flushlife.com flush: adj. having an abundant supply of money; affluent

14Sep/090

How to Find the Best Home Tutors with 5 Questions

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If you’re looking for a tutor, you’ve probably seen your share of poor academic assistance. You’ve seen the people with long resumes who promise high test scores, only to be fooled when the semester came to a close. Or someone who worked well with your child, but homework was never done, and test scores never improved.

The secret to finding the best tutor is by finding someone who has genuine answers to these five questions. As a former tutor and branch manager for a tutoring company, these are the questions I asked my potential employees to find the cream of the crop.

1. How would you assess a student's difficulty with a particular subject matter?

This question weeds out a lot of the tutors that look good on paper, but don’t know how to work with a student one-on-one. The tutor should list three assessments:

  • The first is a learning style test along with a brain hemisphere test. The student will typically show strength in one of four areas: visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic. The student will also show a preference of thinking "left-brain" or "right-brain". This test will let the tutor know how the student learns best.
  • The second is a test to determine the student’s general knowledge of the subject matter. This test will help the tutor pinpoint specifically where the student is having difficulty.
  • The last assessment is an informal "Q & A" with the student. The tutor can use this information to translate the information the student is learning into something the student is already interested in. Questions should be similar to: What music do you listen to? Do you listen to music when you do your homework? Do you play video games? Do you play sports? etc.

2. How would you use the information from the assessments to best tutor the student?

Good tutors pass the first question. Great tutors pass the second. Many tutors will give students assessments but have no idea how use that information to assist the student.

A great tutor will make connections between the student’s learning style and lay out a plan for teaching the subject matter in relation to the student’s strengths.

They will also take note of any inconsistencies in the second assessment and go back to certain areas that the student may not have learned. I tutored a straight "A" student that was failing Geometry. She had done well in all previous math classes and had no problems with the formulas either.

I asked her to draw a square. She drew a lopsided rectangle and joked that she couldn't draw very well. Rather than teaching her the math portions of geometry, I taught her how to draw. I gave her some graph paper and for an hour every session, I had her practice drawing triangles, squares, circles, hexagrams, etc.. She hated every minute of it, but within a week she was able to draw simple shapes and got her first "A" on the next test.

In the last assessment, a great tutor will be able to translate information into what the student has already learned. If the tutor has no connection with the student in any areas of interest, the student will more than likely not learn from the tutor. There are exceptions, but in my experience if the student can't identify with their teacher then tutoring will be a struggle.

3. If a student has a learning disability, how would you adapt your teaching method to best fit the student's success?

If you're able to find a tutor who has a response to this question, you've found someone that’s a cut above the rest.

When I worked as a tutor, there was a mother who came into our branch with her son who had a small tube protruding from his scalp. She told us that he was born with excess fluid surrounding his brain, and due to this, has a problem with taking mental skills into his long term memory.

She said that they had tried dozens of different tutoring methods and facilities and had had no luck. I told her that I would try new things and when that didn't work, I'd try something else. A lot of the first couple weeks were trial and error. The assessments I'd given him did not bring any light to the situation and showed that he was pretty even across the board. And each time I met with him I had to teach him the same thing, but in a new way because he had forgotten it since our last meeting.

When we were talking he was telling me how frustrating it was because sports were no problem for him, but he couldn't figure out how to do well in any of his classes. So I brought out a big white board for him to do his homework on. I told him to write in big letters and numbers and then we'd transfer the work to paper when he'd finished. At the end of the session he was able to recall everything we had done. When we met again, he had retained most of what we had done before and we were able to make significant progress.

The student hadn't made the connection of how to translate characters on paper into his gross muscles so that they could be retained in his long term memory. Eventually, he didn't need the white board and he worked with a pen and paper and did well in all of his classes.

A great tutor will adapt their methods to best suit the student's needs.

4. Can you describe an instance where a student succeeded in relation to your tutoring?

This question calls them on their bluff if they've been blowing smoke through the previous questions. It separates the posers from the real deal.

5. When can your start?

If they've made it through question four, then you should hire them right away, because you're not going to find anyone better...

unless they can start sooner.

This guest post was written by Kris Madden, a teacher and former tutor. His educational speed reading videos have appeared in the UK's Independent, Lifehacker, and Boing! Boing!. He has written articles for GearLive, Peevish Penman, and Astonishing Adventures.

3Sep/094

12 Cool New Cars for Teens With Money

Autoweek yesterday announced their list of 10 Great and Safe Rides for Teens but we think this is so boring, not to mention the list of cars is horrid and I'd never want to see even my childrens' school teachers driving these. What am I saying? My kids are privately educated - at home - but I think the point is made.

This has inspired me to pick 12 Cool Cars for Teens who have money. I've set the price limit a low $50k (since it's not good to just give money away to your children - they have to earn it) and the car must be new, as a 2009 or 2010 model year car. Here's what I've come up with, in no particular order.

1. BMW 135i

bmw135i

BMW has long been known for making safe, fun cars and the 135 doesn't fail to deliver. Compact and very well balanced, it makes good use of the twin-turbo 300hp engine. If that's not enough, turn to Dinan and for the dollar difference from mid-30's to our 50k limit you'll have a street rocket like no other, still in full warranty and free maintenance.

27Mar/091

Unique Motor-Powered Toys And Electric Toys

Classy toys are not just made for adults.  Children too can enjoy luxurious unique motor-powered toys.

This Ferrari 1986 Testarossa is a go-kart that weighs 615 pounds and can go up to 30 MPH.  It puts all other go-karts to shame, as it was sold at FAO Schwartz and Neiman Marcus for $50,000.  Now it can be purchased for half that, at $24,900.  This amazing car features an electric starter, Momo steering wheel, a working horn, CD stereo system, gauges, dual adjustable seats, real retractable headlights, turn signals, independent suspension and hydraulic rear disc brakes.

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CHOPPER CYCLE

The kids can also feel like a rebel on a Chopper Motorcycle.  Talk about riding in style.  It can go up to about 37.5 MPH, so parents need to be sure the child will handle the power safely and wear a helmet. A leather outfit could make them feel like areal biker, to be like dad.  It can go up to about 77 miles on a full tank of gas.  This stylish children's ride costs $799.98.

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CLASSIC VESPA

The Classic Child's Vespa is still sporty and sleek.  It offers a motorcycle like ride for any child as well.  It is the child's version of the classic European scooter from the original Vespa in post-WWII Italy.  It features a plastic frame, motor, foot brakes, vinyl-capped non-skid wheels, a working headlight, horn, flashing hazard lights, two rear-view mirrors, a glove box in the dash, a rear storage box, removable training wheels and a kickstand.  It is priced at $299.95.

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GAS POWERED SNOWBOARD

This Gas Powered Snowboard can make the kids feel as if they're riding a snowmobile.  It can hold up to 250 pounds and go up to 18 MPH.  Holding 3/4 gallon of gas, it can run up to two hours.  Talk about some fun in the snow.

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GOLF CART

This children's Electric Golf Cart is a little more environmentally friendly and can allow the kids to be like dad and mom on the course.  It operates exactly like a real grown-up golf cart.  It can carry up to 65 pounds and travel up to 2.5 MPH.  It sells for $299.95

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MANTA RAY

The remote controlled Manta Ray is one of the coolest underwater machines that any kid would love to swim with.  It can submerge to a depth of eight feet and can conveniently be controlled by a remote.  It can almost monouver like a real underwater creature.  The only difference is it can be recharged by rechargabble batteries.   It costs $119.95.

RACING BOAT

This Brushless Motor powered High Speed offshore racing Boat RTR can race on top of the water.  This fiberglass boat is 37 inches long.  It can go 45 MPH plus.  This goes for around $39.92. 48bd3ae6d67b5_48401b

There are also fun caged go-karts, ATVs, remote control cars, planes and trains.

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