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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Schools use a cookie-cutter approach, giving most children the same lessons. Tutoring, on the other hand, provides individualized attention.

By giving your child individual attention, I can help in a number of ways.

  • I can identify areas where your child struggles and find an explanation that works for them, based on their background
  • I can provide affirmation and support for the things they do well. In school, a child may only get attention when they make a mistake or get behind. That means they're missing praise and positive reinforcement, which is crucial for understanding math and preparing for harder courses.
  • I can show them how to travel away from the beaten path and start using creativity to solve problems. I can teach them to recognize the value of unexpected discoveries. Schools rarely teach this, because they have to stick to a standardized curriculum.

I can help your child:

  • Feel more confident in their current math class.
  • Feel more relaxed when they encounter confusion.
  • Get better grades.
  • Have insight into the inner workings of math so they can tackle harder math classes in the future.

Contact me to schedule a lesson. You may also schedule a 15-minute free phone consultation through my automated scheduler.

My fee is $60 per hour. I'll meet you at the location of your choice (within five miles of zip code 91101), either your home or a public place like a library or coffee shop.

I have a strong affinity for math, having taught myself competition math in high school and finishing in the top 100 students nationwide. I got my Bachelor of Science degree from Caltech and worked for NASA for 16 years.

But lots of tutors are good at math. What's different about me is that I understand how the human mind learns and solves difficult problems. In 2007, I trained for 500 hours in the application of mindfulness to education, and I've spent 10 years using what I learned to teach myself and other people new things about math, computer science, art, and music.

There are a number of things that make Path to Math Clarity different:

  • I fundamentally trust your child. I believe that they have an inborn curiosity and natural creativity.
  • I teach by affirmation, finding the good in your child’s attempts to solve problems. Although I make sure they get to the right answer in the end, I believe in guiding them with praise and positive regard.
  • I give your child a sense of clarity about the patterns of math, rather than having them only memorize a formula.
  • I teach good study habits, like breaking down new information, approaching it step-by-step, and organizing their work on the page.

Yes. Many of my approaches, like the ones below, can be applied to other subjects:

  • Good study habits, like taking in new information in bite-sized pieces and keeping notes organized.
  • Getting through confusion and having the courage to carry on when things are difficult.
  • General problem-solving techniques.

Schools reinforce the “One Right Way” myth. You child may think they’re supposed to respond to every question by searching hard in their memory for the correct procedure or answer. This prevents them from seeing math as a creative, empowering activity.

In addition, schools apply pressure to get good grades, which can cause a child who’s already anxious about math to get overwhelmed and shut down.

With my gentle, affirmative approach, your child will quickly realize that they already have many good and useful thoughts about math. I take the pressure off. They can make wrong guesses and answers while we work together, as long as we keep learning from them and get the right answer in the end.

All math knowledge is based on classes that came before. If your child has deficiencies, it simply won’t be possible to review months or years of missing concepts in a short time.

But there is a positive side to this story. Most children know lots of math somewhere inside, even if they can’t immediately recall it when they’re nervous. Even one session can give your child a confidence boost. This may help them perform better on an upcoming test.

If your child is nervous, excited, or feeling shame or confusion, these are all body states as well as mind states. They will impact how your child functions.

Mindfulness teaches that fighting or struggling with unpleasant feelings doesn’t work. They just get more unpleasant. If your child is experiencing a difficult body state, I can reassure them that it’s completely normal and not something to be afraid of. I can teach your child how to calm themselves by maintaining a sense of contact with their body and with their support from the ground.

My methods, such as teaching by affirmation and approaching problems creatively, are just as useful for advanced students. I enjoy teaching every kind of student and making it a pleasant experience for them.

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