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to consider getting a tutor for a six year old?

(40 Posts)
BeamMeUpSooty Tue 04-Nov-14 09:41:28

Or am I just being ridiculous?

He had lots of speech and language issues at the start of school (basically didn't talk at all until 3.5 so had a lot of catching up to do). These have mostly resolved and he's doing brilliantly from where he started from, but am worried he's starting to slip through the net at his school.

His teacher doesn't seem worried because he has made some progress, but I am. He's been on a green book band since Y1. He still guesses really wildly based on the first letter and can't seem to blend.

I just want someone who can give him a bit of a boost, perhaps go right back to the basics of phonics without making him feel stupid in front of his class.

DH thinks I'm being ridiculous and he'll catch up - but don't want him to feel like he's struggling yet is too embarrassed at school to ask for help.

I've tried teaching him myself but he hates it, and we both end up frustrated and unhappy.

bellybuttonfairy Tue 04-Nov-14 09:48:35

I probably wouldn'tget one but I wouldn't try teaching him at home either as so incredibly frustating (I'm a mum of dyslexic daughter - so I do feel your pain).

I think that's all you need to do at the moment is making reading/writing fun. Read lots to him - making sure you use your finger to follow the words for him. Also, there are lots of games to help with reading.

BeamMeUpSooty Tue 04-Nov-14 09:51:23

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it so frustrating! That's why I thought a tutor might help, because I feel like I'm making it worse.

He finds it hard, but also has a complete lack of interest in it which doesn't help.

5ChildrenAndIt Tue 04-Nov-14 09:52:21

I guess the question is what would a tutor contribute that you and the school don't.

If you think that there are some special needs - then you will eventually have to engage with school - or the whole exercise will end up excruciatingly expensive.

FWIW, I am on the cusp of getting a 'tutor' for my 2 year old. More specifically - I have a nursery teacher who I pay (handsomely) to babysit one evening while DH and I go out. Part of the arrangement is that she is proactive to seek out opportunities to work on DDs speech and comprehension. It's nothing that I couldn't do - but she has a great knack with DD - and it gives me a break from being the one 'responsible' for supporting DDs difficulties.

Would an arrangement like that be a compromise for you? Present it as a babysitter rather than a tutor - and recruit someone who is able to weave in some reading work or word games into the evening. (For example - not just reading - but letter based crafts, cake decorating, songs etc).

wheresthelight Tue 04-Nov-14 09:53:25

in your position I would probably ask for a meeting with the schools senco before paying for a private tutor. however if yiu have real concerns there are books that you can get to help him at home if you have the confidence but if not then definitely get him a tutor to help - if you live near a university that offers an early years teaching course then I would suggest that contacting them might be a cheaper alternative

Heels99 Tue 04-Nov-14 09:53:34

I would if school can't give you more help. But first I would make an appointment with teacher outside normal school day for a proper chat. Be clear as to what your expectations are and what you want the school to do.

ILovePud Tue 04-Nov-14 09:54:26

Sorry to hear your DS is struggling, lots of kids do go through patches where they struggle with something or other or where their skills plateau and I'm sure he will catchup. However I certainly don't think your idea is ridiculous, I think the reasons you have for considering a tutor are valid and it might be a good thing for you both. I think you are recognising that your son needs some extra support but that you trying to help him gets you both frustrated (which is something I can totally relate to) and he might be more responsive to someone else. I'm curious as to whether DH is doing anything to support you and DS with this, it seems a bit off to be knocking your solutions unless he's doing things to support him too.

BeamMeUpSooty Tue 04-Nov-14 09:55:14

That is a fantastic idea and one that I hadn't considered.

Hmm, just need to find someone!

Thank you though, that's great food for thought.

orangepudding Tue 04-Nov-14 09:58:24

I would speak to the school SENCO. The fact your Ds can't blend is a worry and probably stems from his speech and language issues.

My son is behind and my biggest worry is that he won't learn basic skills. School are helping him with this. If school weren't being supportive I too would consider a tutor.

AllThatGlistens Tue 04-Nov-14 09:59:57

If you feel that your child really is struggling compared to their peers and has additional needs that need to be met to enable them to "catch up" as it were, then it really is an issue that you should be raising with the school.

They may put your mind at rest and have no concerns, or perhaps may want to help implement some strategies with you. Either way, I'd absolutely be discussing it with them first.

yackity Tue 04-Nov-14 10:00:08

Absolutely nothing wrong in getting some additional help, to help them move forward.

Be careful and who you approach. It needs to be low key, and fun.

But you're right, they need help at the point in which they are behind. Of they start to feel disheartened, that will rob them of the joy of learning and that feeling can spread towards school generally.

theposterformallyknownas Tue 04-Nov-14 10:00:41

why waste money when you can do it yourself.
There are so many games you can play that will help with anything he hasn't quite got yet.
It is a shame to make him do more work when he already goes to school, just have lots of fun playing.

BeamMeUpSooty Tue 04-Nov-14 10:04:10

Thanks everyone for all your advice, I really appreciate it.

He is getting some additional support in school (he goes out of class for some extra classes) but it doesn't seem to be making that much of a difference.

yackity Tue 04-Nov-14 10:04:27

theposterformallyknownas because some children just don't respond to their parents with it.

I know DS2 is terrible when I try to do any of these things with him, no matter how much fun the games are - resists all attempts and it becomes a battle - clever little sod has quickly worked out what we're trying to do. Fortunately school are dealing with it in small group exercises.

AllThatGlistens Tue 04-Nov-14 10:05:49

Have you met the school SENCO? Ultimately it is the school's responsibility to ensure his needs are being met, if the additional support he's already getting isn't working then they need to have a meeting and discuss further options with you.

yackity Tue 04-Nov-14 10:06:34

Beam - blending words is a funny thing, it seems to take forever and then snap - they've suddenly worked it out.

I am assuming he's in yr 2 though? In which case I would get a bit of extra help. He will shortly be under pressure with his SATS, not that he will realise it if the school are sensible about it, but the work load will ramp up at the end of term 2.

MerryInthechelseahotel Tue 04-Nov-14 10:11:22

I would be inclined not to do this although I understand where you are coming from. Remember some countries don't start formal teaching until the child is 7 at least. By the age of 9 you can't tell who started school earlier. Children should be playing and if I had my way I would ban bloody homework too!

PurpleDaisies Tue 04-Nov-14 10:11:43

I'm a private tutor and I occasionally work with young children (my area is maths and science not phonics).

Many parents describe the same feelings as you when you try teaching him yourself. It can be really tricky to establish a formal lesson time after school when he's used to coming home and doing fun things with you. It is frustrating trying to teach things to children who for whatever reason just don't get it and you can't see why! This is where getting someone else in who doesn't have to balance teaching your son with cooking his dinner, putting him to bed and keeping a proper close motherly relationship with him! This is where most of my work with younger children comes from!

Saying all that, it sounds like his teachers aren't worried about him. Children learn at different paces and can all of a sudden make massive strides forward-teachers are used to seeing this and I would hope they'd recognise someone who really needed extra help. I'd be guided by them. bellybuttonfairy's suggestions above are really good too. Perhaps see how it goes for a while, keeping in close contact with your son's school and be prepared to intervene if things change.

Hope things go well for you both x

BeamMeUpSooty Tue 04-Nov-14 10:14:26

Yackity - that's exactly right. The minute he gets a whiff that I'm trying to 'teach' him something, even if it's just playing a few phonics games on the iPad, he refuses and it becomes a battle.

yackity Tue 04-Nov-14 10:20:02

I hate to say this, but not all teachers are the best at identifying it as a problem that you need additional help for - because this would be admitting that they have not been able to help him. Also, for them there will always be a proportion of students who are in the lowest band, and that's the reality of the situation. But for you, it will be YOUR child that's in the lowest band, and it will mean far more. And, lets face it, how much additional work can they do with him when he's 1 of a class of between 20 - 30 students?!

I would get some 'light' tutoring in now.

I am monitoring DS2's progress, if at the end of Yr 1 he hasn't made what I feel is sufficient progress, then I will hire a tutor at the beginning of yr 2 - I may well even hire one over the summer holidays.

Witcheswerehorses Tue 04-Nov-14 10:29:05

Have you tried an alternative learning to read set of books? My DS1 struggled for ages in school with their reading scheme, so I went back to basics and bought Peter & Jane ladybird books. It made a huge difference and he has never looked back.

WooWooOwl Tue 04-Nov-14 10:51:52

If your ds is already getting all the extra support he can from school by being taken out of classes for one to one, then I think a tutor may well be a good idea.

There is some weird kind of stigma around getting a tutor, but there's really nothing wrong with it. One of the teachers at your school might be willing to do it, or could maybe recommend a student teacher or someone else who would do it. If you used someone known to the school teachers, then they can work together and focus on the same things to get the most out of both the tutor sessions and school lessons.

Chandon Tue 04-Nov-14 11:02:10

I think the idea of a tutor is tempting, as it is a positive action which makes you feel you are doing something.

But I am not sure what a tutor could do you could not do yourself.

FWIW, my DS was very much behind at age 6/7 (did badly at his Y2 Sats, was 2 years behind for English, could not write a simple sentence until he was 8), and would/could not read or write.

I did tear my hair out at the time!

Looking back, I can see that he was just very little and not ready for so much formal learning. He caught up suddenly when he was 10, and by the time he did his Y6 Sats, he was completely average/above average.

We found chipping away little by little to be best. At the age your son is, read to him every day. Or read with him, but even reading to him is good (and important for him: it's fun).

Spelling activities/writing, maybe do just 5 mins a day at this age. IME, doing 5 minutes a day is effective and doable, where a one hour session with a tutor would mean he'd just switch off.

I used to set a kitchen timer for 5 or 10 minutes, and did some of the activities on the PC (more fun), like Nessy.

Viviennemary Tue 04-Nov-14 11:03:08

I think it's a good idea if you can afford it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a tutor to help your child.

mimidl Tue 04-Nov-14 11:18:10

If you do consider getting him a tutor, I was at an indoor play area in Bushey a few weeks ago and noticed they do a 'play & learn' service. Basically the children have their tutoring then get to play for an hour afterwards. A sort of reward for the extra school work I guess.
It wasn't any more than my friends are paying for their DCs tutoring and although I haven't used the service, the reviews looked positive.

Hope it helps! smile

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