Overview About us
Do you have a feeling that your child is lagging behind in the foundation skills? Is homework overwhelming? Would you like to see more focus and concentration?Read More
Private tutoring can be very effective with the right tutor – it can also be quite expensive. Learning centers can be helpful as well and much less expensive – but the individual attention that your child needs may be lacking.
Pinecone Active Learning is a unique “hybrid” of private tutoring and a learning center. Vivian Hobbs, the director, developed this program after running a typical center of 200+ students for fifteen years. While the center was successful in helping many students achieve their potential, Ms. Vivian wanted to reach the “harder to teach” kids in a smaller, friendlier and more attentive setting. Pinecone has all the rigors of any mastery programs in math, reading and writing, but it offers one-on-one attention and flexibility for individual learning needs – and at an affordable learning center price.
Our math program starts with students as young as three years old – (sometimes placing a pillow on a chair for the littlest ones). They learn their numbers by counting aloud, reading, tracing and writing numbers.
All kids want to read. They have a natural curiosity of the magic in books. If a student misses the early days of phonics, or has any of a number of learning challenges – reading can become a painful chore and quickly affect learning.
Writing Program I
The Pinecone Writing Program presents the basic elements and strategies of writing in a step-by-step sequential manner. Like the Pinecone Math and Reading Programs, the material is presented in manageable pieces.
Our Satisfied Customers
Chance just received his STAR Student Report and testing results. He is advanced in Math 412 (401-600 is the advanced, highest level) according to the state of California. He scored the top of Proficient with 391 in English-Language Arts (350-392 range for Proficient), only shy two points from Advanced. He is a very balanced kid, as the testing accurately shows. We … I shudder to think what would have happened to his scores if he had remained in that unmotivated group. This, of course, WON’T happen this Summer! He has been going to your class faithfully. This gives me much peace of mind as another new year is about to start.
Thank you, Vivian, for your devotion to our children. Fifteen years is quite a legacy. We will miss you! Chance has benefited greatly from your program. We are sold on it and share it with anyone who will listen!”
Thanks for all your help!
“Great! I think it’s been really good for both of them. The consistency and repetition makes a huge difference in doing their school work. The regular timed tests are really helping Caroline to go faster and be more accurate. Walker is now motivated and competitive with kids in his class. He has passed almost his entire class and is now on division. I’m sure that continuing through the summer will make the transition and usual backslide into the next grade a non-issue…even better, they’ll start off confident and ready to go!”
So sorry we missed class. She had the tryouts for the school play which was a huge distraction. At about 6:45 we looked at each other and realized we had totally spaced out on class. Oops!! Have to tell you that her class did times test review. They all had to pass the times tables before Christmas Break. Lilly was one of the first kids in class to pass. Yea for your program!!!!!
We will be coming in on Tuesday!! Thanks for the reminder.”
“Grace is making some good progress now, and concentration levels are improving all the time. We are so thankful for this programme, and the work of you and your staff.”
Kiran and Mina
As discussed this past Thursday, you were interesting in finding out how Melissa was doing in school this year. Here are a few of the highlights:
•One of 5 students chosen out of about 270 in the 6th grade of the Scotts Valley Middle School by the Rotary Club of Scotts Valley for academic achievement, community volunteer work, and school participation in various activities.
•She was the top finisher in the 6th-grade spelling bee for her school and then represented the Scotts Valley Middle School in the Santa Cruz County Spelling bee.
•She has been a straight-A student throughout this school year.
•She was one of six 6th grade student elected as a student government representative. There were about 27 students running for the 6 positions.
Thanks and talk to you soon.”
“We just got back his STAR testing results. Guess what? In math he got 600 out of 600. Also among the some 800 eight graders graduates last year he got the award for the top achiever in math! Way to go Vivian!”
“I’m excited for the new year with Josh beginning 6th grade at Middle School tomorrow. He made it to the advanced math class so needless to say I am very proud of him and you for being so patient with him doing his Math & Reading..
Thanks again and welcome back!”
“When we came to your program in November, Jonny only recognized about 10 letters. He now recognizes all letters and knows the sounds for each and can put them together to sound out a word. That in only 5 months is incredible and I know that he could not have done this without your help.”
“Growing up in Europe I guess I learned critical thinking…
Academics are a priority for me as well, and I know how lucky we are to have you and all the other opportunities.
Thank you Vivian ,you go above and beyond.”
“Thanks for your patience! We appreciate it and are happy the boys can go during the summer. DJ is getting all A’s and B’s even in math for the first time ever!!! He has to work at it, but before even working at it would maybe get him a C—. It’s great for him, you can see how happy he is. Zach is doing all work above his grade level, he’s doing great which wasn’t always the case for him either!!
Thanks again, and I will be picking up a vacation form tonight.”
“Not only is Shea advanced in your program, but a straight-A student in every subject in school. Shea is a star in reading and reading comprehension, reading at 6th/7th grade comprehension level, her writing is winning her recognition from the school principal, and at such a high level in math that she has to be pulled out separately with a couple of other 4th grade students who are working on solving higher-level advanced word problems.
Shea’s first grading period for 4th grade was awesome!! Are we proud of her accomplishments and grateful that your program is impacting her school in such a positive way?
As you know, my husband and I are passionate about the benefits your program has brought to Shea’s life and am grateful to you for all of your leadership.”
Julianne and Scott
“Hi Ms. Hobbs,
Thank you for the report and update on the boys. We have noticed great improvement in Nick’s reading and spellling in school and he is acing the first grade timed tests, all of which I attribute to your program and your magic.
Take care and have a great week!”
“Dear Vivian, I just wanted to let you know that so far, for the Stimson family, your program has been a wonderful challenge. My husband and I are thrilled with the fact that we jumped into your program (which may be a surprise to you, since we haven’t been the most stellar “students”…. missing work at times, and taking quite a while to “figure out” the system…. And still, we are seeing really positive growth from both Jake and Luke. They fight it, which I think is quite normal, but they are progressing, and mom is getting better at the “routine” (for which I continue to need a lot of practice!:-)”
Michaels last month of your program, after 8 years, is going to be March…
This program has been very good for him, and has given him confidence in other areas of his life. We have been on top of it nearly every am for a lot of years, and he will be able to sit and plug through other homework and ultimately real work in the years to come with greater ease because of your program.”
“Hi Vivian, Thank you for all you have done for Katie. Her focus has improved immeasurably since starting. You have made a big difference in her life. Thanks again for your support.”
… Chad is definitely doing his work with much more enthusiasm since you moved him back with his reading. It is fascinating to see the process of learning. You were right about when they are growing in their work that it can get backward and difficult before they make a breakthrough. It is great to understand that now. I feel we have a plan of how to orchestrate the tougher learning situations and continue to make it a positive learning experience…
Just to let you know, Chloe’ and Chad are doing so beautiful in school. Thank you, Vivian, for all your dedication and direction and commitment!!! Isn’t it so wonderful when you see the children grow and blossom with the program and you know you were there all the way? It is so fun for Keith and me to be a part of !!!!!
See you on Tuesday, have a great weekend.”
Clare McKendry, Age 14
“Dear Vivian and staff,
I would like to thank you for all you have done for me this past year. Though there is no exact evidence, I know that it is thanks to your learning program that I got into the Robert Louis Stevenson School in Monterey, my first choice for high school.
It seems that all of the long arguments with my parents and fights to get the workbooks done have paid off. It has been a long 9 years of this program, and by no means easy, but I have reached a goal with your help. I hope this will help other kids to realize that there is a reason for doing this work, and it is not just a silly exercise to do every day. By doing Miss Vivian’s Math program, I have developed a way of thinking that reaches beyond math and has helped me in many aspects of my life. It’s true, some of my teachers these past years thought I was crazy, and did not understand my way of thinking, but they are not the ones who were applying to board schools. They are also not the ones who got in.
The program has become such a big part of my life, I do not know if I will ever be able to part with it! Of course, there will come a day when I have to, but hopefully, it is farther away than I think. My new lifestyle at boarding school may prove a challenge, but whether I stop the program today, or in 4 years, it doesn’t really matter, because it has already played such a huge role in my life. Thank you.”
“Your program has helped him immensely. He is in the top of his class and we will continue to work with him to keep him there. Thank you for your time and support with him.”
As I’ve said before, I’m so glad we found you. You have been the bright light for Jessica these past few months, and she is doing wonderfully well. The principal switched her last week to a different second grade. Things are already improved, and I’m much less nervous. The way the other teachers did things and handled things was just not working for us.”
“Just wanted to give you the heads up that based on grade and test score levels in Math, Natasha was accepted in an Advanced Math class. After all these years, the hard work paid off.
Today, she only spent 15 min on her homework (which is a 50% time reduction) compared to earlier this week. I think she is finally getting the hang of the sequencing challenge…”
I just want to thank you for your unwavering encouragement and support that you have given to Alyssa, now and in the years past. I know Alyssa appreciates the fact you believe in her ability to complete the Math program. Last week I was amazed when she told me she would never be this far academically in math if it weren’t for your program and that it has been worth the expense! She rarely expresses any feelings, so this was huge!
She probably hasn’t told you, but she is working with a College Consultant (Carol Corcoran of Saratoga) to help determine her interests, skills and possible career options in order to apply to appropriate colleges. Your program will be a big “plus” in her applications and essays. It is so very interesting to see Alyssa’s personally written profile and her Myer-Briggs results…she is leaning towards math-related fields such as business, economics, pre-law, etc., and this whole discovery process is very exciting! The program and your dedication to her progress are to be commended!
Alyssa also did very good with her SAT, SAT2, and AP Exam scores. It’s unusual that she didn’t do better in the math portion, though. She excelled in verbal. And in the AP Exams, she scored two 5’s which is very rare! If you would like any test results, please let me or Alyssa know.”
Thank you so very much!
Marisa & Steve Brown McKenna & Elijah
First and foremost – thank you so much for all your tireless effort, boundless energy and dedication to your learning program. We will really miss you! We’ve been in the program for almost 2 years and it has made such tremendous difference. Your standards and expectations for the children (and the parents) are high and most of the time we rise to the occasion. Your passion for the program and for the children comes across in so many wonderful ways. Thank you.
I respect and admire the way you have run the Center and I know that it has not always been an easy or smooth process. Vivian, I can’t really express to you in words how important this program is and how much you have shaped and influenced our fantastic experience!! I wish you all the success as you move to the next chapter of excitement and adventure in your life. Through your efforts and the program, you have helped instill discipline, independence, confidence and the principals of mastery over time. These are the type of qualities I wanted for my children to know and experience. Awesome!! We will miss you.
Enjoy, with wonderful wishes from the Brown family!”
I am so sorry, I meant to let you know Max is traveling for his spring break. He has been doing his Pinecone work, though. He will be there this Tuesday. Thank you for your follow-up, we really appreciate your efforts.
By the way, Max was recognized for his reading and math academic achievement last Thursday morning in front of all the other students at Rita Ledesma. :)”
I am back in school again, senior year! It’s pretty exciting to almost be done with high school. Algebra 2 went well this summer, I received a B+! I hope you are doing well, and thank you again! If it was not for your help, I know I would not have done too good.”
“Vivian… That is why she is with you! You are truly AMAZING! I cannot tell you how thankful I am for you. God Bless!”
Ever since I have been learning at Pinecone, I have very much seen an increase on my grades so far. I have advanced to Gold Honor Roll before but also AFTER I participated in Pinecone. Not only I improved, but I have kept the grades and kept my honor roll at the Pinecone Learning center. My name is Erica Nguyen and I am very thankful that Pinecone has to lead me to many, many successes.”
Pamela J. Hinck
Just wanted to share Jamie’s progress with you.
Jamie has more confidence now that she has been attending Pinecone Learning Center. She entered a science project in the Del Roble Elementary School show and won third prize for the 5th grade classes (no one in her class entered except Jamie) She was called upon to explain her project to the judges and later her teacher asked her to explain it to her classmates. The theme of her entry was “How Costal Redwood Trees Grow”. She presented a living example by growing one from scratch.
This project was not mandatory for the 5th grade classes, but students could do so for the practice.
We are so proud of Jamie!”
“… we are so happy with her progress. And she seems much happier with just having to do math. She will be taking on dancing along with PC, soccer, church club, but we like to keep her busy.”
“Hi Vivian….thanks so much for all your work. You deserve it [Best Teacher Award]! Nadia just loves it!”
“Pinecone landed me right where I needed to be. I got an A+ on math and grammar and reading.”
… He got an A+ on the box, but still needs to present it today. I will let you know.
BTW, he also got a A+ on his book. I will remind Nick to bring it to you, cause it turned out great.
Thanks for all your support.”
Laurel & Mike
“We love it and we are very proud of her. She has had a lot on her plate this year and it has been very stressful. Thank you for all your hard effort in helping our little girl.”
“Hi Vivian, as for Natalie she is now in grade 12 and the week after next she will graduate. She has got an offer from Notre Dame University. She will start this coming Fall.
Thank you again, I will certainly recommend you for all of my friends who may need a teacher.”
“Hey Vivian, So great to know that you are still helping kids learn reading and math because you are so good at it! Hannah is now in college. She just finished her soph year at Loyola Marymount University in LA. She ultimately wants to get her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She has been on the Dean’s list her whole time in college and is a very successful student in no small part due to your role in her life. I can’t thank you enough for the confidence and competence she gained from you as a student and also from working for you at your center. Spencer is now a junior in HS and just got a 760 Math SAT score…
Thank you so much for helping my kids be successful in life!”
“Hello, I forgot to send you an email regarding Gias report cards. A’s and B’s. The B’s were strong, but she got an A in math and reading. We are so happy with her progress and your help has had a major impact on her growth. Thank you so much”
“Hi Vivian, Thank you for all you have done for Katie. Her focus has improved immeasurably since starting. You have made a big difference in her life.
Thanks again for your support.”
“Not only is Shea advanced in your program but a straight-A student in every subject in school. As you know, my husband and I are passionate about the benefits your program has brought to Shea’s life and am grateful to you for all of your leadership. High-5 Vivian!!!”
“We just got back his STAR testing results. Guess what? In math, he got 600 out of 600. Also among some 800 eight graders graduates last year he got the award for the top achiever in math! Way to go Vivian!”
“The consistency and repetition make a huge difference in doing their school work. The regular timed tests are really helping Caroline to go faster and be more accurate. Walker is now motivated and competitive with kids in his class. He has passed almost his entire class and is now on division.”
“Hi Vivian, As an alumna of Pinecone, I thought you might like to hear this news as well. Katie is doing quite well in her 7th-grade year at Chaboya. She currently has all As, and one B (a very high B at 89%), so she is doing just great! We are really proud of Katie, and most of all, she is feeling very good about herself these days.”
“My husband and I decided to put all three of our kids in Pinecone last January. We were looking for a program that would help improve both reading/writing and math. At the time, our kids were 4, 6 and 8. We noticed an immediate improvement in my 6-year-old. Her reading and math turned a corner very quickly. Homework became less of a chore and her math and spelling tests improved. All three of my kids made huge progress while at Pinecone. Sometimes we were faced with the challenge of doing the work at home but, this is nothing new to our household and we found ways to motivate the kids to do the work.
What impressed me the most about Pinecone is Vivian, the owner. She knows how to motivate the kids and works extra hard to find ways to meet each and every child’s needs. I always felt as if my kids were the only ones… because she gives you that type of attention! She went above and beyond for my guys and for that I cannot say enough good things about the program. She will send you informative emails and is always looking to be current in the education of her students. THANK YOU, Vivian, for caring so much about my kids and really helping give them a foundation to work with.