Updated: Jul 18
Here at The Learning Room we believe in celebrating the successes of our students, big and small! Whether a student has achieved a personal or academic goal, student success is at the heart of our work. In our series, Student Spotlight, we highlight what a partnership with a Learning Room academic coach can do for struggling learners.
As a sixth grade homeschooler, Maddie had been stuck at a third-grade math level for many years. Multiplication was a big hurdle for Maddie which led to confusion across multiple math topics and skills. Maddie’s family ultimately decided to enroll her at The Learning Room for the two months prior to summer in hopes that 1:1 individualized instruction would help Maddie master the challenge that had been impeding her learning success.
Enter The Learning Room
Working with Jessica for 2 hours per week, Maddie’s math skills have soared in just two months! Across just 20 lessons Jessica not only helped Maddie become a multiplication master but also filled in gaps across a variety of other math topics. In her two months with The Learning Room, Maddie made ½ year of academic progress.
So…how did we do it?
Every student that comes through The Learning Room begins with an assessment. During Maddie’s assessment, Jessica quickly noticed that multiplication was not where Maddie’s gaps in understanding began. Maddie’s trouble with multiplication was rooted in confusion with place value. This discovery is precisely why we begin with a comprehensive assessment prior to instruction. Our initial assessments allow our team of academic coaches to uncover the core issue and what is hindering academic progress in our students.
What we did
In this section, Jessica will take us through Maddie’s learning journey, detailing how she achieved such great success in just two months!
To efficiently target Maddie’s foundational gaps in math, I had to create a multi-faceted plan. I looked at her initial math assessment before planning each lesson. I used it to create lessons that started at the core issue, place value, then after clarifying understanding around a place value topic, we would then apply that new knowledge to a multiplication lesson.
This approach ensured I was covering the core issue of place value while also addressing the family's biggest concern, Maddie’s understanding of and success with multiplication. Multiplication was causing many tense moments during their homeschool lessons, so I wanted to take this stress off Maddie’s mom.
The other part of my approach was giving Maddie specific homework through our apps that are provided by The Learning Room. I would assign her practice on the skills learned during the lesson in addition to multiplication practice. (download our multiplication guide here for tips and tricks!)
The homework replaced her homeschool lessons. This took some of the tension out of homeschool time for mom, because I only assigned things we had covered in lessons so Maddie was able to be independent in completing them. This also extended her practice on these topics meaning in our next lesson, we were able to introduce a new topic - quickly moving us through my plan for her to achieve as much as we could before her summer break.
Using this approach, Jessica and Maddie covered several different math topics across 2 months, clearing up confusion around place value, multiplication, two-digit multiplication, and fractions. Filling in these foundational gaps makes Maddie a more independent and confident mathematician.
Why was academic coaching more successful than traditional math tutoring?
The Learning Room actually started out solely supporting homeschoolers in their education. We are different than traditional homeschool tutoring in that we don’t try and force homeschoolers into a traditional educational box. We honor and respect the choices each homeschool family makes to home-educate their children in a way that fits their family. During our free consultation, we ensure we understand the morals and educational theory that drives each family's homeschooling choices so that we can build a plan that complements their efforts, not forces them to conform. Traditional tutoring often forces homeschooled students like Maddie to comply with educational norms that may not fit their homeschooling goals. I find that homeschool tutoring that does not honor the families' values is a detriment to the homeschool students' mental health, making them feel bad that they don’t meet the standards of a system they don’t partake in.
The Learning Room understands the complexity of homeschooling and strives to support all students in a way that uplifts them. We find empowering students and families in a way that aligns with their values yields us fast results like Maddie. Maddie's success is par for the course here at The Learning Room but is not standard for our industry. These methods are what make us the experts in all educational growth, regardless of a family's chosen form of education.
While Maddie’s struggles may not be your child's struggles, know that Maddie’s success at the Learning Room is a reality for many students that receive our services! Our team is dedicated to individualized, consistent, and rigorous instruction to help your child reach their learning goals!