Math Tutoring

At Educational Solutions, we have experience and expertise in addressing math skill acquisition, remediation and advancement at all grade levels from Pre-K through College. 

        Math success begins with the development of a math concept in early childhood. When a two year old learns to count, they memorize one,two,three,four,five,six,seven,eight,nine,ten as a string of syllables in the same manner they would learn to say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Numeral recognition, quantity identification, one to one correspondence, and size discrimination are just a few of the skills that young children must learn in order to lay a strong foundation for effective concept acquisition at higher levels. 
        Children who do not have a strong math concept will begin struggling in math early on, especially with word problems. The use of manipulatives and strategies for visualizing math concepts is critical for remediation. Unfortunately schools rarely use these tools, however, supplemental instruction by a qualified parent or tutor can bring about dramatic gains in a short period of time that will last a lifetime.
Once the foundational skills have been mastered, we reach the crucial period of memorizing math facts. Many children are overly focused on accuracy and never acquire the speed necessary for mastery. Dependence on fingers is another huge road block to mastery, as well as counting in their head. There are many ways of weaning a child off of these crutches besides the horrible and torturous act of memorizing flash cards. When helping a child master math facts, variety is key. Regardless of how it happens, it is critical to a child’s math future that all of their math facts are completely automatic before reaching middle school.

Middle School

         Many students who received good grades, or even excelled, in elementary school, can struggle with the additional demands of middle school. 

        The increased accountabitity for completing homework and studying outside of class can be intimidating for some students and once they fall behind, they lack faith in themselves to keep up, much less catch up. This is especially true in math where concepts continually build on previously taught material.
         Add to that the format of most middle school curricula where the chapters skip from pre-algebra to data analysis to geometry and back to pre-algebra again and students are not just being asked to build on concepts they just learned, but concepts they learned months or even a year prior. 
        Because the curriculum, tends to be so inefficient, supplemental instruction can make a huge difference in a short period of time. If students have not become too discouraged and given up completely then they will tend to do fine in some chapters and horribly in others.
         Either way, they can quickly regain their confidence in some or all areas of the curriculum once they discover their specific strengths and weaknesses and learn how to address them.

        Whether or not a student takes Algebra in 8th grade has a great impact on the quality of math education they receive throughout high school and even into college. 

        I recently worked with siblings in 8th and 9th grade who were both taking Algebra I. The high school student was allowed to use a calculator whereas the middle school student was not. The pace was even more accelerated in the 8th grade course. By the end of the first quarter the younger student was already nearly a chapter ahead of his older sibling. 
        The divide between the expectations for students in advanced classes versus those on a standard track becomes more and more expansive year to year. Mastery of algebraic concepts is fundamental to success in all math courses throughout high school and college.     
        The new Algebra curriculum adopted by Collier County Schools in 2010 came with a little known resource that can be extremely effective in preparation or remediation for a student prior to, during or after taking Algebra 1.
         If you have a student who is taking or considering taking Algebra 1, please contact us for more information about this study tool, which can be used here or at home.

High School

        The benefits of receiving additional help for students struggling in high school math are self-explanatory. Accountability is at a maximum as students and/or parents focus on getting and keeping GPA’s as high as possible.
         As discussed previously, the demands of regular courses versus advanced, honors or AP is greatly reduced so it may be tempting to take an easier course in order to keep a higher GPA. However, this is a short term fix because these classes may not prepare a student for the all important test scores that they must receive on the ACT, SAT or College Placement Test in order to be admitted to the college of their choice.

        While taking more advanced courses is the best way to prepare for college, it still may not be enough. I once tutored a student with a 4.2 GPA at risk of losing a full basketball scholarship to Duke University because he could not meet the university’s minimum score requirements on the SAT. It is never too early or too late to start preparing for the barrage of standardized testing that occurs in high school.
        Another common misconception is that taking AP courses results in receiving college credit. Students do not receive college credit for taking AP courses. They receive college credit for passing AP exams. Passing the course rarely predicts the ability to pass the test. I recommend that any student in an AP course ask their teacher how many students passed the exam the previous year. I am willing to bet that it was not many. Again, a little practice outside of class can go a long way towards helping a student receive the AP credit they deserve.
Finally, students preparing to enter college may be asked to take a placement test if their SAT or ACT scores are borderline. They should always study for this type of test because the stakes are high. If they do not do well, they will be required to take remedial classes. These classes cost the same and count towards their class load the same way regular courses do, but they will not receive college credit for them.