Year five has been a big year for me as a primary school parent.
I have found myself constantly thinking about the twins education and what choices we will be making at the beginning of year six with regards to high school.
I want to make sure that they are confident in their core subjects when they move up to secondary school.
I personally think tutoring is a well worth expenditure.
I was privately tutored in German when I was at high school.
My parents were told by my German teacher that I would be lucky to scrape a D in my GCSE.
My mum and dad decided that some of my problems might have been caused because the teacher and I had no chemistry whatsoever.
So, I went to German tutor once a week for about 8 months before my GCSEs.
I passed with an A*!
Seeing a tutor once a week give the boys a chance to ask questions that they don’t get a chance to ask at school (and dont even bother asking me).
If there is something they cant grasp, they can cover it in more depth or by using a different method.
The boys have gained so much from seeing a tutor.
I even decided that I would start having Charlie tutored, who is heading into year 4 in September, to give him a headstart.
I was lucky enough to find a tutor that the boys adore and that they can completly relate too.
All of the boys were ‘where they should be’ at Maths and English. I didnt start tutoring them because I was worried. I chose to invest in tutoring to help with their confidence, which all three boys were lacking in.
It has really paid off. Their school teachers have noticed a massive improvement and I can tell their confidence has definatly grown.
I asked the boys how they feel about being tutored.
‘I enjoy seeing Carla because she makes Maths and English fun and always comes up with new techniques to help us remember things.’
‘At first i didnt want a tutor but since i have been seeing Carla I feel much more confident at school and we have so much fun with her’
‘I have always enjoyed maths at school, but when i see Carla its just really fun.’
I asked Carla if she would mind giving me her opinion on tutoring;
‘Many people ask me my opinion regarding private tutoring and it is hard to give an unbiased account when it is my main income.
There are many aspects I love with 1-2-1 teaching. That light bulb moment, when a pupil realises they are not bad at maths, cannot be beaten. Or when they run into your house with their latest school report and it shows a big improvement. My main goal is to see children enjoy learning. Many parents are surprised that after a couple of weeks, their children want to complete homework- children love to show you what they can do and it doesn’t matter if it is maths or making a paper aeroplane – as long as they are proud they can do it, they will do it over and over. The key is to make learning as fun and accessible as getting to the next level on Mario Kart.
I don’t do anything that a parent can’t – there are enough YouTube videos and resource books to help your own child. However, a lot of children do not trust their parents as teachers; children compartmentalise adults – parents parent and teachers teach. You may find you bang heads a lot when it comes do doing extra stuff out of the classroom. It makes sense to pay an expert. The most important thing is to find a tutor that suits your child. Firstly, why does your child need a tutor? For me the answer should fall into one of these categories:
1) Grammar/private school entry 10/11 plus exam practice
2) Confidence building
3) Special educational needs support
4) The child had a weak teacher/change of teacher in a certain year and needs catch up work
Some tutors specialise and the most important factor is making sure your child is 100% comfortable with your child and they understand their style of learning. Make sure you are getting what you want out of your tutor.
For confidence boosting, a 1-2-1 tutor is ideal. Yes there are cheaper options like Kumon and group work. However, personally, I do not think you can beat someone dedicating their full attention to your child. They are more likely to admit they do not fully understand something and ask questions when they are not comparing themselves to another child. It is equally important that they work at their own pace in the first instance. They will speed up as they grow in confidence.
But what don’t I like? If I am brutally honest, parents who tell me their child is bad at maths, only to discover they do not know their tables. I cannot stress enough, what a hindrance this is to your child. It is like me asking you to win Great British Bake Off, without measuring any ingredients and not knowing what scales were!
I am also not a fan of over tutoring a child. If they need four hours tuition every night after school and all day Saturday to pass the 11 +, the likelihood is that they will struggle at the school and will always feel anxious about learning. It is much better to be top of a good state school, than bottom of a grammar. Morale is important and something that will stay with your child for life. I personally do not offer a child more than 2 hours a week.
Lastly, unrealistic expectations can be tricky to manage with parents. An hour is not very long and if your child was struggling before, it is unlikely that they will become Einstein with an extra hour support. Even training at the top football clubs, not every footballer can bend the ball like Beckham, nor will each child become the next Carole Vordeman or Shakespeare.
At Carla’s Classroom, my motto is Loving Life Long Learning. I want children to be excited by education, strive to do better and believe they have no limitations. When I first talk to parents, many say, they didn’t enjoy school, or didn’t get maths – some still struggle now. They are often daunted by their children’s homework. Most people are surprised to find out, that for this very reason, I also offer tuition to parents. Many would love to support the teacher or tutor, but are left perplexed by the new methods, and vocabulary like chunking, partitioning, grid method in maths, or idioms, fronted adverbials and Hyperboles in English. And let’s be honest – if you are not a primary school teacher, how are you supposed to know how they do school work now? I’ve had so many conversations with parents who say they feel intimidated by their child’s teacher or that the homework does not make sense, that I saw a need to rectify this. It also cuts down on your tutoring bill – it allows parents to continue and support the work at home. A win for the pupil, parent, teacher and tutor! When children are phoning me themselves and asking for extra work, I know I have got the balance right, and that is when it is one of the best jobs in the world.’
I think ill be discussing with Carla tutoring for myself.
Then maybe I wont sweat a river when the kids walk towards me with their homework book!
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