Meeting Long Term goals

March 14th, 2012

The best way to meet a long term goal, whether it be school related or not, is to set bench marks and short term goals along the way. It was Arnold Schwarzenegger who said, “Set an impossible goal and achieve it.” He’s pretty much owned that quote through showing the world that an immigrant body builder can become the world’s most famous movie star and be elected Governor of California.

At Study Hut Tutoring in Manhattan Beach, students from all the schools in the area (Mira Costa High School, Loyola High School, Redondo Union High School, Chadwick High School, Vista Mar High School, Manhattan Beach Middle School, Grandview Elementary School, Pacific Elementary School, Pennykamp Elementary School, Meadows Elementary School, and Robinson Elementary School) set goals using their daily planner. The first step is to make an appropriate and attainable short term goal that fits within your larger goal. If one desires to “earn a 4.0 GPA,” then setting a monthly goal of missing zero assignments is a great first step. At that point it comes down to writing everything down, and crossing everything off, each and every day, every time a task is completed. When there are tasks left wide open, and laziness was not a factor, then some closer time allocation and planning is required.

Study Hut Tutoring students dig in with their daily planners each and every hour they are here. It’s a major component in staying in the game and achieving goals.

Elementary school tutors show students some simple first steps in the planning process, laying the groundwork for future success. Students from Mira Costa High School are rewarded with positive grades and feedback when goals are set, and intermediate goals are completed each and every week.

It’s wonderful to see students dominate using the planner.

Staying on task

October 31st, 2011

Here at Study Hut in Manhattan Beach, we know that there’s more to academic success than simply knowing the material. Organizational skills and general study tricks are perhaps the most important “subjects” we teach, because without them it’s difficult to stay on top of the ever-growing workload of high school.

We, the super smart and super awesome tutors of Study hut, develop customized study plans for every student that walks through our doors, based on their own habits and personalities. However, here are a few basic strategies that can work for anyone who’s having troubles with procrastination (read: everyone).

1. Designate Goof Off Time
Nobody is a machine. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find a subject that you love so much that homework is actually fun (yay physics!)
However, a lot of the time you’re going to have to deal with subjects that you straight up don’t like. And that’s alright! However, there’s a physical limit to how much loathsome boredom a human can take before they get distracted and goof off.
And that’s alright, too!
The trick is to actually portion off part of your day to goof off – that can mean facebook, video games, TV, or whatever else.
These things are fine in small quantities, and they make your life more fun! So give yourself over to them, but for a set period that you’ve planned for ahead of time.
The other way – checking facebook every time you feel like it during your problem sets – is incredibly distracting, hinders your progress, and thus ends up stressing you out even more.

2. Page Blockers
If you’re having troubles staying off of fun pages, try downloading a page blocker. There are lots of them online, but a few great ones are “Concentrate” and “Self-Control”. They work by physically disabling your browser’s ability to visit certain sites for a pre-determined amount of time.
This serves as a sort of guardrail; if you feel like procrastinating for a tiny bit they’ll help keep you on track.
However, they aren’t cure-alls: just like real guard rails, if you’re really determined to go off the trail you’ll be able to hop over them easily enough. However, they do serve as reminders about where your priorities should lie.

3. Enjoy the process!
It is much easier to work if you enjoy the process. Sometimes that’s difficult, but there are things you can do to improve it. Choose a room that’s pleasant to you, one that you will enjoy working in.
Playing music while you study can be a big help. It can be marginally distracting, but sometimes that’s a sacrifice that’s worth making. If you have to choose between working at 90% efficiency because you’re listening to music, or working at 5% efficiency because you’re constantly getting bored and taking breaks, then that’s not really any choice at all, is it?
Enjoy the process, or if you can’t, make it enjoyable.

4. Healthful snacks in small quantities
Lay off the sugar and junk food. Small doses of healthful foods keep your energy up and keep you focused. Almonds, walnuts, carrots, broccoli, and dried fruit are all great choices. Overly sweet things like candy or poptarts send your blood sugar into a tail spin, and release hormones that make staying focused difficult. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot with a poor diet.

5. Don’t use these tips to procrastinate.
This is the important. It’s easy to think that “applying” tips like these is productive work. And to a certain extent that’s true.
But, if you find yourself spending twenty minutes reading reviews about the best page blockers, or preparing a gourmet snack tray, or meticulously organizing your iTunes folder into different playlists for each subject, then, well… We see the problem here, yes?
Apply these tips, but bear in mind that the final goal is to actually get your schoolwork done.

That’s it for now! Call Study Hut in Manhattan Beach for more information about how to study right and slaughter your coursework and SATs

The Importance of Failure

September 13th, 2011

You may have heard this one before. It involves a ceramics class.

It was a fairly large and popular class at the school, so the teacher had to split it into two sections: Ceramics 101a and Ceramics 101b.

The teacher, a brilliant potter but a capricious and insufferable man, decided that he’d grade each of his sections differently and arbitrarily.

On the first day of class he announced to the students of 101a the following:
“At the end of the semester you will be required to hand in one pot and one pot only. I will judge your skill, artistry, and technical prowess based on what I see in that one pot, and that in turn will decide your grade for the whole semester.”

An hour later, he announced to the students of 101b a very different message:
“At the end of the semester, I will grade your performance based solely on the number of pots you complete throughout the year. I don’t care how well they’re executed, what shape they are, or how quickly you worked on them. All I care about is how many you make. The more you make the higher your grade will be.”

In short, one group was to be evaluated on the quality of their work, and the other on their quantity.

Here’s where things get strange.

At the end of the semester, the students from the Quantity Class produced better pots than the students from the Quality Class. Far better. Truly masterful work. On the other hand, the final projects handed in by the Quality Class resembled the pots that the students from the Quantity Class were making on their first few days.

What is the lesson here? In short, it’s practice makes perfect. The only way to get to success is to first fail. To get good at something you need to do it. A lot.

So for that reason we here at Study Hut in Manhattan Beach don’t just recite information to our students and expect them to absorb it. We test them on it. Ruthlessly. We make them fail repeatedly when they’re with us, in the hopes that when they are in the exam room they will succeed.

Quality People Make Quality Tutors: Volunteering for Relay for Life

May 20th, 2011

Here at Study Hut Tutoring in Manhattan Beach, we’re more than just good tutors: we pride ourselves on being good human beings! After all, the same qualities that make a good teacher–passion, care, dedication, responsibility–also make a good person. That’s why I thought it was perfectly fitting that Study Hut participated in and had a team at last Saturday’s Relay for Life event in Manhattan Beach.

It was truly impressive to see my coworkers stay late and long after work in order to plan out team activities, and even more admirable to see them put in all the extra hours needed to fundraise for the American Cancer Society. After a long day of leading SAT prep, correcting Chemistry and Trig problems, and editing students’ essays, a box of whole grain crackers and a jar of natural peanut butter practically beg you to their side; however, my fellow tutors met up at 10 PM to figure out how we could raise money for such a worthy cause, and then took their usual day off to put on a car wash at Mira Costa High School. I was so proud of them for working to make a difference!

Because here at Study Hut, we are well-versed in the science of cancer: we pride ourselves on knowing and teaching biology, AP Chemistry, psychology, and anatomy. But we cannot know or explain the actual experience of having cancer. Instead, we can come together to support our community, whether in Manhattan Beach, the greater Southbay, or the nation as a whole, of cancer survivors and help fund research that will ease or prevent future suffering. I’m glad Study Hut got the chance to prove that it doesn’t just have the best tutors–it has the best people!