## Grades 4 - 5: Elementary Math Tutoring

Later Elementary schools in Wenatchee emphasizes the basic math skills of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, and builds on those skills the foundations for algebra, geometry and higher math. Students learn new skills in fractions, decimals, integers (positive and negative numbers), variables and exponents. You need a tutor who can help your child learn math and set them up for success in high school math.

This is the time when many parents begin to struggle with helping their math students with homework and study. Math is taught differently today than it was when we were children, and many parents who understand math struggle with understanding the new methods.

At FocalPoint, we can help you understand what your child is learning at school and we can help them to catch up and keep up.

### Math Mapping -- Exclusively at FocalPoint in Wenatchee

FocalPoint is the only place in Washington State where you can get Math Mapping. Math Mapping is a visual method of learning the basic math facts. Mapping students begin by learning the logic of numbers, how they are organized, and how to use simple, visual shortcuts to get from one place to another within the number system.

The student is then prompted to figure out the patterns in how numbers work. There are essentially 4 patterns in all of numbers. Once you learn the 4 patterns, you can do all the adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing you need with the fingers of one hand. That is why FocalPoint students vastly outstrip their peers in their basic math facts. College professors biggest complaint about incoming Freshmen is that they do not know their basic math facts: FocalPoint students do not have that problem.

Mastering the math facts takes only a few sessions, and your child will literally walk out of a 1-hour session able to calculate in ways they could not before. No other math tutor in Wenatchee can give your child the ability to learn their times tables and math facts as quickly or easily as FocalPoint.

### How We Keep it Simple

Once math facts are learned, everything else in math becomes easier. FocalPoint students learn the logic of fractions, decimals, integers, variables and exponents. At FocalPoint, we use simple language that the student can understand to teach math ideas. Then we teach math vocabulary. For example, we use fraction pieces to explain addition and subtraction of fractions. We take the student through exploration to understand that they must trade pieces until all their pieces are the same size. Once the pieces are all the same size, the student can just count them up. This is the logic of the common denominator. Anyone can learn how to trade until their pieces are the same size. Students who understand this lesson can understand and remember how and when to get a common denominator.

These are just examples of the many simple, hands on strategies we use at FocalPoint.

## Grades 6 - 8: Middle School Math Tutoring

We frequently begin with Math Mapping in our middle school students. Please see above for a complete description.

Middle school math includes pre-Algebra, Algebra and Geometry skills. As with our other math programs, we use hands on methods to help kids understand math ideas. Kids are very concrete learners, and they can understand it if they can do it with their hands.

### How We Keep it Simple

For example, middle schooler can figure out all the rules for variables using a box, or a series of envelopes. If I take a box, and label it "X" and ask you to figure out how many dots I put inside the box, you will have to figure out the variable rules. For example, I show you the box plus 3 more dots makes a total of 5 dots. Quickly you figure out there must be 2 dots in the box. Then we can discuss what you did. You took away 3 from the side with the box. That meant you had to adjust the total. You took away 3 from the total, and that told you how many were in the box.

I can get you to figure out that you cannot combine a box labeled "X" with a box labeled "Y." I can get you to figure out how to multiply when you have more than one box. All the rules you will need to know, I can get you to figure out by playing a game where you solve for what is in the box.

This is just an example of a simple way to teach a middle school math concept.

## High School and College Math Tutoring

More than any other level of math, high school and college math is a matter of answering the question, "What are they asking me to do?"

Most of our high school math students struggle with *math vocabulary. *We frequently hear it described as, "I was confused in class, so I asked my teacher to explain it. S/he expained it the exact same way a second time, and I was still confused."

### How We Keep it Simple

Here is an example of how I explain linear algebra, or y=mx + b

First, you need a place to start. You are going to start on the up and down line. That number at the end (b) tells you how far up or down to start. Two tells you to start up 2, -2 tells you to start down 2.

Next you need to know how far up and over, or down and over to go -- always left to right -- the direction we read. That number next to the x tells you how far up and over or down and over to go. So, it it is 3/4, you go up three, over 4, for -3/4, you go down 3, over 4.

Follow the directions up and over, mark the spot, then connect them with a line.

Again, this is one of many examples of the method. With simple instructions, most students can learn how to do the math.

Math students spend most of their time looking at confusing math problems and asking, "What are they asking me to do?"

Solve that, and high school math can be mastered.