Private Tuition: Giving Your Kids the Best Education

home schooling

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“I’m paying my children’s school fees, why should I be paying any more?” This is a question often reiterated when parents start to look towards further educating their child with private tuition.

But at a time when the government is looking to increase the size of infant classrooms to 32 – the average classroom size for any age being amongst the largest in a developed nation – and an increase in demand for top university placements, it is now more important than ever to look outside the classroom to give your child a well rounded education that can set them up for life.

Private tuition can mean that your child will be able to excel in a classroom where they would otherwise be lost. Children attending school within the capital are particularly vulnerable to missing out on a decent education with part of the teaching work force coming from overseas on a two year working holiday visa. An increasing transient and migrant population can also disrupt a classroom, with teachers having to spend more time catching those children up on the course work.

A child who feels like the school work is not challenging enough will become disengaged, not meet their full potential and develop bad and lazy habits. Likewise, an average or mediocre child can also flounder because of a lack of attention from a teacher who is already struggling to deal with more problematic children. This can not only damage the education that they are receiving, but also create disruptive behaviour.

If you’re considering for the first time whether private tuition is right for you and your child take a look at their school work. Note whether there has been any improvement and if it has been challenging enough. Start a dialogue early on with your child to see what they enjoy about school and what subjects they struggle with. You’ll need your child to be on board with the decision making process for them to be actively engaged in improving their education - after all, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink!

Set goals and rewards with your child and their tutor to help keep them engaged in afterschool education. For smaller goals, like a particularly good grade or mark, give them a day or even a week off chores or for a bigger goal being achieved take the family on an outing of your child’s choice. Make sure the goals you do set are realistic and achievable. If a goal is set too high your child might feel overwhelmed and this may lead to anxiety and unnecessary stress.

Unless you want your child’s work to end up on pay attention to their education now before it’s too late!

Simply Learning Tuition is a private tutoring in London that provides expert private tutors and educational consultancy.

Got kids at high school? Is it really like that? Guest post from Ces Loftus

I hated my first two years at high school, I was bullied constantly to the extent I started playing truent to escape it and considered ways to end my life. I was different and didn’t fit in with the “it” crowd so it made me a target. I had no friends and spent all my time at home studying and was very academic. After my parents complained to the school numerous times the head teachers answer was to put me out of the top work level class and put me into the ‘special needs group’ to get me away from the bullies. The school would never have gone against the bullies who were the ‘good looking, popular, parents own local businesses and run the PTA’ type. My studying was all I had so that just made me feel worse and the bullies taunted me even more at every break and home time. In the end my parents put themselves under financial strain and got loans out to put me into private school where I made friends, flourished academically and enjoyed life once more.

at least i'm not a bully
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I have sat watching films with my kids over the past years, films like ‘Drillbit Taylor’ and ‘Seventeen Again’ which are set in American High Schools and depict aggressive and constant bullying taking place in schools were the teachers do nothing to stop or even take sides with the bullies. My kids say “Is high school really like that?” and well, for me, it was…

My eldest is at high school age now. As we have moved to another area mid term we chose to put him into a middle school here rather than put him at a disadvantage by starting high school having missed the first half term. The junior to high school step is a big enough one at the best of times.

He has some reservations about what it will be like at high school next September. We had to apply for a high school place a few days after moving here because of the cut off date for applications so we didn’t even get to go and view the local schools. I’d be really interested to hear from anyone with kids in high school now. Perhaps you can answer the “Is high school really like that?” question better than me.

Ces xx

on twitter @Ces_Creatively

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Mum to mum – I need your advice. Guest post from Ces Loftus

We recently moved from a not so nice area ‘Up North’ to a lovely area in our dream location Dorset. We had been trying to move for over a year and the new house was found just in the nick of time as things were so bad in the old area that our car was attacked and pelted full drinks cans almost smashing the window glass with our children sat terrified inside the car. The culprits were kids from the awful local school were our boys had to go to (another reason we were so keen to move)

Homeschool Fun

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Rather than send them back to the awful school after summer 2010 we home schooled the boys, whilst also running our full time brand buzz and design business from home and trying to find somewhere to move to at the other end of the country.

We finally moved 5th October and applied immediately for a school a 22 mile round trip away as it had spaces for all 3 of our boys and also gave the eldest the opportunity to go to middle school instead of starting his first year of  high school half way through a term.

Because of red tape procedure and the fact it took the old school so long to complete the forms for Poole education board, it was the second week in November before the kids actually started their new school. Having moved to an area 9 hours drive from where we used to live in Wirral combined with the fact they hadn’t been at school since mid July, the change has proved challenging for our youngest.

Xan is five. He spent the first few weeks crying his eyes out at school and saying he hated it and just wanted to be with us.

He is behind in work ability as the last school were useless and says that he doesn’t understand what to do in class. The school have been trying to help him however couldn’t hold the whole class back to sit with Xan all day.

One day he was so upset and explained to me in great detail how he felt like he was holding onto balloons and floating higher up into the sky on his own and he was scared. That he wanted to come to mum and dad and he could see us on the grass below getting further away. Between sobs he explained he wanted to come to us but was scared to let go of the balloons and drop down and he felt lost and alone in the big sky.

It was such a descriptive thing to say it just stopped me in my tracks. We told school about this and devised reward charts used at home and school where he could earn a treat at the weekend and we would help him do some practice work at home. We are still trying this but after a few more weeks things have just been getting worse.

He has gone from upset to naughty. He refuses to do any work or join in with anything at school which is very disruptive and some of the other kids think it will be okay for them to refuse to work too (I do feel sorry for his teacher). Even with a teaching assistant sitting with him to try and help he just says no and totally refuses to do anything or he just scribbles.

Xan ran off and climbed on something unsupervised when he should have been joining in PE and refused to take part in the Christmas play. We were called to the head teacher last week because they saw him hit another boy. He is still insisting the other child pushed him in the groin under the desk but no one saw that. Now the school have said if his behavior doesn’t improve he wont be allowed to go to the Christmas party or see Santa at school and he will be put to sit in the library in the other building day in day out as they can’t allow him to disrupt lessons like this. The school are looking for us to fix this and we really don’t know how. For all the naughty behavior I can see it is because he is not happy and it makes more sense to me to do something about the reason he is acting like this rather than punishment and reward offerings over the results of his behavior.

We have tried talking to him and reasoning, offering all kinds of incentives however he is a strong willed little chap and I don’t know how to get through to him. He really needs to start joining in at school before he gets even more behind the others and alienates potential friends. I love him to bits and it is upsetting not knowing how to make things better for him.

Mum to mum – I need your advice.

Ces xx

on twitter @Ces_Creatively

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Following the Home Education Path

British Museum - Court and Glass Dome.

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My two boys are aged 8 and 10 years and they have never been to school. When my husband and I chose to have children we always assumed they would go to school, but only because, like so many others, we didn’t realise that school wasn’t compulsory. It was only when I was being told that my then 2 1/2 year old eldest boy ‘should’ start going to play group by himself because he had to get used to the idea of going to school (2.5 years down the line!) that I started to question the system. It was also at this time that SATs were constantly in the news and school appeared to be more about the children passing tests to appease some league table figures than providing a fun, nourishing environment.

My eldest son, at the age of two preferred to be at home playing with his new brother, why should I prevent that relationship from blossoming by seperating them for hours at a time? So I went to the library (we had no computer or internet at the time) and soon discovered that within English law it is the eduation of a child that is compulsory from the age of 5 and not school, and that this education can take place ‘in school or otherwise’….we are the ‘otherwise’.

As in all aspects of life, there are many paths to home education and as many different reasons and ways of doing it. All are valid as every child is different and has different needs and different ways of learning. Our children have chosen the autonomous, self-didactic route where I am a facilitator of information rather than a teacher. We do not sit down and do regular, formal ‘work’ (no we do not have to follow the national curriculum and no, I do not have to be a qualified teacher), and yet they can both read, write, do amazing mental arithmetic, have engineering skills way beyond my scope of comprehension, an extensive knowledge of history and are bright, happy, confident children. All of this has arisen simply through carrying on the life we were living before the magical designated age of 5. We chat (alot!!), play games, watch TV, read stories, go on the computer, visit friends, have trips to museums, parks and other places of interest, go for walks, bike rides, bowling….and all the time they are learning, absorbing, living.

No, they are not socially isolated, there are numerous organised Home Educators’ clubs and activities on offer, all arranged by local home educators, and we used these a lot when my children were younger. However, I have found as they have got older that they prefer to see friends individually rather than en masse, but then, for us, that is what home education is all about, individual choice. Our children know they have the choice between home education or school, they have friends from both areas and know the options….so far they continue to choose home education.

Home education is not for everyone and I would never say it is better than school, simply different. It is another path that is there to be explored should you choose to take it!


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Mum, I Want a Website

This is icon for social networking website. Th...

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As kids grow, their requests to us change. “Mum, I want a doll”, “Mum, I want a bike” and then, all of sudden, it becomes “Mum, I want a website”.

When Janna approached me with a request to “teach her how to build websites or at least build one about their class”, I picked the latter option. Explaining to a 12-year-old all the tricks of HTML/CSS, WordPress configuring and the rest of it looked to me like a mammoth task. But I registered a domain name and let her advise me while I sketched the graphic design for her future website. The result was two different versions of red-and-blue gradients: one for the main website and the other one for the blog.

“Now I need content from you”, I told my little one after the skeleton of the website was set up. Adter explaining to her what the word meant I started waiting. The only thing I got from her in terms of content was a collection of photos and a vague instruction to upload them to the “photos” page. I’m planning to do so in the coming days, but knowing how my daughter hates writing I have little hope for much textual content. Unless, that is, I write it myself.

The website will, of course, be in Russian. For now she is keeping its address secret from her classmates, because it is not ready. But she is quite determined about it, so I guess I’ll have to finish it, even if it means writing all the content, including blog posts, all by myself. I hope she will at least dictate to me.

What will her next request to me be? I just hope she will ask for a dress and NOT for a social networking website :D

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