Flipping through the newspaper this morning prompted me to write this post where this is a hot topic raised on a national level. More so when I read a letter in the forum section by a mother which read "Tuition not necessary for good grades".
I have valid reasons for sending my children to tuition. If there wasn't any need to, I don't think I want to spend the additional money on extra classes, nor the extra time spent on ferrying/waiting which could have been better spent in quality.
As I go along in this post, I will be extracting certain portions of her letter and share how I personally feel about what was written.
"My elder daughter took her Primary School Leaving Examination last year and was among the top 10 per cent in her cohort."
Well in this instance, I'm happy for her as a parent, who has a self-motivated and disciplined child that she need not worry about. For all we know, her daughter is just naturally born gifted and if I have children like that, I would be the least worried about her academics.
My children are not academic ambitious, as much as I would like them to. Though this is not the reason why I send them for extra classes.
Currently, my son in secondary one has no tuition as he already has a packed schedule with CCAs, coming home about 6pm almost everyday. It would be cruel to take away the precious time he has left to spend at home with the family, play and tackling homework each day. So I am just holding my breath that he will be self-motivated enough soon to be responsible with his revision and hope that he pulls through the weaker subjects.
"I was shocked when my younger daughter told me recently that she was probably the only one in her class who did not attend tuition classes. Some of her classmates had two tutors for each subject, making it eight teachers for four subjects."
I am equally appalled by the sharing of the second sentence. Now this is absolutely kiasu, I must say. But then again, every child is different. And you may be surprised by how much a child can love tuition this much! No kidding! In fact, I've heard of a minority who thrive on tuition better than in school!
For us, we made the decision to send ours for tuition on their weaker subjects in school. Namely mother tongue which I wrote before on the challenges they face. Mathematics is another core subject they both can tackle however, as it is a difficult subject for me to guide them from home since there are changes to the way problems are being solved, I am not confident on giving advise on the topics as they progress. My husband would help if he is home however, we feel that they need a tutor whom they can tap on with proper resources, lest we give the wrong advice since we are not equipped with the current syllabus. So a tutor comes into the picture. It is not about having a tutor who gives more homework. It is about a tutor who can guide and explain what they do not understand from school and customize their learning journey if necessary. With understanding comes knowledge. When knowledge is applied properly, doesn't everything just fall into place?
"If teachers are doing their job, pupils are attentive in class and parents are doing their best to motivate their children and supervise their schoolwork, then there is no need for tuition to ramp up one's results."
I am very sure our teachers are doing their job. In fact, I think it's a very tough job to have to maintain everyone's undivided attention in class and ensure that every child registers what he/she teaches. In reality, I believe not everyone would. Just like my children who would sometimes let their minds drift away during class. This was what their teachers feedback.
For us, it is not so much to "ramp up one's results". It is about being given individual attention in a small group tuition setting so that they can ask whatever without feeling the need to be embarrassed, as compared to a class of 40 in school. With this personalized setting to address their specific needs, they will grasp the topic better and would help them tackle the challenges. They still don't score exceedingly well but marked gradual improvements, even if its just by 5-10 marks, do make a difference in the grading system. Key point to note here is "improvement" or the very least, "maintenance". Not about the A stars. Though that would be a bonus!
"More importantly, not attending tuition classes gives my children an invaluable asset - the ability to allocate more time for family bonding."
Absolutely agree. However, as parents, we also cannot feign ignorance if we see our child struggling with a subject in school and recognize that they need the extra help. I feel that any parent will decide what is best for their children so that quality time will not be compromised.
It is also times like this that I am glad to be a stay-at-home-mom because I am able to schedule their tuition on weekday afternoons without much disruption. I am an advocate of quality time with the family and determined to give my children a balanced life. Ultimately, what is most important is that we know our own childrens' needs and as parents, we must step in to address them. If we don't, who will? It is definitely not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation.
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