In a panic about SAT/ACT tests

This is the time of year when students (and their parents) spring into high gear when it comes toSAT AND ACT test preparation. There are countless test preparation books and courses available to students on that very subject. There are other ways to become a standout candidate in the college admissions exercise. What am I talking about? I am talking about taking and passing CLEP and DANTES/DSST tests. If you do a web search on those two topics you will see a list of tests that are available. You take the test(s) at a testing center. Your search will show you the locations of those centers. If you pass those tests, you garner 3 college credits (and in some cases, more). Of course, before spending the money on the tests, make sure that your particular potential college(s) will accept those tests. Most colleges (including Ivy League colleges) do accept them. One caveat is that for the tests that involve laboratory sciences,  most schools will only accept them as electives, not as fulfilling your general education science requirement. But, they would still be accepted as elective credits. With these tests, you can potentially test out of the majority of your general education requirements for your bachelor’s degree when you pass enough of those tests. This can be done without taking AP courses.

Beyond saving you a bundle of money, and a significant amount of time, passing these tests proves something important to the college admissions officer. What does it prove? It proves that you are capable of college level work. The tests prove it because when you pass them, you are awarded college credits. That is one of the things college admissions officers want to know. The SAT and/or ACT score is an indicator of the student’s potential ability to handle college level work. But if you have earned college credits, the officer no longer needs to solely rely upon that test score. As a matter of fact, if you pass enough of those tests prior to beginning college, you go in as a transfer student. THAT puts you in the express line for admissions.

Please let me know if you have questions about this. I would be happy to set up a tutoring session, or series of sessions, to help you achieve your dreams.

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A quick note–I am re-doing most of my posts for this blog

I have been made aware that putting complete postings that originated elsewhere may be a violation of the WordPress agreement unless specific permission has been granted. This is even if I include the link and make it clear who the original source is. I had thought that if I made it clear that it was not my material, and whose it is, that that was sufficient. since the bulk of my information on this blog is from other experts, I am going to do quite a bit of reformatting. I know a number of my followers are new to this blog. It is going to take me a bit of time to either re-write the material, or find a way to stick to WordPress policy and provide information. As I re-work each of my prior posts, I will re-publish them with the original dates. Feel free to leave comments, and I will get back to you as I can—kate

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Ways to help develop your purpose and your confidence

Do you feel adrift, purposeless, or clueless? Does your student or teen seem adrift or undefined? Do they lack that spark or glow you wish they had? Sometimes it helps to get them writing. I don’t care if the writing is flawless. As a matter of fact, for the purposes of what I am talking about here, that is irrelevant. If you can get them writing something for themselves—a journal, a private blog, or a blog that is shared, it can help enormously. Teens are known for at times letting their friends or the latest trends define them. But if they write, and search their hearts, eventually they  can stumble upon a path that is just for them. Get them blogging! Here is an article that addresses that concept, along with some research to back it up! Tell me what you think!

The research was published in Psychological Services by Meyran Boniel-Nissen and Azy Barak of the University of Haifa.

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School difficulties and heartbreak? I can help you get your self-esteem back

Have you (or your loved one) lost your self-esteem when it comes to learning? Oh gosh, so had so many of my students and clients. How does that happen? It happens painful failure after painful failure. You feel as though you have DONE EVERYTHING to prepare, and come up short. Or perhaps peers, loved ones, or even teachers have made fun of you or put you down. They have helped to create a toxic environment for you in the classroom and in your heart. Oh gosh, it hurts a lot, doesn’t it? But guess what! They cannot have the final lap of the race. They cannot even have the next lap. The next lap, and the next step belong completely to you.

You may ask how can that be? Well first of all, we need to take a multi=pronged approach. Perhaps there is some sort of underlying learning problem or disability. Understand me here. Discovering whether or not there is does not me it is hopeless if, for instance, you are dyslexic. Nope. It only means there are learning methods and strategies out there that can help you succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

How can I be 100% sure that you can learn? You have already learned more than you realize. You learned to communicate in your native language, learned to walk, learned self-care, learned how to get yourself in a learning situation. The rest is just going to be learning the skill called “learning how to learn”. We can work together, you and I. I can direct you to resources in your part of the community that can help you, id addition to the help I can give you.

The key to all of it, though is in your heart. You see, you are here for a wonderful purpose. I do not know how big you have dreamed. I do not know what area of life captures your interest right now. Maybe you are so far down that you think you have no talent or interest. But you see, we need to tend to your spark. Learning is a life skill that is not just confined to classroom situations. If you feel that the classroom has become a fearful or toxic place, there are many solutions to that. 

Here is one thing to think about. I believe that the key to your success is to consider, for instance, what subject you like best. Then in order to learn the other subjects, we need to determine how to make those subjects feel like the subject you like the best. I hope that you will comment here if you want to communicate with me.

I believe in your future, and I can help you find additional resources in your world that help you succeed. I am working on creating some workshops and other resources. Let me know what would capture your interest!

~ kate

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Dreams are illustrations

“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you”. Marsha Norman.

My soul has been writing a metaphorical book for a long time. The book is about learning, becoming, developing your unique combination of talents for the sheer joy of it. All of my life I have accumulated knowledge and experience about that subject.

As it so happens, I ended up with a LOT of new students this year. Many of my ongoing students have been diagnosed with learning disabilities in the past few months. That brought my passion for learning and teaching together. They dovetailed. I discovered that I need to learn new ways to teach some of my students.

That got me thinking about the writing I did at the corporate level, and the ways I taught kids when I was a kid, colleagues in the workplace, and more. What did I always do? Researched for new solutions. Learned new ways to teach. Then, I taught them to fish.

I wrote about and taught new ways for them to learn and achieve. The companies I worked for did not have those manuals, forms, and procedures. I created them. It was a very matter-of-fact thing I did. The people DID learn. I LOVED creating those manuals and procedures. Do you have those moments when you are doing something in your life? It could be anything— writing, ironing, teaching a skill, singing in the shower, whatever. But the feeling you get in those moments when you just KNOW it is good? [even, or maybe especially if no one notices?]

So with my writing at a roadblock, and my students facing new challenges I began to research. I am still researching. BUT I discovered it wasn’t a roadblock that I was experiencing. I was suddenly ready to travel on two roads simultaneously. Here and at

I will attempt to keep each blog with a singular focus. (That will be a challenge for MY head!) You see,  I long to also do the kind of writing that feels like a different kind of mission. As you have read, my passion is learning and teaching. I teach kids and adults as a one-on-one tutor. My passion for that is based upon the fact that along with teaching the subject matter, I am also their little life-coach. I teach them (and/or their parents) how to “own” their education. I teach them how to overcome obstacles, not just acquire education. Do you see what I mean? I love to write about learning. I love to teach new procedures for learning. Maybe that is one of the reasons that I LOVE movies about teachers.

I continue to be fascinated by LEARNING. My words flow when it comes to that topic. They always have. I have always been one to advocate, and to mentor others as they learn to advocate. Maybe it is because I moved so many times as a kid. Maybe it is because I come from a big extended family and learned at an early age to speak my mind respectfully. Who knows. But advocacy for one’s needs and purpose comes naturally to me. In that respect, I am merely the conduit to deliver information and get feedback!

The other day I was teaching one of my adult learners. He needed ways to write more professional letters and emails. He was amazed that I could come up with a number of ways to communicate what he was trying to say. For me it was second nature. That is what I need to convey to students. That is what I must write for them. Until then, i  I know now that my writing sometimes needs to have an undertone of life coach for grace and joy. (Believe Anyway). Other times it is to be a life coach for learning, achievement, etc. (Ace It Now). I am so lucky that I have the option for multiple blogs. Thanks to WordPress!

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A resource for grammar

Do you have trouble with using proper grammar? Do you have problems teaching it to your children? Here is a resource that I highly recommend. She goes back to basics. she teaches diagramming step-by-step. Besides the book she also provides regular exercises and resources via email. Her products include ebooks and videos. I used this with one of my students and she was fascinated by the diagramming process. It made sentence structure logical and precise. She was an adult learner, and needed to re-take her placement test at the community college. Before we went through the course, she tested at the remedial level. A few weeks later, after practicing and studying, she tested at the honors level.  I would say that is a resounding endorsement!

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IEP time: ADA backs you up on this

look out to the horizon; the world is full of possibilities

look out to the horizon; the world is full of possibilities


It is spring. That means it is time for IEP (Individual Education Plan) meetings with teachers and administration. Remember, if you have a documented diagnosis for your student, schools are required to prepare an IEP and hold meetings that include you and the IEP team. They are not doing you a favor, it is a requirement because of the ADA (American Disabilities Act). Now, when I say a right, I don’t mean to walk into the meeting in a combative mood. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
However, do your research. See what the research says about your child’s disabilities and what kinds of accommodations have been successful. Make sure that everyone is aware that YOU are aware that the plan exists and must be adhered to. Teach your child to advocate as well. Follow-up at the beginning of the year to make sure that all the teachers and staff are aware of the IEP requirements and accommodations. Do not expect that they will remember every detail. After all, they have MANY students; not just your child.
I believe it is essential in the IEP meeting(s) to document a plan to have “tune-up” meetings either mid-way through each quarter. Cildren and young adults grow and change, so do their needs.
Remember, advocating takes practice. You must put together a plan before that IEP meeting. Be professional, courteous, respectful, but do not let your child’s needs go unmet. You CAN do this!
Both of the links below will provide you with OUTSTANDING support, guidance, information, and more.
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