Looking for someone to help with homeschooling your child? Homeschooling can be wonderful - or frightening. I should know; I homeschooled my three kids and taught several of their friends as well. I have been tutoring for many years in all different subjects. I began by tutoring first graders in arithmetic and have tutored graduate students in writing papers. I just love to teach - or more accurately, I love to see people learn. So what qualifies me to tutor? My undergraduate degree is in... [more]
I have a degree in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University and have done laboratory work in DNA research, tissue culture, and pathology labs. I have tutored at the Learning Center at SMU, as well as teaching biology to my own homeschooled children. I still have the microscopes and dissection kits to prove it. I have been fascinated by all things biology since 7th Grade Camp, where I looked through the lens of a microscope for the first time and realized what an amazing world was out there. My particular interests were in genetics, so I focused on the molecular biology in my college studies.
My own grammar education was grounded in the wonderful process of diagramming sentences. This taught me to see relationships between words in a way that has been helpful ever since. I taught my children grammar using both the old book that I had used and some newer resources that focus on prepositional phrases. Between these two approaches, I have been able to help both children and adults understand the beautiful puzzle that is grammar.
I actually really disliked math as a child. I thought I was bad at math. When I finally figured out that math had a real purpose, it became a lot more fun. As I began to tutor math, I realized that I was able to understand the problems students were having better than the math whizzes because I had had to struggle at one time. I can actually tutor higher level math since I have had through calculus, but I prefer teaching the basics that are so important to all other math. Since a lot of math is cumulative, I will make sure that you know the foundational material and each step along the way so that you can progress to the next step confident in your ability.
I have a great deal of experience in teaching children to read, having taught my three children and having tutored many children over the years. I make sure that a child has a good grasp of the sounds of letters, then move on to sounding out simple words. Some words have to be learned by sight, so we work on those as well. As the child gains confidence, we work on comprehension, first at the level of sentences and then paragraphs. In addition to having a lot of experience, I am a very patient and encouraging person. I feel that it is important to give a child a chance to figure words out for themselves rather than jumping to help immediately. However, that has to be balanced with understanding how much frustration a child can handle.
I told each of my children that they were not allowed to leave home until they could write well. I graded a lot of papers for my professors and in my own classes and saw that so many people could not write in a way that could communicate. The trick with writing well is to boil things down to the most important elements. I can help with organization, sentence structure, and creative writing. I personally have written everything from a dissertation to song lyrics. The same elements go into all writing. It is just a matter of learning them. The easiest way to help you learn to write is to work through a piece of writing with you and take you through the process of starting with the idea, developing the thesis and outline and then writing the paper or story. I think I can show you that you can learn to write in a coherent, organized, and lively manner. And by the way - my kids got to leave home and most of the students I tutored raised their grades on their papers at least one letter.
In terms of my own abilities in English, I was able to write a dissertation that received a high pass. I am also a professional writer of articles and curriculum for the United Methodist Publishing House. I have taught all three of my children to read and write from the beginning stages up through college. I have also taught creative writing with children in a program called Written and Illustrated. The children wrote, illustrated, and bound their own books. Several of my former students have gone on to make literature or writing their career. If grammar is an issue, I have an excellent program that I use that includes old-fashioned sentence diagramming. I have found that even a small amount of diagramming produces great results in helping children understand the structure of sentences. I address spelling in a variety of ways depending on the grade level. Primarily I use a resource called Spelling Power that worked very well with my children, including the child that had trouble mixing up letters. You can see more of my qualifications in reading and writing.
I have been a musician for over 40 years. In the past two years I have taken Music Theory and Aural Skills as a refresher course, along with piano, choir, voice, and composition. I have made A's in almost all of these courses. I also tutor other students at my college in these subjects.