Frequently Asked Questions:
How does your program work?
Students who have a difficult time with academics in school often have gaps in their learning foundation as the root cause. Students with learning issues often have visual and/or auditory systems working differently than their peers as well as problems with gross motor activities and memory issues.
These students are also usually tactile learners, which means they learn by doing. We prepare them to succeed academically by strengthening the sensory components that are weak and filling in any gaps that have occurred. In addition, we teach academics to the students, starting in a multi-sensory fashion, which helps these right-brain dominant, tactile learners succeed when all other methods have failed. This comprehensive program is what makes the difference between constantly needing tutoring and/or various therapies compared to teaching the student to actually overcome the learning difference.
Our formula has remained the same as when we first opened our doors over eighteen years ago. We strengthen motor skills, auditory skills, visual skills, increase memory, and teach academics in new and unique ways so the non-traditional learner can reach learning success.
What about the brain?
In the last few years, scientists have learned a great deal about how the brain can continue to learn and be strengthened throughout our entire lives. This concept is called “plasticity” and is one of the main principles of our program. By having your child perform physical exercises that cross the vertical midline of the body and access certain spots in the brain through visual touch points, we are able to build new neural pathways in the brain.
The brain likes to work and then it needs to rest, so we make sure your child isn't overwhelmed by only doing these powerful exercises once a week. From there, we focus on academics and the sensory components (visual and auditory processing). This combination of brain integration and sensory building exercises is how thousands of students have reached academic success over the years.
What ages of children do you work with?
We offer programs for Kindergarten readiness through 12th grade. We also have an adult program, which has proven to be highly successful.
What makes your program different than others?
The Harp Learning System is unique in that it addresses the sensory root cause of reading, math, spelling, and writing difficulties while filling in any academic gaps that your child might have.
Our program provides more than just academic instruction. At Harp, we correct the issues that interfere with academic success; we don't just put a Band-aid on them.
In addition, our program is rich in sensory skills that are crucial for learning success. We also provide your child with memory building activities in both auditory and visual arenas.
The Harp Learning System specifically treats dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia through the seven levels of learning that your child works through. We don't cater to just one learning disability. For instance, if your child is a strong reader but is struggling to write (dysgraphia) we focus on the three components that are crucial to overcoming dysgraphia: muscle strength, processing language, and spatial/perceptual skills.
Most learning centers or after school programs focus on academics only. Often students are placed in front of a computer or don't receive specific instruction from the teacher. Even better, our activities are unique, so the kids are excited to do them! We love letting your child have fun while "learning to learn"!
How is your program different from a traditional tutoring center or private school?
Traditional learning and tutoring centers focus on academics only and at best offer self-learning techniques and test preparation. Children, especially those with learning differences, are not capable of teaching themselves. If they could do that, there would be no need for schools.
Many of these programs focus on the same academic drills, tips, and techniques that didn't work all day while your child was at school. Some even require your child to do loads of homework, which is ludicrous, because these kids are already bogged down with homework and are rarely independent in doing it.
The teacher wants my child to stay after school for more tutoring. Is that the answer?
Students suffering from poor academic skills and below-grade-level performance are typically treated with a dose of more academics and are often required to attend after school intervention programs. Sitting at a desk for more time only frustrates an already fatigued learner. Non-traditional learners need non-traditional methodologies in order to succeed. It's that simple.
What is your success rate?
Over 90% of students who finish the program remain at or above grade level for the rest of their school careers.
How long are your tutoring sessions?
Our learning sessions are a full 60 minutes, and your child is kept actively engaged the entire hour. A session will include a full range of sensory and skill-building exercises, brain integration, as well as an academic menu tailored to your child's specific needs. The result is a learning program that is fast-paced and fun!
What is the time commitment required for the after school tutoring program?
Each child is different, and each brain is different, so we can't provide a "one size fits all" answer. Some students need more time than others, and since we are private, your budget plays into the amount of time your child will spend at Harp.
We have several packages available to meet your child's specific needs. We don't require a minimum of time or assign homework. We have products available to purchase if you'd like to enhance your child's experience, but they aren't required and are there to help you and your child move through the program more quickly.
How does your program work?
What is your student to teacher ratio?
Our usual sessions are kept at one teacher to three students. We also offer larger group classes where there can be up to five students to one teacher and individual classes. At Harp, we understand that every child has different and unique needs.
How will I know my child is making progress?
We provide you with quarterly in-depth progress reports. In addition, we make ourselves available to you in case you have any questions. We encourage parent feedback and rely on your insight as an important tool to helping your child reach learning success.
Still, there are signs of academic improvement that usually present themselves in the form of self-confidence, an increased willingness to tackle homework and other tasks, independence, and the ability to process information more quickly. Our teens will often report that they feel more balanced after only a few sessions at Harp.
Do you have a program for dyslexia?
Many of our students are challenged with some form of dyslexia. In fact, recent studies show that 1 in 5 people struggle with dyslexia. Also, dyslexia is not just a reading problem but shows up in math, writing, handwriting, and/or spelling. (dysgraphia and dyscalculia)
Our 5-step program was originally developed to strengthen the brain's ability to manage the challenges of a dyslexic student. Lisa Harp's son suffered from dyslexia and auditory processing problems, and the program was tailored to fit his needs. Of course, the Harp Learning System has been fine-tuned throughout the years to encompass a wider range of non-traditional learners.
Over the past eighteen years, we have seen Harp students rise above their dyslexia and earn straight A’s, make the honor roll and learn to love school!
I've read about “right-brain” dominant learners and I think my child might be one. What should I be aware of?
The right side of the brain is responsible for movement, emotions, colors, expressions, whole picture thinking, daydreaming, music, rhythm, and problem-solving. Was your child just described? Often these kids are intuitive, verbal, bright, and misunderstood.
Unfortunately, most schools are “left-brain” oriented where linear thinking, lists, phonics, mathematics, reasoning and conscious control are the main components of the curriculum.
At Harp, we help these right-brain dominant learners gain the confidence they require to succeed in a traditional learning environment. At the same time, they are allowed to uncover their special talents such as building, drawing, creating and dancing, that make them unique individuals!
I have been told that my child is most likely a “tactile” or “kinesthetic" learner. What does that mean?
Tactile or kinesthetic learners "learn by doing". Tell them something and they forget it. Give them a picture of something and it’s gone. Let them do something and they will know it forever.
We've lost or "sandbox" kindergartens, have over crowded classes, and a nation with a push on academics, and this only compounds the problems these kids face.
Kinesthetic learners usually need to be in motion to learn. Unfortunately, many of these students are often labeled incorrectly as having ADD/ADHD, and their need to be in motion is the symptom of learning style, not a learning disability.
These students can be classified as non-traditional learners. Over 20% of all children are non-traditional learners and the traditional school curriculum of verbal instruction and worksheets is not effective for these students. With today’s average class size of 30 students, rest assured that there are other students in your child’s class who are struggling just like your child. You are not alone in this.
My child has a hard time sitting in a class and the teacher refers to him as a "busybody". Does that mean he has ADD/ADHD?
ADD/ADHD is a very controversial subject, and everyone seems to have a different opinion on it. However, tests for ADD/ADHD are subjective. There is no blood test or definitive measure to diagnose a student with this disorder. A student’s fate is often left to a series of checklists and observations from a psychologist who spends a limited time with the student, the teacher, and the parents. Depending on the student's mood, nutrition, attitude, age, and emotional state, the scores could vary on any given day.
Our experience has shown that students who are"busybodies" are usually right-brain dominant tactile learners. The right-brain dominant learner is creative and in motion. This student sees the whole picture first and then breaks it down into bits and pieces. For them, step-by-step instruction, which is typical in most schools, is like listening to a foreign language. They get easily bored, are antsy, and anxious to engage their classmates in discussion.
Whether you call it ADD, ADHD or something else, these kids are suffering, and unfortunately, the schools are usually not equipped to help. The best they can offer is a suggestion to place your child on medication.
The Harp Learning System takes this into consideration and provides the "busy" student with a set of tools to prosper in a classroom environment without medication.
How much does the Harp program cost?
The cost varies depending on the package or the specific class that you choose. Our after school tutoring programs start at $225.00 per month, but we often run specials, so feel free to ask about discounts.
How do you measure success in students?
Students are tested on every skill and advance at their own pace. They are not moved up to the next level until they achieve mastery at their current level. Students do not waste time on a skill that they have already mastered, and the skills are individual to the student’s specific needs. For instance, if a student isn’t struggling with visual memory, then she will quickly pass that test and time will be spent on particular skills that she is struggling with.
My child hasn't been diagnosed with a learning disability, but everyone seems to think he has one. Can you help?
We offer a learning evaluation based on over thirty years in education to help you find out where your child's strengths and weaknesses lie. Our learning assessment can give you indications of where your child's strengths and weaknesses lie, and we can identify indications of dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. In addition, we can pinpoint where your child's visual and auditory memory skills are.
The cost of this evaluation is $99.00.
The evaluation takes 20-30 minutes and results are offered directly after the assessment.
We also offer a complimentary 30 minute consultation.
How do I sign up my child for learning sessions at Harp?
It's helpful to have the learning evaluation that we offer, but we don't require it. All you have to do is call to set up a time or times that work with your child's schedule and fill out our Parent Evaluation.
Or, you can email us at email@example.com.
Our Lodi office number is: 209.365.0950.
Our Oakdale office number is: 209.844-5414.
Can you help with reading? My child is struggling and nothing seems to be helping.
Students need to master numerous skills in order to read efficiently. They must have strong phonemic awareness, which is the ability to recognize that a spoken word is composed of a sequence of individual sounds (phonemes), visual memory, visual discrimination, tracking across a page, auditory memory, auditory closure, auditory synthesis, and several other skills.
From there, the reader must combine these skills together and make meaning from pictures, letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs. Here's the catch; these skills are used by the reader at the same time. Can you see how difficult it is to perform the seemingly simple task of reading?
To help students build these skills, Lisa developed the TouchTile Reading System, which is based on Orton-Gillingham research. The TouchTile Reading System uses movement, crossing the midline of the body, color, pictures, and word patterns to help non-traditional readers succeed. It is rich in phonemic awareness and is fun and easy to use.
Lisa also developed the Free to Read Reading System, which we use in conjunction with the TouchTile Reading System. It uses word families, patterns, color, movement, pictures, and stretching of words to add another component to help your child succeed in reading.