If you have a child in education you will know that there are always extra lessons/workshops available. Your child might already be involved in extra lessons or you may have thought about it or this is the first time you are thinking about it. At this point you may be wondering what the benefits are?! And if your child really needs it?! Well to see this we need to go through all the different types of children and their individual reasons for deciding to try extra lessons. Maybe your child will be one of them?!

The “last resort” student

This is the type of student who always gets thought of first for extra lessons. They just don’t seem to be making it on their own, struggling through, often close to failing, and thus they need some extra help or motivation to get them on the right track. This can be for lots of reasons:

  • Maybe they had a bad experience with a specific teacher and lost their confidence
  • Perhaps they just never had the aptitude for that specific subject and developed a bad attitude towards it and so need some inspiration to get them moving in the right direction.
  • Or maybe they were very sick at one point or involved with sports or changed schools and missed a whole lot of lessons and just never seemed to be able to catch up!
  • Maths literacy is knocking on the door but they really want to study a degree at university which needs core maths so would like to stay on core maths and improve.

The “I’m doing fine but would like to do better” student

This is a child who is passing and coping fine on their own but would like to do better. Maybe they are achieving 50-70% and would like to boost their mark so are looking for more. There are lots of reasons for these kind of students:

  • They used to do really well at maths but then at some point dropped the ball due to a lack of interest and now its grade 11 and they would like to get into a certain university so need to up their game and get back into it to get the most points possible.
  • They have always been in the 50-70% area and have been trying to improve on their own but it just is not working so are looking elsewhere for assistance.
  • There is just one or two areas that they are battling with and it’s pulling down their average. A good quality workshop would help close the gap in their knowledge.

The “I need that A!!!” student

Lastly there are the students who are getting 70+ and are really looking to get that A, some are already getting A’s but want that A+! Why is it so important to these students?

  • The degree that they are looking to get into has a very small intake and so the demand is high but the supply is low. They HAVE to do their very best to even have a chance of being considered.
  • Going for Ducks and awards in their year. Some students are very driven and would like to perform at their optimum so that they can achieve the ultimate prizes at their schools and recognised. Doing every possible extra work they can.

And so?!

All of these reasons are valid and without assistance it can create quite a lot of frustration and can put a real dampener on the subject, particularly for the struggling students. The subject that has the highest need for extra lessons/workshops is MATHS!!!…. Sigh…

Why is it always maths?

Well it is very hard subject to self study, you need someone to explain it to you… and the biggest stumbling block with that is that there are not a lot of parents who can help with this subject, particularly at high school level, and so there is no other option but to look elsewhere for assistance. Even when you have a parent who is good with maths there often isn’t the time in the day to help, especially if they are a working parents which is very common in today’s society. And so we land up looking at extra lessons and workshops outside of school.

How can they benefit?

As you can see almost ALL children can benefit from extra lessons/workshops. There is always room for improvement and reasons to do better. I believe that you can never go wrong sending your child to a maths workshop or signing them up for extra maths as retention is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in maths! Every bit of extra that they can be exposed to will help them:

  • Remember all their material
  • Be exposed to many different types of questions
  • Give them the confidence to attempt the harder questions
  • Be able to take their maths studying into their own hands rather than relying on their school teacher only
  • Have a better chance of getting into the degree that they would like
  • Actually enjoying learning maths
  • Lastly….Be the BEST that they can be!

What can I do as a parent?

The fact that you are reading this tells me that you care about your child and are supporting them to do their best which is just awesome! My biggest advice would be to get your child on board with extra lessons and workshops. Simply booking them without consent can have a negative effect on the child. If they are keen and want to be there you will see the most improvement. Ways to get your child to buy-in:

  • A simple conversation is always a good place to start and ask them how they are feeling about their maths. This can open them up to suggestions
  • Ask them what it would mean to them to improve their maths?
  • Ask them what they could do to improve their maths? Are they doing all their homework and keeping up with what is already required of them? What other revision could they do at home?
  • Engaging them in a fun conversation about post school possibilities can bring around the need, motivation and drive to achieve in maths.
  • However you do it, try and get the solution and drive to come from the child rather than yourself as the parent. Trust me. It will have a much longer term positive impact than forcing the issue.

How third parties can help my child?

A parent can only do so much and sometimes it is just best to hand over to the professionals to get the best results. What are the options and what is best for my child?

  • Buy a good Textbook.If you child is a self disciplined, self motivated, learner then purchasing a good textbook that provides solutions can be hugely beneficial for them to work through in their own time. However, in my experience lots of children seem to not follow through with this option, they battle to stay engaged.
  • Private extra lessons are great for that one-on-one attention and focus, tailored specifically for your child. These however can burn a hole in the pocket and might not be a long term sustainable solution. Saying that, if you can afford it and find a good fit for your child go for it!
  • Maths Online is a fantastic affordable online solution that your child can sign up to and learn at their own pace. Pausing and rewatching videos as many times as they like at no extra cost. Not to mention Trish Pike, the teacher is top class. You really cannot go wrong with this solution.
  • In person workshops are great for focusing on a specific topic and getting it right. Advantage Learn offer lots of those and towards exam time revision courses which is fantastic to help your child recall all of the years work.

I hope that you have been able to relate to this blog in one way or another. I have experienced all the different types of students who benefit from extra lessons/workshops and it really is a mixed bag. Your child is never going to have the opportunity of their school years again so why not make it easier for them by supporting them to be the best they can be AND most importantly having them want that too.

Happy Learning!

This article was originally published on 05 Mar 2018

About the author
Heather Collis

Advantage Learn all rounder but specifically AP online course coach. From in classroom teaching to online support, you can find Heather where ever there is a need to get stuck in.

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