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How to effectively schedule tuition classes?

How to effectively schedule tuition classes?

If you and your child have decided to have tuition, the next big question is how often should you have it? Having tuition lessons is like taking a medicine that remedies a problem. Though the medicine can be effective, it is not the more, the merrier. And paying for a tutor is not a small financial commitment. Hence the frequency of tuition has significant impact both on the child for his/her learning outcomes and the family for its financial planning.

If we pursue the analogy of medicine even further, tuition programs can be broadly divided into two kinds: western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Western medicine is taken with heavier dosage and is expected to produce quick results within a relatively short period of time. The traditional Chinese medicine is taken at a slower pace over a longer period of time and is expected to solve underlying problems beyond mere symptoms. What kind of help does your child need?

 When it demands quick results

If your child has an important exam coming, it is usually beneficial to have tuition classes at a more frequent pace. Important exams may be a national

How to effectively schedule tuition classes?

How to effectively schedule tuition classes?

exam, a streaming exam or any assessment that is going to have long term implication for your child. Most likely there will be a self-study period before an important exam, and that would be a good opportunity to schedule more frequent tuition. Two to four times a week would be recommended, as we feel such a frequency gives time for your child to digest and also sufficient opportunities for him/her to ask questions and clarify doubts. Good performance in a critical exam can effectively boost your child’s confidence and interest in learning. Hence a heavier investment in money and time is worthwhile.

 When it demands patience

If your child faces academic challenges that go much deeper into his/her learning experience, it may be a good idea to take it easy and schedule tuition classes with a long-term perspective. For example your child may be facing challenges in physics because he/she didn’t build a strong foundation in algebra or calculus. Many problems are intertwined and even cross-disciplinary in nature. This is just like taking traditional Chinese medicine: patience is required because the effect comes in slowly but surely. In this case, once or twice a week of tuition lesson will do the trick.

Then you may ask the next question: since the tuition is over a longer period, can we have it during the holidays? There is no definite answer to that. Generally a child has less motivation to learn because there is no school environment during holidays. And a vacation is supposed to be a time when students are free to pursue other lines of interest. However, some motivated students do want to take some time during the holidays to catch up for academic work. Catching up during holidays may also free the students from more tuition or academic pressure when the school opens. Discuss with your child about the cost and benefits of holiday tuition and come to a decision together.

 More on scheduling

There are some other planning issues worth mentioning as well. If possible, tuition can be scheduled during the weekend instead of the weekdays. Your child may not like the feeling that he/she leaves the classroom in school just to enter another classroom at home. It may not be a good motivation for having tuition. After-school activities may also eat into tuition time as well.

Moreover, the aim of having tuition is not to have tuition in the end. That happens when your child has truly improved and can study independently without extra help after school. It is always desirable to have a end point in mind when applying for tuition for your child. How long does your child want to take tuition classes? One month or one semester? It may be a problem once a tuition class for the same subject goes over for more than one year. Make it clear to your child that he/she should not solely rely on tuition to study. Perhaps you can set some goals with your child, such as getting certain grade for the next exam, so that your child will still be proactive with extra help in hand.

 Money matters

Other than frequency and schedule, the rate charged by tutors is also a consideration for parents. Some parents apply for the most expensive tutors, thinking that more financial investment will automatically translate into better results. However, the fact is never as simple. It takes your child’s attitude, the tutor’s suitability and many other factors to determine the outcome. (For a more detailed explanation on financial planning for tuition, please refer to the article here.) Not all households can afford an expensive tutor over a long period of time. If the family has to change a tutor because they realize the expensive tutor can’t produce results or simply because it is just too much of a drain on the family’s resource, the outcome will be the disruption of learning. It takes time for your child to develop bonding with the tutor and be familiar with the tutor’s teaching style. It will be unnecessary time spent if your child has to go through the same process again with a new tutor.

Discuss with your child to see what kind of schedule is more suitable for him/her. It is your child’s decision as much it is yours. Money is precious and even more precious is your child’s time. Use them wisely!

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