How to prepare your child for tutoring

By Hannah McDowell Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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Many parents are turning to tuition in order to help boost their child’s confidence in a particular subject or to achieve a desired grade. One-to-one tutoring sessions can address a child’s problem areas and the individual attention offered by a tutor could help them to progress faster than they would in a traditional classroom environment.

Despite the known benefits, some parents worry about how well their children will adjust to tutoring. If you already have problems getting your child to complete their homework, it can be disheartening to envisage a weekly battle to get them to see their tutor. Other parents are concerned that tutoring won’t provide the solution they are looking for if their child has a real aversion to or simple doesn’t enjoy the subject. You want to give your children the opportunities that will help them to succeed, but want to avoid tensions at home and make sure that you’re getting a good return on your investment. How is this possible?

Luckily, we have extensive experience in this area. Maths Doctor works with hundreds of students, many of who were unsure about tuition to begin with and have since grown to love it and make progress in leaps and bounds. Here are 4 steps we recommend you take to help your child prepare for their first tutoring session and get the most from the experience.

Get them involved in the decision to arrange tutoring

To help your child understand why they need a tutor, you should feel ready to talk to them about how extra tuition could be beneficial to them. It’s important that your child is able to see the assistance they are being offered as a positive choice rather than a chore.

Many children acknowledge that they are having difficulties with certain subjects and would like to be able to discuss it in a supportive environment free from judgment or criticism. Getting your child to acknowledge their difficulties allows you to ask questions about what they would like to achieve if they had extra help. This gives you both a clear understanding of learning goals and how a tutor could help your child achieve them.

It is likely that your child has already had exposure to a number of teaching styles whilst they have been at school. They will have had teachers or other school professionals that they liked or they learnt a lot from, as well as those they didn’t get on with or relate to very well. It’s worth having a conversation with your child to find out what kind of tutoring style would best help them reach their goals. Asking them for their opinion will help them feel involved and encourage them to reflect on how they can help themselves. It will also help you identify a tutor that will best suit your child’s needs.

Agree a schedule

Once you know that you’d like to proceed with tutoring, you need to find a schedule that works for you both.

Having a regular session, ideally once or twice a week, will help your child adjust to tutoring more quickly and allow both you and the tutor to get an idea of the progress that can be made within the agreed timeframe.

Though there may be a minimum number of lessons you need in order to see a desired effect, you also need to make sure your child does not miss out on other activities that they enjoy. Using a flexible tutoring service will allow you to find a time that works best for you and your child. Services like online tutoring allow your child to join a tuition session from home, meaning you can avoid a busy rush hour or long journey.

Get ready for their first session

Don’t worry if you’re unsure what to expect from tutoring: good tutors should be happy to talk you or your child through the process.

Try to arrange 10 minutes to speak with your tutor before the first session and explain why you have decided to get a tutor and what you hope they can do for you. This gives the tutor a little background about their student and can help them prepare their approach for tutoring in the long-term. They will also be able to answer your questions and come up with a suitable action plan that will help your child address their needs.

Before the first session, find out from the tutor what they expect your child to have with them in order to be prepared. We would always suggest that students have a notebook and a pen with them to record their notes, but it may be that their tutor needs them to have a calculator or a particular study material for that specific session.

For those who have chosen online tutoring, it’s important to make sure that your computer is set up in a quiet space where your child can concentrate. Tutors will understand a parent’s desire to check in on a child, but they may find it hard to focus if they are frequently disturbed by other members of the family.

Show your support

Tuition gives you freedom as you no longer have to play two roles: teacher and parent.

If you and your child are struggling to see eye-to-eye when you help them with homework at home, hiring a tutor allows you to focus on supporting them to learn rather than instructing them. This can be a great benefit to your child’s relationship with learning. Showing that you support their commitment to working hard and are proud of their achievements will encourage them to progress and boost their confidence.

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After they have finished their first session, try asking your child to give you some positive and negative feedback on the experience. How did they like their tutor? What did they work on together? Would they feel happy about doing another tutoring session? Picking up on areas that could be improved will help you support your child’s long-term engagement with tutoring, whilst areas that they enjoyed will give you ideas to help encourage them to stick with it.

Remember through all of this that there’s no reason why tutoring should be kept a secret from your child’s school. In fact, teachers are often used to many of their students having private supplementary tuition outside school hours and are often grateful for the additional support that this provides their students.

If you talk to your child’s teacher about your tuition plans, they will also be able to highlight areas your child could work on, as well as be able to feedback on improvements in grades or classroom attitude. This information can be extremely useful when choosing a tutor, setting up a schedule, or reviewing your child’s progress.

Following these four steps can help you and your child adjust to tuition and better understand what you both expect from the process. Maths Doctor tutors are experts at helping students settle into tutoring and we can help you find the right one for you. Call us on 0800 088 2820 to discuss your needs.

Categories: General | Education | Tutoring | Maths