We had the benefit of one-on-one learning and development support since 2011. Through the years this support came in various forms; from speech therapy and audiology to parent guidance, occupational therapy and psychology. Recently, when SkillUp Tutors reached out to collaborate, I thought about how my son’s support needs changed as he reached various milestones at his own pace.
This made me realise that there is one area that does not lean itself towards our children’s unique learning styles and pace. The mainstream education system.
Here our children are faced with a curriculum that is content heavy, with minimal time for facilitated learning in the classroom. Often, in classrooms with 28-34 other peers. Each student with various strengths and challenges. Some flying through the content whilst others struggle to keep up with the pace at which they are expected to perform and understand.
Fortunately for us, knowing my son’s challenges from early on meant that I could put support mechanisms in place for him. Ordinarily parents are however only made aware of their children’s academic challenges during a quarterly or annual parent-teacher meetings. For some, this concern is only highlighted half-way through the academic year, if you are lucky! For others, it is a sudden referral for assessments or remedial interventions. The usual knee-jerk reaction to an education system that is failing our children.
Today I however want to share some tips that may help you walk alongside your child as they work towards reaching their true and full potential.
- If you are at a school with a no homework policy, then ask your child to bring their books and test files home every Friday. This gives you an opportunity to review their work on the weekend and note any areas where they may be struggling. Discuss your observations with the teacher via email or a letter in the diary. Also discuss your observations with your child and get their input.
- If your child is at a school where they do get homework, then make time to either sit with them and work through their homework with them, OR, check their homework when they are done. If you identify any challenges here then discuss this with your child for their input before sharing your observations with the teacher.
- Invest in a tutor. You will be amazed at the difference one-on-one learning facilitation (outside the school environment) will have on your child. It is a great way to boost academic confidence. Even if it is that you only do this in the second and fourth term when they have exams. Educational Psychologist, Benjamin Bloom’s research found that the student who received one-on-one instructional learning support performed better than those who learned via conventional instruction methods. You can read more about the Bloom 2 Sigma problem here and here.
I found that my son often did not know why his answers were marked wrong or what it was that he did not understand. In addition to this, the classroom size and content heavy curriculum results in teachers not having the time to go through worksheets and explain the why’s of wrong answers in small groups or one-on-one. Instead, I invested in a Tutor who assisted with one-on-one learning support twice a week. This support made a huge difference in minimising performance anxiety during exam periods and keeping up to date with the academic workload. It also took some pressure off me, a single parent, working full-time.
Fortunately, SkillUp Tutors are making it easier for parents to find the perfect tutor. Not only is their online platform extremely user friendly, but the follow through on responses to enquiries sent to Tutors are amazing! Also, if your chosen Tutor is not available to assist you then they match you with an alternative Tutor for your consideration.
This is what a parent, Louise, had to say about her son’s experience with SkillUp Tutors.
“My son Jono has just finished writing his last Grade 11 exam. He lives in Cape town with his dad and step-mom.
He booked two sessions with a lovely lady, who gave him such useful information. The site was easy to use, and it was so nice to pick JUST the right person to help, reading through the tutor portfolios and strong points. Also so lovely to have someone come to the house for us.
He said she spoke to him on the phone first about where he was battling with his physics and chemistry, and then arrived with prepared notes and summaries, as well as some past papers and tests she had put together for him.
He said she was SO patient, and explained in a way that he immediately understood. I think she just GOT him, because he’s very visual and she seemed to pick that up immediately and help him in a way he could understand.
She then left him with loads of work to do between sessions, and warned him that she wanted it all done before she came back for the next lesson. And he did it all! Do you KNOW how hard it is to get a 17 year old boy to co-operate with anything in any way where school work is concerned?! Or with anything, for that matter.
We will definitely make use of these services again, and I’ve already decided to set aside budget for him to spend time with her regularly next year. It will be money well spent.”
SkillUp Tutors not only have the perfect search platform to support us in our parenting, but they also give back!
They provide Tutors to the True Butterfly organisation, “HELPING a girl child to FULFILL her dreams by allowing her to believe in herself and encouraging her self-confidence”. They also support two orphanages, St. Francis Care Centre and Alnoor Orphanage, through Social by Nurishaam Boolay. Therefore, by signing up with SkillUp Tutors, you too contribute in the investment of not only your child, but also these organisations.
It is so important for me that I work with partners who have a strong sense of social responsibility, and to this end AusomeKai and I have both committed to donate 20% of this collaboration to Hannah’s Place of Safety.