Study Buddies Mukilteo offers help for struggling students
Kamiak junior saw a need in community
Last updated 11/18/2020 at 3:27pm
Earlier this fall, Soren Sackett was having a conversation with her mother about the challenges parents were facing with the shift to online classes.
"Her friends were having a lot of trouble keeping their kids on task and helping them keep up with their homework," said Sackett, a junior at Kamiak.
Sackett soon realized that this problem also was a good business opportunity.
The young entrepreneur decided to open Study Buddies Mukilteo to fill a need in the community. The company connects high school and college study buddies with younger students.
The goal of Study Buddies Mukilteo is to help ease the pressure that parents feel with online/distance learning. Students receive in-person, one-on-one attention from their study buddy, who works personally with students to help them complete their online work, stay focused and work through problems in subjects they are struggling in.
"It's a very personalized experience," Sackett said. "The majority is in-person. One of the big things is kids have trouble learning through a screen. Some kids need their parents to sit down with them. A lot of parents are busy."
The feedback from students and parents has been positive.
"Things are going really well," Sackett said. "We're trying to help kids get caught up. I think we're achieving that so far."
Flexibility is important for both the study buddies, the students and their families.
Families can decide on the number and length of sessions, and when they are held during the week. Parents can pick which study buddy their child will work with, depending on the needs of the child.
Sackett's favorite subject is science, but she also is strong in math and English. Her world language is French.
Other study buddies have expertise in history, chemistry, biology, Spanish and German.
Study Buddies Mukilteo currently employs five study buddies, including Sackett.
"Each of our study buddies has subjects they are more adept in," Sackett said. "I do my best to match up buddies with certain skill sets with students."
To find her study buddies, Sackett initially reached out to friends, and then posted on social media.
"I wanted it to be really flexible for my study buddies because as a busy teenager myself, it's hard," Sackett said. "Quite a few people were interested. ... I wanted to start off with just a few, not too many. I just wanted to see how much business I would have. I was not sure what the need would be."
Sacket set up her own website and is working on online scheduling and payments. Masks are worn and social distancing is practiced by the study buddies. If parents wish, Zoom sessions can be scheduled in place of in-person visits.
Business is going well and Sackett is making plans to expand in the near future.
Sackett has found her online/distance classes at Kamiak to be more time-consuming than regular classes. She noted that classes are a lot more condensed and that there is more homework.
"Staring at a screen all day and getting work done is kind of difficult," Sackett said. "Overall, I personally have been able to stay on top of it, but not without some effort."
Many of Sackett's friends also are finding online classes challenging.
"It's difficult for some people more so than others, depending on their personality and learning style," Sackett said.
Interacting with younger kids has been a rewarding experience for the study buddies.
"It's really fun to work with young people," Sackett said. "They have a completely different perception of the world, and they're fascinating to talk to."