The chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools made headlines earlier this year for speaking out against parents who ‘hothouse’ children by scheduling too many extra-curricular activities.
Nobody could argue that excessive pressurised extra-curricular activity is a recipe for happiness. However, Home-School Tutoring’s tutors believe that home tuition should never be a source of stress for any child – in fact, it should relieve it!
“Patient and understanding one-to-one tuition gives children a unique opportunity to identify and discuss any particular areas of concern that may be causing anxiety, while helping them develop the skills required to overcome difficulties,” Home-School Tutoring’s Director, Margaret Sweetland, explains.
“The result is happier, more relaxed children with a new sense of confidence in their abilities.”
Preparing for entrance exams with private tuition
“By helping children to feel more prepared and relaxed about upcoming entrance exams such as the 11+ or Common Entrance, the day of the exam can be much less stressful,” Margaret says.
“Moreover, children can get greater enjoyment from school, family time and outside interests in the preceding months if they feel more at ease with what is required.”
Whether children are attending independent prep schools or state primary schools, they are likely to have fears and questions about the Common Entrance, Eleven Plus or other entrance exams. While pupils attending independent prep schools will receive preparation at school, many children remain nervous and hesitant to discuss their concerns with their teacher.
Meanwhile, pupils attending state primary schools often feel anxious about being less prepared than their peers for independent schools’ entrance exams.
Feeling prepared reduces stress
“Giving children an opportunity to dispel their fears with the support of an experienced and understanding home tutor is not the same as hothousing them,” says Margaret.
“Rather than making children feel pressurised or bombarded, private tuition should let children feel in control of their learning and the pace.
“Tutoring in the run-up to entrance exams gives children an opportunity to practice succeeding so that when the time to sit the actual exam arrives, they have developed true self-confidence in their ability to do well.
“Giving a child an opportunity to learn from the mistakes on practice papers, meanwhile, enables them to develop a deeper understanding of the exam subject and requirements, while also teaching them that making mistakes is nothing to fear and a natural part of the learning process.”
Developing soft skills
At the Tatler Schools Live! Conference Sir Anthony Seldon told delegates that it is not just good grades that give pupils of independent schools the edge in the competition for the top jobs.
“The reason why alumni from independent schools are so dominant across society is not just because of the excellent exam results they receive, but precisely because of the grounding in the soft skills,” the former public school head said at the conference in October.
Sir Seldon, who is now vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, criticised the state education system for failing pupils in its “remorseless drive for exam success”.
Pupils attending independent schools can develop a “broader education in the arts, character, sports and the social and work skills that employers increasingly want in the 21st century”.
Broadening horizons with home tuition
One-to-one tuition can play an important role in supporting children to develop sought-after soft skills.
“Creativity development is supported in the extra time and space given to creative thinking and problem solving,” explains Margaret.
“Working successfully with a tutor also helps develop teamwork skills, and a supportive tutor can be enormously beneficial in the development of grit and resilience when problems and difficulties are overcome.
Private tuition can also help broaden horizons and allow children to develop their character by exploring their own individual interests. “As well as teaching school subjects, Home-School Tutoring provides tuition for children wishing to learn new languages, play musical instruments or pursue independent study in a subject not taught at school,” Margaret explains.
For more information about how Home-School Tutoring could help your child, please contact your local Home-School Tutoring Area Advisor by browsing our list of locations or entering your postcode above.