In our two previous articles, we wrote about how your role as a parent is crucial in facilitating the academic improvement of your child and also the merits and demerits of conventional schooling. This week, expanding further on how you, as a parent, are able to help your child improve, we will discuss the viability of home tutoring, and examine the factors that should be taken into account when considering such a course of action.
For busy parents who wish to spend quality time with their children, it is important to choose the right activity. A good number of parents choose to personally home tutor their children, and for good reason: properly executed, this can serve as a fantastic bonding activity between parent and child. If you are one such parent, considering the option of thusly tutoring your child, note that there are a number of factors to take into account before making such a decision.
Tutoring and overseeing your child’s progress requires a high degree of commitment and consistency. Be prepared to set aside not only time, but also a dedicated conducive environment for your study sessions.
A steady thirty minutes per subject per week is recommended.
Prioritise attaining a copy of the official MOE syllabus and learning targets. This can be downloaded from the MOE website, or it can be obtained from your child’s subject teacher. Having a copy of the syllabus and learning targets on hand will make it easier to keep track of what your child is currently learning and what he or she is going to learn next.
2) MOE Supplements
There are occasional MOE supplements distributed to teachers regarding solutions or techniques for specific problems/questions. Using these materials to supplement your study sessions will allow your child to familiarise himself or herself with these questions, granting him or her an effective set of tools to tackle such questions if they emerge in his or her assessments. Try to speak to your child’s subject teacher about attaining a copy of these supplements.
3) Practice Material
Bookshops, tuition centres and even stationery shops all carry numerous compilations of practice exercises and specimen test papers, which can grant your child the opportunity to test his own knowledge, and to familiarise himself with the test format. To ensure maximal efficacy, choose the practices that align with the official syllabus and learning targets. Skip the ones that do not.
Be sure to have a solid reference person. Your child’s teacher is an important ally. Consult them when you are stuck with a problem or solution. A tuition consultant or coach can also help with it.
Good teaching bears the hallmarks of patience, leadership, empathy, adaptability, clear communication, engagement, perspective and organization. Make sure you are fully enjoying the process of teaching every step of the way. If you begin to find the process of teaching tiresome or annoying, it may be best to take a break for several days.
2) Mastery of Subject Matter
Take note of your strong and weak areas in the subject matter. They act as important signposts to determine whether your level of ability is sufficient to meet the demands of the subject. They will also help you determine whether you will require outside help to supplement your teaching and, if so, how much of such assistance is required.
As a parent, your priority and greatest concern should be cultivating and enhancing the relationship between yourself and your child. Before deciding to home tutor your child, consider the question of whether you will be able to enjoy each other’s company in the context of homework and tuition. Allowing your child to attain good grades is of secondary import if it causes a strained relationship between yourself and your child. Focus on building a strong, amiable relationship with your child, the try to ensure that the activities you choose to do together add quality to your relationship, rather than bitterness for both parties.
Ultimately, home tutoring your child is a time-consuming, arduous process which requires a high degree of commitment and preparation. Even so, it has the potential to be a highly enriching, enjoyable bonding activity. That said, if it is not precisely executed while keeping the above factors in mind, it may result in a strained relationship between the parent and the child. If you wish to home tutor your child, ensure that you are consciously cognizant of the challenges and obstacles, and ensure that you are able to surmount them. If you successfully do so, you can look forward to a wonderful, productive experience.
In our next and final article within this series, we will address the question of whether your child is well-positioned to study independently, outside of the classroom environment.