EP016: The habit of reading: why it's important and how to develop it

Of all the important academic exercises, none are as critical to your success as routine reading. Throughout your education, teachers will assign mounds of textbook reading in social studies, English, the sciences, and beyond. While it is imperative that you take your assignments seriously and blast through your requisite reading, that is simply the bare minimum. This episode parses the science behind habit formation and gives advice on how to cultivate an organic desire to read.

EP015: ACT math - hear the frequency based breakdown of 31 math categories tested on the ACT

After researching and analyzing dozens of official ACT tests, Huzefa developed a test preparation strategy revolving around targeted focus of prevalent topics. Hear the topics in order of frequency so you or your child can organize and optimize their study strategy.

EP014: Data science and mathematics: data scientist Dr. Michael Housman explains why math is integral to data analysis and interpretation

If you enjoy books like Freakonomics, this episode is for you! Dr. Michael Housman joins the show to discuss his work in the data science industry, and how he has made astonishing discoveries about human behavior by crunching numbers and generating mathematical equations.

EP013: Teaching young kids: 5 tips to keep elementary school children engaged and enthusiastic

Teaching high school students is very straightforward. Kids in their mid to late teens are often focused and self-motivated to learn and perform. They are thinking about college and beyond, and usually have some goals in mind that they would like to achieve. Young children, however, are not as determined to plow through hours of mathematical tutelage as their older counterparts. They are substantially more disconnected from the real world and career ambitions. Tune in to hear 5 powerful tips that can help engage young minds and motivate them to work hard.

EP012: Construction and mathematics: hear the owner of Valdivia Construction talk about math in the workplace

Working in the construction industry requires a lot of foresight, hands on knowledge, and most importantly, math fluency. Timothy Bemus, co-owner of Valdivia Construction, explains precisely why fractions, arithmetic, geometry, and trigonometry are necessary to success in construction engineering.

EP011: Finding an ideal math tutor: 6 things to consider

Finding an excellent tutor can make a tremendous impact on a child’s ability to succeed academically. Parsing material after school with a guiding hand can fully illuminate subjects that are otherwise difficult to grasp. Translation: with the right set of mentors, all students can develop into confident adults with healthy GPAs. Most parents are well versed in the art of finding a nicely fitting academic institution, but very few are aware of the highly nuanced process for vetting a tutor. Here are six key components that parents should evaluate when searching for a tutor.

EP010: The new SAT - understand the ins and outs of the redesigned math section

The College Board recently redesigned the SAT from top to bottom. After analyzing the test in great detail, I will share the major changes to the math section along with tips and strategies to maximize your score with this brand new format.

EP009: Teach your kids effectively: 7 tips for parents trying to help with homework

Asking parents for help can be a difficult undertaking for kids. It can make them feel embarassed or unsuccessful, and these feelings can be amplified if a parent approaches homework the wrong way. Tune to hear exactly what you should and shouldn't do as a parent if you are planning to help your child on a regular basis.

EP008: Identifying your child's learning style to enhance comprehension

There are seven distinct learning styles to be aware of: (1) interpersonal, (2) intrapersonal, (3) verbal, (4) logical, (5) visual, (6) auditory, and (7) kinesthetic. Math comprehension can vary wildly depending on which category (or categories) your child falls within. Depending on a particular teacher's pedagogy, a child may thrive or experience difficulty in math class. Learn the categories so that you can understand your child and help him/her succeed in math!

Three reasons why music matters for academic excellence


The importance of music programs in schools has been debated across the globe for decades. As budgets are trimmed and school music programs are cut, there is an ever-increasing need to answer the looming question: does music education matter? I believe that the answer is, unequivocally, yes.

From a personal standpoint, music immersion has had a massive impact on my life.  My introduction to music began when I chose to play the coronet at the age of 9.  After falling in love with the coronet, I then began playing the piano at age 11, strumming the guitar at age 18, and producing multi-track compositions on Pro Tools at the age of 21.  Creating and playing music opened a new dimension in my life that enabled the satisfaction of a creative side that I barely knew existed. It not only made it possible for me to explore a brand new interest, but it ended up having unbounded relevance to what I do now. Because my parents allowed me to develop such a deep love for music composition, I am able to blend that skill set into all of my education related video content today. While some may have considered my love of music composition a potential waste of time and distraction from more relevant pursuits, I am happy to report that it is one component of my tool set that never seems to relent with respect to offering utility.  For parents who are contemplating whether or not to introduce their children to music, my advice is to let them give it a shot. If they don’t enjoy it, so be it, but if it ends being a fit, there are a plethora of amazing reasons to nurture the love of music.

1. Music develops and refines interpersonal skills

Music classes teach students valuable skills that can be applied outside of the music room. One critical feature of the study of music is the obligation to perform.  Whether it’s a piano recital, an orchestral performance, or an open mic debut, music participation requires a student to eventually stand up in front of an audience and perform.  While this can be a terrifying and difficult experience, it is essential for growth and development.  Students must deal with stage fright and learn how to cope with performance anxiety. Adults who neglect to address this fear at an early age can suffer crippling anxiety that can make it difficult to pursue careers that require regular public speaking.  

Another major benefit of music participation is that students get the opportunity to become a part of a positive organization. Joining a string quartet, orchestra, or rock band can give students an unparalleled opportunity to meet new people that share similar interests. This opportunity for interaction can strengthen a child’s social skills by providing a solid environment for the development of social bonds.  

2. Exposure to music helps children achieve success in academia

Several studies have been conducted regarding the positive relationship between music and academics. A Harvard study revealed that music training in children results in long-term enhancements of visual-spatial, verbal, and mathematical performance. Specifically, math and reading are improved by the processes of (1) learning rhythms and (2) decoding the notes and symbols in sheet music. Another study conducted by the College Board showed that students with music training produced scores that were higher than non-music students by over 60 points on the verbal section and 43 points on the math section. Even if music instruction stops, studies reveal that early music exposure will have a lasting and positive effect on the adult brain. Interestingly, adult musicians with age-related hearing loss can detect speech in noise more accurately than a non-musicians without hearing loss because music training has made their brains more adept at processing sound.

3. Brain activity is heightened via music immersion

Playing a piece of music requires the use of the auditory, visual, motor, and emotional centers of the brain. According to Dr. Norman Weinberger, research professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California at Irvine, brain scans show that there is more activity in the brain during a musical performance than there is during most other activities. This increased activity helps to shape the brain itself. The most pronounced enhancements in brain structure are visible in those who began music education early in childhood.