At last, the summer holidays are approaching! After lots of hard work, homework, essays and exams, it’s finally time to sleep, play, go on holiday, spend time with friends and family… and have more tuition?
The summer holidays can be tricky for parents when working out what’s best for their child in terms of tutoring. It can be much easier to work out whether to carry on lessons over other holidays: at Easter, when exams are right around the corner, pupil, parent, and tutor usually all agree to continue, and often increase, lessons over the holiday; whereas at Christmas, both client and tutor have family and home commitments that make scheduling lessons pretty difficult.
But the summer holidays are different. On the one hand, your child has just finished a long year of school, has learnt a lot, and is keen for the chance to relax and enjoy themselves. On the other, six weeks is a long time without any educational input, and it can be pretty easy to get out of the habit of academic learning.
So, what should be done?
Firstly, talk to both your child and the tutor. Your tutor will have a pretty sound knowledge of your child’s attention span, enjoyment, discipline, and ability to retain information, and so will almost certainly have an opinion on whether it’s a good idea to keep lessons going or give the pupil a break. Then also ask your child – hopefully they enjoy their tutoring sessions, and might be quite keen to continue. But if your child is horrified and traumatised by the idea that they have to keep having lessons over the summer, that’s worth listening to as well. There could be something going on with the tutoring that needs fixing, or they could just really, really need a break.
A key reason to have lessons over the summer is to keep some routine and learning discipline. With that in mind, it might be best to try and plan regular lessons, rather than lessons on odd days. That way, your child continues using the time-keeping and organisational skills they practise at school, and the lessons don’t come as a nasty surprise one sunny afternoon…
Lessons in the summer holidays are also a great time to think outside the box and learn beyond the syllabus. In term-time, there’s homework that needs doing, a syllabus to learn, and exams to prepare for. But in the summer, you can step away from the textbooks and revision timetables, and learn around, above, and beyond what’s covered in school. It’s the perfect time for some hands-on chemistry experiments, having a go at writing and staging a play, or coding your own computer game. It could also be a great time for field-trips. Why not talk to your tutor about museums, galleries, castles, or geographical features that they think your child would find helpful and exciting? This way, learning still happens, but in a much more stimulating, adventurous, and exciting way.
If you do decide to have some lessons over the summer, the important thing is not to overdo it! Nobody concentrates well on quadratic equations when the weather is beautiful, and making a pupil sit indoors to study for hours instead of playing outside in the sunshine is a sure-fire way of souring any relationship between the tutor and pupil, and is likely to disrupt their enjoyment of learning. Childhood summer holidays are where some of the best memories are made, and few of those memories include a textbook. So, if you are going ahead with holiday tuition, don’t cram as many lessons in as possible – work with your child to plan a schedule you’re both happy with, and arrange lessons that fit around fun activities, holidays, and adventures, rather than replacing them.
And if you decide not to go ahead with holiday tuition, remember that tutoring isn’t the only way your child can learn outside of school. As well as all the art galleries, science museums, and historic houses, there are public libraries full of amazing books, and usually with an extremely helpful and knowledgeable librarian to recommend things. There are documentaries, to watch, computer games to play, and sports to learn. The summer can be a brilliant chance to take learning outside the classroom, and whether or not you bring in a tutor to accentuate that learning is up to you.
To leave you with one principle message: the summer holiday is primarily a holiday – whilst holiday tutoring can be a great way of engaging minds and raising aspirations without school stress, being over-worked and under-rested isn’t the best way to start a new school year! Balance is key, and by talking to your child and your tutor, you’ll hopefully find a solution that means your child is enthused, rested, and happy when they start school again in September.
Blog Post Crafted by Rebecca
Subjects Taught: English, Maths, 7+, 11+
Background: Rebecca is one of our most popular tutors, with a degree in English from the University of Cambridge and hundreds of hours of private tuition experience in 7+, 11+, English and Maths. She is also an assessor for Titanium Tutors, observing the mock lessons taught by potential tutors and deciding whether or not they meet the high standards of the agency.