How to Make the Most From Tutoring

Preparing for your Child's First Tutor Session

If you want your child's first tutoring session to go as well as possible, then you're going to have to prepare for it.

A few days before…

The few days leading up to your child's first lesson provide them with a fantastic opportunity to ready themselves and prepare.

Talk to your child’s teacher

It’s helpful to speak with your child’s teacher before their first tutoring session.

Firstly, this means their teacher knows about the extra support your child is getting and they can adjust their teaching to accommodate it.

Secondly, it means they'll be able to provide you with useful materials, including the syllabus and past papers. Your child's tutor can use these to improve your child’s lessons.

Your child’s teacher won't mind that you’ve hired a tutor. It’s much better that they know as soon as possible.

List your child’s weak points

Before their first lesson, you should jot down the topics and areas that they struggle with most.

Chances are you already have a decent idea of which areas your child has the most trouble with, but getting them down on paper will make sure you don't miss any.

It also means you can present your tutor with this list and they'll know where they should concentrate their efforts.

By sending this over to the tutor before your child’s first lesson, you can give your tutor a chance to prepare.

Ask about some reading

Your tutor will probably have a good idea of the topics your child will be studying, especially if you followed our advice and sent over some of your child’s weak spots.

It might also be worth asking the tutor for any extra reading that your child can work through ahead of their first lesson.

This means you can prepare your child so they can get a head start for their learning.

Your tutor may even be able to set a bit of work for your child to do before the first lesson, which they can then use to understand your child’s ability.

Brief your child

If your child hasn't had tutoring before it’s they're likely to be nervous about their upcoming lesson.

An effective way of alleviating these nerves is to brief your child ahead of time. This can be as simple as explaining how their tutor is going to support them, and what they should expect from their lesson.

It’s also a great chance to answer any questions and concerns that your child has.

If you're unsure about the answer to any of these you should reach out to your tutor. They’ll have heard them all before and will be able to answer on your behalf.

On the day…

The day of the lesson is incredibly important and you need to make sure your child is in the right frame of mind.

Eat and drink

Keeping fed and hydrated is really important when you’re learning. Your child's diet can increase concentration, help with critical thinking, and improve memory.

Some of the best brain foods include fish, eggs, fruit, and nuts. Generally you'll want to avoid junk foods and stuff that’s high in sugar. The last thing you want is a sugar crash!

You should also try to make sure your child drinks a lot of water on the day. Water provides a range of health benefits, and a lot of studies have found a link between drinking water and brain power.

Like most kids, your child probably hates the idea of drinking plain water. In that case even diluted squash or flavoured water will provide the brain boost they need.

Keep your child relaxed

On the day of their first lesson, your child will probably be fairly stressed out. They’re going to be spending an hour or so with a stranger, maybe even in the stranger’s house.

A stressed child isn't going to learn effectively. You need to make sure they keep calm.

Maybe try spending time with them doing something they enjoy, like playing a video game, before the lesson. This will help take their mind off it.

A good way of calming down your child is making sure they get a lot of fresh air. Fresh air can provide you with some great health benefits, one of which is reducing stress and anxiety.

After the lesson…

The teaching doesn’t end when the first lesson is over. That post-lesson period is a good time to consolidate your child’s learning, and set them up for success.

Ask about homework

Lots of tutors will give your child homework to do before their next session. If your child is anything like me growing up, they’ll try to mislead you about how much they’ve been given.

Despite how much kids hate it, homework really does help your child to learn more effectively. It’s important that your child actually does it.

Make sure you ask the tutor about any homework so you can keep track of whether your child has completed it.

If it’s a subject area that you understand fairly well, you could even ask the tutor about how you can help your child with the homework.

Debrief your child

A good debrief ensures your child is happy to carry on with their learning, and enables you to address any issues that they have.

Now that your child has experienced tutoring, they’ll be in a far better position to identify any things they don’t like. 

Maybe they don’t quite understand what the tutor is telling them. Perhaps they didn’t find the work challenging enough. It could even be possible that they just didn’t ‘click’ with the tutor.

Take note of any issues and then either address them yourself, or pass them on to the tutor. This will ensure better learning in future lessons.

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