Turning This into a Breakthrough Year

breakthrough year

Turning This into a Breakthrough Year

Let’s face it, the end of the last school year was rough! Juggling the demands of our jobs, running the household, raising our kids, and managing their on-line education led a majority of us to have a lot more wrinkles and gray hairs than we did before. And now we must muster the strength to do it all over again!

As a scientist-educator and Founder of Fit Learning, I’m here to offer you some clarity about the situation in which we find ourselves. I am trained in behavioral science, which is the science of learning. I’m not trained as a traditional educator; I’m trained in the science behind the learning process and I apply this science to instruction. For more than 20 years, my organization has been accelerating student achievement by one full year in only 40 hours of instruction (www.fitlearning.com/results). In other words, in as little time as a typical work week, our learners make a full year’s worth of growth in essential academic areas. And we also offer virtual instruction as an option for our learners. Not all virtual instruction is created equal. Exponential learning gains are possible via on-line platforms when the science of learning is applied to instruction.

Science has determined that kids don’t learn via arbitrary timelines and exposure to stuff. They learn by the repeated reinforcement of their behavior over time.  The repeated, reinforced practice of skills leads to permanent learning. In fact, with enough repeated, reinforced practice, skills actually become established as habits. We tend to think of habits as maladaptive behaviors that are difficult to get rid of – like biting our fingernails. But any behavior can become a habit if it is repeatedly practiced and reinforced. We use the term fluency to describe skills that have been established as habits (www.fluency.org). A fluent skill is neurologically permanent (i.e., remembered), resistant to distractions and fatigue, and easily usable for the learning of more complex skills. Fluent skills are automatic, effortless, second nature and indicative of expertise.

Science has also determined that complex skills can’t be effectively learned and mastered until prerequisite skills are fluent. In other words, students can’t acquire advanced math skills until basic numeracy and computation skills are fluent. Students can’t acquire proficient reading skills until phonics and decoding are fluent. Complex repertoires are comprised of many component skills, all of which require training to fluency in order for that more complex repertoire to be effectively learned. Our science has discovered that when kids are given the opportunity to truly master prerequisite skills, they can acquire more complex skills with little to no training. Students with a fluent foundation also begin leaping up curriculum ladders and show dramatic increases in critical thinking, confidence and perseverance (K. Berens 2020).

Now is a great time to rethink your plans for the next school year. You actually have the power to choose how your children are educated. You don’t have to continue with the status quo and accept what your schools are offering. With homeschooling being required anyway, why not design an educational experience for your child that can actually transform their life? Fit Learning provides a science-based alternative or supplement to traditional schooling.  We offer an on-line learning platform that produces fluency in essential academic areas so that students can acquire the necessary skills to become independent, confident, perseverant and successful. This next school year could actually prove to be the most remarkable year of your child’s life. Empower yourself and your child by taking charge of your child’s education by choosing science-based instruction. In doing so, you might just turn this current breakdown into a remarkable breakthrough.

5 Science Tips Helpful for Kids

• Sitting, staring, daydreaming or fidgeting does not equal learning. In order for kids to learn the concepts targeted in lessons, they must actively participate in those lessons. Your child’s teacher should encourage frequent and active participation during classroom instruction. The most effective educators provide 20 learning opportunities per minute! If your child is participating in on-line classes, observe those classes and count the number of opportunities your child is given to participate per minute. If the learning opportunities being provided are low, request that the teacher do better!

• Learning requires positive reinforcement. Your child’s teacher should be providing frequent praise and encouragement during lessons – not just reprimands when kids fail to participate. If your child is participating in on-line classes, observe these classes and count how often your child’s teacher provides reinforcement. The most effective educators provide reinforcement after every learning opportunity – 20 times per minute!  If your child’s teacher primarily uses reprimands or corrections rather than positive reinforcement – you should request that they do better.

• Use a timer during homework activities. It’s important to clearly differentiate between working time and break time. Set the timer for short, manageable periods – like 10 minutes. Require that your child work consistently throughout the time period. If your child goes off-task during the work period, restart the timer! When the timer goes off, praise your child for their hard work and give them a short break from their work space where they can stretch their legs, and get a drink or snack. After the short break, direct them back to their work space and start the timer for another work period.

• Electronic devices should be put away until homework is completed. Require that your child earn access to privileges for hard work. Electronic devices or other free-time activities are not rights — they are privileges and privileges should be earned. Allow your child to earn a certain number of electronic minutes for every hard working timer they complete. Bank these minutes and allow them to exchange their minutes at the end of the day — after homework is completed.

• Kids frequently fail to master the component skills required to independently complete assignments. If your child is working hard on homework but still struggling to complete it — inform your child’s teacher that your child requires practice of the component skills included in the assignment. You aren’t your child’s teacher — you are their parent. If your child is failing to learn the lessons and master skills, that failure is your teacher’s responsibility — not yours. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your child and demand more effective instruction. 

For more information on Fit Learning visit fitlearning.com or email us at admi[email protected] For information on Dr. Berens’ upcoming book, Blind Spots: Why Students Fail and the Science that Can Save Them, visit drkimberlyberens.com. You can also view her webinar on “The Future of Your Child’s Education.”

Reference: Berens, K. (2020). Blind Spots: Why Students Fail and the Science that can Save Them. In press. The Collective Book Studio: Oakland, CA.

Learning Support Listings

Benchmark Learning


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Benchmark Learning specializes in online tutoring for school (all grades, K-12) and college students, in Mathematics, English and Science. Why pay $60+ per hour for tutoring, when you could pay only $15 per hour? Benchmark Learning is currently offering a limited time offer of $15 per hour for one-on-one online private tutoring, with group and homework help sessions even cheaper! Their professional tutors are both experienced and knowledgeable, and always make sure that students stay on top of their curriculum throughout the school year. AP, IB & SAT Subject Test preparation also available.  FREE TRIALS AVAILABLE (limited-time offer!)  Lock in your discounted rate and book your free trial session today by contacting [email protected]

EBL Coaching


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EBL Coaching specializes in one-on-one HOME and virtual tutoring for students in grades pre-K-12 with specialized learning needs. They use research-based, multi-sensory techniques to develop students’ reading, writing, math, note taking, test taking, and executive functioning skills. Under the direction of their director, Dr. Emily Levy, each student is evaluated to determine his or her specific needs and is matched with one of EBL’s learning specialists. An individualized learning plan using research-based, multi-sensory techniques is then created for each student. EBL offers specialized instruction for students with dyslexia, specific learning disabilities, and ADHD using the Orton Gillingham method and other research-based techniques. 

Intelligentsia Tutoring Co. 

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(347) 334-2751


Intelligentsia offers exceptional academic tutoring, test prep, and admissions consulting. Our educators all share the gift to communicate, inspire, and mentor their students while emphasizing the importance of scholastic self-motivation, academic ownership, and investment in the learning environment. We’ve spent years tutoring remotely and in-person; we’ve developed curricula for homeschool students; and we’ve helped students get into their first-choice schools time and time again. For us, it is not enough to improve students’ grades while leaving them dependent on support; our goal is to create an intellectual foundation on which students can build far into their futures.

Ivy Tutors Network 



Do you need homeschool support? It’s a lot to juggle teaching your child and working a job. Need an expert to help your child become a great standardized test taker? Is your high schooler ready to start working on a game-changing college essay? Ivy Tutors Network has been helping NYC students find joy in learning through personalized education for over 17 years! Fortunate to be loved by clients year after year, Ivy Tutors Network guarantees improved test scores, increased confidence, and superior knowledge retention. With Ivy Tutors Network on your team, you get perfect tutor-student matches, brilliant & caring teachers in all subjects; diagnostic exams and best-in-class test prep; high school & college admissions consulting; and online workshops for all ages. Call for your free consultation.

Launch Math+Science Centers



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For more than a decade, Launch Math + Science Centers have provided toddlers to tweens with inspiring math instruction and STEM-based camps and classes. For Fall 2020, they have introduced their new LAUNCH STUDY HALL — The Antidote for Remote Learning! Launch instructors are ready to work privately with your child or with a small group – virtually or in your home – to provide supplemental homework help and instruction. Let Launch see to it that your child successfully completes the required lessons each day they study from home. Real-life rocket scientist, Scott Heifetz, founded Launch with one mission in mind: Inspire children to love and learn math and science. Visit their website, launchmath.com, to find out more and sign your child up today!

Relevant Directory Listings

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Twin Parks Montessori Schools

<p>TwIn Parks Montessori Schools nurtures a child’s natural tendency to learn.  Our three campuses on the Upper West Side of Manhattan serve children from 3 months to 5 years of age.  We are called Twin Parks because each of our campuses are across from Central Park or Riverside Park.  Being close to nature is just one of many things that make Twin Parks a wonderful school.  Twin Parks is well known for its warm stimulating environment, joyful, active, independent learners, and welcoming community.  At Twin Parks, each child is regarded with profound respect and care. Our nurturing teachers foster a beautiful learning environment designed to help each child reach their full potential.  </p> <p>All of our students, even our youngest children, have enriched experiences in math, language, science, cultural arts, music, art and movement.  The Montessori approach is internationally renowned for the development of each child’s creativity, individual resourcefulness, and potential.</p> <p>All of our classrooms share a deep commitment to the Montessori Method and at each level our program is carefully constructed around the developmental stages of the child.</p> <p>The Montessori curriculum varies at the levels of our school, but the goals are consistent throughout the programs:</p> <p>- To partner with parents in the education of their children</p> <p>- To foster a love and joy of learning</p> <p>- To help children develop a positive self-image </p> <p>- To foster open minds, compassion, and respect for others</p> <p>- To develop independence and confidence.</p> <p>- To instill in each child a sense of responsibility for the world in which we live</p> <p>- To maintain the highest standards for a safe and clean program.</p>

Amazing Explorers Academy Williamsburg

<p>Welcome to Amazing Explorers Academy, a premier STEAM-based preschool dedicated to fostering a love of learning and exploration in children aged 0 to 5. Our innovative and dynamic programs provide a nurturing environment where young minds can thrive and develop essential skills that will shape their future.</p> <p>At Amazing Explorers Academy, we embrace the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) approach, integrating these disciplines into our comprehensive curriculum. Through hands-on experiences and age-appropriate activities, children are encouraged to inquire, investigate, and discover, igniting their natural curiosity.</p> <p>We have many Enrichment programs included in our curriculum like Tiny Chefs, where your child is introduced to the joys of cooking and nutrition. Under the guidance of our incredible team, they learn to create delicious and healthy treats, fostering independence and creativity in the kitchen. Music and Movement is another integral part of our curriculum, enhancing children's motor skills, coordination, and self-expression. Beyond being a creative outlet, music’s rhythmic and melodic patterns stimulate the brain, exercising it and aiding memory development.</p> <p>We also place a strong emphasis on Nature Exploration, recognizing the importance of connecting with the natural world. Nature as a classroom allows children to engage all their senses, appreciate nature, and form stronger connections to their environment and community.</p> <p>Central to our philosophy is the belief in the power of play-based learning. We understand that children learn best through play, and our skilled educators design play-based activities that promote cognitive, social, and emotional development. Play-based learning nurtures creativity, problem-solving, and communication skills, all essential for success in the 21st century. Our highly trained and caring teachers are committed to creating a safe and nurturing atmosphere, where every child feels valued and supported.</p> <p>At Amazing Explorers Academy, we strive to inspire a lifelong love of learning, providing a solid foundation for future academic and personal achievements. Join us on this exciting journey of exploration and discovery, where every day is an opportunity to learn, play, and grow together!</p>

Paché Montessori

<p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">Located in a newly renovated landmark building amidst the beautiful brownstones of Cobble Hill. Carefully crafted with the developmental needs of children in mind, classrooms offer children calm, peaceful environments to explore the rich Montessori learning materials.</span></p>