‘Everybody’s doing it, so do I need to get a tutor for my child?’
The tutoring industry has grown tremendously over the last ten years due to the new demand for tutors. It’s been reported that more than 40% of pupils in London have had a private tutor at some time, so if everyone is doing it, do you need to get a tutor for your child?
Many parents feel that they are putting their child at a disadvantage if they do not get them involved in extra tuition, especially if they are looking to sit the 11+ entrance tests. Grammar school entrance tests are notoriously challenging and are becoming more and more so as an average of 10 children are competing for one spot, so getting a tutor seems a natural solution to, ‘level the playing field’.
But to find an answer to this question parents need to first consider their own reasoning behind wanting a tutor.
Firstly, how old is your child?
Parents are sending children as young as 5 to tutoring sessions, many to improve grades. This approach is fated, as fundamental learning blocks have yet to be acquired and mastered by your child. You are far better off registering your 5-year-old at a playgroup near a local park where your child can develop fine and gross motor skills. This will help them a great deal more in the long term as confidence, problem solving and reasoning, are all key skills learnt during play. Posture, penmanship technique and exam fatigue will not be a problem later if your child plays and develops core muscular and social skills during these pivotal learning years. However, in year 3 upwards they are mature enough to respond well to tutoring sessions.
Do you trust your child’s teacher?
Are you seeking tutoring as advised by your child’s teacher or in spite of them? Everyone is entitled to a second opinion, but often parents feel that their child’s teacher is not doing enough. It is true that schools have seen tremendous funding cuts resulting in larger class sizes and teachers that are so often overworked that individual attention seems to be lacking but if you have met with them to discuss your concerns and they don’t recommend tutoring, trust them, they do hold degrees in education.
Teachers often despair over the pressures parents put on their young children ‘to be the best’, parents need to adjust their expectations and ask, ‘is this what is best for my child?’ In junior school especially, building a child’s confidence and resilience when faced with difficult problems is much more productive and helpful to them in the long term than constantly undermining their own worth by measuring their successes or failures against some child genius in their class. Everyone is different, everyone has a special knack for something, find that thing and nurture it and instill in your child a drive to pursue their interests, not yours.
What does your child need tutoring in?
This may be the most important question as it will help narrow down your search criteria for the type of tutor you want to employ, and therefore one that can be most effective. Just like teachers, tutors often specialize in certain ages, or subjects. Knowing which areas of weakness need attention can help you find the right tutor for your child.
Simply put, the answer is no. Just because all the parents at your school seem to be hiring tutors does not automatically mean your child should be tutored, or would be at a disadvantage should they not receive extra tuition.
A tutor is a good idea however, if your child needs a boost in a certain subject; if they need clarification on how to set goals and master tricky concepts. Tutoring should always be a form of support, to encourage learning, not to quash the joy of learning in say a creative child who is receiving average grades in Maths.
To book a free initial consultation with one of our tutors please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if tutoring would be the right thing for your child.