Monday, July 23, 2018

Should You Tutor Your Own Child?

Maybe the question has popped up more than once for you. Should your child get tutoring session? He seems to be struggling with math. Or not, but, you want him to be ahead of other children. Or maybe his other friends are getting math tutoring, and you don’t want your child to lag behind the others.

After you decide that yes, your child needs tutoring, another question pops: who will tutor your child? A tutor, definitely. For many people, hiring a professional tutor means giving their child the education they need. A professional tutor will help your child learn a material on his or her own pace, ensuring they understand their lesson before moving on to the next. Tutoring also helps to ensure children to fulfil their study time quota, and may even help them develop good study habit. Also, hiring a tutor means parents can give their child all of these advantages without losing their own time.

However, for some parents, hiring tutor isn’t easy. One, there is an economic factor for it. Private tutor rate is relatively expensive. Second, some parents doubt a tutor can help their child that much. All they do is repeat the lesson at school, surely a parent can do the same, assuming the parent has the time to do it. But, is it really so?

Do you understand what your child is learning?
To tutor someone, you should have the basic qualification to do it. Do you understand the material well? Remember that you must understand the material completely. Then you must explain this material in the easiest way your child can understand. You should also familiar with solving a problem regarding the material.

Being a tutor for your child who is in grade school usually is easy enough, because you can still learn the material on your own. However, starting middle school, lessons get more advanced, especially math and science. If you’re confident about your ability, however, you can go ahead to answer the next question.

Do you have the ability to teach?
Understanding the material is the easy part. The next part is harder: do you have the ability to teach? That means, do you have the ability to retell what you’ve learned to other people, in the simplest way possible?

Because you are a parent, I believe you know how to teach your kids thing. After all, you’ve taught them a more important task: how to talk and behave politely, how to feed and bathe themselves, even how to keep themselves safe in public places. However, teaching in a classroom is quite different from teaching outside it.

Sometimes, you need to create a different persona to tutor your child, so your child knows how to be focused and serious during a lesson. They can’t whine that they’re feeling too hungry or too sleepy to study like they might be if they are taught by their mother or father. Some book recommends you to role-play the session. You can make a deal with your child: during the session, your child should call you Mrs. or Mr. Einstein, or maybe Professor Lupin, or maybe Doctor Strange, whoever you and your child wants. Can you separate your ‘parent side’ to your ‘tutor side’?

Are you ready to see your child for who he or she is?
We know our child intimately, inside out, whether it’s their personality or behaviour. We know their worst temper tantrum and their sweetest kindness. But how they do at school? We’ll never know until you tutor your own children, that is.

Parents often see their children with rose-colored glasses, in term of talent. They believe their children are the prodigy, or at least the smart ones. In reality, however, your children will be good at some things and completely helpless in other things. What you will tutor your children, is the things where your children aren’t at their best.

Are you ready to take off that rose-tinted glasses and see your child struggling to grasp the concept of a lesson even after you explain to them twice? Can you promise yourself you won’t lose your patience when this happens? If you are ready to see your children objectively, talent-wise, then you are ready to tutor your own child.

Are you ready to keep learning?
Tutoring is not a one-time job. It needs consistency to see the improvement in your kid’s grade and, more importantly, his or her understanding of a subject. And once your kid understands a sub-lesson, he or she will move to the next lesson, probably with higher difficulty, and as a tutor, it’s your job to not just follow their learning journey, but to be ahead of it.

And, it’s not just about the subject. The session itself will be a learning material for you. You will make mistake, and so will your child. You may yell at your kid unintentionally for failing to understand a concept you think is so simple. Your kid may intentionally challenge your authority during the session by refusing to do what you ask. It will happen, sooner or later.

What’s important is how both of you will react to this. Are you ready to accept and own your mistake, and are you ready to forgive your child if he made the same mistake? Are you ready to resume and continue tutoring, even if one session somehow fail?

If you are ready for those, then you will be a good tutor for your child. However, if you aren’t there’s no shame in that either. Yes, all parents are a teacher, but probably not in a classroom setting. Your child needs you to teach them more important life lesson: like how to be a decent person and how to face life, not merely how to solve trigonometry.

Tutoring your own child is a very rewarding experience because you get to see the side of your child you may not get to see otherwise. But, not everyone can do it. Not everyone can understand the subject material inside out and not everyone has enough time to do it – with constant re-learning, as well as trial and error during the session. Providing professional tutor that you have screened and selected carefully is the same gesture of affection you can give to your child, even if you can’t tutor them by yourself.

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