homeschooling tutor

A day in the life of a homeschooling tutor

Categorised in: Insights | Posted on: 21 October 2021

I’ve worked as a homeschooling tutor for over twenty years. Among the many lessons I’ve learned from hundreds of incredible pupils, a recurring theme is that one size doesn’t fit all.

The rise in home schooling is due to many factors, the most recent and impactful being the arrival of and response to Covid-19. But whether through familial situations, mental health needs, learning differences or just the recognition that we are all different and have individual requirements that can’t always be met by schools. Home education is a valid and vital way of providing education.

My experience as a homeschooling tutor

My first experience as a homeschooling tutor remains a touchstone in learning how to reach so that we can teach. This pupil was autistic, 7 years old and had been excluded from his special education school due to deterioration in his mental health. When I met him, he had already gone through several tutors because they had not been properly trained in how to work with someone who was not only autistic but so depressed he had completely shut down and was suicidal. Even had he not been excluded, his needs were becoming so specialised a conventional institution wouldn’t have been able to help.What he needed, what our home education programme was able to provide him with, was the time and tenderness to help him feel safe, seen and met. Nine months later, this led to him making a full recovery and returning to school.

Over the years I grew to see that such a combination of learning differences, emotional challenges, mental health troubles and exclusion could be rife around the time of puberty and GCSEs. For many young people, the challenges of evolving towards adulthood are difficult enough, without the added stress of formal exams. For these people, home schooling provides a more relaxed, bespoke and holistic approach. This enables learning to take place in a way that makes allowances for the wider processes of personal growth.

homeschooling tutor

What does a home school tutor offer?

Home schooling can take into account religious, social and personal differences that might not be supported by conventional education. It’s also be a great way to tailor an education programme that plays to the strengths of the individual by focusing on areas of interest. Given that the curriculum still has a long way to go to include iconic works by women, people of colour and queer writers. Not to mention critiques of colonialism and patriarchy. Home schooling also helps a young person feel more connected and less excluded by the learning process.

Sometimes the reasons for home schooling are coolly practical. A family might have relocated from a different city or country. The student might find themselves ill-equipped for a new syllabus or have arrived in the thick of the school year. So they need a focused programme to help get them up to speed. Home schooling can work for anything from a short burst of a few weeks to a solid series of years. Once again, it is about being able to refine the process in alignment with the needs of the young person.

“It’s about finding what works and celebrating that.”

And occasionally the reasons for home schooling are as mysterious as they are necessary. One of my more recent autistic students was struggling to connect with a teacher. As a result his grades were plummeting across his GCSE subjects. We made a connection and his mother removed him from school so we could work together for the rest of the year. When his mother called to let me know his results in the summer, it was a joy to hear he had achieved all 9s and one 8.

Connection is vital in life as well as learning. If all it takes is one disconnection in school to dim a bright child’s engagement, then the solution can be as straightforward as finding a tutor to help them reconnect. Many times this can happen for an hour a week as a supplement to schooling. More and more, home schooling can work as a practical, sensitive and successful alternative to daily attendance of an institution. As with everything else, it’s about finding what works and celebrating that.

Keone Wales, Autism Consultant

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