What is a home tutor?
As its name quite clearly suggests, a home tutor is where tutoring is carried out within the home. A home tutor will assist a child or adult looking to significantly improve academically in their chosen subject(s). There are numerous reasons a family might choose to opt for a personal and optimised home tutoring approach as opposed to solely using the in-class school system.
A home tutor will either carry out their lessons in their own home and a family would choose somebody that lives close by, which is convenient and cost effective or otherwise invite the tutor to their own home. This depends on comfort levels and also how you feel your child works better, sometimes their own environment at home can be distracting, depending on what other events are happening at home or if they have younger siblings running around requiring their attention for less academics and more ‘fun’ as it were. Additionally, home tutoring via video call using applications such as Skype or Zoom is also a direction the world is moving in. However, in our humble opinion, we believe the in-person approach is better in order for you to receive the most benefits from a home tutor. Less screen time and distractions and a more personal relationship where respect and boundaries for the home tutor can be established in person as opposed to via a computer screen. That’s not to say we are against this platform offered, for some families it is the only option and it is still a great way to reap the rewards of personalised home-based learning outside of the classroom.
Most tutoring will relate to a particular subject or test preparation whereby you can utilise this time to speed up your child’s understanding in a particular subject and also give them time to prepare for examinations with their home tutor by taking test examinations and going through the answers and mark scheme with them. This is not always an approach taken at school, you will learn what you need to know for the exam of course but how often can we expect a teacher of a class of 30 students to be able to give that one to one approach so that your child really understands what is required to pass the exam in a particular subject that will assist them further in their academic development? It’s a no brainer, there’s a reason that the home tutoring industry is thriving and if it is something that is affordable to you and you believe your child(s) could benefit from then it is certainly worth looking into.
A home tutoring session is usually one hour in length, although some students may wish for 1.5 – 2 hour lessons. Whilst longer sessions may seem what is necessary and it also depends on your time constraints before an exam for example, we advise you look into obtaining a home tutor way in advance in order to take the pressure off everyone involved, exam pressure can be daunting enough. Additionally, please do think about your child and how well you know them in terms of their concentration levels. In this modern day and instant world, it is difficult for the majority of us to sit down for that length of time without the need for distraction. We propose that it would be better to stretch this time over 2-3 lessons for optimal learning and allow your child to enjoy shorter sessions rather than overwhelm them with dread after a long day at school and extra-curricular activities. We are firm believers that balance is everything, they will still need time to focus on homework for other subjects, reading, enjoying time with their family, playing and whatever else your child might love to do to relax, perhaps it’s playing their guitar or drawing for example. For test preparation, we’d suggest a minimum of 1.5 hours per week of home tutoring, but again, you would need to discuss this directly with your home tutor depending on your child’s level and the time constraints you are up against. This is the beauty of it, the home tutor will quickly be able to analyse where your child is and where they need to be. A true professional will be able to understand their unique learning style and take the approach necessary in order for your child to learn in an enjoyable way that they are starting to gain more and more confidence in their subject. Do make sure you speak with your child and the home tutor. As with everything, communication is key and it’s the parents’ role to ensure they know where their child is up to and how they are feeling about their home tutor. We say this, because in the same way as finding a nanny or governess, the chemistry needs to be right. If you go ahead and employ a tutor your child has no positive feelings towards then it starts as an uphill struggle. We suggest meeting 2-3 people and asking your child who they felt they would learn most from, it also gives them great a chance to develop their decision making skills and an element of control with the decision making process. Perhaps a couple of trial lessons would work well.
Generally, a home tutor will specialise in a few subjects, they will be degree educated and hold a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) or TESOL/CELTA/TEFL therefore be specialised in teaching English as a foreign language if this is something you are looking into specifically. We often have requests for full time home tutors who will travel overseas to tutor your child(s) on a full time basis around their schedule which speeds up their progress as they develop a great relationship and are generally looking forward to their lessons with their educator that is somewhat part of the family. Alternatively, other families are seeking full time home schooling. Only you will know what’s right for you and your children when the time is right. If you are overseas and looking for your child to gain entrance into an international school and thinking ahead then a home tutor or governess would be a fantastic opportunity to immerse your child into a English speaking environment through daily immersion of the language whereby they learn daily through lessons, games and socialising with age appropriate activities of their interest. From such a candidate you’d expect a Bachelors degree from University and or TESOL/CELTA/TEFL qualification. For additional subjects that the tutor or governess may not be specialised in you could still consider tutors for different subjects if your circumstances allow for it. If you’re lucky your governess or tutor might be able to bring additional skills to the table besides languages, such as musical talent, additional languages, sports, art and so on.
Your home tutor will be aware or study your child’s school syllabus or the syllabus for entry exams in advance, therefore the idea would be to speed up your child’s progress in advance of the exam. The purpose would be to finish the syllabus with your child at home in advance and then have time to revise the subject and take test examinations in advance so that your child feels comfortable and understands the full requirements, they will be able to go over their mistakes and learn from them in a quiet and personal environment without the distractions of their peers which for any of us is a challenge within itself.
Your child should feel comfortable with their tutor to speak with them about their concerns and weaknesses and where they feel they need to improve, this isn’t always easy in a group environment, especially with younger peers where insecurities are present and children are often afraid to speak out in front of a group of other students. If only they knew now what we do, but as the old book ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ suggests, “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we have to go through it” which is the beautiful process of learning within itself.
Another important point to acknowledge is communication with yourselves and the tutor as well as your child so you can monitor the progress. There’s no need to take full control, that’s what you hire a home tutor for, to trust their expertise, however, ensuring you speak to them on a frequent basis before or after the lesson or ask them to write short progress reports will be really beneficial for you all. There might be things you can do in between their lessons to assist their work and enhance your child’s confidence. For example, ensuring they have a quiet and comfortable area to take test examinations. It’s quite common that an educator may have imposter syndrome if it appears you are too busy to talk, which is quite normal in family orientated households. Do make sure you are approachable or set times weekly whereby you can catch up for ten minutes to discuss, progress, achievement and possible barriers as well as any areas of achievement.
When finding a home tutor it can be difficult knowing where to start. Our first piece of advice in the stages of looking is to speak with friends and family members or other parents at the school whom which might know of a great recommendation. Happy people are usually always happy to recommend someone they have had a good experience with. We can testify this from our own recommendations we receive. Secondary to that, using a trusted agency like ourselves or the many others out there to assist you in seeking the right candidate for the job will be valuable. It will save you a lot of time and effort and gives great comfort knowing that we have carried out all things necessary for hiring a tutor on our side including scanning through applicants based on your requirements, reference checking and background checks are up to date. Additionally, we may have worked with such candidates before so will be able to recommend them to you directly.
If you have been considering home tutoring for your child for sometime and have any additional questions that weren’t covered in this post, feel free to contact us for some practical advice as we’d be glad to assist you with that or in your search for a tutor if that is a decision you have come to. Hiring any educator is a big decision and having done your research beforehand, which it seems you are doing if you have landed here then don’t be shy and put your trust in the industry experts. The very least we can offer is some helpful tips when hiring a home tutor.
If this was of interest to you, you might wish to look into some of our other blog posts that relate well to this subject.
All the best,
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