8-Tips-for-Summer-Holiday-Learning

The summer holidays are here! Children are excited to be free from the classroom and they’re ready to enjoy a well-earned break. It’s a time for families to create special memories together in the sunshine (with luck!).

As a parent, you may have mixed feelings about the long summer ahead. What if the break has a negative impact on your child’s learning? Most studies indicate that children do forget over the summer holidays, losing at least one month of classroom learning.

So, how can you prevent learning loss and at the same time have plenty of fun together?

Here are some ideas…

Car journey games

  • Break the tedium of long car journeys and at the same time practise intellectual skills, listening, observing, patience and turn taking with these alternatives to ‘I Spy’:
  • 20 Questions. Somebody thinks of a person; it could be a famous person, a cartoon character, a family member – anybody. The other people have to guess who the mystery person is by asking twenty questions.
  • I Went on a Picnic and Picnic Whispers – see ‘Picnics’ below.
  • Punch Buddy. Every time someone spots a Ford Fiesta (for instance) they gently punch the person next to them.
  • Which Animal? One person thinks of an animal. The others find out what the animal is by taking turns to ask a question. The question can only receive a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. For example: ‘Does the animal have four legs?’ ‘Can it be kept as a pet?’ ‘Does it live in the jungle?’
  • Would You Rather? Everyone takes a turn to ask and answer a question which makes them choose between a rock and a hard place. For instance, ‘Would you rather eat a worm sandwich or pour icy water over your head?’

Feathered friends

  • Make a bird feeder.
  • Watch and identify birds using the RSPB bird identifier.
  • Photograph birds.
  • Paint birds with watercolours/pastels by copying photographs or pictures from bird books.

Holiday clubs

Holiday clubs offer a wealth of activities. There’s usually something to suit every child’s interests: archery, arts and crafts, circus skills, dance, drama, go-karting, sports, swimming, trampolining and much more.

Type ‘summer holiday clubs near me 2019’ into an internet search engine.

I love books

Reading stretches the mind and encourages imagination. Children spontaneously re-enact stories or write their own stories if they are inspired enough. Set a book challenge: how many books can you read over the summer?

10 of the best books for pre-schoolers

The top 100 fiction books all children should read before leaving primary school

Keep fit

Keep children mentally and physically active:

  • Cycling
  • Football
  • Frisbee
  • Skipping games
  • Swimming
  • Swing-ball
  • Table tennis
  • Team games like Hide and Seek, Tag, Stuck in the Mud, What’s the Time Mr Wolf.
  • Tennis
  • Walking. Motivate reluctant walkers with geocaching.

Search the internet for team game instructions and skipping games.

Picnic food

Make a picnic together. Cooking involves reading and following instructions, weighing and measuring ingredients, as well as culinary skills such as chopping, mixing, and whisking.

Children could research where ingredients come from and how they are made. For example, they could discover how flour is made or find out where sugar comes from. Always check YouTube videos are suitable before children watch them.

Picnic games

Picnic games are great for developing listening skills, physical skills, social skills and the ability to pay attention in order to follow instructions.

Blanket Volleyball

Make two teams. Each team holds a blanket which they use to launch a beach ball back and forth.

Dance-off

Everyone takes turns to dance to music. The person who receives the loudest applause wins.

I Went On a Picnic…

People sit in a circle and one person says, ‘I went on a picnic and I bought…’ and they say something like ‘an apple’. The next person might say, ‘I went on a picnic and I bought an apple and some sandwiches.’ The game continues with each person repeating what has been said before, adding a new item.

Picnic Whispers

Picnic-themed Chinese Whispers. People stand in a line. One person whispers a message to the next person in the line, eg. ‘Dad likes lettuce, cucumber and cheese sandwiches for his picnic’. The whispered message continues down the line. The last person tells everyone the message.

Relay Race

Use your empty picnic boxes as batons. Divide everyone into two lines. The first person runs, grabs the container and gives it to the next person in the line. The first person goes to the back of the line and sits down. The first team with everybody sitting down wins.

Scavenger hunt

Encourage children to be observant with scavenger hunts. Make a worksheet and attach it to a clipboard with a pencil. Here are some ideas:

Can you spot these minibeasts?

Find 8 round things and then draw them.

20 things to find. (This is a list of random objects to tick off, eg: pine cone, paper clip, daffodil, calculator).

Tremendous trees!

Visit the park or woods to collect leaves and photograph different trees. At home, identify the trees using the Woodland Trust’s leaf ID chart.

Make some leaf art. Type ‘leaf art’ into pinterest.co.uk for some brilliant ideas!

Take a look at our other blogs on summer learning:

Encouraging-reluctant-readers-by-taking-reading-outdoors.

10-awesome-summer-projects-for-children

Summer Tuition – A great help or pushy parenting?




10-awesome-summer-projects-for-children

Are you looking for summer activities children can get their teeth into? Here’s our list of projects to keep them gainfully occupied.

Animation creation

Watch an animation like Morph or Shaun the Sheep for inspiration. Make up stories from scratch, re-tell stories from books or films, or create animations to match poems. Ideas could be storyboarded first. Make characters from clay, playdough, Lego or any small world toys. When the animation is complete hold a film premiere with dim lights and popcorn.

Download a stop motion animation app and off you go!

Business start-up

Help your child to turn their passion into a business.

They could:

  • Bake cakes or sweets.
  • Make hand-designed t-shirts, candles, jewellery, lemonade, or soap.
  • Knit, crochet or sew crafts/toys.
  • Create works of art – framed paintings, clay models, cross-stitched pictures etc.
  • Write stories (which they can self-publish and sell).

Think of a service to offer such as babysitting, dusting or washing cars.

Entrepreneur Europe explains how to help your child to take their business from idea to market. In doing so they develop skills for life: communication, organization, money management, and problem-solving.

Butterfly garden

Grow your own butterflies with an Insect Lore kit. Keep a butterfly diary by photographing/drawing each stage of development and writing captions.

Read books about the butterfly lifecycle such as Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar and A Butterfly’s Lifecycle by Mary Dunn. Make butterfly crafts.

Alternatively, find other live bug kits on the Insect Lore website.

Family tree

Together research your family tree. Talk to your child about your own childhood and show and discuss photographs. Ask grandparents and other family members questions too.

Sketch out your family tree as you know it. Research missing ancestors and/or decide which branch of the tree to explore further. Focus on the life story of a particular individual who has piqued your child’s curiosity.

The Devon Family History Society: Acorn Club website is available to all and will get you started. It features practical advice and links to research websites.

Herb garden

Plant herb seeds in empty yogurt pots using compost rather than garden soil. Choose herbs that can be used in salads or regular family recipes. Place the potted seeds in a light place indoors and encourage children to keep the soil damp.

Planting a herb garden engages children’s senses and gets them interested in gardening, cooking and healthy eating. For recipe ideas see 26 recipes to get the most out of your herb garden.

Insect hotel

Attract bees, butterflies, ladybirds, spiders and all sorts of insects to your garden by building an insect hotel. Type ‘bug hotel’ into Google Images for inspiration.

You will need wooden shipping pallets (you decide how many), hollow stems (eg. bamboo), pinecones, rocks, soil, sticks, and straw. Stack pallets on top of each other and stuff pallet openings with the other materials.

Use a magnifying glass to observe the features and behaviour of these creatures, and find relevant books in the library to learn more.

Newspaper creator

Get your child designing, writing and stretching their imagination by creating a newspaper. The content might include:

  • Comic strip
  • Craft idea
  • Horoscopes
  • Interview with a friend or family member
  • News (invented news, or something that’s topical locally or nationally)
  • Problem page
  • Puzzle (crossword, maze, wordsearch)
  • Recipe

Newspapers can be hand-made or designed from online templates.

Photograph album

Go out for the day and encourage your child to photograph anything that sparks their interest (strange shaped trees, beautiful plants, animal antics, interesting buildings or objects, people’s expressions etc). Take simple snap shots or experiment with photographic effects by zooming in and out and taking photographs from different angles.

Back at home, choose favourite photographs and make a physical album. Write captions to give photographs meaning in future.

Sewing, knitting and crocheting

Sew toys, bags, clothes, cushions – anything! Use a kit brought from a haberdashery or follow a free, online pattern. Fabric doesn’t have to be expensive. Recycle old clothes or curtains from charity shops or markets.

Knitting and crocheting are relaxing, rewarding hobbies. If you don’t have the skills then you can learn with your child. Type ‘learn to knit’ or ‘learn to crochet’ into YouTube for instructional videos.

World adventure

Pick a country and find out about it using a child-friendly search engine.

  • What is the environment like?
  • What food do people eat?
  • What do they wear?
  • What traditions do they have?
  • Is there a traditional dance?

Follow up with some activities:

  • Write a weather report.
  • Cook food from your chosen country and have a feast.
  • Search Pinterest.co.uk for craft activities linked to that country’s traditions.
  • Under supervision, search YouTube for traditional dances and learn some moves.

World adventure develops children’s geographical knowledge and fosters respect for other cultures. It’s the perfect summer project for children who might be dreaming of holidays and exotic, faraway places.

More summer activities to keep your children busy:

Encouraging-reluctant-readers-by-taking-reading-outdoors.



Encouraging-reluctant-readers-by-taking-reading-outdoors.

How can you encourage your child to read?  According to research conducted by King’s College London, most children learn better outdoors.  They feel more curious, motivated, and happy to concentrate when they’re outside.  

Share stories under a tree, in a tent, on a picnic blanket or snuggled up in a pile of cushions and blankets.  With a bit of preparation you can go out whatever the weather. The worse the weather, the more exciting it can be!

Find stories and non-fiction books your child will love by browsing together at the library, and by picking out books that you think they will enjoy.  Extend your child’s reading with activities linked to books, and join in with activities yourself – enjoyment and enthusiasm are infectious.

Here are some examples of how to get your child interested in reading through story themes.   

Potions

Picture books:

Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski

Potion Commotion by Peter Bently and Sernur Isik

Paperbacks:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

Activity

The child makes a magic potion by mixing natural ingredients (stones, soil, weeds, leaves) with water.  Add a sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda and a dash of vinegar for a magical fizz. Encourage the child to jot down the ingredients on a sparkly notepad as they go.

Once the potion is made, the child writes a recipe, giving it a name e.g. ‘Invisibility Potion’, ‘Wishing Juice’.    The child reads their recipe to you. If you have written a recipe too, you can swap and read each other’s.

Monsters

Picture books:

Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman

Not Now Bernard by David McKee

Paperbacks:

Fing by David Walliams and Tony Ross

Tom Gates: What Monster? By Liz Pichon

Activity

Make a monster by pressing clay onto a tree and adding natural materials for features.  The child writes a fact card for their monster detailing the monster’s name, age, special powers, what it looks like, what it eats, where it lives, and what it likes to do.  Ask the child to read their fact card (and yours too, if you have joined in).

Picnics

Picture books:

Florentine and Pig Have a Very Lovely Picnic by Eva Katzler

The Teddy Bears Picnic by Gill Guile

Paperbacks:

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Activity

Support the child to read and follow instructions from a children’s cookbook to make picnic treats (Florentine and Pig contains recipes).  Write a picnic shopping list together and, as you shop, encourage the child to read and follow their list.  

Before the picnic, the child writes invitations to toys or friends.  After the picnic give the child an attractively presented thank you letter from a guest (the letter should be at the child’s reading level).   

Gentle Giants

Picture books:

George’s Amazing Adventures: Jellybeans for Giants by Adam & Charlotte Guillain

The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Paperbacks:

The BFG by Roald Dahl

The Gentle Giant by Michael Morpurgo

Activity

Outside, hide a letter from the story giant.  The letter should provide details about the giant and its life and also ask the child questions about themselves.

The child finds the letter by following props or footprints relevant to the story.  For instance, The Smartest Giant in Town props could be a trail of discarded clothes.

Once the child has read the letter, they write a reply to the giant.

Treasure!

Picture books:

Mr Men: Adventure with Pirates by Roger Hargreaves

The Pirates of Scurvy Sands by Jonny Duddle

Paperbacks:

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Scarlet Silver: Swashbuckle School by Sarah McConnell and Lucy Courtenay

Activity

Write and hide clues that lead the child to hidden treasure (perhaps chocolate coins).  Make the clues descriptive, incorporating some directional language: ‘Turn right by the garden table and walk towards the flower bed’.  For extra engagement, write some clues in secret writing.    

Once the child has completed the treasure hunt, they could create one for you to follow!

What else can you do to encourage a reluctant reader?

At Tutor My Kids we believe that with the right support reluctant readers can be inspired to read for pleasure.  

  • Set an example.  If your child sees that you love reading, they soon will too.
  • Read to them.  They are likely to appreciate exciting stories that are above their current reading level.
  • Motivate children through their interests.  Encourage them to choose books independently, and at the same time introduce them to books you think they will enjoy.

Remember, writing is everywhere – indoors and outdoors.  It’s on signposts, labels, instructions, cereal boxes, flyers and so on.  Wherever they are, encourage your child to engage with the written word and they will soon be a fluent, interested reader.

How-long-should-my-child-have-a-tutor-for?

How long you engage a tutor for will very largely depend upon the outcome or purpose of the tuition and the academic starting point of your child. Tutor My Kids provides tutors in Ely, Cambridge and surrounding areas and work with a huge variety of students from age 6 to 18.

Purpose and outcomes of tuition

There are many reasons that you might choose to engage a tutor to work with your child. It might be because of upcoming exams where you’ll need a GCSE tutor to support your child through the exams, or following a dyslexia or dyscalculia screening or assessment or concerns raised by your child’s school teacher that they’re below expectations for their age. The length of time that you work with a tutor can vary hugely, depending on the reason for seeking help in the meantime.

For GCSE tuition, we tend to suggest that year 10 is a good time to start looking at this. It’s not unusual at Tutor My Kids for all our GCSE tutors in key subjects to be fully booked by September of the year preceding the exams, so it’s good to think about this sooner rather than later. It may be that in fact, your child doesn’t actually need help until year 11, but by getting in touch with a tutor or tutoring company early, you can get on a waiting list early. Equally, if they’re struggling and not keeping up, there may be value in doing some groundwork in year 9 to put them in the best possible position to succeed in years 10 and 11.

You may find out at a parental consultation or end of term report that your child has fallen behind and is below age-related expectations. This means that they’ve not attained the knowledge and skills that would be expected for their year group. There may be many reasons for this: summer-born children can be behind because they’re younger and less mature when they start school, your child may have missed school due to illness when some key areas were taught – this is particularly prevalent with maths and can create maths gaps (take a look at maths gaps – why they occur and the problems they cause). There may also be general or specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, global delay, ADHD, Autistic Spectrum disorders which make it much harder for students to concentrate, process information, retain information and therefore be at or ahead of age-related expectations.

Dyslexia, dyscalculia and other learning difficulties can make it really hard for students to learn at the same rate as other students.

Length of tuition

The length of time that you have a tutor is really largely dependent on their academic starting point. For GCSE tuition, if they’re just a grade off where they need to be, to start in year 11 is usually fine. If they’re well below the level that they need to be in year 11, then earlier intervention is invariably better.

If your child is behind because of gaps, and no learning issues, then tuition usually fills those gaps and no further tuition is needed after that initial period, unless other gaps in learning occur.

Learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia can make it incredibly hard for students to keep up at school and it’s not unusual for attainment to remain below expectations for many years, through no fault of the student, teacher or parents without help. Additional tuition can make it easier for your child to learn and retain the information. One-to-one tuition can make a massive difference in situations such as this, but often this help will be needed for many years in order to get the students the grades they need to pursue their goals.

If you’d like more information on dyslexia or dyscalculia screening, or tuition please contact Tutor My Kids at hello@tutormykids.co.uk or call the office on 01223 858421.

If you’re a teacher who is interested in beoming a tutor in Ely, Cambridge, Newmarket or Huntingdon, please take a look at our tutor page and get in touch by email to arrange an informal chat to discover if it might fit with your present commitments.

Mental-health-disorders-in-children-on-the-rise

Mental health issues amongst our young people are rife at the moment, with bullying, exam pressures, social media and school anxiety a huge problem. According to NHS Digital, in 2017, 12.8% of children and young people aged 5-19, have at least one mental disorder. This was an increase from 10% in 2004. This change was largely driven by an increase in emotional disorders (including anxiety and depression), which for 5-15-year-olds rose from 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017.

I had the great pleasure to meet with a parent recently, who’s supporting her child with a bullying problem. The school have been really supportive and she’s enlisted the support of The Diana Award, set-up by Princess Diana, and has trained to be an anti-bullying ambassador to take the message to local schools.

We spent time also discussing the power of social media to affect children and their self-esteem. And given how connected our children our, it’s also incredibly difficult to get away from their bullies online too. I also spoke with a friend who told me her daughter was being targeted by a ‘friend’ on social media with some really vicious posts. I do think it is so much harder for our kids that it was for us, when typically the bullying stopped at the school gate.

At Tutor My Kids, we work with many students in the Cambridge and Ely area whose mental health is preventing them from attending mainstream school lessons and support them with one-to-one lessons either in school or in their home. Our amazing tutors in Cambridge and Ely have the skills to support them with their academic work and have the pastoral skills to support them with their self-esteem too. Usually, this is provided and funded by schools but sometimes privately by parents.

Mental health is a hugely complex area with few obvious solutions. But do talk to your children, the school and get support sooner rather than later.

Daytime-tuition-the-game-changer-to-make-private-tuition-an-alternative-to-classroom-teaching

Tutoring during the daytime can be the real game-changer when considering if you could earn enough from tuition alone. Tutor My Kids, provide one-to-one tutors in Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon and Newmarket for private and school clients. We’re increasingly working with local schools and have opportunities for great teachers to teach some fabulous kids during the daytime.

Daytime work

We support schools in Cambridgeshire with a variety of teaching and tutors during the daytime, during the school day. Students have the benefit of additional teaching from our private tutors in Cambridge, Ely and surrounding areas. Sometimes these sessions of tuition are at local schools and sometimes they are in the parents/carers’ homes.

These students are having extra lessons for a variety of reasons: additional sessions to supplement their learning ahead of exams, teaching outside of the classroom because they’re unable to join mainstream classes. Often this is due to anxiety and occasionally due to behaviour. The interesting thing is that invariably the behaviour stems from poor self esteem, personally or educationally and in the vast majority of cases these children thrive in a one-to-one situation.

All our tutors in Cambridge and surrounding areas, tell us just how rewarding it is to work with these students. We change lives.

Which subjects are most in demand?

As with most of our clients, we have the most need for English, maths and science tutors in Cambridge and Ely. Generally, we recruit qualified teachers, but we also have opportunities for non-teachers who have the right experience and aptitude.

Most students are KS3 and KS4, so an understanding of the GCSE maths, English and science curricula are important. Sometimes there are gaps stemming from the primary curriculum, so primary school teachers who are able to tutor the GCSE subjects are particularly useful. In fact, increasing numbers of our primary tutors are skilling themselves up to meet this need.

What personality traits are needed?

The students we work with need warmth, encouragement and support to bring out the best in them. Some need firm boundaries and expectations set. Sometimes the anxious students are able to engage with the tuition one day but unable to do so another day, so flexibility and understanding is key to keeping the tuition going for a period of weeks or months.

How do I find out more?

Please email Rachel Law to arrange to have an informal chat on the phone to find out if this might suit you.

Thinking-of-getting-a-tutor-for-your-child-for-the-first-time?

If you’ve never considered a tutor for your child before, it can be a bit daunting to know where to start. The following will give you some pointers to ask the right questions. We’ll discuss the various options available and additional things to think about. Many of our clients have never had a tutor before and find our advice helpful.

What are the options?

There are a number of options to consider:

  • One-to-one tuition
    • In your home
    • At the tutor’s home
  • Group tuition

One-to-one tuition

One-to-one tuition is one tutor working directly with your child. This ensures that the teaching is focused entirely on the needs of your child, rather than being split across a group of students with potentially very different needs. This is felt to be the gold standard of tutoring, however, it does of course, as with all tutoring, hinge entirely on how good the tutor is. This can be in your home or at the tutor’s home.

If the tutoring takes place in your home, you know that your child is in a safe environment, you have greater oversight over what is being taught and it is often more convenient, especially if you have a busy schedule and/or other children. At Tutor My Kids, our tutors in Cambridge, Ely and surrounding areas, always see clients in their homes as we think that this gives the best results.

Many tutors prefer to tutor in their homes because they can tutor a greater number of students in the time they have available. There are undoubtedly some great tutors who tutor from their own homes. Over the years, however, we’ve had a few horror stories: One parent was regularly collecting her daughter from the tutor and finding her sitting at a computer playing a (good and useful) word game, but one that she could have done at home to supplement the tuition, but not as tuition. Since she swapped to Tutor My Kids and the tutor comes to her in Cambridge, she knows exactly what her daughter is learning. Another client felt that her daughter wasn’t getting the best focus from visiting her tutor in Ely at his home because the house was noisy and there were interruptions from his children.

Group tuition

Group tuition scores because it is a more cost-effective option that one-to-one tuition, but there is, of course, a dilution of the focus of your child, especially if their needs are different from the children around them or there are stronger personalities in the group. Potential problems can also occur with focus on areas that are not needed and not enough focus on the areas that your child needs. For example, we worked with a year 4 student who was regularly attending a training centre and her ability to manipulate numbers was very impressive, but when Tutor My Kids assessed her, it revealed some very significant gaps in her maths understanding, which was resulting in poor scores in her tests at school. Her mum and dad thought they were helping her, but it wasn’t addressing the problems that she had.

With group tuition it is very hard to tailor the tuition to the individual student and often the curriculum taught is fixed with the whole group moving onto the next lesson, whether or not it has been understood by all the students.

Additional things to think about

As already discussed, whichever options you look at, they are as good as the tutor who is working with your child. It’s always wise to take-up recommendations where possible. At Tutor My Kids we’re incredibly grateful that most of our clients come in from recommendations from friends and family who are seeing the benefits of working with our amazing tutors in Cambridge and Ely areas.

It’s important also that you know who you’re letting into your home. If you’re not working with an agency such as Tutor My Kids who vet their tutors thoroughly, do ensure that they are DBS checked. In addition, we always insist that there is an adult in the house whilst tuition is occurring and that it happens in a family-friendly, downstairs room, such as a kitchen or dining room.

At Tutor My Kids, most of our tutors are qualified teachers because we know that they have more experience of teaching in a variety of ways to help students understand. It’s certainly worth asking about the background of any potential tutor. If the tutor is for your primary-aged child, this is particularly key as not following the methodologies taught in school can cause further confusion, rather than providing help.

Get in touch

For a free, informal discussion with Tutor My Kids about getting a tutor in Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon and surrounding areas, please contact us at hello@tutormykids.co.uk to arrange a time to chat.

Are-you-happy-at-work?

As regular readers of my blog will know, catching up with our amazing tutors at Tutor My Kids is one of my favourite parts of my work. See the best bit of my job, if you need any further proof!

Following a chat yesterday with one of our teachers, who is one of our tutors in Ely, I was reminded just how much I enjoy what I do and how much the tutor does too. Which got me pondering as to what it is that makes us happy at work. A little research later showed the following things:

  • Recognition
  • Autonomy
  • Interesting work
  • Flexibility

Recognition is the highest of them all!

In our busy lives, we forget to say thank you to our employees, employers and colleagues. Work gets in the way. In some cultures, e.g. teaching with which I’m most familiar with, there is such a pressure from senior management, governors and parents that much of what is communicated is what is not right and needs changing, rather than what is good and needs celebrating.

At Tutor My Kids, we’re really lucky that our parents and schools really appreciate what we do and especially the extra mile that our tutors go to ensure the very best lessons for our students. This is an old blog, but one of my favourite because it illustrates this point exactly – when was the last time a parent said thank you to you?

So, action for today: Thank someone for doing their job well!

Autonomy

Autonomy – being in control of your own workload is another key one. If you’re feeling stressed at work, it may be down to wanting more control over how you do your work.

One of the key things that I think makes the tuition at Tutor My Kids most effective, is that we trust our teachers to plan the lessons to match the needs of our students perfectly, so our students get the very best tuition and our tutors are using their professional skills and experience to get the best results for their students.

Could you explore being able to tackle the tasks in your job in another way? Are there ways to lose the less important tasks altogether and focus on those that will make a bigger difference?

Interesting work

We all have bits of our work that are less interesting, but research shows that if we are intellectually stimulated that we are happier at work.

With less paperwork to do, our tutors can get on with the business of teaching. One of our amazing tutors was kind enough to offer this testimonial for us:

Working for Tutor My Kids has reminded me why I originally wanted to teach – to make a difference in children’s learning and confidence, and see them progress.  As a senior manager for the last twelve years of my full time career, I got further and further away from the children and deeper and deeper into paperwork about why they weren’t progressing fast enough. Each child is an individual, has different needs and responds to different learning styles. The pupils I work with through TMK all benefit from a plan that I design specifically for them and deliver on a 1:1 basis. I see them progress and gain confidence through small steps – and realise that what I am doing is making that difference. Being a tutor with TMK is so rewarding – I have regained confidence in my teaching ability, working with delightful children and parents who enjoy seeing their children progress.

Sue, one of our heavenly maths tutors in Ely and Cambridge.

Are there bits of your job you can delegate, put off, minimise or remove to enable you to do more of the things that you are good at and love?

Flexibility

In our increasingly, varied and marvellous world, we all have demands upon our time. Maybe you’re a parent, or a carer and have to juggle these aspects of your life with your work?

Being a private tutor for Tutor My Kids is a great alternative to teaching for many teachers who are wanting more flexibility. We have teachers who tutor just an hour a week and those who work throughout the day with our school clients, so they can be at home for their kids after school. And those who tutor after school so they can indulge hobbies such as gardening in the daytime, care for relatives and a whole host of other things.

I read recently about a company that had introduced results-driven work patterns – they allowed their employees to chose their working hours, so long as the work got done. So some empoyees came in early so they could leave early and collect their kids from school, others later because it suited their night owl personalities. Not everyone has work or employers that has this flexibility, however in what ways could you approach your work differently to allow yourself greater flexibility?

Be grateful

Research also shows that we get more of what we focus on – in the same way you suddenly see loads of a car you’re thinking of buying on the roads.

So, focus on the great things in your life and you’ll see more of them.

And if you are a teacher who’s interested in finding out more about tutoring in Cambridge, Ely and surrounding areas, do take a look at our tutors page and get in touch to arrange an informal chat to see if it might be right for you and give you more recognition, autonomy, interesting work and flexibility!

Have a great day!!

Why-getting-a-tutor-early-can-help-your-child

Parents want to help their children, but worry about starting too young.

At Tutor My Kids we arrange private tutors in Cambridge, Ely and the surrounding areas, we don’t believe that tuition should ordinarily be started too early or need to be in place for extended periods.

HOwever, if your child is struggling, it may be worth getting some help in early.

Good reasons to get help earlier

There are good reasons to get help earlier than later.

Some subjects, maths especially, are very sequential; new knowledge is built upon existing understanding. If this base knowledge is not secure, then it can cause problems higher up the school. Very much like building a wall, it make sense to ensure the foundations are secure. Without this help, maths gaps can occur.

Some children, especially those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, benefit from a lot of repetition, so this can also be a good reason to get a private tutor for your child.

Even relatively young children become aware that they’re not keeping up with their peers and this can cause issues of lack of confidence. Building confidence is probably the main reason that parents approach Tutor My Kids when looking for a private tutor in Cambridge and Ely areas.

How to choose the right tutor for younger children

At Tutor My Kids, the majority of our tutors are teachers – after all, it was founded by a teacher, so it’s one of our core approaches. We think that teachers teach better than non-teachers. For primary aged children, we only recruit fully qualified teachers so that the highly specialised curriculum is taught using the same methodologies as your child’s school.

On top of being a qualified teacher, we think it’s really important to have a teacher who can teach in a really supportive way, especially for less confident and/or younger children. It’s equally important that the tuition feels like a low-key activity rather than a high stakes endeavour.

The location of the tuition is an important consideration too. At Tutor My Kids, our tutors tutor in Cambridge and Ely area in the support and safety of your home, providing, we think, the perfect learning environment for children to learn.

How do I find out more?

We’re really blessed with clients who recommend us – take a look at their testimonials for their generous and kind comments.

To discuss if a Tutor My Kids tutor might be might for your child in Cambridge, Ely, Huntingdon and surrounding areas, please email Rachel or call the office on 01223 858421.

What-dyslexia-tests-are-available-and-which-is-best?

There are various red flags that can point towards dyslexia or dyslexic tendencies. Take a look at our recent blog for more information: What is dyslexia.

Which tests are available?

There are 3 options in order to get more clarity if you think your child has dyslexia:

  • Dyslexia Screening
  • Dyslexia Assessment with a Patoss approved specialist
  • Full educational assessment with an Educational Pschologist

A dyslexia screening is a quick, inexpensive way to assess if your child is showing the signs of dyslexia. The results are worded as low ‘risk of’ dyslexia or high ‘risk of’ dyslexia. The reason that these dyslexia screening tests are worded this way is oddly not testing dependent, but dependent on the person doing the test. Only an Educational Psychologist or a Patoss approved specialist is allowed to say definitively that an individual definitely has dyslexia or not. It is, however, fair to take it that if your screening test shows a high risk of dyslexia, then your child is dyslexic. It gives information as to the areas that your child finds difficult which enables you to share this information with teachers and other professionals to get additional help for your child.

A Patoss (Member of the professional association of teachers of students with specific learning difficulties) assessor can formally diagnose dyslexia. These tests are a little more involved than a dyslexia screening and can be a good next step if you want to have your child’s dyslexia formally diagnosed. If you think your child may have a number of issues, such as ADHD, ASD and OCD, as well as possible dyslexia, an Educational Psychologist may be more appropriate.

An educational psychologist is able to conduct tests to assess across a fuller range of issues, such as delayed development, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder, ADD (attention deficit disorder), ASD (autistic spectrum disorder – Asperger type traits). So this is a good option to review your child in the whole.

Which is best for my child?

This depends entirely on the needs of your child.

A dyslexia screening is perfect if you think that dyslexia is the only issue for your child and you want a quick and economical test to quickly count it in or out.

A Patoss test is more appropriate if you want to have dyslexia formally diagnosed and more specialist testing conducted and are not concerned that there are other issues affecting your child’s learning.

If you think a more wide-ranging screening is needed for your child to include a wider range of possible issues with learning, then an assessment by an educational psychologist can be a good choice.

Tutor My Kids offer dyslexia screenings. For more information, take a look at our Dyslexia page.