Study Hut offers tutoring for middle school students across the curricular spectrum: pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, social studies and history, physical and earth sciences, language arts and literature, and Spanish. Furthermore, we’re available to help a student facing any scenario — finishing homework, preparing for tests, and managing large projects and essays. Each aspect of studying demands its own set of skills, and many students have trouble with at least one.
Most often, students come to us because they need to sharpen their skills for tests, because they lack some fundamental understanding of their subjects, or because they just plain don’t like school and feel discouraged. While every student’s problems are particular to him or her, we find frequently that most problems stem from the second point: some fundamental lack of understanding, some core concepts amiss. Of course tests are overwhelming when students don’t understand what they’re being tested on; of course students hate school when their studies seem designed to defeat them.
Thus our first step in tutoring is always an assessment, an interview. We ask students what’s easy, what’s hard, what they love and hate about school. Then with some preliminary tutoring — practice problems, et cetera — we probe until we find precisely what confuses and frustrates them. Then neither we nor the students are blundering around in the dark.

Once we’ve found the targets we need to aim for, we can introduce a more practical expertise into tutoring. This includes step-by-step instruction, timed drills, flash cards, and other techniques that allow the lessons to settle and crystallize in students’ minds. Then, when necessary, we can move on to test-taking strategies: identifying questions by type, decoding them (especially math word problems!), and budgeting time. And for those dreaded large projects and essays, we can help students confront the challenges of long-term planning, researching, outlining, writing, and generally studying independently.

This is, of course, an often long and always methodical process, but students benefit immeasurably from it. Beneath everything, what we intend to teach them is how to lay a strong foundation of principles and practices, a foundation to hold them steady when the material really gets difficult.