Welcome to our Blog

The Gold standard

Read our latest post

6 signs your child might need a tutor

If your child is struggling in school, cannot understand what they are learning and isn’t motivated to do the assigned work, they might need a little help from a tutor. Everyone learns in different ways at different paces. Extracurricular coaching will be able to help your child figure out how they learn best, how to manage their time as well as understand what material they have already learned but didn’t understand. Here are six signs that your child is truly struggling and needs the help of a tutor:

It’s Too Hard
Sometimes with larger classes, your child cannot keep up and can’t get the one-on-one learning they need to succeed. This is why tutoring might be a good idea for them as they will get to ask questions until they truly understand the material. It is hard for a child to feel motivated if they are failing to understand. Help your child excel in their studies by setting them up with a professional with the expertise and private support your child wants and needs.

Nothing Sticks
Most people will struggle in school at least once in their lives. Whether it’s understanding a simple primary school problem or even in higher education, explaining something to different levels of education for specific ages can be quite a challenge. Failure to learn or understand can lead to frustration and feelings of helplessness and worthlessness. Sometimes just watching YouTube or seeking help from a friend can be full of distractions, whereas getting a tutor will give your child one-on-one time with a professional that can answer any questions or inquiries they might have.

It’s Too Easy
It’s a misconception that students breezing through class can’t benefit from a tutor. If they are not being challenged in class, that is also an issue. Students like this might get bored if they are not getting further development at school. Tutoring can support the child with gifted abilities who are high-achieving students and further refine these skills.

If your child is bored in class, it may not be due to their abilities, but their attention span. A tutor can help make the learning experience interesting and engaging by personalising the content based on their personality and interest.

If you catch your child up late writing an essay, this may be a sign that they are procrastinating on their work. This is so common in students especially, but there is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy levels of it. If you find that your child is frequently putting things off until last minute and suffering from it, it can be a huge strain and will cause unwanted stress. This may be a sign that your child may have concentration and time management issues. Avoid letting the issue get out of hand by trying to tackle it before it becomes a bad habit that’s irreversible.

Your child might even just ask for a tutor. If they just upfront say that they are struggling and need one, there is no reason why you shouldn’t encourage it. Instead of stressing out over their studies, some students will be completely ready to pick up the slack and learn better and to study more efficiently.

We can help. We have the best tutors in the country ready to help your child, so please get in touch today!

The benefits of an English tutor

A lot of school-aged children have tutoring sessions after school or on the weekends. The reasons for this are wide and varied. Sometimes parents get their kids a tutor because they are busy and don’t have the time or the ability to help their children with schoolwork. Others feel that a tutor can help them learn more effectively. Still more just consider it a good way to strengthen their academic foundation so they have more options open to them come time for tertiary education.

Tutors are able to give kids more attention than they would get in a large classroom. This ensures that they are learning at their level and being pushed to keep going.

What are the benefits of tutoring?

The academic knowledge, as well as the learning skills that kids learn in tutoring sessions, can get them ready for what is to come. Let’s take a look at some specific benefits of tutoring:

1 – Individualised attention

In a classroom, a teacher has to make sure the class as a whole is learning. Unfortunately, they cannot give the same attention to everyone and students who need that extra push may not always get it. With a tutor, on the other hand, kids can have lessons that are catered to their needs that is taught in a manner that suits their learning style.

2 – Better academic understanding

A lot of kids struggle in specific areas of their learning material. Tutors can focus on those problem areas and make sure they understand it well. This not only helps them gain a deeper understanding of the subject as a whole but allows them to score better on tests.

3 – A positive learning experience

Tutors are trained to be patient and encouraging towards their students as many are overwhelmed with traditional schooling. They help students learn in a calm, positive environment and assures them that they will get the hang of it. Students often have a much better impression of learning and education after learning with a tutor. They also tend to become more self-managed and assertive in their school work.

4 – Better self-image

Many children feel discouraged at school, particularly if they are having trouble understanding their learning material. As they understand more in tutoring, this often helps them become more confident because they have realised that they, too, can learn.

5 – Improved study habits

Tutoring encourages kids to do more than the bare minimum. They learn how to study and reach the goals that they have set. These skills will prove useful later on in life.

6 – An increased sense of independence

The increase in self-management will result in an increased sense of independence. Kids will see that they are in control of their academic results and be more willing to take measures to improve and complete their work on their own.

7 – Ability to overcome barriers

There will be some academic areas where your child excels and some areas where he or she struggles. Tutors help kids to focus on their problem areas so that they have a better understanding of the entire subject. This keeps them from getting caught up and frustrated about one chapter and therefore becoming demotivated for the entire subject.

8 – Comfort in asking questions

Sometimes kids hesitate to ask questions in class for some reason or the other. Perhaps they don’t want to speak up before a big crowd or are afraid their question is “dumb.” In learning with a tutor, kids will learn that there are no stupid questions. This will encourage them to be comfortable when asking questions even in the classroom.

9 – Challenges for the under-challenged

Some kids find schoolwork too easy or boring. They can often benefit from being presented with more difficult material which will not only put their brains to work but allow them to prepare better for their future. This is particularly true for kids who aspire to take tough courses in college. Tutoring will help them to master their course material and allow them to build skills that will come in handy in their field of study.

Alchemy Tuition have the very best tutors in the country ready to support your child. Get in touch today to see how we can make a difference in your child’s journey!

How to increase your child’s attention span

Whilst technology has totally changed our world, it has undoubtedly made it harder to focus on any singular task. This is specifically true with young people. Everything they want they can get instantly; music, TV shows, movies, information. This makes anything that takes time seem like a chore.

Two of the most common questions I get from parents is this; how can I increase my child’s attention span and how can I get them to focus better? It is a wide-spread issue and one that isn’t a quick fix.

The mind, like any muscle of the body grows in small increments. It is why we don’t drop kindergarten students in to trigonometry and expect them to pick it up naturally. Instead, we work on foundations – building understanding brick by brick.

The ability to focus is exactly the same. It needs to be learnt and grown over time. This is why it can be frustrating as parents when our children can’t handle 30 minutes of reading time – when the most they’ve done before is 5 minutes.

If focus is a challenge for your child, here is what I recommend:

Sit them down somewhere with as few distractions as possible and get them to read a book that they will be interested in. If they are not of reading age yet, give them a picture book – the goal here is not to get them reading, but to get them to focus on one thing for an extended period of time.

I recommend that you start with just 3 minutes. 3 minutes of quiet time for them to read to themselves. Set a clock and let them know they need to do it for 3 minutes. They might laugh at the idea of just 3 minutes – or they might struggle. If they can’t do it (which I see all the time!), aim for the same the next day. If they make the 3 minute mark, strive for 4 minutes tomorrow.

Increase by one minute each day. Just one minute – don’t try to jump ahead. If you’ve ever done a running program you’ll know that small intervals are effective – you can’t go from running 100m to 5kms overnight. You can probably cap it out at 30 minutes and start trying activities other than reading – revising their class work or doing some writing.

These 1 minute intervals are also smart because your child won’t even notice them. At the start they will look at it and think that 4 minutes is nothing. In 2 weeks, they might complain about 18 minutes, but you just need to remind them they did 17 minutes the day before and it was easy for them.

I have seen this strategy work in nearly every student I have tried it with. Not only do they build up their attention span, they usually look forward to it by the end – because it is 30 minutes of peace when they can disconnect from everything else and get lost in their own little world.

Remember that even the world’s greatest athletes had their first day in the gym. 3 minutes may not seem like much, but it is the first step to something much greater.

The most important skill required for HSC success

If you have children in year 10, 11 or 12 this could be the most valuable thing they will read as they approach the HSC.

I am regularly asked the question by senior students – ‘what do I need to do to succeed in the HSC?’. They ask it like there is a secret that only the top students know, like there is a formula that I can give them to guarantee a 99+ ATAR.

The thing is, the most important skill required for HSC success is also one that generally dictates success in life. It isn’t about sleepless nights or putting in 16 hour study sessions – in fact, it is the opposite to this.

The single most important skill that differentiates high performing students from everyone else is time management.

The ability to manage ones time effectively is a completely undervalued skill not just in school but in life. There are always going to be a hundred things we need to do at any point in time, but the ability to say ‘yes’ to the right things and ‘later’ or ‘no’ to everything else is such an important skill to learn.

Being good at your subjects is important. Working hard is great. But they are in vain if you don’t manage your time well.

Here are 3 tips I give to my own students that are serious about succeeding in the HSC:

1. Get a diary and use it.

I use ‘diary’ in a very broad sense here. It doesn’t have to be a book you write things in – it can be your phone’s calendar or your organiser on your laptop. Whatever you choose, you just want to ensure it is clear and easy to use. Every time you are given homework at school, diarise it. When you get an assessment task, put it in your diary and give yourself reminders at intervals so it doesn’t creep up on you. Even schedule in study time and treat it like a job – if it is in your diary you stick with it; no ‘if you feel like it’ allowed.

2. Understand your priorities and let your time reflect this.

We all have the exact same hours in a day. In order to maximise the 24 hours you have you need to know what is most important to you at any given time. If your focus is on doing as well as you possibly can at school, you need to make this your priority. This means saying no to the things that your friends want you to do. It means saying no to the temptation of mindlessly scrolling through social media and delaying your revision for a test. It means getting to bed at the right time to ensure enough rest so you are fresh at school the next day. These things aren’t fun – but they are required to achieve your goals.

3. Be 100% in

Whatever you do at any specific moment, make it your goal to be 100% present. Time is precious and you don’t want to waste any of it. If you are studying – be 100% in the study zone. If you are with family, be 100% present with the family, not constantly checking your phone or thinking about other things you need to to. The best people to be around are those that are 100% present in whatever they are doing, and whilst this can be a challenging thing to learn it will make your life far more rewarding if you can master the art of being present.

When things get busy it is very easy to wish for more hours in the day. Sadly, this won’t happen. All we can do is maximise what we already have – which is why time management is so important.

Teaching your child to love reading

Whenever I meet a student who doesn’t read – or worse, doesn’t enjoy reading – it breaks my heart a little. As a kid, a long time before iPhone and iPads and Youtube I would stay up late learning about the world through characters in books.

The benefits of reading are endless, but in this tech world it is getting harder and harder to inspire a love of reading in young people. Here are 4 strategies I’ve found can aid a student in the reading journey:

1. Encourage them to read at their ability level.

This is one of the biggest obstacles I see to students enjoying reading. If they are reading something that is too difficult for them it is unlikely they will enjoy it – just like we struggle to enjoy things we aren’t good at. Choosing books that are appropriate for their skill level is really important – and getting this right will in turn improve their skills which will then lead to more advanced books. Speak to their teacher or your tutor about identifying their reading level and choosing books that are ideal at their level.

2. Choose books that interest them.

You will know the natural interests of your child, so try to pair them up with stories that appeal to these. Just because a book is popular or other kids like them doesn’t mean your child will. You’ll find books on every niche at your local library or book store, so choose those that your child will naturally gravitate to. I’ve had students read books on Rugby League, Minecraft and novels based on their favourite youtube stars. There is something out there for everyone!

3. Make it a habit

Daily reading time is so valuable. It is a time to switch off from the electronic stimulus and get their imagination working – but also ensures their skills improve day by day. I suggest no less than 15 minutes of quiet reading time a day; 30 minutes if possible. I make it a before bedtime activity for my own kids – but you need to do what works for your family’s schedule. By making it a daily habit, they won’t put up a fight when asked to read as they will just accept it as something they do everyday.

4. Be the example

It is hard to tell a child that reading can be an enjoyable activity when they never see Mum or Dad doing it. Leaders are readers – so do what you can to show your kids that reading is something you enjoy too. This one is tricky – I know how busy your schedule is. I just try to turn the TV off for an hour on Saturday afternoon and spend time reading. Even though my kids continue to play, they see Dad sitting down and enjoying a book which I believe is just as effective as telling them to do it.

Learning to enjoy reading at a young age is so valuable, and will lay the foundation for how they view it as they get older. I hope you are able to find a way to inspire a love of reading in your family!