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What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #5

Monday, October 17th, 2022

5. Math-masterful parents commit to steady math mentoring support for the long haul.

Typical parents try to “get tutoring over with” or “wean off” the tutoring out of fears of dependency.

But math-masterful parents understand that high-level mentoring support is actually a path to deeper and deeper independence, and allows their child to be nurtured in continually more sophisticated ways as they gleefully move up the upwards spiral of true growth.

So they keep math mentoring support in place, month after month, year after year.

They say yes to support again and again, making sure their child continues to be mentored even after their child starts to consistently get straight As—just like an athlete continues to train after they make a national team, or just like a ballerina continues to do barre after she is chosen for a renowned company.

Because the parent and child have this support in place, neither of them is worried about what will happen when the going gets tough (and they know that it will).

They know that support is already there, ready, waiting, on the calendar, and they never have to go back to those dark days of math desperation again.

As a quick example of this, there’s a family that has been working with me now for over 4 years.

Because of the consistent mentoring support they have in place, this student just had the most relaxed experience of finals ever and was able to stay calm when she was surrounded by peers who were panicking.

This meant that her parents, instead of feeling miserable during finals because their daughter was so stressed and overwhelmed, actually felt relaxed themselves during finals.

Do you wish your child could go through this same transformation?

I would love to talk to you.

Just fill out this application here.

As soon as your application is received and reviewed, I’ll reach out to schedule a special appointment for us to connect on the phone and get clear on how I could best support your family.

I can’t wait to connect!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

Related posts:
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #1
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #2
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #3What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #4

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

Case study: a 10th grader goes from feeling like math is a foreign language to being the most-called upon student in her class

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

When this student first came to me just before the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, her mom told me that the tutor they’d just worked with had told the family that to this student, math was like a foreign language where she only spoke five words.

Somehow she’d made it to the end of 9th grade with Bs in math, but none of it actually made any sense to her. It was like she just knew enough to “get around” – like how to ask where the bathroom was and order a hamburger – but not enough to really understand what was going on around her, or communicate herself.

Once we started working together the summer before she headed into pre-calculus, this student’s mastery, confidence, and grades began to steadily improve. By mid-sophomore year, my student’s teacher mentioned to her that he had to be careful to call on other students because my student always gave the correct answer!

The “piece de resistance” was when my student had to take an oral final for her math class at the end of her 10th grade year. Her teacher gave them five very sophisticated problems that synthesized everything they’d ever learned in new ways they hadn’t seen before. They had unlimited time to prepare, and then each student was asked to explain one of the five problems, picked at random on the spot, in front of the entire class. My student did such a good job that she got an A, and she told me later that she walked out of that class feeling like, “I can do anything!”

When it came time for this student to decide what math class to take after pre-calculus, instead of taking the statistics class that many students take as a way to avoid math, my student opted to enroll in AP AB Calculus. Because math had become beautiful, fascinated, and intrinsically rewarding to her, she wanted to keep exploring and growing.

Here’s how this student and I worked together to completely transform her experience of math from a source of unbelievable stress and anxiety into a source of joy and strength:

1. We worked in an atmosphere of total camaraderie and trust. Our tutoring sessions were totally a lighthearted, safe zone where there was absolutely no judgement. This student was free to ask as many questions as she wanted, go over as many examples as she desired, or go over the same example as many times as she required, without any fear of being embarrassed.

2. We focused on filling in the gaps, while also addressing whatever she needed to learn that week or that day. When we would go over her current material and encounter a gap, we’d keep excavating backwards through the layers of prerequisite knowledge until we found the original misunderstanding. Then we’d fill that in, then the idea on top of that, then the idea on top of that, until we’d build back up through the layers to what she was responsible for learning today. This way she was able to repair gaps in her foundational knowledge, while also staying on top of her weekly curriculum and being prepared for tests and quizzes.

3. We really focused on approaching the material in a way that worked for HER. This particular student craves conceptual understanding, so we would approach the material from different angles until she understood WHY it worked that way. She also loves learning math visually, so we would frequently approach concepts and procedures in a visual way – like FOILing using a box instead of just parentheses – that made the concepts more intuitive for her, and easier to internalize.

During moments like this, she would share observations like, “I don’t know how I lived through math without completely understanding this, because it’s so much easier than I thought it was. My whole childhood with math has been completely relearned.”

As my student’s mastery naturally led to greater confidence and grades, her enthusiasm for math grew more and more. She recently shared with me, “This is actually so cool – when actually I understand it, it’s so much fun!”

Would you like your daughter or son to go from feeling like math is a foreign language to experiencing math as genuinely enjoyable, meaningful, and fascinating?

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 complimentary phone call to get clear if it would be a fit for me to support your child with math. I can’t wait to connect!

Related posts:
Case study: a 5th grader goes from believing “math doesn’t like me” to singing and dancing about math while wearing a purple tutu
Case study: a rising 8th grader masters her summer math packet
How to multiply binomials using a box (alternative to FOILing)
An easy way to remember how logarithmic notation works

The Math Unicorn is out of office until Mon January 9th

Tuesday, October 18th, 2022

I’ll be away from my phone and email for winter break,

to rest and replenish for the coming 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 Monday, January 9th, 2023.

I’m excited to connect with you on the flip side!

Sending you love,

REBECCA

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

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