Why should parents seek at home education for their child? What type of at home educator should you seek? Such questions, any responsible parent should ask themselves. Just as a parent should investigate the school to which they choose to send their child, so too, should parents apply the same critical lens to other aspects of their child’s academic and personal growth and development. At home education, which some call tutoring, is an important adjunct to at school education. There are many reasons why a parent might seek at home education for their school child. Some of these include;
- Long absences due to illness;
- A pattern of absences due to representative sporting commitments;
- A student who evidences no confidence in their capacity to succeed at school;
- A student whose teachers report skill and or understanding deficits which impact on achievement and ongoing learning;
- Students with specific learning needs or cognitive development delays;
Students with diagnosed developmental issues which impact on learning. These might include a diagnosis such as ADHD, autism spectrum
disorder (ASD), or Auditory or visual Processing disorders, or a raft of other difficulties which impact on learning.
Students with diagnosed emotional issues which impact on learning. These might include a diagnosis of depression, bipolar disorder, and
other neurological imbalances.
- Students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, and dysphasia;
- Students who want to refine existing skills to maximise performance;
- Students studying ‘out of phase’, such as in accelerated programs;
Whatever the reason, research in neuroscience indicates the most positive understanding made about learning is the brain’s capacity to improve performance. Research into neuroplasticity has demonstrated the capacity of the human brain to build new connections and increase learning. Consequently, perhaps the most important learning disposition a student might develop is a Growth Mindset.
In searching for a tutor for your child it might be useful to clarify two questions:
- What is your child’s learning goal? What do you and your child hope to achieve from the tutoring?
- What type of teacher would best help your child achieve this?
The type of teacher best suited for a student with little self-confidence, who aims to build a growth mindset and remediate gaps in essential skills, might not be the same teacher best suited to a highly confident student hoping to add polish and extend skills. Teaching is about relationships, so the relationship which the teacher and your child ill build will be critical to their learning.
It is also useful to consider how your child most enjoys learning. Does your child currently complete considerable online learning as part of their regular schoolwork? If so, a company whose product consists of more of the same may not be the best fit. On the other hand, a company who emphasises time spent working one to one with a teacher on a regular basis may be a better fit. As any sporting coach can testify, nothing beats regular practise in building skills. Additionally, a tutor who views their role as a complement to the ongoing learning of the child in the classroom will probably work better to create a more successful learning experience both at home and at school.
Research into home education (or tutoring) conducted by, QUT academics and researchers Karen Dooley, Rebecca English and Elizabeth Briant, drew the following conclusions:
There has been a rise in parents employing private
tutoring services for
their children in recent years – in Australia and other countries. In Britain, for instance, the private tuition sector is worth
an estimated £2
billion (A$3.6 billion). The rise of private tutoring shows parents are taking responsibility for children to achieve Australia’s
national literacy goals. It seems they believe the education provided at school is simply not enough to meet a learner’s needs.
(Dooley, English & Briant, 2019)
There are many reasons why parents may have this perception, not the least of which are large class sizes and behaviour management issues in some classes or schools. Ass these QUT researchers noted, “one of these parents told us the school couldn’t give enough personalised attention to her child:
Because the kids are struggling and the curriculum moves so much and there’s only one teacher to how many kids per class that can’t always spend the time on that one child (Dooley, English & Briant, 2019).”
There are many reasons why a child might need additional support to achieve. A tutor can, for example, be a powerful ally for a parent in discussing educational issues with schools or teachers, especially when parents may lack the professional educational expertise required for such consultations. At home educators can coach parents on the language best suited to describe their concerns to a school, and to best advocate for their child’s educational requirements. Just as a responsible parent would seek a variety of medical experts’ help to keep their child in the best health, so, too, responsible parents call upon a range of educational professionals to maximise the academic success of their child. Our next blog will discuss the question of teacher excellence and finding the best fit for your child. I’ll leave the last words on this question to Karen Dooley, Rebecca English and Elizabeth Briant who sum up their research by saying:
Parents have been “responsibilised” (a concept that assumes people are charged with responsibility for achieving the goals of national policy) for making all manner of choices to create the best education for their child. Tutoring is one resource for the responsibilised parent. (Dooley, English & Briant, 2019).
Dooley, K. English, R. & Briant, E, (2019) Parents say their children have tutors to fill gaps, not to charge ahead, The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/parents-say-their-children-have-tutors-to-fill-gaps-not-to-charge-ahead-117661