What is Studygascar?

Studygascar is a math and chess learning center. We teach mathematics and chess separately. Our math program emphasizes building strong math fundamentals that help children succeed in high school math and beyond. The math program is logically ordered and based on a comfortable gradual approach, which allows children to attain mastery in small manageable steps.

Our chess program offers beginner, lower intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate, and advanced chess instruction. The beginner program teaches basics and rules of chess in detail. The three intermediate programs build strong tactical skills as well as introduce strategic analysis and opening preparation methods. The advanced program is geared towards competitive tournament chess players and includes advanced strategic and opening preparation.

The Studygascar Method is founded on the belief that every child can easily achieve mastery in chess as well as in any school subject once the child builds sound study habits and starts practicing regularly.

The Studygascar curriculum is designed to make sure that a path to mastery is straightforward and clear. Our math and chess programs start from basics and add new topics and concepts in small increments, following natural logic of a subject. We make sure that each child learns at his or her own comfortable pace, meaning that the child is neither overstressed with the fast material build up nor under challenged or bored with the material that is too easy.

The Studygascar programs provide just the right amount of challenge, keeping each child in his or her optimal learning zone. Such an approach allows children to build knowledge foundation efficiently.

Studygascar takes a mastery approach to teaching mathematics and chess. Studygascar materials are arranged in a logical linear sequence. Both math and chess programs start from the very basic level and gradually progress in difficulty, with each consecutive level building on the previous one. Studygascar students are required to master a certain math or chess level before advancing to the next level.

Mastery of basic math concepts before moving to the more advanced math concepts is the core feature of the Studygascar math program. It is also the necessity for building strong foundation of math knowledge. The goal of the Studygascar math program is the development of a solid mathematics base, the one that allows students to succeed in high school math and beyond.

To achieve math mastery, Studygascar students have to go beyond mere understanding of math operations and concepts. Through regular practice, the students are required to achieve real mastery of the current math material before moving to the more advanced math topics.

Studygascar mastery approach to teaching math differs from a spiral approach to teaching math employed by many schools. The spiral approach/method introduces many math topics in a certain grade. The topics can significantly vary in difficulty. This approach not require mastery of a certain math topic on the first pass. The same topics reappear in the curriculum next year and the year after that. One idea of the spiral method is to expose students to a wide variety of math topics without requiring students to master the material the first time. Another idea is to touch the same math topics in many grades, with an expectation that students will eventually gain deep understanding of the material.

In contrast to the spiral approach, Studygascar math program uses a strict logical and linear approach. While learning arithmetic, for example, Studygascar students are required to completely master addition and then subtraction of the whole numbers before they are allowed to move to multiplication and then division. Only after mastering addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of the whole numbers, the students progress to fractions and then to decimals. In other words, Studygascar math students are required to fully grasp basic math concepts and operations before studying more advanced math topics. In Studygascar math, the students are introduced to the advanced topics only after building the solid foundation of math knowledge by first mastering arithmetic, pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry.

Studygascar doesn’t really tutor students. Instead, we help children build sound study habits and teach students how to study independently.

Studygascar math and chess programs are highly structured and arranged in a linear logical order, with each consecutive level building on the previous one. Our design of study materials is straightforward, which allows adults to step aside and let children work on their own. Studygascar instructors are always ready to provide help if a student struggles with a particular concept. However, children are encouraged to study on their own, without direct adult help in most situations.

Learning to study on their own, children get much more than just mathematics or chess. Children acquire disciplined study habits and ability to self-study any subject in the future. This approach prepares children to succeed in high school, college, and beyond.

In other words, while Studygascar’s immediate goal is to help children build rock-solid knowledge of math and/or chess, our ultimate goal is to help children acquire lifetime learning skills, sound study habits, and confidence that will benefit children for a very long time.

Studygascar math program is highly structured and arranged in a linear logical order, with each consecutive math level building on the previous one. We don’t adjust math curriculum for each student because such adjustments might make learning process inefficient. Our goal is to help each student build a solid math foundation, and this task is difficult to achieve if we break simple and logical progression of the math material.

However, while we do not change the math curriculum for each student, we do make sure that each student starts at the individualized confidence point of the math program. We also make sure that each student progresses through the math program at his or her individualized pace.

Studygascar instructors administer math assessment tests for each student to determine his or her confidence starting point in math program. Students usually feel comfortable with math topics that they have already mastered. The goal of our assessment testing is to determine the border between math topics already mastered and math topics not yet mastered for each student. Once the knowledge borderline is determined, we place a student into the familiar/mastery territory. Such placement gives a child confidence and peace of mind because he or she can succeed immediately by solving most of math problems in his or her mastery zone.

We don’t leave a child in the comfortable knowledge zone for a long time though. Once a student feels comfortable with the math program and builds self-esteem, we start to advance him or her through logical sequence of math topics, building his or her math foundation step by step. Each student is required to fully master one math level before moving to the next one. Achievement of the mastery doesn’t happen at the same rate. Some children are able to master a math level faster. Some children progress a bit slower. The rate of progress is not really important, however. What crucial is that a child has a steady advancement that enables him or her to build solid math knowledge base step by step. Once a student builds the math foundation, it doesn’t matter at all how long it took him or her to do so. The knowledge base, solid study habits, and confidence will benefit children for a long time. The rate of the progress will be forgotten.

Studygascar beginner and intermediate chess programs are designed using the same principles as Studygascar math program. The beginner and intermediate chess programs are highly structured and arranged in a linear logical order, with each consecutive chess level building on the previous one. We don’t adjust chess curriculum for each beginner or intermediate chess student either.

Studygascar instructors administer chess assessment tests for each student to determine his or her level of chess knowledge. If a student falls into the beginner or intermediate chess category, the student is placed in the appropriate chess program level and starts progress from an individualized confidence starting point. Each beginner or intermediate chess student progresses at his or her individualized pace through levels of a structured chess program. The students are required to fully master each beginner and intermediate chess level before moving to the next level.

The goal of such structured approach is to build solid chess foundation by developing first sound tactical and then strategic chess skills.

In contrast, Studygascar advanced chess program, which is geared towards tournament chess players who already mastered the basics of chess tactics and strategy, is highly individualized. Advanced students spend a lot of time working on chess openings and sophisticated strategy topics. Each advanced chess student has a unique progress plan and works at his or her own pace.

Studygascar math program, as well as beginner and intermediate chess programs, is highly structured. All math and chess topics are introduced in a strict logical order, with each consecutive topic built on the previous one. Such structured approach helps children build a solid knowledge foundation efficiently.

Efficiency of learning is only possible when students do not skip logical steps while building math and/or chess foundation. For example, it is unproductive to introduce fractions or decimals to a child who didn’t master addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers. It is similarly unproductive to introduce algebraic concepts to a student who didn’t master arithmetic. In chess, it makes no sense to teach a student strategic topics until the student learned simple tactics. Chess strategy does not matter at all if a child systematically loses games due to simple tactical blunders.

Simple math concepts build upon one another naturally. It is easier to learn subtraction if a child already mastered addition. It is easier to master multiplication and division if a child already knows addition and subtraction. It is easier to learn algebra once a student mastered arithmetic. There is no way around this.

Similarly, sound chess tactics skills are an absolute prerequisite for studying chess strategy or chess openings in detail.

Studygascar math and chess programs are designed to use natural sequence of math and chess topics. Our materials progress logically with concepts and topics building one upon another.

The only place where we step away from a highly-structured approach is the advanced chess program. Advanced chess students already mastered basics of chess tactics and strategy. Thus, they acquired a solid chess base. Further progress of advanced chess students usually requires advanced study of chess openings. Such work calls for more sophisticated approaches.

Studygascar math and chess programs are carefully designed to make sure that an increase in difficulty from level to level happens in small manageable steps. The idea behind incremental increases is the build-up of confidence in students.

Confidence is extremely important for developing a long-term habit of acquiring knowledge. Children become much better students if they are able to study in a comfortable learning zone. Comfort doesn’t mean an absence of challenge. It means that challenge is manageable.

Over challenging students is not a good idea in education. Most children simply get over stressed and confused. Under challenging students is not a good idea either. Most children get demotivated when study materials are too easy. Studygascar math and chess programs have been analytically developed to provide just the right amount of challenge to students. Our math and chess levels increase in difficulty in small logical steps, building knowledge blocks one upon another without distressing children.

Achieving mastery in mathematics and/or chess is not difficult. There are only two components that are required: a well-designed study program and regular practice. Studygascar provides the first component. Our math and chess programs are carefully designed and time tested to produce results. A student should deliver the second component – regular practice.

Strong knowledge foundation doesn’t come out of the thin air. It doesn’t appear with the help of magic. Process of acquiring proficiency in math and/or chess is similar to acquiring proficiency in many other fields. For example, a tennis player is not able to serve hard and consistently until he or she invested many hours of practice in developing and perfecting a serving motion. Similarly, a figure skater doesn’t dream to perform professionally without practicing daily.

Studygascar programs do require regular practice. We highly recommend that Studygascar math and/or chess students practice 40 minutes per subject daily. Regular practice helps children reinforce already acquired skills, and such reinforcement leads to steady buildup of the knowledge foundation. Regular practice also develops lifelong learning habits, preparing a child to succeed in high school, college, and beyond.