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CASE STUDY: This 11th grader stopped binge eating because the math stress was gone

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Is your child consumed by math anxiety, even though they’re “doing everything right?”

These are some of my favorite students to work with, because I used to struggle with the exact same thing.

When this particular Algebra II/Trig student first came to me, she was making decent grades – Cs, Bs and low As – but at enormous psychic cost.

She would spend hours every night perfectionistically slaving over her math homework, but still feel completely unclear about the material and consumed by math anxiety.

Math felt like a collection of shards of broken glass that she was putting massive energy into “keeping together,” but they never actually fit together or added up to a cohesive whole.

How did she shift from perfectionism to mastery?

Let’s break it down!

1. When this student started working with me, one of the things that really stressed her out was her formulas sheet.

A page covered in things she hadn’t yet learned, that she would eventually have to memorize, many involving symbols or terms she’d never heard of yet, all crammed onto one scary page.

OF COURSE this freaked her out!

So we set the formulas sheet aside.

2. And instead, we built the formulas sheet from scratch – one formula at a time.

First, we started with the simplest, most basic formula, and built it from scratch using foundational concepts that this student already knew, like the Pythagorean formula.

And we’d make it super visual, drawing diagrams that explained why it worked.

Then she’d “teach it back to me” and build it from scratch and draw the diagrams herself.

Then the next session, we’d do the same thing again.

And again.

And again.

Until each formula was totally internalized, and she could build almost the entire formulas sheet from scratch, all by herself.

3. This created massive self-trust.

Not only did this student KNOW all the formulas, she knew WHY they worked, AND she could build them on her own.

Also, taking the time to do this so slowly, in the end, created massive speed.

This student became one of the fastest problem-solvers I’ve ever seen at this level …

BECAUSE she had taken the time to understand the fundamental concepts so meticulously.

The end result was that, without trying to be fast, this student breezed through the material, understanding at a deep conceptual level problems that many other students just experience as a random collection of rules or weird answers spit out by their TI-82.

Now this student experienced math as a cohesive whole, where she belonged, instead of a random collection of disconnected shards.

4. So, how did this play out in her classroom?

As a result of our work, this student’s grades hit the roof.

She was awarded the “most improved student” award by her teacher – in front of her whole school.

She was so much less stressed that she stopped binge eating…
…just because the math anxiety was gone.

And she applied for and won a prestigious internship at a European research-based skin care company in Georgetown, DC – being chosen over COLLEGE STUDENTS!!!

(This is an awesome example of how when math is no longer an obstacle, students can really bring their dreams and visions out into the world.)

Do you have a child who is struggling with this kind of math anxiety?

Maybe they’re actually getting good grades, but not really understanding how the pieces fit together.

Or maybe their grades have started to suffer.

Either way, I’d love to connect with you get clear on whether or not my work would be a fit for your child.

Just fill out this application to get started: fill out your application here

I am so excited to connect!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

Related Articles:
Case Study: A 5th grader goes from believing “Math Doesn’t Like Me” to singing and dancing about math while wearing a purple tutu
Afraid Your Math Teacher Will Judge You?
Case Study: A 10th grader goes from feeling like math is a foreign language to becoming the most called-upon student in her class
The Treachery of Invisible Math Anxiety

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

The Math Unicorn is on Vacation until January 10th, 2022

Friday, December 17th, 2021

Just a heads up, I’m on holiday break until Monday Jan 10th, 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 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 January 10th, 2022.

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

Sending you love,

REBECCA

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 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

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!

Plan like a unicorn: summer math strategy spectacular — Wed 6/2 @ 5 pm 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: Wednesday, June 2nd

@ 5-6 pm 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!