutinizing and learning from errors gradually went from being an irritating chore to just a routine and helpful part of the learning process.

Enthusiasm. More than any other student I’ve ever worked with, this one has a great appreciation for mathematics’ dramatic resonance and poetic potential. When she learned how to find the solution to a system, she said that that would be a great name for a band. Frequently she remarked that new concepts we were going over would make the premise for a great science fiction story.

Her gleeful excitement about the greater meaning of what she was learning seemed to help her take the tough stuff more in stride, because even the “annoying” math procedures were part of something that was exciting to her.

Parental backup. The best tutoring happens when everyone works together as a team, and this student’s mom was totally focused on the process of learning. She made sure that her daughter completed assignments in between sessions (especially important during the summer). She asked me thoughtful questions about the material and her daughter’s progress that showed me she herself was deeply engaged with her daughter’s math material.

Because she was so organized and also willing to re-learn math and ask questions about the parts she wasn’t sure about, she was also a great role model to her daughter. Her involvement and support was instrumental in her daughter’s success.

I was so thrilled to hear that this student had rocked her placement test and placed into honors! Hooray!

***Update: I just found out today (12/7/2011) that my student got an A for the trimester in her honors math course! I love it when students become completely self-sufficient and continue to succeed after they “graduate” from tutoring. Hooray!!

Related posts:
The Rhyme and Reason of Making Mistakes
Five fun ways to help your kid learn math this summer
Case Study: An ADHD Student Raises Her Grade from a D to an A
Case Study: Regaining Love of Math

What to do when your kid’s math fills you with dread

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

Parents routinely come to me with this situation. Your passionate, creative, unique, visionary kid has been struggling with math for months (or even years), even though they’re already giving it everything they’ve got.

You’re spending hours on Khan Academy every night trying to untangle your kid’s homework, teaching yourself so you can teach them. Instead of having dinner as a family, you’re working on math.

Your kid is so frustrated and stressed about math that they routinely break down and cry. Or maybe they’re just so anxious that you’re starting to pick up their anxiety yourself, and you’re struggling to filter everything you say, just to make sure you don’t snap at them.

You feel drained, burdened, even resentful. You come home from work, and instead of being excited to see your kid and have this precious time with them, you are filled with dread about the math you’ll need to help them with tonight. Again. Night after night. No end in sight.

And the days when they have tests are the worst. When you pick them up after school, you feel this knot in your stomach worrying about how they did.

You’re already worrying about the doors that will be shut to them if they don’t feel comfortable with math. You don’t care whether or not they pursue math as a career – you just really, really don’t want their math phobia to get in the way of their dreams coming true.

You might have even already taken then to a tutoring center and they hated it. Maybe they felt embarrassed that someone they knew might see them. Maybe they were just turned off by having to do worksheet after worksheet. And even though it was supposed to solve the problem, the tutoring center wasn’t able to help your kid either.

And you’re starting to feel extremely guilty, because even though you’re trying everything you can humanly think of, your superhuman efforts are not creating results. Your kid isn’t really understanding, they’re not really learning, and they’re not getting good grades. Sometimes you feel like a failure as a parent.

In a few years, your kid will be in college, out of the house forever, and right now, your precious time together as a family is being completely consumed by struggling with math.

You feel completely stuck.

Does this sound familiar? Is this what you’re facing?

Please know that you are not alone. Nothing is wrong with you. There is just something missing. You aren’t getting the support you need to truly understand, and neither is your kid, but that doesn’t mean that either of you is mathematically incapable. There’s just a gap between what you need and the resources that you have in front of you.

Please know that what you’re facing is not insurmountable. Just because you have been struggling for months or years does not mean that you have to struggle forever.

For example, I personally spent years struggling in silence with math and thinking that I was “not a math person.”

Now I’m on the other side, and I have helped many other families go from being completely consumed about math to feeling happy, relaxed, and confident about math – even in really extreme situations where a kid was so anxious about math they refused to do their homework unless they were sitting next to their mom, or, another example, where a previous tutor had told the family that math was like a foreign language and their daughter only spoke five words.

Please know that you don’t have to stay stuck. It is completely possible to find support that results in lasting math transformation – even if you feel like you’ve already tried everything and nothing has worked.

Please know that you don’t have to keep doing what you’re doing. If it’s not working, doing MORE of what’s not working is not going to create the transformation that you desire.

Please know that you don’t have to do this by yourself. You do not have to reteach yourself all of the math you ever learned. You do not need to be the one trying to ensure that your kid understands. You do not need keep spending hours on Khan Academy every night trying to figure out what they heck your kid is supposed to do. You do not need to continue to feel this dread about your kid’s next math grade.

If you’re ready to invest in world-class, one-on-one math mastery support for your passionate, creative kid, just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs.

Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to explore whether or not the magical way I work would be a good fit for you and your family! I can’t wait to connect and create this same lasting transformation for YOU!

Related posts:
How to know when it’s time to stop tutoring your own kid
Case study: an 8th grader goes from “math meltdown” to “math touchdown!”
What to do when you get a disappointing math test grade

Back-To-School Blastoff MATH PARTY: 3rd graders & up, together with Their Parents – Thurs 8/26 @ 1:30 Pm eastern (Virtual & FREE )

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021
From a recent math party – this is what learning math can feel like!!

Could your child use some help getting back into “math mode”?

Join us for our FREE, virtual back-to-school math blastoff party!

Thursday 8/26

@ 1:30 pm eastern time

Virtual (on Zoom – link emailed to you when you register)

FREE

for students in 3rd grade & up, together with their parents

(this is not a drop-off event)

Wear your favorite “thinking cap” (or any type of fun accessory that helps you think)

Set out a tasty snack

Bring your enthusiasm!

We will learn effective, fun ways

of making math magical

as we practice math together

and learn from each other!

So you and your child can feel more ready

and even more excited

to go back to school!

I am so excited to see you there!!! Let’s get ready, together!!

Sending you love,

REBECCA, the magical math unicorn

PS. Know someone who you think might want to join our party? After you register yourself, invite them to come, too — I’d love to meet your friends!!

Virtual, FREE Back-to-School Math Blastoff PARTY: 1st/2nd graders & their parents – Thurs 8/26 @ 12:15 pm

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021
This is what learning math can feel like!!

Could your child use some help getting back into “math mode”?

Join us for our FREE, virtual back-to-school math blastoff party!

Thursday 8/26

@ 12:15 pm eastern time

Virtual (on zoom – link emailed to you when you register)

FREE

for 1st/2nd graders and their parents, together

(this is not a drop-off event)

Wear your favorite “thinking cap”

Set out a tasty snack

Bring your enthusiasm!

We will learn effective, fun ways

of making math magical

as we practice math together

and learn from each other!

So you and your child can feel more ready

and even more excited

to go back to school!

I can’t wait to see you!

Sending you love,

REBECCA, the magical math unicorn

PS. Know someone who might want to join our party? Please share this with them!

Math Unicorn Ice Cream Social, Sat July 17th at 10 am eastern – FREE and virtual – for 1st/2nd graders and their parents

Saturday, June 19th, 2021

Calling all math unicorns!

What do unicorns do during the summer?  

Well, first, they take a little break to rest, 

and then they use the secret compartment

of the summer 

as a portal 

to the magical realm of math mastery!

So come and join us for the first ever

MATH UNICORN 

ICE CREAM SOCIAL

Sat 7/17 

@ 10 am eastern

1st/2nd graders and their parents together

Bring a friend,

bring your favorite ice cream,

bring a math problem!

UPDATE: The schedule has changed and this event has been cancelled.

Stay tuned, we’ll soon be announcing the details of the next round of math parties

(to take place in August)!

love,

REBECCA,

the professional math unicorn

Math Unicorn Ice Cream Social, Wed July 14th at 5 pm eastern – FREE and Virtual – for 3rd graders & up, and their parents

Saturday, June 19th, 2021

Calling all math unicorns!

What do unicorns do during the summer?  

Well, first, they take a little break to rest, 

and then they use the secret compartment

of the summer 

as a portal 

to the magical realm of math mastery!

So come and join us for the first ever

MATH UNICORN 

ICE CREAM SOCIAL

Wed 7/14 

@ 5 pm eastern

3rd graders & up and their parents

FREE

and VIRTUAL: on ZOOM!

Bring a friend,

bring your favorite ice cream,

bring a math problem!

And we will have fun 

practicing our summer math 

TOGETHER

WHILE SOCIALIZING

AND EATING ICE CREAM!

love,

REBECCA,

the professional math unicorn

The Math Unicorn is on Vacation Until July 6th, 2021

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

Just a heads up, I’m on break and out of the office until Tuesday, July 6th, 2021.

So if you’re submitting an application for your child to tutor with me, or you’ve purchased an intro session, you’ll hear back from me on Tuesday, July 6th, 2021.

I’m excited to connect with you in a re-energized state!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

Plan Like a Unicorn: Summer Math Strategy Spectacular–Sun 6/6 @ 11 am eastern (FREE and virtual)

Sunday, May 16th, 2021

Has the last year of math been, shall we say, a bit of a nightmare?   

Do you wish summer math could be…magical, meaningful and joyful?

But how can you plan for summer math learning, when everything is constantly changing?

When you might feel like your child just got shafted out of a year and a half of math education?

When you might feel completely, utterly at a loss of how to help your child, after exhausting yourself, trying everything, during the pandemic?

That’s why I am going to share the secrets of how to plan like a unicorn.

And you’re invited!

WHAT: PLAN LIKE A UNICORN: SUMMER MATH STRATEGY SPECTACULAR

WHEN: Sunday, June 6th

@ 11 am-12 noon eastern 

WHO:  2nd-4th graders and their parents

WHERE: On zoom!

COST: FREE!


During our Summer Math Strategy Spectacular, you will: 

• Be guided through an interactive self-assessment process

• To create your own customized summer math learning plan that your child will actually embrace

• While discovering ways to make summer math effective and enjoyable!

• Plus, hone your math magic with us, 

practicing problems of your choice that you submit in advance.

 And, learn from each other, as students take turns 

getting one-on-one magical math guidance in front of the group

 all sprinkled with stories, songs, joyful movement, and meaningful interaction.

You will be on your way to having a new, better, DIFFERENT experience of math this summer—unicorn style. 

Put your best dress-up outfit, bring a scrumptious snack, and grab your most magical pencil!  I can’t wait to see you there!

Join us from WHEREVER you are — it’s on zoom!

I can’t wait to share this with you!

Sending you love,

REBECCA, the magical math unicorn

PS. Do you know someone you think might want to come to our party? Invite them to join us, too!