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Boston Tutor Charles Robinson, Ph.D.
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Boston Math Tutoring

Math in Grade School

It is very important for your child to master math/arithmetic during grade school.  The process of overlearning the addition and multiplication tables should be done with a complete understanding of those tables.  The student should be able to figure out each addition and multiplication fact in several different ways.  Very often, in grade school, the understanding of these facts is not taught properly, allowing the student to fall behind.

Consider the child who has memorized the multiplication tables without being able to substantiate the memorized facts with understanding.  That child has missed a big chance to develop his or her mind.  The important things that arithmetic can do for a mind are being lost on this child.

Now consider the child who, not understanding the multiplication facts, is then unable to memorize them.  That child feels like a failure, and it will be very hard, in later years, to eradicate that negative feeling.

Frequently the important subject of fractions is taught in a confusing way, and sometimes even the wrong way.  Students are taught that a fraction is part of a whole.  This is not true. Just as a sum is the result of adding numbers, a fraction is the result of dividing one number by another.

Multiplication is taught in a way that encourages the student to feel that you make things bigger by doing multiplication.  This is not so.  It is little wonder that so many children fail to make sense of math.

Grade school is the first place that children should be taught to get things straight.  If competent tutoring is needed to make this happen, grade school is a good time to provide that tutoring.

Math in Middle School

When algebra appears in middle school, it can be bewildering.  Once the child has lost the thread, no amount of studying will suffice.  The child will remain bewildered until his or her questions are answered one-on-one.  Good tutoring is very important here.
Middle school is also a good time to fill in gaps that have accumulated in the child's knowledge and skills from the earlier grades.

Middle school is a good time to start mastering the math portion of the SAT.  There are wonderful math contests for middle school students.

Math in high school

It is a sad thing to leave a college bound student struggling with high school math.  The reason parents send their children to college is to give them an advantage in life.  That's the same reason why parents should provide a good tutor in the high school years.  The math courses that are taught in high school are not at a level that puts students at an advantage.  Rather, the math that is taught in our high schools is mediocre, when taught properly and individually.  There is no good reason for college-bound students to struggle with math and do poorly in it.

Once the student has been brought up to speed in high school math, he or she, with the parents, can decide whether to go for excellence, transcending the relatively mediocre curriculum of ordinary high school math .

The math SAT is also a feature of high school math life.  It is an excellent idea to make a serious effort in this direction starting in high school.

Math in college

There are many pitfalls in college math. It is important to have a competent tutor when the student encounters these pitfalls.  There is not too much sense in going to a top college if you're not getting top grades.

For the student who is more or less sailing through his or her math courses, the next step is to go for excellence and transcendence of the ordinary college curriculum.

Math in graduate school

There are pitfalls that beset graduate-school math courses.  Having the advantage of a professional tutor at your side is very important in these instances.

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