The 3 things our kids REALLY need to succeed in school

3 Things our kids need to succeed in school

There’s this predictable order to churning out good grades in the early part of school–memorize, practice, test. Fill out assignments; hand them in.

Problem is, college doesn’t work like that. LIFE doesn’t work like that. And, increasingly, high school doesn’t even work like that anymore.

There’s this certain something about students that tend to make it–and I’m talking about a well-rounded success. Students who actually find interest in their school years, grab it, and run with it. Who go on to find–or create!–a career path that’s worth it–mind, body, and wallet.

I know because I’ve worked with these students for seven years as I write this. And I’ve seen what it’s like for their counterparts who struggle along without finding that spark.

I also know because it took me until well into college to find it for myself.

It shouldn’t be like this for anyone–and it doesn’t have to be.

What your success-to-be REALLY needs to know

Aside from the nitpicky memorize, practice, and test routine you need to instill an inner power. In fact, I’d argue that this is more important than memorizing facts or any of the rest of it. Continue reading “The 3 things our kids REALLY need to succeed in school”

Why smart kids secretly fall behind–and what parents can do


Why smart kids secretly fall behind and what parents can do

I was watching him read words out loud from a page when I noticed it–

There was a slight pause, a tap on a different word, and then he read the word out. The trouble is, he read it correctly.

Notice that he didn’t know how to read the the word, he figured it out by looking at another word he knew. Mission NOT accomplished.

And that’s the trouble: some of the most brilliant students are just barely able to come up with the right answer. They haven’t truly learned it. There is NO mastery. 

They’ll coast on by for now–until they have to build on their skills. After third grade when reading by itself, or basic math by itself isn’t the point, that’s when the problems start. Suddenly no one can understand why this bright student isn’t getting Algebra, or why she struggles with essay writing.

Even by the time they are in high school, it’s still 100% possible for you to help as a parent:

Remind them: getting the right answer is only PART of the point.

Tell your kid she’s also going to have to be so good at doing this that she can handle it when her teacher adds another two steps on top–and then some!

Mention it at the beginning of the year or semester, or whenever she starts a new unit. (Don’t be surprised if they don’t seem to listen now–usually they have to make the mistake before they remember your words).


Get help EARLY.

When you see your daughter (or son) struggling a lot to get the right answers on homework–or expressing that she feels defeated–it’s a good sign that something basic is missing.

Make sure her teacher knows she’s struggling with this subject–chances are she’s not the only one. Her teacher can re-explain it to the class for her and everyone will benefit. Or ask for extra practice sheets before a long break.

Most of the skills are the foundation for the next ones–so whatever she’s not understanding now is going to make it painful to learn the next step.

Is your kid struggling in Math or Essay Writing?
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The easy to fix reason kids will STRUGGLE with Algebra and English


The simple reason most kids struggle in Algebra and Writing

It doesn’t matter if I’m tutoring a teenager in Algebra or a fourth-grader tackling writing. Same goes for an Honors student in English class or a college student in Chemistry.

So many students make massive errors due to handwriting. Handwriting!

I was talking to one of my tutoring students about the insane amounts of time we used to spend on handwriting. At least two years of my elementary school years were heavy on handwriting. Now that time is going into STEM subjects, especially Math–so here’s the question:

What happens when kids don’t have decent handwriting?

Here’s what I’ve seen as a tutor:

  • At the college level: writing errors that completely destroy Chemistry or Math calculations (cue the confusion)
  • At the high school level: complete lack of confidence in note-taking, copying errors, setting up equations completely wrong, gaps in writing ability
  • At the elementary school level: problems telling similar letters apart even into first and second grade

It comes down to one thing: writing is the major tool for learning.

And while it may seem so outdated not to type things up, the fact is that the very process of writing engages our minds in more ways than just typing: shaping the letters/words in our minds, moving our hands to create writing, and seeing the words written out in our familiar script. Even learning the difference between letters is more about handwriting and less about visually seeing the shapes (Auburn University).

Handwriting is still a huge part of learning, and I suspect it always will be.

Hilariously, I told my first grade student we didn’t use computers in elementary school when I was little. Horrified, he asked me, “So they hadn’t invented chairs yet either!?” Lol!

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I want to know–does your kid have “doctor handwriting?” How do you feel about her/his handwriting? (Comment below!)

Looking for a tutor that helps with the complicated issues and does it in a way that helps handwriting?

Contact me today to reserve a free intro tutoring session!
Email: CuriosityWings [at]
Phone: (612) 466-0075