Learning for Life

now browsing by category


Summer Tutoring!

So, let’s state 2 very obvious facts to get them out of the way

 (1) IT’S SUMMER!!!

(2) And I have been severely delinquent in updating my website….

My business has taken off through other communication outlets (Yay!!!) and as a result I have not posted on here since…February 5th…

But enough of that! I am offering summer tutoring June 1-30 and July 21 through the start of school. So, if your student needs his or her maths skills polished in preparation for next year or ACT/SAT test prep help, contact me! Call me at 816-738-5685, post below, or e-mail me at tutoring@rachelcheslik.com.

In the meantime, have a WONDERFUL summer!

Rachel Cheslik


Back-to-School Special Offer!

It’s time to pull out the books, backpacks, and sharpened pencils! School is back in session next week in Harrisonville, MO, and the surrounding districts, so I’m offering $5 off your first tutoring session if you sign up between August 12 and September 13, 2013! Contact me by emailing tutoring@rachelcheslik.com, by posting a comment below, or by calling 816-738-5685. Mention you saw this post, and I’ll deduct $5 off your first session.

Learn more about me here! Click here for grades 5-8 and here for grades 9-12 to see the subjects I offer tutoring in.


Have a great week!

Rachel Cheslik

rachel 3


Learning about ADD

Recently, I’ve been reading a book  on ADD and how it affects kids and adults: Driven to Distraction by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., & John J. Ratey, M.D.

While I was reading Driven to Distraction, I had specific questions in mind. Below, I’ve laid out my questions and some quotes from the book that provide answers.  (Please be aware that whenever I or the authors say ADD, we are also referring to ADHD.)

What is ADD?

“We still have much to learn. The exact mechanism underlying ADD remains unknown. . . Still, we have been able to take some steps toward defining, in terms of the anatomy and chemistry of the brain, the underpinnings of ADD. With every step forward we become more sure what the disorder is not: it is not a willful misbehaving, it is not a moral failing, it is not a lack of trying nor an inability to take an interest in the world. Neurobiological data now show that the syndrome is rooted in the central nervous system.” (p. 336, emphasis added)

Young Boy Learning

The book goes on to explain that, in the authors’ view,   “. . .ADD [is] an inability to stop receiving messages rather than an inability to receive the right messages. These people always feel a press for the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. The ADD individual is captive to the events of the external world . . . Instead of framing the syndrome as an inability to pay attention to cues, this definition focuses on the ability of someone with ADD to pay attention to many more cues than the average person.” (p. 351)

Paraphrased, the brain of a person with ADD is unable to regulate the signals his or her brain receives as well as the brain of a person without ADD. So, someone with ADD is constantly distracted by external stimuli that a person without ADD can “tune out.”

What are the symptoms of ADD?

“Primary symptoms are the symptoms of the syndrome itself: distractability, implusivity, restlessness, and so forth. The secondary symptoms, and the ones that are most difficult to treat, are the symptoms that develop in the wake of the primary syndrome not being recognized: low self-esteem, depression, boredom, and frustration with school, fear of learning new things, impaired peer relations, and violent behavior.” (p.63)

One of the many subtypes of ADD is ADD without hyperactivity, and since I didn’t realize that ADD could exist in this form, I wanted to share some of what the book says about this subtype.


“One of the most common misconceptions about attention deficit disorder is that it only occurs with hyperactivity. Many people believe that if the child is not “bouncing off the walls,” then he or she does not have ADD. If the child is not a behavior problem, or a discipline problem, or at least a fidgety nudge, then the child does not have ADD. . .The diagnoses seems to rest, in many people’s minds, upon the symptom of motoric hyperactivity.”  (p. 189)

“But the evidence now shows that there are hosts of children and adults who have all the other symptoms of ADD but who are not hyperactive, or even overactive. If anything, they are motorically slow, even languid. These are the daydreamers. These are the kids–often girls–who sit in the back of class and twirl their hair through their fingers while staring out the window and thinking long, long thoughts. . . These are the people, often highly imaginative, who are building stairways to heaven in the midst of conversations, or writing plays in their minds while not finishing their day’s work, or nodding agreeably and politely while not hearing what is being said at all. They steal away silently, without the noisemaking of their hyperactive brethren, but they steal away just the same.” (p. 189-190)

How does ADD affect learning?

MP900446448“. . .the diagnosis of ADD should not carry with it the perception of an educational death sentence . . . It is very important that parents and teachers reassure the child about this matter. While one doesn’t rejoice at the diagnosis of ADD, neither need one despair. With help, children with ADD can draw on their emotional and intellectual strengths.” (p. 63)

“ADD exacerbates learning problems in the same way that nearsightedness does: you can’t focus as well as you should, so you are not able to use the talents you have to the fullest. The first step in treatment is to get glasses, or treat the ADD, and then reassess the extent of the residual learning disability.” (p.48)

How do you know if a student has ADD?

One of my biggest questions was “So, lots of kids struggle with restlessness, inattention, and learning…how do you know the difference between normal human struggles versus having true ADHD?”

“The person with true ADD experiences the symptoms most of the time and experiences more intensely than the average person. Most important, the symptoms tend to interfere with everyday life more than for the average person.” (p. 240)

Pages 247-250 of Driven to Distraction contain tables of specific criteria for diagnosing ADD in children and adults.


There is a lot more essential information about ADD in Driven to Distraction, so please check out the book! In the meantime, I hope you’ve learned something new about ADD/ADHD and how it affects children and adults.

Have a great weekend!

Rachel Cheslik

rachel 3

Celebrating Freedom

Dear Students,

Happy 4th of July week! I hope y’all are enjoying some time with your family and friends! The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays because not only do I get time off work to hang out with friends, grill some hamburgers and hot dogs, and watch fireworks, but I also get to celebrate the beginning of the United States of America!


I am so thankful to live in a country where liberty is so highly valued. In many countries I would not have the freedom to participate in electing our governing officials, start my own tutoring business, or even post on my own website without regulation.

Man in U.s. Marine Corps Uniform Saluting American Flag

And none of these freedoms would be possible without the millions of United States soldiers who have kept our country free over the past two-and-a-half decades. So, this week when I celebrate the independence of the United States of America, I am especially thankful for these 3 liberties and for the men and women who have sacrificed so much.

What about you? What are some freedoms you are thankful for this week?


Rachel Cheslik

rachel 3


Ed-u-ca-tion: Three parts determination and one part learning

“The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.” — Aldous Huxley 

Recently, I’ve been considering how to motivate students to work hard at subjects they do not enjoy. I listen and encourage; I create worksheets that relate to their interests; I help them set goals and reward them when they succeed. Yet what do I do when that is not enough? What do I do when what students lack is not the ability to learn but the determination to do their best?

And then I realized something: education itself–reading, writing, math, history, science–isn’t valuable without the determination and character to learn and apply it. What allows us to succeed in this world is not so much what we know, but the determination to use our knowledge to do the things we have to do, when we have to do them, whether we like it or not.

So to the students who lack determination to learn when learning is hard and inconvenient and very unfun, don’t give up…determine to apply yourself now and you will be building a successful foundation for your future. 

Rachel Cheslik

rachel 3