Help! My child is failing! I need a tutor…

Your child comes home with another dreadful report. The class teacher recommends a private tutor. Is a tutor the solution? Do you really need a tutor?


This might seem like a strange question, but as you read along you will see why I ask this question.


Children’s problems are as unique as they themselves. Let’s look at a couple of case studies:


1) Sandra


Sandra is a very intelligent girl. She used to do very well at school. However, after going to high school, her marks dropped significantly. She does study and do her homework regularly. Her teachers say she is very well-behaved in class.


However, Sandra struggles to concentrate. She does brilliantly when something grabs her attention. This is evident in the marks she obtains for Art. However, anything that is presented as facts simply bores her to death. As soon as the teacher start explaining, she cannot help, but switch off. She is often caught in class, daydreaming and befuddled when the teacher calls upon her to answer questions.


Thus, Sandra started falling behind in specifically Maths and Science. Sandra believes school is boring and simply a waste of time. Time can be better spent outdoors. She is convinced she can catch up all the work in time by cramming for exams.


However, when exams started, she found there is time to study, but not time to figure out some things she did not understand. She started stressing and making many silly mistakes during exams. She wrote whatever she remembered at questions she did not have answers for, hoping that she will somehow still obtain marks for it.


2) Katie


Katie is a fun-loving person. She has many friends and is both comfortable and popular in crowds. She loves being active and takes part in sports at school. She is naturally good at music and scores A’s at estedfods – surprising her parents each time – as she almost never practices.


However, she is battling at most school subjects and her parents are worrying that she will not make it past grade 8 this year. Her workbooks has regular exasperated comments written in it by her teacher: “Come see me” and “Work incompleted” and “Homework not done.”


Katie has had a few tutors already, however, she still failed with the last tutor she had. The last tutor apologized, saying: “I’m so disappointed. “ and “she does understand when I explain.”


Katie’s mother does not know what to do now. She complains that Katie does not listen to her, when she tells her to do her homework and to study.


Analysis of case studies:


Well, there is probably a lot of things you can say about both case studies. However, I am going to focus on two core elements here, to show how an au pair and a tutor can be different, but the better solution if matched correctly to the problem.


In case study 1, Sandra seems diligent – she studies hard before exams, although she can put more time into this during the year by organizing her time differently.


Her biggest barrier seems to be attention/interest. During critical times in class, when the teacher explains material she might not be able to figure out on her own, she spaces out and starts daydreaming. Unfortunately she is not able to catch up on this by making sense of it on her own and falls behind.


I would recommend a tutor in this case, to re-explain lost concepts and connections in a one-to-one session, where concentration loss can be better monitored and controlled.


Alternatively, of course, the weak concentration can be treated in ways, such as making notes during lectures and asking questions to stay actively involved.


However, if you read this article, you may already be at the point that your child is failing or behind and needs to catch up fastly, with the help of a tutor.


Consider case study 2: Katie


Katie, on the other hand, never does her homework. She does not even complete her assignments in class (teacher’s comments: “incomplete”).


Katie might have managed to pass previous grades merely by listening to lessons in class, but the complexity and volume of work has increased with every grade. Katie needs to start putting in more time as well, to keep up.


As mentioned, Katie does understand the work when explained to her. Her problem, however, is to simply do her homework and study. This requires a lot more time than a tutor can give her. This is the job for an aupair. A homework au pair specifically, to sit with her and make sure she does her homework and studies for her tests and exams.


The level of skill needed is lower, thus an au pair will charge a lower rate. Therefore more hours are easierly affordable than getting a tutor in more regularly as well.


How is an au pair and a tutor different?


A tutor has a specific skill. This is, because he or she has already studied and done well in that subject or, alternatively he or she has actually trained to teach this subject.


An au pair, on the other hand, is someone who loves spending time with children. They can be creative, love cooking, playing with children and taking care of kids. It can be someone who is motherly or someone who is still young at heart.


An au pair does not teach or explain a specific subject. They are there to help out with normal day-to-day things parents would normally do with their children.


A homework au pair is someone who will sit with the child and make sure he/she completes all work and practices what they need to practice until they know it. Often, the au pair will explain where this is necessary, but the main duty will be to ensure practice.


Have you had a similar experience? Please share with us – Marina.


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