WHEN TO USE SUMMER HOLIDAY TUTORING
Should your child have tutoring over the summer? At this time of year, many parents’ thoughts turn to whether a child will need tutoring support during the long summer break. The summer holidays should primarily be a time of play and relaxation for school children, but alongside that, there are some circumstances when a little tutoring could greatly benefit a child over the summer.
SOME EXAMPLES OF WHEN TO CONSIDER SUMMER TUTORING:
Ahead of 11+ Entrance Exams
If your child is sitting the state selective 11+ entrance exams this autumn, then having some level of tutoring over the summer might be advisable. It depends on the school they are sitting for and the progress your child is making, but it makes a lot of sense to take some steps to maintain momentum in their preparations.
By this stage, you should know which examining body is writing the exams for your chosen schools, which subjects are being tested and which methods are being used. Even if you haven’t been using a tutor up until now, the summer presents an opportunity to plan your child’s final 11+ preparations with an experienced tutor. Every child should take a holiday from schoolwork, but depending on the readiness of your child, it may be necessary to include some revision, practice and learning during the summer to get them ready for the 11+.
If your child has been unwell or missed school due to other circumstances, the summer holidays provide the perfect, unpressurised time to do some work with a tutor. They can catch up with any curriculum they’ve missed, ready to start the new school year on a par with their classmates. A lot can be achieved while your child is feeling relaxed and fresh, without other commitments and scheduled activities. The work they do with their tutor will close any gaps and make their life easier once they return to school.
Preventing Academic Regression
Children can be prone to forgetting what they’ve learned and lose their learning momentum during the long holidays. With a tutor’s help, they can be engaged in project-based learning during the holidays without it feeling like work at all. Children from 6 years old often enjoy researching and developing their knowledge about topics of interest, such as dinosaurs. They can learn about dinosaurs online and through books, go on visits to museums and then create project books with pictures, stories and facts. This approach can be used to integrate elements from across the curriculum, or just to reinforce a child’s love of learning.
Project tutoring is also particularly useful for children with processing and executive functioning conditions, as it teaches them to work in specific ways and organise their thinking and writing. It builds up children’s confidence and readiness to go back to school, and it’s also great fun.
Getting Ready for GCSEs and A Levels
Some children really benefit from consolidating their learning between years 10 and 11, before the final lead-up to their GCSEs, especially in subjects that they find more challenging. The same can be said for the transition from Year 12 to Year 13, before the year of their final school exams and their university applications.
In the relaxed atmosphere of the summer break, in privacy, a tutor can help students achieve a lot in a relatively short space of time. Using parts of the summer to consolidate the learning from the first year of each two-year course for GCSEs and A Levels, without having to squeeze it in between school and homework, can have a powerfully positive effect on final outcomes.
Good tutors can help iron out any misunderstandings and areas of weakness, and develop good study skills, laying solid foundations for learning the remainder of the curriculum. They will provide practice and feedback in the areas that need the most attention, to build a student’s confidence and set them up for success.
WHEN TO SKIP SUMMER TUTORING
If your child is doing as well as they are capable of doing at school, there is probably no need to tutor them over the summer. Simply encourage them to read widely whatever their age and if you have younger children it might also be fun to start some entertaining family projects of your own, to keep their brains active.
If children have finished the summer term feeling exhausted, burnt out from exams or simply feeling flat from working hard all year, they deserve a proper break and a chance to just be children. In this case, if they would still really benefit from extra help, then defer any tutoring until much later in the summer break and prioritise fun, rest and relaxation.
Whether to tutor over the summer holidays is ultimately your decision and it must be based on your individual child’s needs and circumstances. Tutoring should simply be a positive, helpful support, rather than adding any perceived pressure onto children. Hard work is part of life, but long childhood summers having fun are also a key part of a well-rounded childhood, so it’s important to retain a sense of balance.