Tag Archives: tutoring

Summer Holiday Tutoring – Yes or No?

In previous blogs, we have covered the question of when you should and shouldn’t tutor your child and, if you decide to do so, what you should look for in a tutor. At this time of year, parents’ thoughts turn to the summer holidays and whether a child will need tutoring support during that long break. In principle, the summer holidays should be a time of play and relaxation for school children. However, whilst allowing time for that essential break, there are some circumstances when tutoring would greatly benefit a child over the summer.

 

When should you consider summer tutoring?

Here are some situations that would warrant it:

 

Facing 11+ state selective entrance exams

If your child is sitting the state selective 11+ entry exams this autumn, then having some tutoring over the summer would be advisable. It depends on the school they are sitting for, the progress your child is making and their starting point.

Each school will have their own exams; you will need to know which examining body is writing the exams, which subjects are being tested and which methods are being used. This means you can plan your summer tutoring requirements with an experienced tutor. Every child should take a holiday from school work, 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+.

 

Catch-up tutoring

Has your child been unwell during the year, or spent time at home from school due to other circumstances? If so, then the summer holidays provide a lovely, non-pressurised time to work with a tutor. They can catch up with any curriculum they’ve missed, ready for the new school year. A lot can be achieved while your child is feeling relaxed and fresh, making it easy to persuade them to do some work that will 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 spelling support, 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

Some children really benefit from ‘getting ahead’ between years 10 and 11, before the final lead-up to their GCSEs, especially in subjects that they find more challenging. In the relaxed atmosphere of the summer break, in privacy, a tutor can help them achieve a lot in a relatively short space of time. I thoroughly recommend using parts of the summer for pre-GCSE preparation, without having to squeeze it in between school and homework. Good tutors can help iron out any misunderstandings and areas of weakness. 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 shouldn’t you use summer tutoring?

 

If your child is doing as well as they are capable of at school, there is probably no need to tutor them over the summer. Simply encourage them to read widely and it might also be fun to start some family project work of your own. If they have finished the term exhausted, burnt out from exams or feeling flat from working hard all year, they deserve a proper break and a chance to be children. In this case, if they would still benefit from extra help, then defer any tutoring until much later in the summer break and prioritise rest and relaxation.

Whether to tutor 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 – part of the work hard, play hard approach to childhood.

 

When should (and shouldn’t) you tutor your child?

When you should tutor your child

In certain circumstances, tutoring can help a child reach their potential, but there always needs to be a justifiable reason to tutor. These reasons are likely to include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following situations.

When achievement is consistently lower than apparent potential.

Bespoke targeted support is needed here, providing individual teaching to enable your child to reach their potential as quickly as possible. Parents should also examine the circumstances in school – class, teacher, social issues – for possible clues why the child is not doing as well as they could. Rule out possible SEND reasons through an assessment with an educational psychologist.

When your child is preparing for exams.

Whether this is for entrance exams at 7+, 11+ or 13+, end of year exams, GCSEs, A Levels or the mocks for these, tutoring can help here. A tutor will provide expert bespoke curriculum support, whilst also focusing on learning skills, organisational skills, and ways of preparing for exams. For entrance exams, students need to know what to expect on the day if they are to achieve their best possible outcome.

Working with a tutor helps develop a student’s stamina for homework, assignments and revision, and helps create drive, motivation and confidence. It can also build independence, with assignments and practice papers being set for them as individuals and needing to be tackled in the same way.

When there are medical issues or SEND.

Medical issues can include recovering from an operation or illness, resulting in missed schoolwork or impaired mobility. A new SEND diagnosis might require professional teaching intervention to support and develop new strategies and techniques: Specialist support can transform the work of students with SEND, including ADHD, processing, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, hypermobility, or ASD – Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome. Working with an expert tutor can provide social skills support, building confidence and motivation, as well as introducing study skills and organisation. For some students, rehearsal of curriculum topics and methods are recommended prior to lessons in class – particularly for students with specific learning difficulties and processing difficulties; this can be done through tutoring.

If your child has issues related to confidence or curriculum knowledge.

Tutoring can provide valuable positive and constructive feedback and boost organisational skills. A good tutor will also help a student’s preparation and rehearsals for new topic areas, including familiarisation with key words

When help is needed with homework.

Where necessary, a tutor can help with homework and give the required curriculum support. By making the subjects come alive, a good tutor can develop your child’s love for learning whilst developing their learning independence through encouraging improved organisation of both resources and time.

 

 

When you shouldn’t tutor your child

When their achievement has been tested and considered to be equal to their academic potential.

If your child is already performing to their optimum level, they simply don’t need extra homework, teaching time or pressure!

To push for an unrealistic school place.

Intensive tutoring to try and gain a place at a highly academic school that is beyond your child’s innate abilities is not a good idea. It potentially sets a child up for disappointment in the short term (if they don’t get a place) or long-term failure (if they get a place and then find they cannot keep up with the academic standards of the school).

When your child doesn’t want tutoring, despite trying different tutors to get the match right.

Working with a tutor requires commitment and engagement from all parties, but especially the student. If your child is resistant, and unhappy with tutoring, it won’t help them love learning or improve their academic performance. Every child is unique, and tutoring isn’t for everyone.

If you are not positive or committed to the process, or if you can’t give open support to the tutoring.

A parent’s role in tutoring is a very important and influential role –  it’s a make or break role. You need to be positive towards the tutor and the tutoring, follow the tutor’s advice and remind your child to do their tutor homework (without pushing too hard). If you cannot support your child’s learning in this way, they won’t be sufficiently motivated to make it worthwhile.

When it’s a financial strain and your child knows it.

This is an important reason not to engage a tutor. Your child may feel uncomfortable about the expenditure and you may exert too much pressure on them because you are spending money it’s difficult to afford. Both the academic outcome and family harmony are likely to suffer as a result.

 

 

In summary:

There has to be a reason to tutor and the reason needs to be justifiable. The tutoring has to be effective and produce results that have been predefined and measurable. Tutoring should cease after the successful completion of the aims and objectives. It’s not for everyone, but can be of enormous benefit to the right child and for the right reasons.