How to get the most from your child’s online lessons
Autumn is a busy time for everyone, parents, teachers and tutors as we head into a new school year with our best foot forwards and the intention to give it our all!
Of course, this time of year is often when parents begin to think about setting up tutoring sessions for their children and as such we thought it would be a good idea to write a piece about how to get the most out of tutoring.
Before the first session
There are a few things that you can do to prepare for a session both in terms of information gathering and making sure your child is ready to take part!
Firstly, we recommend letting your child’s class teacher know that they will be receiving tuition (and whether it will be as part of a group session or as a 1:1 lesson).
We know from many years of experience that when the grown ups around them connect and work towards a common goal, children make more progress.
Your child’s teacher will be able to let you know of any academic targets that they feel it could be good to work on in sessions and, once sessions are in full swing, school will love to hear of your child’s progress and achievements in the tutoring sessions so that they can celebrate them as well!
Secondly, we always suggest that, if your child hasn’t taken part in tutoring before (or even if they have), it’s best to prepare them, because they will understandably feel a little nervous. Let them know what their tutor’s name is, and show them a picture (all of our tutors have photographs or illustrations on our website in the ‘about us’ section). Tell them how long the session will last and what they can expect to happen (we can give you all this information before the session so you’re in the know!)
Most of all, reassure them that the session is going to be fun, and that their tutor will be working hard to get to know them and find out what they like best, so they can make sure the sessions are really enjoyable and fun!
It’s also a great idea to ask your child if they have any questions about the tutoring sessions – if you ask well in advance, we’ll be very glad to help you out with any answers you aren’t sure of!
Our final recommendation is to find a space for your child to take part in their sessions. It’s important that children have peace and quiet to get the most from online tuition, so trying to do it in the living room while their brother watched TV isn’t going to work! Ideally they should be in a room by themselves, somewhere you can be close by to check in on them and be on hand if needed. A headset can help to block out noise and increase focus.
On the day
The most important thing to do on the day of your child’s session is to ensure that they are in the right frame of mind for it.
One of the best ways of doing this is to ensure that they are fed and watered – nutrition and hydration make an unbelievable difference to a child’s readiness to learn (it’s why most teachers keep an emergency banana in their desk!) Lots of sugar directly before a session is not recommended as it won’t help them to stay still – plain water is best for brains and teeth, and a healthy, energy-packed snack like a banana or malt loaf (not quite as healthy as a banana but we think the fruit in it counts!) about half an hour before they need to sit down would be great.
Another way of making sure your child is in a great frame of mind for learning is by banishing nerves and boosting endorphins by getting them some fresh air before the session begins – even if it’s just 5 minutes of running around outside!
Exercise is great for the brain and a fabulous way of getting ready to sit down and learn.
Our last recommendation for before the session is to have a bit of screen-free time directly before. Primary age children aren’t build to spend protracted amounts of time in front of a screen, so moving directly from the television to a computer is far from ideal. We recommend having screens off for an hour before the session begins – which is ideal if you are going to give them a snack and some exercise before it starts! (It also gives you time to log into Zoom and make sure it’s updated!)
During the Session
Don’t forget to check out our free download about getting the most from your child’s online session – including troubleshooting with Zoom and our guidelines for sessions.
We generally suggest that, if possible, you give your child space during the session – perhaps being in the next room with the door open so you are on hand and available if needed, but not so present as to be causing a distraction. In our experience, children get more from a session, and engage in them better without a parent sitting next to them. Our best advice is to be on hand at the beginning and end of the session in order to touch base with the tutor.