A pink taxi

A pink taxi

October 22, 2010

Tutoring my kids

If I were to present my teaching credentials, I only have tutoring as an experience. Perhaps I was born in a wrong century. I would have been Jane Eyre! I have always tutored one child at a time, either one of my three siblings or one of my three children. My husband has been my victim as well, since I did teach him the little French he speaks today. He thought of getting a French teacher. I thought he was crazy since he was married to one.

The same applies to my children. Why would I get extra help for maths or history when I know all the ins and outs of the French education and have been tutoring it for so many years? Fortunately there was only a gap of a few years when I stopped tutoring the youngest sibling and began tutoring my eldest son.

My phone rang during one of those tutoring sessions and my friend asked: "are you still teaching him? Haven't you given up at grade 7?" I felt guilty for a second but then shrugged the guilt away. My kids benefit from the spoon feeding. I think good schools are supposed to spoon feed knowledge and if you happen to be in a larger more challenging school environment, why not assist your children so that they have the learning tools to take with them to class. I certainly am not there at exam times and they have to fend for themselves but why not prep them for the exam? Isn't studying about learning?

What I have discovered, with my three kids, is that I have to take them each from a different angle. The best metaphor is horse riding. When my kids head to the stables, they have their preferences for this or that horse because this horse will stall or that horse is too rapid or the other one will take you on a rodeo ride. My three kids are like horses. One is very stobborn and will argue and nag till she is seated and willing to listen. Then she will concentrate fully. The other will divert my attention as much as possible so as to waste time but will know deep down that he is better with my tutorial than without. The third will eagerly sit and will consider tutoring time as quality mommy time.

I thought I had taught kindergarten twice before, but the third time is as different as the second time was. This year, I have a child in junior high, another learning to read write and calculate in second grade and the third learning to master penmanship in kindergarten.

My method is to teach step by step, repetitevely and regularily. The more you read, the more exercises you solve, the more information you learn. I try to keep the subjects interesting and non intimidating. I always tell my son: don't let the mathematics scare you, examine it one step at a time. Maths are very systematic as all reasoning should be. When you have to be creative in other subjects, let go of your inhibitions and think out of the box.

I think I am a good swimmer but wasn't able to teach any of my kids swimming. I have always found swim coaches for my children. By analogy, I therefore understand intellectual parents who are unable to explain or teach academics to their kids.

Luckily, I am also their driver and their golf partner, and a soccer/swim/judo/ballet mother, so I believe I am present enough to even jot in a few tutorial revisions in the summer....I wonder what my kids will blog about me?

1 comment:

  1. We have always teased the blogger that can be a character from The Sound of Music or Mary Poppins. One thing she excells at; is her full devotion to education in general,and for tutoring her children and before that, her siblings.
    I believe that parental tutoring at any stage is like breast feeding:it is healthy for the mind and body.Some mothers choose not to breast feed,as they choose not to tutor:that is their option!