Avoiding the Holiday Mash-’tato Brain

November 29th, 2012

 

 

As the holidays quickly approach us, so do the wonderful bounties of winter breaks. While we at Study Hut would love to keep you students buried in books (not really), we can appreciate that, whether you’ll be travelling or not, you may want to enjoy your well-deserved breaks. After all, you’ve been hitting the books for months! We’d love to hear that our students are spending their vacations preemptively studying for future schoolwork, but we can’t say it’s a realistic possibility.

 

With that in mind, we’re here to offer some tips for keeping those wonderful minds sharp, so you can jump right back into the swing of things when you’re back.

 

1. Organization – Keep the work you’re supposed to do over the break and the work you will be doing upon returning (tests, etc.) in mind while you vacation. Don’t stress and obsess, but keep these tasks organized. If you keep a planner, you can lay out all of these obligations on paper and you won’t have to think about them constantly.

 

2. Moderation – As much as we love stuffing our faces with stuffing and other holiday grub, we want to encourage our students to not fall too deep into the bliss of the holiday season. How will you keep your grades up if you eat yourself into a coma? As with everything, enjoy the time off, but don’t let your school mentality slip completely away. It’s important to be able to transition back. Hit the floor running!

 

3. Have Fun – We know some of our students, being academic all-stars, will have trouble letting go over the break. If you have work to do while on break, take a specific day or two to get it done. This way, you’ll be able to celebrate the important holiday festivities with the ones you love, without having to excuse yourself to study.

 

As we, ourselves, prepare to enjoy the holiday season, we too much keep our heads in the game. We’ll be eating enough to inspire crippling dietary guilt, but we’re fully prepared to jump back into the swing of things. So whenever you find yourself back at the Hut, we’ll be ready! And don’t forget we are open over break. This is an excellent time to gear up for finals that are just around the corner!

 

 

 

Back to School Shopping

August 17th, 2012

As a kid, one of my favorite times of the year was when my parents would fork out money for me to go back to school shopping. I would go with my mom to pick out the newest styles. Requirements were new shoes, a new backpack, and at least three new outfits, one for each day of the first week of school. My brother and I would always want to wear our new shoes right away, but were forced to wait until the first day of school.

Along with the back to school shopping came orientation. Mira Costa has their orientation this week as well as Manhattan Beach Middle School. This was always exciting because the students got to see which teachers they had, and also,more importantly, which friends made it in the same class.

Now that I am no longer in school I see more of an importance on the preparation academically rather than the outfits and classes. Students are starting to trickle into The Manhattan Beach Study Hut to get their mind in gear and ready for the whirl wind to begin. Most students need refreshers on math and Spanish. It is extremely important for the seventh graders to come in and review their foreign language. Spanish, French, Latin, and even Chinese are subjects the middle school offers. These are such new topics to the students that they often forget how to conjugate a verb. However, after a simple refresher they are ready for the school year. Moral of the story, don’t forget about tutoring when you are shopping for back to school. The Hut is open for appointments!

Green Eggs and Ham

August 7th, 2012

This summer I have been tutoring a lovely young girl named Hailey. She is the cutest little thing ever! Going into first grade her mom, a new mom to The Hut, called to see if she could get some reading help for her daughter. She explained that Hailey was not behind in her reading, but at the same time wasn’t in the upper level reading group. I explained how I am a credentialed teacher and used to teach 1st grade. Her mom heard what I had to say and got her into the Manhattan Beach Study Hut twice a week.
The first day I worked with Hailey I fell in love. She was shy at first, but that was not stopping her improvement in reading. Shen she came in at the beginning of the summer she had some trouble with even short vowel sounds. Each day we would go over a new sound and test her phonemic awareness, eventually getting into the more complex long vowel sounds. We then read a book together, followed by some writing, and then play sight words bingo. Of course we switch it up every now and then, but she tends to do really well with the structure.
This week we tried a book that she had tried to read in Kindergarden, but it was too hard for her. That book was the infamous Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. After about the 20th page she looks at me and goes, “wow, this book is pretty easy!” with the biggest smile on her face. My heart melted. She took the book home to read to her parents. They emailed me the next day saying they could not be happier.
Hailey is now reading at the same rate as a first grader at the end of their year. She has shown an incredible amount of improvement. Most importantly, she LOVES coming in here! I am so proud of her progress, motivation, and preparedness for the first grade!

Adelia’s Summer Enrichment

July 25th, 2012

This summer, as manager, I have been presented with the opportunity to actually tutor! Normally, the hustle and bustle of the Hut prevents me from my real passion, teaching. One of my regular and favorite students in here over the summer is Adelia. She has diligently come in twice a week throughout the summer to study Spanish and Geometry. I admire her confidence and motivation to get ahead of the game and become prepared for the classes she will endure in the fall.
Starting out with Spanish 5/6 in the fall she went ahead and bought the book that her high school, Mira Costa, uses so that I can start teaching her the material. Once fall comes she will be prepared with the vocabulary and will be strong with the grammar. Throughout the course of these few weeks she has already improved in both her retention of vocabulary and her ability to speak and comprehend the language. Last year, I tutored another student in Spanish in preparation for Spanish 2. He excelled in his Spanish class receiving a high B opposed to D+ he received the semester prior. A little elbow grease in the summer goes a long way when it comes to learning a language. I have the confidence that Adelia will be able to start and finish this year strong.
Similarly, math skills are just as important to maintain during the summer. Adelia already has a solid understanding of the primary concepts in Geometry and will have gone through the first few chapters of the Mira Costa Geometry book by the time summer has ended.
Most kids are resistant to summer tutoring and believe that it will take up their entire summer. Adelia, however, is extremely active. She owns a horse is Palos Verdes and rides him every day. She is extremely happy with her progress she has made this summer at Study Hut.
Not only can we provide enrichment for math and Spanish, but also French, English, reading comprehension, physics, history, biology, chemistry and whatever else, you name it, we have a tutor for it! Bring it on fall semester!

Summer Time at The Hut

June 28th, 2012

Winding Down at the Hut

We’ve had lots of blog posts about how to prepare for finals and end the year on a high note. All week, students have been rushing in and out of the Hut, reciting geometry theorems and putting the final touches on Socratic seminars. But we’ve failed to mention the most important aspect of the end of the school year…

It’s the end of the school year! Yay!

In addition to playing Alice Cooper on loop, we’ve been doing a lot to prepare for summer. This mostly includes staring out the window and daydreaming about our plans. Between the tutors and the students, we’re a busy bunch!

Some are planning vacations and some are eagerly anticipating the London Olympics. Some have weddings for dear friends and others are just planning on soaking up as much sun as possible on the beaches of the South Bay. Here are a few responses from around the Hut to the most whimsical and challenging question: What’s your favorite thing about summer?

“Surf and work.”
-Alex, Tutor

“Sleep, surf and travel.”
-Codee, Sophomore

“I like not wearing socks when I’m wearing my shoes!”
-Amir, Tutor

“The sun not going down until 9pm.”
-Madison, Sophomore

“I like reading Robert Frost while sitting contemplatively under a tree in the summer breeze. Just kidding! Corn dogs.
-Amy, Tutor

“Not being at school.”
-James Houston, Sophomore

“Music festivals, Vegas, and beach parties in the daytime.”
-Sam, Study Hut Manager

“I am really looking forward to sleeping, surfing, vacations, no school, playing with my dog, having free time and hanging out with my friends on the beach.”
-Matt, Freshman

No doubt about it, we’re a Hut about town. What are you looking forward to this summer? Let us know in the comments, and enjoy your time off!

Summer Writing Workshops

June 13th, 2012

We’ve all been there.

It’s the dreaded blank sheet. The writing assignment stares up from the table, but you have no idea where to begin. Should you start with the thesis statement? Gather textual evidence first? Maybe it’s better to just wing it and worry about editing later.

It’s a frustrating situation, but there is help! Study Hut is offering a series of writing workshops this summer designed to review the different types of essays and prepare students for the next level of writing.

Each grade brings new expectations, particularly when it comes to writing. If a student enters the school year even moderately unprepared, it can turn from a small setback to a major problem in a hurry. It’s tempting to regard writing in terms of black and white; there are inherently good writers and bad writers. That, however, is far from the case. Good writing is a matter of discipline, strategy and lots and lots of practice.

The Hut’s summer workshop is designed to be all of those things and more. Each week, we’ll spend one-on-one time with students going over everything from correctly citing a source to crafting the perfect topic sentence. From college applications to AP tests to middle school lab reports, strong writing skills are always going to help students succeed.

Each student has one-on-one time with a tutor, so we can adapt the program to fit any skill level. We’ve put together instructional, age appropriate materials that will help any student prepare for the next step in the great journey of mega-awesome skillstastic writing! Also, we promise to discourage made-up words like “skillstastic.”

Contact us today by emailing Samantha@studyhut.com for more information on the writing workshop. Sample topics include: thesis writing, finding and citing sources, topic sentences and using evidence effectively in narrative, analytical, expository, synthesis and literary analysis essays.

AP Tests

April 19th, 2012

With AP tests just around a corner, I’m sure a lot of you are just now realizing what that whole last year of extra long AP homework assignments and tests were for. The AP class is meant to mimic the difficulty of a college course, and as a high school student it is very important to do well in both the class, and the test. Why is it so important? Because if you do well it shows you are ready for the level of classes that you are going to encounter at the college you’re applying at. If you do poorly, it shows a lack of preparation to tackle such high difficulty courses. Passing the test also gives you a head start to your college credits, and at times can even save you from taking a class. So it is important that you go into this test as prepared as possible.

To help gauge your preparedness, we at the Study Hut have two days where you can take a free AP practice test of your choosing. These are actual College Board tests, so it’s as close to the real thing as you can get. Study up, and come by the Hut on Saturday 4/21 or 4/28, and the tests will be administered from 8am-11am. If you are interested in taking advantage of these practice tests, send a confirmation email of the date, and test you would like to take to Samantha@studyhut.com

Study your notes, and if you feel like the year has gone by and you’re just as lost as you were in the start, buy an AP Study Book, which are available at most bookstores. They contain all the information you need in a refined way, and also have practice tests with full explanations.

Study hard boys and girls, and prove to them you’re ready for college!

Study Hut Tutors = AWESOME!

April 18th, 2012

Every day of my life, people ask me “How is it that every single tutor at the Study Hut is a genius? Is it even possible for one building to hold that much knowledge?”

Ok, maybe they don’t say that, but I can tell they were thinking it. It certainly felt that way to me when I first started working here. I looked around, and I saw all of the different things the kids were studying, and how well the tutors knew the material, and I started to worry a bit, because I couldn’t believe I had to live up to such awesomeness.

Then, I started to see how exactly the Hut dynamic worked. It turns out that, while they are incredibly intelligent, Hut Tutors do NOT, in fact, know everything. It’s so much better than that. The Study Hut has an incredibly diverse body of tutors. Every single one of us comes from a different background, from different areas of study, and we’re all focused on one goal: helping any kid that walks through our door. I’m confident, that there’s not a single problem that your kid can come in with that at least one of us couldn’t solve.

And it’s great to see. There’s such a community dynamic here that you just don’t see in other places. I’ve seen three tutors team up to tackle a math problem, while two other tutors talked about the best way to write an essay, while another worked with two SAT kids on vocabulary. When one tutor can’t figure out a problem, there are 20 other people around them perfectly willing to help. We’ve got tutors that have lived overseas, worked in laboratories, taught classes full of students, and a million other things. And we’ve got all of these different types of people working together in the same place.

So, as individuals, we may not know everything. But as a group, there’s not much we can’t do.

7 Days a Week

January 25th, 2012

The year 2012 brings many changes to the local Study Huts in your neighborhood. The high demands of students have made us expand not only in location but, hours as well. In the effort to provide quality one on one tutoring Study Hut is now open 7 days a week. This new radical change has taken over two years to come into effect. Before January 2012, students had the chance to come receive tutoring only Sunday Through Thursday. The small window of tutoring hours started to become inconvenient for our athletes, honor and extracurricular activity students. “Some kids with APs and sports can’t do weekdays and if they have band, theatre, or newspaper, then it’s super tough too”, informs our owner Robert Stone. These students have demanding schedules and sometimes could not squeeze in tutoring hours. As previous high school and middle school students the hut staff understand how demanding and exhausting this could be mentally and physically for the students. The changes are Friday and Saturday available days of tutoring and test preparation classes. “These are also the quietest days at the Hut, so there are advantages in the noise department as well”, states owner Sean Patrick. During the week it can become incredibly loud and for many students, the noise level is an extreme interruption of concentration.
The Study Hut has also become a huge asset in test taking preparation classes and has branched out in so many administered tests preparation of the nation. Included in the national tests, is our well known ACT and SAT preparation classes. In concurrence with weekends being open for tutoring, Fridays and Saturdays are also open for these test preparation classes. These classes give our students a huge advantage to learn the materials needed while tackling down their weekly courses as well. Nothing makes us happier here at your local hut than our students’ success in their classes. We pride ourselves in their academic goals and strive to make sure they meet their goals. So if we must stay open 7 days a week, so be it.

What Sets Study Hut Apart

October 11th, 2011

You sit, minding your own business. Suddenly, you feel a twinge of unease crawl up your spine. A feeling as if someone, or something, is watching you. You shake it off. Clearly, you’re just being paranoid right? You look back down at your desk. And then… IT HAPPENS. Suddenly, tiny Tialde, mild-mannered 2nd grader is throwing paper around the office, laughing hysterically, and running out of here as fast as he can!

WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!

You just found yourself victim to one of the Study Hut’s new competitions: who can keep their room the cleanest in exchange for pizza! Actually, you’ve found yourself victim to the inevitable aftermath of such a challenge: who can mess up everyone else’s room enough so they don’t get pizza! This, the first of many new challenges being formed around the Hut, is part of a new initiative starting up this semester. Now, at first glance, this may seem like meaningless prankerism (trust me, it’s a word) and time-wasting nonsense. But it’s actually a piece of what sets the Study Hut apart.

You’re children spend all day in a very ordered environment. They’re told where to sit, when to stand, how to speak, and what to do. To be fair, in a classroom of 30 children, such order is necessary. But the Hut doesn’t exist just to replicate school. We’re not here to just provide an environment that students just have to come to due to bad grades. We’re here to provide an environment that students want to come to (to help improve bad grades!) Initiatives like this promote better communication among tutors, which leads to better tutoring, and smarter students. And involving the students, like we did Tialde, promotes the idea that this is a place where that they can look forward to coming too. Most students here know most, if not all the tutors: not just the one they work with. They come here because the Hut is a place where people know you, get the work done, and have help in the process.

Plus, you get to occasionally throw paper around in exchange for pizza. That’s awesome.