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Sara Smith - professional home teacher

Tutoring in your home
Over 25 years experience
(626) 792-2988

My First Goal:

An eager, interested, happy student who enjoys making excellent progress.

"My kids love you!" –after first lesson with students, grades 3 and 4

My Final Goal:

An independent, confident student, so successful in all study that my help isn't needed any more.

"I never would have dreamed that this (younger) son could reach this level of interest in school! Thank you." - This formerly unsuccessful fifth grader later attended a prestigious private high school.

What are Your Goals?

English Language

Development (ELD)


Grades K – 12


·       Certified in ESL by

UCLA & Michigan

·       California Credentials








Help with Schoolwork





Grades 9 – 12


·       Many Students

Accepted by

Good Universities





Test-taking Secrets

CAHSEE Exit. Exam.

Help with Schoolwork

& College Applications


Elementary and

Middle School


Grades K – 8


·       Effective Reading

Program and

·       Study Techniques



Study Skills

Help with Schoolwork





I am a professional home teacher. I am not a “homework tutor.” I offer a complete program to help each student do very well in school and in life.

I trained in Teaching English as a Second Language at the University of Michigan and UCLA, and I have two California teaching credentials. I have over 25 years’ experience tutoring students of all ages and from many countries. In addition, I had a tutoring service for ten years, with up to 17 tutors and 85 students.

Why don’t you teach in school?

I taught classes in a language school for several years and at UCLA for a few months. It was fun, but I always felt that many students didn't get what they needed. I had to teach the middle of the group, and I just couldn’t help the lower and higher levels much. As a tutor, I can give each student exactly what he/she needs. Some start out slow, but if they do my program, after a few months they are studying well, independently, and making very rapid progress. I love to watch them grow! I am so happy to see their success and know that I really help them in their lives!

Isn’t school enough? Don’t children learn enough in school?

Even the best school with the best teachers can’t teach every student everything he/she needs. I’ve spent over 30 years developing a program to teach a broad education. I find out what the student is and isn’t learning in school. I help where he/she is having trouble, and also teach him/her the things that are missing. I don’t waste time teaching unnecessary things, but I do teach necessary things the schools are missing.

What is the best way to prepare for SATs and other tests?

Most after-school programs have two parts. They give the students lists of words to memorize, and they have them practice test-type questions (often not real test questions) over and over, without using a dictionary. These methods are sometimes better than nothing, but in my experience, they are missing the most important part – the student’s understanding. To learn new vocabulary, one must understand the word in some context and then study it several times. I have my students make a card for each new word they see, hear, or read, and then we test the words several times. I use vocabulary workbooks that practice the words several times, and when the students practice test materials, they do them using a dictionary and making cards to study. Students who have done this and other test preparation activities in my program have done very well. Students who didn’t just haven’t done anywhere near as well.

When should a student start?

Sooner is better than later. As time goes by, problems just get worse. It’s much easier to “fix” the problem at the basic level, before there is a problem. After that, school will be easy. Therefore, if your child is having any trouble in school, it’s definitely time to start. If your child has just average grades, it’s time to start. If your child doesn’t like school, it’s time to start. If your child seems a bit slow to learn to read, it’s time to start. It only takes a few months to teach a small child to read, but much longer to handle a big problem later.

How well can a student do?

Students who studied my program have done very well. Older students have gotten excellent grades and gone to good private high schools and major universities.

I taught mostly Japanese students for many years, so I'll tell you about their success. (The program works for everyone, because after they learn basic English, all students have the same needs.) The only requirements to enter a Japanese university from America are good grades, high scores on the SAT and TOEFL, and sometimes an essay. Most of the students who studied my program went to Keio University, the #1 private university. Five have gone to Tokyo University (#1 in the country). A few chose other schools for their special programs, and they got into their first choice. My most recent successes are Mio Kohara and Mariko Takashima. They both entered Tokyo University spring, 2005. Mio, who studied with me for five years, was accepted by five U.S. universities and earned two scholarships before she suddenly had to return to Japan. There she was accepted by Keio, Waseda and Tokyo Universities. Mariko was only here for her sophomore year; she entered Tokyo University from Japan.

What is your philosophy?

  • Education is a very broad thing – it’s not just school, grades and tests. For example, language is communication, and one should be able to use language for every kind of communication. There is even more, because people should want to communicate.

  • Forcing students doesn’t lead to real education. They must study from their own motivation and interest, and it takes special skill and some time to awaken this interest. If a student isn’t doing his/her schoolwork, I focus first on helping him/her understand the words and meaning of the subject. Then I use indirect pressure to make him/her do some minimum. After a few months, such students see that they can succeed, and they start to have their own motivation to do well. Given enough time, you can’t stop them!
  • Success and fun are important. I find interesting materials and use rewards such as trophies to motivate students. My basic goal is to help students understand and learn things that will help them in their lives. However, nobody likes to study, study, study – especially children – and there’s no reason why it can’t be fun and interesting as well as useful. When students discover that they’re interested and succeeding better, their attitude changes.


    What is Applied Scholastics® Study Technology?

    I am a licensed Applied Scholastics tutor. Tutors and schools worldwide use Study Technology, developed by author, educator, and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard. Mr. Hubbard discovered the basic principles of study which allow all students to succeed. For example, one important concept is understanding. Understanding the words and meaning of what you study is very important, from elementary school to college. It is also important for each student to study at his/her own level. I use these principles while teaching to help my students learn how to study effectively, and I can also teach students the Applied Scholastics children’s study courses.

    © 2004 Smith Education Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Applied Scholastics and the Applied Scholastics logo are trademarks and service marks owned by Association for Better Living and Education International and are used with its permission.

    Sara Jane Smith

    Smith Education Services, Inc. Pasadena, California (626) 792-2988

    Locations nearby are: La Canada, La Crescenta, Montrose, Glendale, Sierra Madre, San Marino, Arcadia, Pasadena, and South Pasadena

  • Learning How to Learn (softcover)Learning How to Learn (softcover)
  • Learning How to Learn--Ages 8 & up
  • this book is a manual about how to study
  • help your children to get better grades

    Availability: Usually ships the same business day

    Learning How to Learn (Softcover) Ages 8 & up 1584600055  List price: US$14.95  Sale price: US$13.50  Language: 

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