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The Homework Lounge

If you still have questions after reading the FAQs and answers from other concerned parents, feel free to contact us. 

How is THL different than tutoring?

Our goal is to stop the crutch of tutoring by giving our students the tools, confidence and knowledge they need to succeed in math- without us. We love your child, but we don’t want to be there forever. We work to give your child what they need in a way they will GET IT NOW, and move on to succeed in math on their own, or with minimal support.

What do you mean by “quickly” bring results?

When students start with us, we not only look at what they know, but we look out how they learn. We gauge where the holes are in their math concepts, and begin filling those in first. What’s different is the approach of math as fun instead of math as a chore. We will show you the “shortcuts” but not until we have shown you a way to get it. By having our students LEARN through research-based methods, we know that we are teaching children math, and not just presenting it. That way, they take the knowledge with them well beyond our sessions. They know it for the next test, but also for the next year.

Do you work with homeschooled children?

Absolutely. Homeschool situations give us an advantage in that we can help create a curriculum that will be of maximum benefit and success for your child. We help parents who want support because they aren’t sure how to teach the math, or perhaps their child is struggling to grasp the concepts to move on to the next level. Erin Smilkstein, MA.Ed., is a regularly featured writer for The Homeschool Handbook to teach parents how to best create a solid, productive math program at home. Her articles on math topics will be featured starting November 2013 through 2014.

Why do you focus on 4th-8th grade math?

From a developmental standpoint, around 4th grade (around 10 years old), children are starting to experience math at a more conceptual level, even though we know that children learn best through concrete, real experiences. Things that tend to have “rules” and algorithms are introduced, and we know that children who have done well through 3rd grade may find their first math-mishaps begin in 4th. We also know that children who begin to fall behind in math in 4th grade tend to stay behind through the rest of their lives (at least through high school). We focus on PREVENTING math problems in middle school with early intervention.
For middle school students, often we find students who fell behind in 4th grade, but were not able to get intervention early enough. Those children are now in middle school, and beginning to deal with puberty, social aspects of being a pre-teen and (gulp) algebra. Algebra I is thought of as the gateway to higher education. By focusing on skills to get middle school children ready to fully participate and succeed in algebra, we feel that we may be saving them from drowning later on. We are here to ensure students stay on course to success, perhaps eliminating the need for tutors (or more remediation) in higher math classes.

My child is younger (or older) than 4th-8th grade. Can he still participate?

You know your child best. If you think he or she would benefit from one of our programs, please contact Erin. Special circumstances arise where children out of our focus ages are a good match for us.

What can I expect different than having a regular tutor come to my house? Why?

We are specialists. We do not have a laundry list of skills that we teach, nor do we accept everyone to our programs. We understand how children learn, how thinking occurs, and how the emotional trauma of bad math experiences can affect children’s self-esteem and ability to learn.

THL is not the same as tutoring because of how we teach and what we expect for our students. 1) We know it works. 2) We know you will be satisfied. 3) We work in 3 or 6 month programs. 4) You will probably spend less with us overall than in years of lower level tutoring. You do not need to commit to a year, because we can typically help you succeed in 3 or 6 months.

THL is beyond tutoring. We work with you- as a person, a parent and a family- to make sure you are supported with homework, schoolwork, and homeschooling. We conduct assessments; meet with schools, mentor teachers and other teaching professionals how to work with your child. We will mediate meetings for you and the school and help you feel confident that all the pieces of the math puzzle are in place.

Do students ever work with you beyond 6 months?

Absolutely. Because we have such strong results, parents often stay with us. “Why change what’s working?

Your videos are really goofy. Are you just really bad at making videos?

When a child learns, there are several areas of the brain firing at once. In particular, the left side of the brain, which deals with our ability to understand math, is also responsible for our pleasure responses (joy, calm, peace.) However, math tends to trigger the fight or flight responses – fear, withdrawal, confusion (see the post on math anxiety). It’s not simply because I’m a terrible singer (well, I am, but that’s a different post) – it’s actual because having lower level, accessible curriculum that students have an immediate, positive reaction to helps them integrate the knowledge into long-term memory faster. The eCourses immediately show students that you don’t have to be a good singer; you don’t have to be “serious” or “uptight” to do this math- This math is for everyone. That’s why it works. 🙂

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