Help Your Child get the Most Out of School

Whether it’s an additional subject that isn’t offered at school, or help with a course your child isn’t doing so well in, hiring a private tutor is now fairly commonplace in the UK.

Whether it’s an additional subject that isn’t offered at school, or help with a course your child isn’t doing so well in, hiring a private tutor is now fairly commonplace in the UK.

With a wide range of tutors available with expertise in a plethora of subjects in your local area, where does one begin in choosing the right one for your son/daughter? The best place to start is talking to them. Does your child recognise the need for a tutor? Does he/she have a favourite teacher at school? If so, what is it that helps them learn better in these classes than others?

One thing to bear in mind is learning at home will be different to school: it’s a one-to-one environment with no classmates and fewer distractions. It’s easy for your child to switch off when they return home from school, so getting them back into the mindset for learning will prove a challenge. A tutor that provides a more casual approach to studying often yields better results than a more formal structure, simply due to environment: they’re on home territory, so detentions won’t work.

Make the Most of Your Time Together

Private tutors will generally only offer one or two hours’ of lessons a week: so it’s important the tutor you choose has a structure for their time with the student. Spending 20 minutes out of a 60 minute lesson unpacking and preparing for the lesson will not benefit your child, and is a waste of your money.

Take the time to research potential tutors online. Have you been recommended anyone in particular? What are the reviews like online? Most good tutors will have testimonials available and will be happy to meet with you before beginning any lessons beforehand.

It’s as much about personality as it is academic achievement. Does your child get along with the tutor? Having a hands-on approach often goes down better at home than in a classroom setting, simply because of the nature of the lessons. Does the tutor use a variety of teaching methods such as games and interactive learning, or are they entirely written-work based?

Read the Reviews

Find out as much as you can about how the private tutor operates and narrow your options down to just a few potentials. Have them meet you in the home environment one evening and give your child the opportunity to ask questions and allow the tutor to demonstrate how he/she builds rapport, while keeping the goal of learning central to the conversation.

A good tip is to also think about what the end result of tuition will be. Is this a short term booster for your child, focused on revision before an exam? Or is it more of a structured, long-term plan to help over the course of the GCSE or A Level program?

It’s important to measure success over the course of having the tutor. Don’t be afraid to check in every now and then and see how the lesson is going. While you don’t want to be a distraction or interfere, the best way to judge if your son/daughter is really absorbing information is to see them in situ.

Ask for regular updates from the tutor and get to know the study program. Your child will need to do extra work outside of lesson time as well as homework to keep up the success. Any good private tutor will offer study tips and provide tools for learning such as memory techniques, which can be practiced through the week in every day scenarios.

Apply Learning Techniques

Finding out the techniques the tutor is teaching your child will enable you to implement them in every day life. For example, if the subject is Maths, doing quick sums to work out the cost of the weekly shopping trip before you get to the checkout desk is a great method of making the subject relevant to everyday life.

Make sure your child understands what the tutor is there for. As important as it is to have fun, your son/daughter needs to understand that academic achievement is important, and the tutor is there to help them to do their best. It might not seem like a fun way to spend an evening a week to begin with, but a good tutor will help to ignite that passion for learning and this will be evident in your child’s performance at school.

Don’t be afraid to keep your child’s teachers at school informed. Often where a student is not performing as expected, teachers will suggest private tuition and letting them know what is going on at home will help them to understand how to support them at school. If you can get a hold of the course syllabus or lesson plans, these will provide a valuable resource to your child’s private tutor in making lessons relevant to school-time studies.

Most importantly, be open and honest with the tutor. If you’re not seeing the improvements you were expecting, tell them. It is as much about a relationship with the child as it is with yourself. As a parent, you care about your child’s success and so does the tutor, so when things aren’t going to plan, it’s vital that it is addressed promptly. Similarly, don’t forget to share positive feedback. Nothing will please your tutor more than hearing about your child’s success at school or newly found enthusiasm for a subject.

For more information on Richard Harris, a tutor in the Colchester/Ipswich area of Essex, please read the reviews and testimonials on his website and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or queries you may have.


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