Frequently Asked Questions
WHO ARE YOU, AND WHAT IS MYLEARNINGZONE?
- I’m Abel Watson—someone who is passionate about writing and obsessed with grammar. I hold an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University, but I’m not content to sit and write by myself—I want to help others with their writing. MyLearningZone (MLZ) is my means of doing that. With MLZ, I’m your personal writing coach—available where, when and however you need me. This can take whatever form best suits you: frequent tutoring to improve your writing skills, periodic meetings with your teenager to sculpt his/her college admission essay, a short-notice session when you need your term paper reviewed. Check out some more examples of what might bring you to MyLearningZone.
WHY CHOOSE MYLEARNINGZONE?
- I hold an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University, and have tutored writing since 2000. I'm fulfilled by helping people improve their written communication skills; few things delight me more than the light in a teenager's eyes when s/he grasps a grammar rule or determines how to trim unnecessary wording. I've worked with a range of scenarios—everything from students whose anxiety impeded their ability to write, to those who were confident about incoherent drafts. Mostly, though, my students have defied extremes.
I’m honest, compassionate, and generous with my time. I pride myself on meeting you right where you are—and to do so, I tailor my approach to your learning style, goals and timetable. I bring patience, humor and an arsenal of skills to our work—which on the best days doesn't feel like work. Still not convinced? Take a look at my reviews.
WHAT WILL I RECEIVE DURING A SESSION?
- Two unicorns and three sticks of gum (one for each unicorn, one for you). But that’s only with a deluxe session.
A regular session entitles you to advance review of all pre-session documents. This includes any website forms, assignments and drafts you submit. When applicable, it also includes review of any educational assessments (from teachers or learning specialists) which a client or a client's parent/guardian may choose to supply.
I ensure that each client leaves our session with an enhanced understanding of writing principles, whether we meet just once or on an ongoing basis. In project-based sessions (i.e., admission essay, academic paper), clients will be provided with an outline of suggested areas for follow-up work in their piece. At our next meeting, I assess the quality of the changes made, and issue further 'assignments' that will carry the work toward completion.
HOW LONG ARE YOUR SESSIONS?
- One hour. If desired, I also provide longer sessions for additional cost. I will break session lengths down into half-hour blocks once an hour minimum is met—enabling you to meet for, say, 1.5 or 2.5 hours.
IS MYLEARNINGZONE ONLY FOR STUDENTS?
- We’re all students of the world, aren’t we?
Just say yes. As such, MyLearningZone is for people of all ages—whether or not they’re enrolled in school. I value all projects with equal zest. Examples of non-school projects include the book manuscript you hope to publish, a report you'll present at work, and ongoing tutoring to teach you some of the grammar principles you’ve never grasped. Running for local office, but can’t write compelling speeches? Suspect that your cover letters are the first to be tossed toward the fireplace? Opening a business and need affordable copy? MLZ is for you. And you, and you.
DOES MYLEARNINGZONE WORK WITH KIDS?
- Is the sky blue? Absolutely, positively—I adore children, and have buckets of experience with them. The only thing I love more than writing or children is writing WITH children. (And caramel. Feel free to bring caramel to sessions). If your child or teenager displays a passion for creative writing and you’d like to help nurture it in a focused setting, this is the place. If your child struggles to bring his/her writing up to grade level, I welcome that challenge. In the latter case, I can work with your child’s existing school assignments, develop separate ones that address your child’s specific writing challenges, or both.
HOW CAN I CONSULT WITH YOU ON WORK I'VE DONE SINCE OUR LAST SESSION?
- To consult between sessions, please purchase the Material Review and Feedback add-on in the hourly quantity you desire. Your purchased hours work like a debit card would—you may use them all at once, or in increments of your choosing. Material review and feedback focuses on revisions you've made following our previous session. This option provides continued direction and follow-up in lieu of a session. I will notify you when your purchased time is coming to a close.
While I wish I could offer such correspondence free of charge, past experience has proven this untenable. When clients are working on something that matters to them, they tend to want lots of feedback—and a 'quick question' has a way of morphing into an hour-long email exchange.
WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?
- Kindly provide a minimum of 24 hours’ notice should you need to cancel or reschedule your session.
You can call using the chat service on the website or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always acknowledge receipt of your cancellation/rescheduling once I receive it. If you haven’t heard back from me, I have not received your communication.
WHERE ARE SESSIONS HELD?
- For my safety, I request that the first session with a new client be held in public (school campus, coffee shop, public plaza, etc). Thereafter, I'm willing to either come to your home or continue with public venues. If the client is a child and you prefer in-home sessions, I'm generally willing to forego the requirement of an initial public session if we can arrange a brief meeting outside of your residence prior to that first session.
CAN YOU HELP ME WITH SOMETHING THAT'S NOT ACADEMIC?
- If it’s a writing task, then absolutely. If it’s one of those tasks better suited to obscure sections of Craigslist, I’m not your person. I’m happy to assist with non-academic writing projects—including all levels of school admission essays, scholarship application essays, creative writing, copywriting for your business, speeches, business letters and toasts.
HOW DO I GET STARTED, AND HOW DO I SCHEDULE MY SESSION?
- If you’re new to MyLearningZone, please complete and submit a New Client Form prior to your first session. You may also upload any documents you’d like to have reviewed before we meet—these can include an assignment page, essay question, draft you’ve written, and an assessment from a teacher or similar professional. You can schedule your session on the Book Session page, or contact me using the form below.
DO YOU INSTRUCT GROUPS OR HOLD WORKSHOPS?
- Yes. All services can be booked to accommodate small groups—whether one-time or ongoing. Rates vary; I welcome you to contact me regarding your specific needs. MyLearningZone is also developing workshops for high schoolers working on their College Admission Essays, and for parents working on their children's Kindergarten Admission Essays.
IS IT SAFE TO SUBMIT MY PAYMENT ONLINE?
- Absolutely. All online payments are processed through PayPal. When you enter your credit card information it is automatically encrypted and immediately sent directly to PayPal's servers for processing, which means MyLearningZone does not store any of your payment information. In addition, your card will never be charged unless you issue your authorization.
DO YOU HAVE A MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE?
- If you are not satisfied with the service that you have received and can cite fair justification, we will issue a partial or full refund. Please contact us if you have any questions.