On a weekday, at nine in the morning, my three sons congregate around the dining room table for home-schooling. Like tutoring, much of my instruction happens one-on-one with each of my kids, ages 4, 6, and 9. The process is not always perfect or pretty, but we get through it and, get this—we have fun! Learning is supposed to be fun, but tutoring doesn’t always feel this way for many parents.
After years of teaching my own children and observing hundreds of home-schoolers and parents, I now understand that a kid’s capacity for learning is seldom the real obstacle to a good tutoring relationship between parent and child. Most often, we are the problem!
We are so concerned with our child’s academic standing that we lose sight of the more important goals of academic instruction. Quizzes, tests, exams, and report cards are given way too much glory. My child has to pass this test. My child has to get a good grade. My child has to have nothing lower than 90 percent on his report card. My child has to be number one in class. Have we ever asked ourselves why?
It wasn’t until I removed myself from the vortex of a system that measures success by grade point averages that I began to truly understand the goals of instruction. I’m not here to tell you to pull your kids out of the educational system and home-school them. That is my personal choice. But I do want to encourage you to be very hands-on with your kids’ education.