1. Determine if your kids really need tuition, but know when to stop
There are 2 main reasons why kids may require tuition.
The first is known as ‘Foundation Tutoring’, where children are unable to keep up in class or are falling behind so much that they’re losing interest in the subject altogether.
In this case, tuition is necessary to help your child get back on track, so find a qualified tutor who will be able to inspire your child to learn to love the subject.
He/she must also have the strategies that will help your child catch up quickly.
The second reason is that your child may not be fulfilling her highest potential and may need extra coaching a few months before a major exam to boost her scores.
The goal of the tutor here will be to help your child consolidate her knowledge and answer any questions she may come across when doing practice papers.
Ultimately, remember that one of your goals should be that your child won’t need tutoring help in the future, so work with the tutor to inculcate independence and self-study skills.
2. Be your child’s learning coach and find ways to make learning fun
The key here is to improvise and use whatever you can find to make new learning tools for your kids.
For example, our reader, Mrs Choo, did the following:
– Made simple flashcards to teach Mandarin words to her children
– Printed out handy timetable charts for memorization on the go
– Used jigsaw puzzles as a tool to learn to spell
– Helped her younger kids visualise Math problems with colourful ice cream sticks
Your resources don’t need to be bought nor must they cost a fortune. Just be creative!
3. Subscribe to relevant magazines and television channels
Cable channels like NatGeo and magazines like Horrible Science (a science magazine full of fun facts and experiments that kids can try at home) may be interesting for children who need more than a textbook and exam to motivate them.
4. Take your kids to the library
Little Girl Indoors In Front Of Books. Cute Young Toddler Sitting On A Chair Near Table and Reading Book. Child reads in a bookstore, surrounded by colorful books. Library, Shop, Shelving In Home.
We know you’ve heard this one before.
Besides encouraging a love of reading at a young age, the library can also be a place where you discover your children’s other interests.
Perhaps your daughter tends to borrow books on arts and crafts, or your son somehow seems to gravitate towards the Cooking section — your child may have interests they’re not telling anyone, so observing the types of books they pick could give you a clue!
How is this related to freeing them from tuition? Well, at least you’ll know which topics or subjects they won’t need tutoring in, because they already like learning about them!
5. Set aside a fixed study time every night
If your children are old enough, talk to them about having a fixed study time, say from 7-8.30pm on weekdays.
During this time, all distractions like their gaming consoles and mobile phones should be put away.
This fixed timing idea also works well on younger kids who need a daily structure or routine.
You may also want to give an incentive for finishing study time, like 30 minutes of ‘gadget time’ or, better yet, read-aloud time with Mum or Dad.
Children are more likely to focus on a certain task when they have something to look forward to afterwards.
6. Plan a revision schedule and set goals before every exam
Probably a month or so before an exam, sit down with your kids to list out the topics to be tested in the exam.
Mark the exam dates on a calendar (make a large one for the wall if necessary) and draw up a revision schedule.
Another important thing is to set goals for the coming exam. Of course, remember to be realistic.
Look at your child’s current grades and encourage him to aim to improve by one grade for a “win” and two grades for a “wow!”
7. Don’t bribe your kids to do well
“If you do well in the exam, Mummy will buy you that new toy you wanted.”
Many of us know that threats only serve to stress our kids out so we resort to promises of rewards in order to “motivate” our children before an exam.
But did you know that this doesn’t work well either?
We’ve heard stories of kids not being able to sleep, what more focus on the exam — because their parents had promised them a holiday to Disneyland and they were too distracted by the thought of it!
Also, this sets up a pattern of expecting rewards in order to do good work, which is not very desirable.
8. Get your older kids to coach the younger ones
With 5 children to raise, Mrs Choo knew that she could not afford tuition for all her kids.
So, she got her older children — who could already handle their work independently — to teach their younger siblings.
This helped reinforce the older kids’ knowledge, and her younger kids also found learning more enjoyable.
Of course, if you plan to do this, make sure that your older children have completed their own work, as you wouldn’t want to cause them unnecessary stress!
9. Stay away from ‘kiasu’ parents!
We’ve all been guilty of comparing our kids to our relatives’ and colleagues’ children, especially those who often boast about their children’s academic prowess and would spend any amount of time and money to get their child ahead!
Instead of getting stressed up by these ‘kiasu’ parents, talk to your child’s teacher or someone whom you feel has been coaching his or her kids well.
Remember, our goal is to raise children who will be happy adults, not necessarily success-driven ones!
10. Have fun!
Learning opportunities are everywhere so don’t just restrict your kids to their study room at home!
There are lots of educational places in Singapore where you can bring your kids to have some fun… and learn at the same time!
Have you any other tips to free your child from tuition? Please do share them with us by leaving a comment below!