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From the Teacher's Desk: 3 Tips for Tutoring Your Child at Home

Make homework help more effective this school year with these after-school ideas

Charles Sisson

Published on: September 07, 2016

A new school year is exciting but it’s also intimidating. As a parent, you’ll be there to help your child along the way. Here are a few tips to make after-school tutoring easier for you both.

1. Commit

If you only have five minutes, that can be enough! Remove all distractions, especially your cell phone, for the time you are together.

2. Support your child’s learning

As a teacher, my goal is to have students make as many connections to the subject material as possible to better anchor the information in their long-term memory. When working with learners, you want to be the “guide on the side,” not the “sage on stage.” Ask questions; don’t explain. The student should be leading the way. Try these techniques:

  • Ask for an explanation: “How would you explain this to your friend?”
  • Vocalize: “Tell me each step as you’re working.”
  • Switch roles: “Pretend I’ve never done this and show me how.” (Note: Many children, especially those younger than 8, often find an incompetent student funny so try making a few mistakes to liven learning up!)
  • Avoid these common mistakes: Don’t pressure, nag or encourage perfectionism. These are all opposed to a loving and encouraging approach that you will use to best help your child.

3. Never do your child’s homework

We teachers can tell when you do! One parent was so notorious for writing his child’s French essays that in staff meetings we joked about a big new project impacting his work schedule.

Teachers need to see how students are performing; perfect work that a child can’t reproduce in class only masks their weaknesses until there’s a test. By then it’s too late. More importantly, hovering over homework robs your child of the greatest attributes successful people share: grit and self-discipline. So work with your kid on an assignment but let him do the rest.

Originally published by Bright Pathways

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