Music teachers work in private practice. Doctors work in private practice. Attorneys work in private practice. Accountants work in private practice. Why should experienced college faculty not work in private practice?

We are proud to announce that SticksAndShadows.com now offers teaching and instructional services specifically in physics and astronomy, with an emphasis in introductory algebra-based and calculus-based physics and introductory astronomy and astrophysics. For physics, we employ modern, research-based curricula that emphasize the essential role of computation. Our model is based on Matter & Interactions by Chabay, Sherwood, and Titus and closely follows that narrative, with extra in-depth detours as needed based on your interests. You will learn to write code in a language called VPython using Web VPython (formerly GlowScript), a tool invented specifically for physics students. There are other modern tools you will learn to use to make your experience even more valuable.

Our model for astronomy is based on the fact that most introductory astronomy courses include no science at all, as defined by Physics Education Research founder Arnold Arons. We follow his framework for developing understanding as closely as possible. It is an experience students in mainstream schools and colleges will not, and truthfully cannot, get from traditional courses. There is currently too much emphasis on discipline specific content that completely obscures the overarching, common foundation shared by all sciences. At the undergraduate level, especially in liberal arts and elective courses, this is the wrong focus and we work to correct that with our approach.

Our clientele includes:

  • students in mainstream courses who are lost
  • students who learn at a slower rate than other students (colleges are biased toward fast learners)
  • home school students who want a genuine exposure to science
  • laypersons who never took a science course because they feared the experience but who want to begin the learning journey now
  • organizations such as civic groups or book clubs.

In short, we can provide an illuminating educational experience unlike any traditional course for anyone who wants it and is willing to engage with their own interests. Physics and astronomy do not have to be hundreds of pages of vocabulary and mathematical equations, which is good because they are neither of those in practice. It is true that mathematics is used in both physics and astronomy, you will learn how to use mathematics the way scientists do, which is not always the way it is presented in traditional courses.

We can deliver our services remotely via Zoom (preferable) or FaceTime. Remote delivery means our clients, like you, can be anywhere in the country or the world and can make use of our services. And by the way, “remote delivery” does not mean “online delivery.” You will always have a live instructor with you. When the COVID-19 pandemic is over (it will eventually end!) face to face meetings at various mutually convenient locations (think public libraries, coffee shops, municipal parks, etc.) can happen.  There are no lectures. There are no tests. We do not employ the usual mechanisms that induce stress and prevent learning. We have conversations and discussions driven by your goals. You get to experience the joy of going from confusion to understanding in a low stress, safe environment. What do YOU want to learn? We will help you learn it. We provide targeted understanding of selected topics or entire courses equivalent to, but better than, traditional institutional courses. Our fees are negotiable and the first hour is always free, so you can have the opportunity to get a feel for our services and our approach. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT MONEY! We welcome potential clients from all backgrounds. All we ask is that your interest be genuine, and we can always work something out.

Please understand that we do not provide preparation for standardized tests as that goes against our instructional philosophy.

If you need help with a topics in physics or astronomy or if you want to take an entire course, go to our teaching contact page and send us a message with your needs and goals and we will promptly reply.

Feel free to download and distribute our flyers!