tutoring and coaching

Growing artists and thinkers.Ink Well tag line

More think than tink. Make a wish; make some think. More heads are better than one. Make a wish; make your mark. Welcome to Ink Well by The Wishcraft Workshop.

English, Social-Studies + Executive Functioning for Grades 6-12

Ink Well academic programs for teens (and tweens) are designed and led by Rob Cummins, MA English and M Ed. (Secondary Education), certified teacher (Type 09) and Adjunct Professor of English. Intermediate-school, high-school and college age students receive personalized service in our comfortable and welcoming workshop or in your home. Rob tailors instruction to support various learning styles and developmental differences. Rob also specializes in executive function coaching.

Rob is a big thinker who breathes books and celebrates debate of the big ideas of our time. Rob is a parent of tween and teen kids, believes baseball is the all-American game and enjoys music of every genre (but loves rock shows most of all.)

Sign-up for 30-, 60- or 90-minute sessions at the workshop or in your home. Grades 6-12.

$35/private 30-minute session. $55/private 60-minute session. $75/private 90-minute session.

  • coaching in executive functioning, study and research skills
  • tutoring in writing essays, research papers and personal statements (including those for High-School and College applications)
  • ACT English test preparation

Contact Rob to schedule your time. Your date/time will be confirmed by email. Package rates are available.

Math, Science + Computer Science for Grades 3-10

Lucy Cummins tutors elementary, intermediate and high-school age students in our workshop in the afternoons and on weekends. Lucy is an artist and engineer who revels in STEM. You can find Lucy’s nose in a book, laptop or top of a mountain (she loves adventure travel) when she is not teaching at the Workshop.

Sign-up for 30-, 60- or 90-minute sessions at the workshop or in your home. Grades 3-10.

$20/private 30-minute session. $30/private 60-minute session. $50/private 90-minute session. Contact the workshop to schedule your time. Your date/time will be confirmed by email. Package rates are available.

College Application Essay Review

college application essay support and tutoringAs college application essays are the main venue for students to highlight their unique strengths and accomplishments, having an essay that stands out among a sea of applicants is paramount to to a student matriculating at a first-choice university or college. To help them along, we are happy to announce office hours at the workshop with Rob for college-bound students. During a forty-five minute session, students who are beginning the college essay process can brainstorm and organize ideas for constructing the essay. For students further along in the process, they can also register for a proofreading in advance of the meeting. Timeslots are limited and pre-registration is required. Click here to schedule.

Ink Well “What’s The Big Idea?” Thinkshops

Enroll to hone executive functioning skills, prepare for writing papers and tests or just do it for fun. (Really, Rob is a kick!)  These workshops are hip, relevant and incredibly useful for students Grades 6-12 or equivalent. Workshops (45 minutes for individuals and 60 minutes for small groups) can be scheduled for your group or workshops can be bundled as private-lessons. Click here to plan a workshop.

Write Your Ticket™–  The personal essay is becoming more and more important to the college admission process. In this workshop, we’ll look at what makes a good personal essay.

Thesis Pieces™-   Make your point by learning to develop a great thesis and topic sentences.

Everyone’s A Critic™–  Impress your friends with phrases like “rhetorical analysis” after learning how to construct and deconstruct persuasive arguments.

What Came First the Chicken or the Word?™-  What’s the deal with postmodernism? What makes something postmodern?

Messy Margins™–  Learn techniques of “active reading” as a tool for understanding and analyzing literature.

Say What?–   Practice identifying and articulating inferences by reading between the lines.

Who’s the Boss™-  A look at the ideas and controversies surrounding the concept of free will.? Do we have it?

Rhyme and Reason™-  Poetry is cool! We’ll look at different forms and poets from a variety of periods.

Says Who?–   Build 21st century research skills and practice MLA-style writing skills.

Tick Tock (also known as Proctor No Gamble)–  Master strategies for successfully navigating timed tests. 

“I liked how he lead our discussion about word definitions. They were not fictional words, but words that had meaning from the past and related to the story. I would have never discovered this pattern of understanding without Mr. Cummins.” -G., 7th Grade

“It wasn’t as formal as I expected it to be.  It was more like people just talking — Rob made it flow easily.  The discussion topics were really interesting. And I liked hearing other kids’ opinions.” -E., 9th Grade

“It is refreshing to have a rich experience for our children that fosters the love of reading and collaboration of thoughts outside of school hours. Rob is able to help students formulate and encourage ideas. My daughter enjoys her time learning with him.” -Middle-School Parent

Ink Well Think Tank Summer Seminar

Ink Well Summer 2015 academic programs for Chicago teensA creative approach to studying the BIG IDEAS of our time for motivated intermediate- and high-school age students designed and taught by Mr. Cummins. Each week-long seminar engages students with a different BIG IDEA examined from multiple angles and through various lenses, developing the critical thinking and communication skills needed in Honors, AP high-school courses and college.

“This week’s camp was beyond amazing. I am in complete and total awe of your ability, Rob, to provide such a consistently thought-provoking experience for kids, day after day.  Each day, H. and E. came home (and more often than not, some or most of the other campers joined in the fun), and when asked how camp went, they said with complete enthusiasm, “Great!” Each enthusiastically shared what had been read/seen/discussed — how amazing to get teenagers to provide more than a three-word sentence about how a particular class or event went!!  In fact, there were afternoons and evenings when my home felt more like a salon than a teenage hangout. The kids continued to engage in the ideas discussed during the day long after they’d left your place — and even when they weren’t discussing free will, I felt their conversation was elevated just generally. The variety of genres and forms of text to which you exposed kids; the different perspectives you provided (seminal philosophers, screenwriters, psychological researchers, gang members); the exposure to big ideas (free will, philosophy, psychology vs psychiatry, existentialism) — all of this was nothing short of brilliant and bordering on miraculous. It was a great week.  Thank you.”
Maria, parent of a High School Sophomore and 2015 Ink Well participant

Students pre-read a designated novel alongside an Ink Well Think Tank study guide and come prepared to:

  • explore a variety of texts including print, film, music + architecture
  • “meet” the big thinkers of our time
  • develop communication + critical thinking skills
  • learn to think-interpret-respond
  • extend theoretical ideas to current events
  • sustain learning through the summer break
  • prepare for advanced courses in the Humanities
  • explore the city with a (CTA accessible) Friday field trip

Roscoe Books

Monday-Friday 10am-2pm $195/week*. All books and texts covered with the $25 materials fee thanks to our book sponsor, Roscoe Books. Students provide their own meal/snacks/Ventra/museum fees. Seminar meets off-site. Register now or send your questions to Rob. *Students interested in earning partial or full scholarship funds toward the seminar(s) should send an inquiry to CandiceSummer dates TBA.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” -Henry David Thoreau