Get Tutoring Info Now
Info & Prices E-mailed
Display vt

Melissa

I offer tutoring services focused on making learning easier and more fun, for students needing help with subjects including reading (phonics, fluency and comprehension), literature (all ages and grades), writing (elementary through college), mathematics (elementary through pre-algebra), science (elementary/middle school), philosophy, Biblical worldview studies and social studies (elementary through college, American, English and World History).
I have many years experience working with students both one on one and in the classroom. I customize tutoring sessions to meet the needs of individual students.
I am a regular columnist and curriculum reviewer for Mary Pride's Practical Homeschooling magazine, hold a current teacher certification from Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and earned a BA in Church and Family Ministries with a Cognate in Elementary Education, GBS Aldersgate program.
My education credits include Principles & Methods of Education, Child Development, Social Studies Methods, Math Methods, Language Arts Methods, Reading Methods, Children's Literature, Educating Exceptional Learners, Science Methods, Classroom Observation and Educational Field Experience.

My own older children are now adults (my youngest is homeschooling high school), so I am finding more time to spend tutoring, teaching and writing. In addition to teaching, I am an avid reader and a published author. I enjoy traveling, bike riding, camping, gardening, nature studies, old books, vintage film, and wearing many different kinds of hats.

10th Grade

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

1st Grade

1st Grade Math

1st Grade Reading

1st Grade Writing

2nd Grade

2nd Grade Math

2nd Grade Reading

2nd Grade Writing

3rd Grade

3rd Grade Math

3rd Grade Reading

3rd Grade Science

3rd Grade Writing

4th Grade

4th Grade Math

4th Grade Reading

4th Grade Science

4th Grade Writing

5th Grade

5th Grade Math

5th Grade Reading

5th Grade Science

5th Grade Writing

6th Grade

6th Grade Math

6th Grade Reading

6th Grade Science

6th Grade Writing

7th Grade

7th Grade Math

7th Grade Reading

7th Grade Science

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade

8th Grade Math

8th Grade Reading

8th Grade Science

8th Grade Writing

9th Grade

9th Grade Reading

9th Grade Writing

ACCUPLACER Sentence Skills Prep

Adult Literacy

CLEP Prep

CLEP Analyzing and Interpreting Literature

CLEP College Composition

College English

College Level American History

College World History

Comparative Literature

Creative Writing

Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Science

Elementary School Writing

High School

High School Chemistry

High School English

High School Level American History

High School World History

High School Writing

Middle School

Middle School Reading

Middle School Science

Middle School Writing

Social Sciences

Study Skills and Organization

Vocabulary

World Civilization

What is your teaching philosophy?

I focus on practice strategies to help students succeed academically and apply their learning to the real world. Students learn best when they apply learning to their interests and see the value of the information. This aids long term memory and increases understanding. I have many years experience working with students both one on one and in the classroom. I customize tutoring sessions to meet the needs of individual students. Every student can learn, no matter what the challenges or struggles of the past. It is essential to really listen to each student to determine how to best meet their learning needs. I will be there to help support the parents as well as the student. I enjoy meeting challenges and helping students to find strategies to achieve academic success. I love seeing the "light" come on as a student realizes that a difficult subject or task is not only possible, but enjoyable.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Students often feel that they cannot do the work because of past failures, so it is essential to go back to a place where the child felt comfortable, and then gradually add new skills, ensuring just enough support for success. Educational games and hands-on activities can make learning more fun, and also provide a different way of looking at information. Teaching one on one can remove distractions and help students to focus more on task. Playing learning games and finding real-world applications for educational goals makes learning stick for a lifetime, not just until the test.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Communicate frequently to support parents and other educators involved with the student. Students can gradually build confidence in their ability to succeed when tutors set reasonable expectations just a bit higher--not to low, not too high, but just right--and provide encouragement and support to meet each new goal. Giving students strategies which are tailored to their best learning styles and interests will make learning much easier, and aid in retention of material. Use different educational materials tailored to the student, remove distractions, and play educational games. Ensure that the student is receiving support at school for any learning challenges.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Offer support and guidance where needed, but gradually add more responsibility. Celebrate and encourage attempts at independence, and continue to check progress. Provide strategies for the student to self-check work and set up a system of reminders that the student can control. Help the student to see the reason for learning the information and apply it to life skills.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I focus on guiding each student to find out how they learn best, practice strategies to succeed academically, and apply their learning to the real world. Students learn best when they are interest led and see the long-term value of the material. This motivates students to action, aids long term memory, and increases understanding.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

The objective of all readers is to understand what they read--or at least it should be the objective. Without understanding, learning is impossible. Proficient readers (with excellent comprehension) can learn independently. If students struggle with reading comprehension, I would encourage interest-led reading of engaging texts to increase enjoyment, improve fluency, and help the student remedy any deficits in reading skills. Many readers struggle with comprehension due to difficulties with vocabulary and phonics. Can the student blend sounds together smoothly to read a nonsense word, such as those commonly found in Dr. Seuss books? If not, phonological awareness activities and practicing decoding skills can help improve understanding of text content. Often students of all ages need to develop good reading habits, analyze morphemes in words, learn to identify the main idea of a text, and increase comprehension using graphic organizers. Comprehension strategies may include: rereading, paraphrasing, context, infers, asking questions, using charts, listing information, reflecting on the reading, and consulting other materials.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Reading actively enhances understanding, as students develop techniques such as rereading for information and paraphrasing main ideas. I can also guide students to engage in pre-reading and post-reading activities, ask relevant questions, glean information from charts, list key points, highlight information, perform reading reflection, learn vocabulary roots, decoding skills, morpheme analysis, graphic organizer use, create synonyms for new vocabulary words and write summaries. After assessment of learning styles, I would help find more engaging and relevant materials to help the student comprehend the material more easily.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Students gradually build confidence in their ability to succeed in challenging subjects when tutors set reasonable expectations just a bit higher--not too low, not too high, but just right--and provide encouragement and support to meet each new goal. Giving students strategies which are tailored to their best learning styles and interests will make learning much easier and aid in retention of material. Students build confidence as they use different educational materials tailored to their needs, remove distractions, and play educational games. It is essential to help the student to receive support at school for any learning challenges. Students often feel that they cannot do the work because of past failures, so it is essential to go back to a place where the person felt comfortable and then gradually add new skills, ensuring just enough support for success. Educational games and hands-on activities can make learning more fun, and also provide a different way of looking at information. Teaching one on one can remove distractions and help students to focus more on task. Discovering real-world applications for educational goals makes learning stick for a lifetime, not just until the test. Offer support and guidance where needed, but gradually add more responsibility. Celebrate and encourage attempts at independence, and continue to check progress. Provide strategies for the student to self-check work and set up a system of reminders which the student can control. Help the student to see the reason for learning the information, and apply it to life skills. In addition, give guidance and gradually decreased monitoring to keep students accountable, so that they spend enough time and effort to attain to their potential.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Students succeed when they build on their strengths, using lesson materials, methods, and strategies tailored to their preferred learning styles and interests. Just enough support with scaffolding from a skilled tutor enables students to become more confident and reach the next level of learning. As students experience success in reaching their goals and internalize strategies they can gradually become more independent learners. Students learn best when they are interest-led and see the long term value of the material. This motivates students to action, aids long term memory, and increases understanding.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

The first tutor session is focused on the itinerary of the tutoring journey. It covers essential planning to assess present knowledge, motivation, previous testing, learning styles, interests, challenges, and learning materials. A typical session will focus on determining goals, discussing strategies, and teaching to strengths. In short, the purpose is to first learn where we are (challenges, strengths), where we are going (short- and long-terms goals), why we are going there (our purpose), and how we are going to arrive at our destination (strategies, materials, assessments). The first session begins at a point where the student is comfortable in their strengths and provides scaffolding to help them begin the journey to the next level of competency and success.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate a student's needs through questions regarding motivation, past testing, prior knowledge, needed assessments, learning challenges, learning styles, goals, and interests. Communication with families and review of previous materials helps determine the best strategies, materials, and methods for successful learning strategies.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I encourage students that everyone needs a little help sometimes, and tutoring will help them become more independent learners. Tutoring can guide the student to develop a plan of action with simple, easy-to-understand goals. I include the student in the lesson planning process, and keep communication open, taking into account present knowledge, motivation, previous testing, learning styles, interests, challenges, and preferred learning materials. In addition to a learning style questionnaire, I work with the student and parents to create a personal work plan and learning strategies to achieve goals.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I include the family and student in the lesson planning process, taking into account the student's present knowledge, interests and optimal learning styles. I care about each student as an individual, and seek out the materials and learning strategies best suited to the needs of the student and their learning goals.