Tag Archives: choosing a tutor

Children’s Stories – The Wizard of Othello – Geoffrey (aged 10)

WizardIf there was one thing that Othello Flamel loved, it was his house of mysteries that he inherited from Clocal Flamel, his grandfather.  Othello Flamel was a twenty-two- year-old alchemist who loved exploring his house of mysteries and learning all kinds of spells and enchantments.  One day, two wart-hoggers with great swords attacked and he slaughtered one but the other fled and sounded the alarm, calling thousands, and creating a racket that awoke a rock elite and the wart-hoggers blamed Othello who knew he had to do something.  He remembered the key of safety given to him by his grandfather, which could blow back enemies with the energy and speed of one hundred million kilometres per hour.  If there was one thing Othello loved, it was that key of safety that got him out of trouble.

By Geoffrey (Aged 10)

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The Big Escape – Jemima (aged 7)

dog,pig,goatThe goat, the pig and the wild dog escaped from the barn at the same time and they went to hide behind the little apple tree that was near the farmer’s house.  The dog was named Emma and she was friends with the goat named Lolly and her friend named Penny the pig.  After the man left to look for them, they ran quickly to the scary forest because the farmer would be scared to go in.  They slept there for two weeks and picked apples for food. The goat, the pig and the wild dog went back to their home in the nice warm barn.

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Tuition Tip – Early Steps To Avoid Stressed Students

Daily Diary Does the Deed


The year is going to progress whether we become involved with it or not.  It has been my experience with students, particularly at secondary school level, that those who do not take control of time will have time controlling them.  It is these students that display symptoms of stress as the year progresses.

Students who learn how to use a diary and planner at the beginning of the year are more likely to feel relaxed as the year progresses.  Keeping a written diary/planner appears to be almost a lost science.  Everything today seems to be electronic with touch pads for keying entries and apps that help to link all the diaries together and co-ordinate your appointments.  This is all very impressive but is it helping your student?

At the beginning of the term or semester your student is given their assignments and due dates.  They are also aware of sports training and events they should be attending; forthcoming birthdays and family events; and school activities.  Showing your son or daughter how to use a diary is a valuable life skill to pass on to them.  Sitting down once a week (my wife and I use Sundays) and running through that week’s entries helps to co-ordinate lifestyles.

Remember: We are all given twenty four hours a day, how you use them is up to you.

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The Bad Day – Jemima (aged 7)

KoalaOne day a pretty koala climbed out of her eucalyptus tree, chewed some leaves and had a baby koala.  She named her baby Alexandra and together they went on a walk to visit their friend Jemima the possum and found her in the tree house having tea.  Alexandra and her mum were about to go home but the house was on fire and so they waited.  Three minutes later Jemima found a new house near a lovely waterfall, squeezed inside and they all had leaves for lunch.  One day Jemima and Alexandra and her mum played.

by Jemima (aged 7)

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Tuition Tips – Getting Your Child Ready For School

Tutor and student

Small group tuition, it’s almost one-on-one


“A stitch in time saves nine.”  How do you know if your pre-schooler is ready for the next big jump into primary school?

Does your child understand these words – “above” “below” “on” “in” “before” “after” “beside” “first” “second” “last’ “stop” “go” “left” “right” “top” “bottom” “middle”?

Pre-school education should help young learners with their spatial skills and prepare them for primary school, but there are times when these skills are not acquired.  This is no reflection upon the child, though not having an understanding can place the young learner at a disadvantage when they first attend primary school.

Can you imagine the difficulty a young learner will have following the simplest of directions if they do not have an understanding of the words from the list above?  In our tuition room we are seeing more instances where the parents of children in Years 1 and 2 are seeking help because their little ones are not keeping up at school.  How can a student fall into difficulty at such an early stage of their education?

Let the early years be play.  Young children learn through play, being read to, and through song.  Have any of these three things changed in the last decade?  Do children play with other children or with their parents like they used to?  Are they being read to by an adult?  Do the songs they listen to teach them about the spatial world around them?

The things we do with our children before they attend school are just as important as the education they receive before they become adults.  If you can get the foundations right the structure is strong.

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If your child hates to write, try this.

Ask them to write a simple sentence about a cat: “My cat is fat.” Don’t worry about spelling unless you cannot work out what they meant to write.  In that case ask them to rewrite it with the spelling corrected.

Then ask them to make that sentence one word longer: “My cat is very fat.”

  • Try again, “My cat Biffy is very fat.”
  • Try again, “My old cat Biffy is very fat.”

Then use another word for fat.

  • “My old cat Biffy is very large.”

Now for a prize …. extend this sentence using the word ‘and’ somewhere.

  • “My old cat Biffy is very large and lazy.”

There you are – from four words to nine.

Do it just before dinner, make the prize “You decide what we are having for desert” and it’s all fun.

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Auditory‘Sounds good to me’, ‘It’s starting to ring a bell’; these are a couple of the phrases used by roughly twenty per cent of the population that help to identify them as auditory learners.  Of course your little one may not be using such readily identifiable markers, but you may still be able to see qualities that help to give you an insight as to the type of learners they may be.

An auditory learner enjoys movies and music and probably notices the sound effects in movies more than other people.  They will readily put up their hands for discussion, happily participate in discussion groups and be involved in discussions without a group as they use self-talk.  These students are not afraid to speak in class and may be accused of speaking in class as they process the information through self-talk.

They will perform their worst at reading passages and writing answers relating to those passages in a timed test, but excel in responding to what they have heard and in oral exams.

The auditory learner learns best when reading aloud, receiving verbal instruction, repeating facts with eyes closed and memorising steps and procedures by repeating them.  Older auditory learners need some external sounds (T.V. or music) while they are reading their notes or processing their homework.  Writing their notes and recording them to listen to later is their best way of obtaining and retaining information.

Remember, though they may be looking out of the window while the teacher is talking does not necessarily mean they are not completely aware of what is being said.  Auditory learners do not require a visual context in order to learn.

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The process of choosing a tutor can be daunting and confusing. Generally when a parent is told by a teacher their child is struggling it comes as sudden news to the parent but has been viewed as a gradual process by the teacher or various teachers. One wonders why measures were not taken sooner to halt this process.

For whatever reason your student now requires tuition so how do you choose? I have seen many one-on-one tutors who do very fine work helping the student with maths at their current level and at times this is successful. School results improve and grades come up, but this system has its limitations.

Learning maths is a progressive process building upon previous knowledge of various maths strands until eventually the student is able to solve complex problems by drawing on their various knowledge strands. If there is a hole in their knowledge strands this makes solving these complex problems more difficult. This hole may have appeared years before and not been repaired.

The tuition process you choose should be able to identify these knowledge holes and plug them. By doing this your student is armed with complete knowledge that allows them to move to the top percentage of their class.

Your tutor should be able to identify the time when your child started to have difficulties; set up a program to begin at the point of trouble; move progressively forward plugging up other holes as they are identified; monitor the student’s progress (we do ours daily); provide progressive reports (our parents receive monthly progress reports on students); and set goals that engage and reward students (this keeps them motivated).

This method takes time but produces the best long term results.

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