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Surviving Schoolwork at Home

My name is Taylor Hyde and I am the owner and founder of Study Buddy tutoring. I'm 22 years old and I was born and raised in Utah. I want to give you tips and tricks on how to help your kids be more successful in school especially during the pandemic. Nobody knows what's happening in the fall, and all of us know what a mess e-learning was for some families in the spring!

I'd like to give you some comfort and advice in approaching the school year. My whole life I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. That was my dream job -- teaching second grade.I was going to have a jungle-themed classroom! I had all these brilliant ideas and I was super excited about having my own classroom and having my own students someday.

But my life got completely turned upside down, so I'm no longer graduating in education, like I had always planned. I'm graduating in speech language pathology, but I still wanted to find a way to be a teacher. As I've been working with my students as a tutor, I've discovered that I actually have a passion for teaching math with kids who are a lot older. This brought me to my tutoring business where I work with middle school and early high school math students as opposed to the second graders I always dreamed of working with.

Help! How do I help my child with math if I am not good at it?

One of the complaints I hear most commonly from parents is they're struggling to help their kids with their math homework. They feel like they themselves are not very good at math so they don't know how to teach it to their kids. I have a couple of suggestions to try and make teaching math a little bit less stressful for your students if they are home this fall and not getting all of the support you wish they had.

Tips for Teaching Math

Tip number one: make math relatable. Kids have a hard time understanding math concepts when they can't put them into context in the real world.Try and find something that you can relate the math problem to that really exists. For example, I taught a student about negative numbers and subtraction the other day by using football. Zero was the center line, positive numbers were his team pushing toward the goal post, and negative numbers were the other team pushing toward their goal post. All of a sudden it made sense!

Other ways to make math relatable are with fractions. They can be taught pretty simply by using pizza. The denominator represents how many slices of pizza there are in a whole and the numerator tells you how many slices you have. This works very well with addition and subtraction. Eating the pizza, buying more pizza, splitting it up between friends -- you can do a lot of things with pizza and fractions.

You can also teach division pretty easily by using cookies. If you have 84 cookies and want to split them evenly between 20 people how many cookies will each person get and will you have any left over?

I am worried about my child falling behind in school

Tip number two: everyone's extremely worried about their kids falling behind in school because of Covid. They’re worried that they're not going to know the concepts they need to know. Take a deep breath, know that all of the teachers in the world, I guarantee, are going to understand that this happened. They know that kids don't necessarily have the background knowledge they would have had because school ended a lot earlier. They didn't get to finish the end of the year, they didn't get those end-of-year tests, they may not be as prepared for the next school year as they would be under normal circumstances. Teachers in the fall are going to understand that, and they're going to take their classes a little bit slower. They're going to reteach previous concepts and make sure that your child can really do what they're being asked to do.

My child and I are feeling overwhelmed with the school work

Tip number three: make sure your child is taking mental health breaks. Children are going to get very easily overwhelmed by the amount of homework they're being asked to do. Especially if it's difficult and they don't know how to do it on their own. Make sure that they're taking small breaks at least once every 30 minutes to take a brain break, step away from the situation, and reapproach it. They will be more confident completing their assignment.

What if my child is still struggling?

Finally, tip number four: if your child is really struggling, consider hiring a tutor. They may need that little bit of extra help and support from someone one-on-one who completely understands their situation. All of my students are at varying levels of academic ability and I still work with them. I have students who are on the autistic spectrum, I have students who have fallen behind because of various issues with teachers or classroom settings. And I have students who just struggle a little bit more in general in school and need that extra support. All of them have seen lots of progress.

Student Success Stories

I'd like to share a couple of success stories with you to prove sometimes tutoring really is the best option. One of my favorite stories to tell is about one of my students who just finished fifth grade and his mom reached out to me when I first started my business back in April. She said he was really struggling with his math homework and the things that his teacher was expecting him to do. He just needed a little bit of extra instruction from someone. So I started working with him and he was so excited to have a tutor. He was so excited to be learning. One day during our class he was struggling to figure out a problem and I asked him if he needed help and he said, “No, I want to figure it out on my own.” So I let him figure it out and he got the answer right! He said, “Yes! It feels so good to be smart!”

I have another student who has fallen quite behind in his curriculum. He is supposed to be going into eighth grade this fall but is not doing math at an eighth grade level yet. I've been working with him for the past few weeks to help him catch up on content. My student has been able to successfully learn almost an entire year's worth of math since we started working together about a month or so ago. I'm just so proud of all the progress he's made and how much he has learned, how willing he is to show up for lessons on time and excited and ready to do math. 

Hire a tutor anywhere in the world!

Kids who are excited about learning do so much better and it really helps when they feel like they have someone on their team who is rooting for them and just wants to help them succeed. That’s what I do. If all of this sounds like something that may be beneficial for your student, I encourage you to reach out. You can contact me on the West Tenth app and I will book a free consultation, no strings attached, so that we can talk about your student. We can discuss what they're struggling with, what help they would need, and how I can help them. I offer all of my classes online via Zoom so it doesn't matter if you live close to me or not. If you live anywhere in the world and you need help, I am here to help you.

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