A few years ago I had to homeschool my daughter. It was a real steep learning curve for us both, but also a really fun valuable thing to do. When Maria offered me this guest blog I jumped at the chance to feature it, hoping it could provide encouragement to others. So first a bit about Maria.
Maria is part of the community outreach team at Edu Aid. Maria spent over 15 years as a primary school teacher before homeschooling her own children for a number of years. Maria is passionate about ongoing education at all ages, and when isn’t learning new things is a keen walker and cyclist and can be found exploring.
As a parent you may be thinking of tutoring your own child. You might want to tutor your child in a specific subject (such as Math or English) because your child is battling in this subject area. Alternatively you may wish to homeschool your child. You might worry that by tutoring your child you will be changing your relationship with him or her. You may feel anxious about taking on a new role. You may ask yourself how you find the key to successfully tutoring your own children?
Don’t be afraid of taking on the role
Marina Koestler, in her book on tutoring, shares that parents are a child’s best tutor. As a parent you have always showed your child how to cope or manage new tasks. You showed your child how to tie a shoelace, and how to dress or bathe. You probably played board games which involved counting, read to your child or listened to his or her stories. You may have checked homework or assisted your child with cooking. Many of these tasks were enjoyable for both of you and often inspired your child to make progress. It is because of this that Koestler declares that a parent is the very best tutor a child can have.
Prepare a space for tutoring
By creating a set environment which is cool, quiet and comfortable, your children will be able to work without distraction. Try to keep all of your tutoring supplies in one place where your children have easy access. If you will be tutoring more than one child, your goal is to give each child individual attention. Create a space where you can move easily from one child to the next.
Allow your children to guide you
Koestler shares that parents may feel anxious about tutoring because they might not feel knowledgeable in an area of study. However, she explains that the role of tutor is one of facilitator rather than one of teacher. By allowing your child to ask questions, explore answers and search for new information or insights, you will enable them to think, learn, grow, read and explore. All of these skills will offer a great learning opportunity where your children are guided by their own innate curiosity.
Maths Insider shares that by having fun with your child, encouraging role playing or offering up exciting rewards, you will make learning an enjoyable process for your child. You can offer up activities such as dividing a cake or finger painting spots on a page (and then adding or multiplying them to find an answer). Older children could act out roles in history books or works of literature in order to explore multiple perspectives. By making learning fun you’ll teach your children that challenges do not have to be approached with fear or anxiety.
Focus on your children’s individual needs
As a tutor, you are able to give your child individual attention. While providing tips for tutoring, The School Run gave an example of a parent who taught a child to trust her own answers and move on. By focusing on decisiveness the child was able to complete her exams on time. Each child will have areas of individual struggle. Some children fear getting an answer wrong, while others rush through the work and make careless mistakes. Listening to your child’s fears or anxieties while patiently guiding new options will assist your child to achieve great results.
Parents are always going to be great tutors to their children. Children trust and look up to their parents and have been learning from them all their lives.
As a parent you’re in a perfect position to guide or tutor your child. Working with patience and empathy will assist your child to develop curiosity, confidence and an enjoyment of learning.