We’ve been debating this issue for a long time – probably as far back as when my younger son was in year 1. To tutor or not to tutor?
My younger son is a bright boy. Incredibly bright. Almost off the scale bright.
Round here we have grammar schools. There is fierce competition to get into them and only the top 5% make it. Rather a lot of the kids who go to grammar schools went to private primary schools – invest cash in their early education and then get the state to provide your little darling with a brilliant free education. Then there are the kids who travel from Swindon and Bristol to Gloucestershire just to go to our grammar schools. Crazy, I know.
So there’s our predicament. My son needs to be in a grammar school. He needs to be with people of similar intelligence and he needs to have the challenge.
He should walk that exam, because he’s probably in the top 1%. But what if…
Every other kid that does that exam will have been tutored. Those private school kids have been learning in just the right way to pass that exam for years now. State school kids don’t learn the required skills, so they get tutored.
To tutor or not to tutor, that is the question?
We started off with Bond, an online learning package. It is incredibly hard. It’s probably the first thing my son has ever come across that challenged him. But he loves a challenge. He learned what was required of him and he cracked it. He could work those answers out so much quicker and more logically than his parents. I’m ashamed to say that at times we pushed him towards the wrong answer, when he was going to get it right.
But was it enough? It wasn’t a tutor.
There is a lady in our village that tutors a lot of kids, including some of my son’s friends. She gets kids to grammar school. In the end we took the plunge and got him a place with her.
And he loves it! He loves the challenging work, he loves the extra homework. On his first day, he ran home with his homework and sat doing it from 6pm to 9pm, until it was all finished.
He’s done four weeks now and he is thriving. He looks forward to going there every week. I’m so glad we did it. His exam will be at the very start of year 6, so he’s got the whole of next year (year 5) to perfect his skills.
And two years from now I’m confident I will have a grammar school boy.