Roots for Success
Welcome to Roots for Success!
Roots for Success offers math enrichment and tutoring for students in Grades 1-6. My goal is to make math meaningful, relevant, and fun for students. One-on-one sessions enable students to master math concepts at their own pace, develop confidence in problem solving and overcome math anxiety. Many students who struggle with math need support beyond what their teachers are able to provide in the classroom or their parents are able to give at home. I create a safe space and an enjoyable atmosphere where your child can get the extra support they need. Students look forward to private tutoring sessions where they can see a friendly face and have fun while learning math.
In-person sessions are in Cary, NC.
Virtual sessions are conducted via Zoom.
What is it? How does it impact students? How can tutoring help?
What is it?
Math anxiety is a widespread problem for students and adults alike. Even students who are good at math often experience math anxiety, including feelings of tension, apprehension or worry. Math-anxious students frequently endure significant physiological, emotional, and cognitive reactions in situations where they have to manipulate numbers, solve mathematical problems, or take a math test.
How does it impact students?
Signs of math anxiety vary but might include rushing through problems, acting out in class, lack of engagement or motivation, proclamations that the student hates math, or homework procrastination. Math anxiety that goes unchecked in the early years can persist throughout students' academic lives. Math-anxious students tend to take fewer advanced math classes and see themselves as less able in not only math, but in science, technology, and engineering as well. Confidence in doing math and mathematical competence can therefore impact students' vocational choices.
How can one-on-one tutoring help?
While math anxiety is very real, it is also fixable. One-on-one tutoring can help! A big focal area in my work with students is building confidence. During our sessions, I provide students with plenty of opportunities to be successful. I meet them where they are at. We take our time. I listen to their ideas and build on their intuitions. I teach students to think flexibly about numbers. I want them to see that there are multiple ways to think about mathematical concepts. It is more important that they truly understand the concepts we are working on than it is for us to cover a set number of topics in a defined period of time. We consider different ways to approach and solve problems. The more comfortable they become approaching problems in different ways, the deeper and broader their knowledge extends and the more confident they become in doing mathematics.
Helping students believe in their ability to successfully perform in math boosts motivation in learning and lowers math anxiety. As students' confidence grows in the intimate setting of one-on-one tutoring, it begins to move with them into the classroom. Students engage more in math class. They are more willing to raise their hand and ask questions, more willing to consider alternative ways of approaching problems. Greater engagement leads to greater confidence and increased motivation. Students with higher motivation in a subject area invest more time and effort in learning. And so it becomes an upward cycle.
In-person tutoring sessions take place in "the math lab." Students engage in many and varied hands-on activities to explore mathematical ideas. Whether we are using cardboard boxes and small foam cubes to explore volume, using an open door to investigate types of angles, ordering fraction cards on a clothesline, or using matchbox cars to engage in a statistical investigation process, we have fun! We spend time considering different ways to approach and solve problems. We experiment with a variety of different physical objects and mathematical tools. Rich problem contexts and tasks invite students to ponder important mathematical ideas in depth and verbalize their thinking. Math puzzles foster logical thinking, persistence and creativity. And math games (a favorite) encourage strategic mathematical thinking and support the development of computational fluency.
Sherry Booth Freeman, Ph.D.
Roots for Success grew out of my passion for actively engaging elementary students in learning mathematics. I enjoy working with students to deepen their understanding of math and to make it meaningful, relevant, and fun. With over 35 years of experience in the field of education - as a teacher, researcher, curriculum developer, and instructional designer - I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to each session. Each student is unique and comes to me with their own learning style. I find great joy in figuring out how content can be creatively developed and delivered to support their range of learning styles.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I book sessions?
Contact me directly to discuss your child's needs and set up a tutoring schedule. I recommend 1-2 sessions/week. Continuity in sessions enables me to develop a relationship with your child and craft sessions that are specifically tailored to their needs.
How do I pay for sessions?
I accept payment through Zelle, Venmo, and PayPal.
What is your cancellation policy?
You may re-schedule any booked session up to 24 hours before its start time. No-shows or sessions not rescheduled 24 hours in advance must be paid for in full. Exemptions may be granted for special circumstances.
What education and/or experience do you have that qualifies you to tutor?
I have tutored students in math, on and off, for more than 30 years and I genuinely love working with children. I have a Ph.D in Curriculum & Instruction (North Carolina State University), a Master's degree in Education (Harvard University); and a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics (Sweet Briar College). I have taught online classes for NCSU; developed and researched MOOC-Eds (Massive Open Education Courses for Educators); created and led online learning communities; developed online math curricula and interactive online math tools for elementary students; and developed online and face-to-face professional development courses for elementary math teachers. I have collaborated with a range of educational organizations including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, Education Development Center, Harvard University, Boston Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, North Carolina Public Schools, North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, The Jason Foundation for Education, McGraw-Hill, and Houghton-Mifflin.
Do you provide tutoring materials and/or a curriculum?
I provide all of the materials your child needs for tutoring sessions. While the skills and concepts covered during tutoring sessions follow a coherent order and align with the Common Core Math Standards, we mix it up with stories, puzzles, rich tasks, games, apps, and more. Math stories draw students in and bring math concepts to life. Math puzzles foster logical thinking, persistence, and creativity. Rich problem contexts and tasks invite students to ponder important mathematical ideas in depth and verbalize their thinking. Math games (a favorite) encourage strategic mathematical thinking and support the development of computational fluency. And math apps (digital math tools) make math more interactive. In short, we use a lot of different ingredients to make math meaningful and FUN! Much of the content I use are materials I developed through the above mentioned projects. Other materials are freely available online. Examples of online content and tools can be found at the following sites: The Math Learning Center, Geogebra, Desmos, Illustrative Mathematics, and Open-Up Resources.
What are tutoring sessions like?
Each tutoring session is customized to meet your child’s needs -- bespoke tutoring! Prior to the session I develop a series of activities for your child that will actively engage them in mathematics appropriate for their grade level. I frequently use math games, puzzles, stories, rich tasks, and math apps to help students develop confidence and skill in a fun and engaging way. If you would like for me to go over a specific homework assignment with your child, I ask that you send it to me the night before the session. A pdf or screen shot of the lesson works best but you can also just snap a picture of the lesson with your phone and text it to me.
What technology do I need for online tutoring?
For online tutoring sessions, your child will need a device (computer or tablet) and a good internet connection. In addition to Zoom, we will be using a shared online white board. Most students find it easiest to use the combination of Zoom and the online white board when they have a computer with a mouse and/or stylus and a large screen monitor with a camera (so they can see me and I can see them!).
How can I best prepare my child for tutoring sessions?
Make sure your child has had a snack and an opportunity to use the bathroom before tutoring. I ask that students do not bring a snack to face-to-face sessions or online sessions.
For virtual sessions, make sure your child is comfortable with Zoom. They will need to know how to share their screen, open a new browser window, link to an external site, and be able to switch back to camera mode (so we can see each other).
Math anxiety is a widespread problem for people of all ages. Even if you (as a parent) feel a little anxious about math, make sure you are conveying a positive attitude about math to your child. Positive math input at home is an important predictor of children's mathematical success.