Whether you’re a returning parent or new to our program, there are certain “best practices” that we like to recommend to ensure that your children get the most out of their experience.
Communication is Key: Staff, Principals, and teachers are meant to be a resource for you. You can reach out to your child’s teacher before or after a lesson, or arrange a time to meet via phone or email. If you know of any strengths or weaknesses of your child - areas specifically that you want to work on for their improvement - you can mention this to the teacher. Our goal is to help with more than just math, but to develop better students overall.
Homework is a Tool: At RSM, learning doesn’t stop when class ends. We view homework as a tool that encourages students to take responsibility. Two hours of class-time isn't sufficient for students to perfect their understanding and technique. But homework allows students time to practice what they've learned. It’s crucial to their development that students have the opportunity to puzzle through problems on their own, and, if they don’t understand it, to remember to raise the question in class. It is for this reason that we ask parents not to help with homework - but rather to mark a problem to alert the teacher to explain it in class. For more tips on homework, please visit our blog post on the subject.
For Middle-Schoolers, Geometry is Important: Over one-third of the SAT (and AMC) is on Geometry, but only one year in high school is devoted to the subject’s study. Like algebra, geometry is a language, an entire vocabulary. And for most students, geometry is an entirely revolutionary way to think, as it demands that they visualize and construct. To expect a student to master the vocabulary and the geometric method - what other countries spend three to four years teaching - in one year, is humanly impossible. RSM students have the opportunity to begin geometry classes in the 6th grade, where they are introduced to the subject without stress and pressure. We ensure that when they do eventually take geometry in school, they are able to fly through it. They will also not only be prepared for the SAT, but for the Johns Hopkins CTY - an SAT competition for 8th graders that places students on the college radar for the first time.
A Tailored Approach: We understand that each child engages with different concepts in different ways and at different speeds. And that it’s important for each student to be challenged but not overly-so. Because of this we offer three levels for each grade. We identify the best level for each student and also have the flexibility to move them to different levels if they are struggling or require greater challenge. If you feel that your child’s level is no longer appropriate please inform your teacher. A lot goes into the conversation of whether it makes sense to switch a child into a different level, but it’s an important one to have.
Support the Idea That Math is Cool: We try very hard to battle the anti-intellectual and specifically anti-math sentiments that can at times run rampant through our society. This year, the theme of our annual awards ceremony honoring students who had posted top scores on national and international math competitions was “Respect the Nerd.” We want to confront these stigmas head on, but our efforts also require reinforcement at home. Do what you can to stamp out ideas that “math isn’t cool or worthwhile,” and challenge the phrase “I’m not a math person.” A math person is a thinking person. A math person is a creative person. Anyone with an interest in thought or creativity is a math person.
Why Every Child Needs Summer School
Most students lose nearly two months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer, according to the National Summer Learning Association.
When your child was just beginning to walk and talk, and failed a hundred times before they were actually able to express themselves or maintain their balance, you didn’t think that walking and talking was not “their thing,” did you?