Alyssa Coburn, one of our co-owners and an expert tutor, has tutored many students during her career with Nurturing Wisdom. During this time, she has seen how helpful our tutoring programs can be, especially when tutoring begins early enough to ensure that students have a good foundation of knowledge and study skills before they transition to a new school or grade level. Here, Alyssa shares two stories about working with transition-year students.
I started tutoring Joe in April of his ninth grade year. At that point he’d been struggling all year, and his grades showed it. During class he didn’t know how to take notes effectively. When he worked independently, he had a tough time with comprehension. Although Joe always completed his homework and turned it in on time, he didn’t know how to study and lacked other executive functioning skills. To develop these skills, we created graphic organizers, practiced flashcard cycling, and used front-loaded notes so that he could understand and study the curriculum.
Immediately after Joe started the tutoring program, his grades went up! We were both thrilled with his success. However, when it came to final exams, he was already so far behind that he had to re-learn a year’s worth of curriculum. Because of this, Joe was very stressed out by finals and didn’t experience as much success as he would’ve liked. If we’d started tutoring earlier in the school year, his finals prep would’ve consisted of reviewing information he’d already mastered. He would’ve felt much more confident, and his grades would have reflected his hard work and grasp of the concepts.
In comparison, I began tutoring Tom for executive functioning skill development in the middle of eighth grade. We worked on study skills, note taking, and tracking assignments. Because of our time together before he entered high school, Tom began ninth grade with a solid foundation of skills. We were then able to continue working on those skills in the context of his high school classes. The new curriculum challenged Tom, but we had plenty of time to adjust our strategies to fit his needs. Later on in the school year, his schedule filled up with extracurricular activities, and he had less time to study. However, Tom’s grades didn’t suffer because he knew how to use his time wisely and how to study effectively and efficiently.
Both Joe and Tom are hard-working students. The difference in their school experiences is due in large part to when they began tutoring. Make sure your child starts off the year prepared! Learn more about our one-to-one executive functioning and academic tutoring tutoring!