Tutoring through the quarantine saved my relationship with my daughter. We had begun tutoring approximately three weeks before the quarantine. The reason we started tutoring is that my daughter was falling painfully behind in reading.
As a stubborn mother with a stubborn daughter, I did not understand why she just would not “try” to sound out the word. I did not understand why she would get so frustrated when she did not immediately know the word. I did not understand why she would just guess at a word and not even attempt to actually read the letters on the page. The list goes on. I wanted her to do it my way because I did not understand how to do it her way.
Why couldn’t she just sit down and focus? Why does she have to bounce around and keep losing her place to realize that it is not how to read? Can you tell I have not home-schooled before?
The questions continued with …why do we continue to have talks with the teachers about her lack of progress? We read about 6 out of 7 nights a week with her. She reads independently as well as we read to her. Neither myself nor her father could “get” her to read. She was so good when she actually applied herself. I knew a sweet lady that had worked in the in-school preschool and our daughter really liked her too. She currently was a substitute teacher across multiple schools in our county. She worked really hard and was always so kind. One day I saw a post on Facebook that she had begun tutoring. She has two children of her own and they are both awesome people.
I asked my husband if he thought tutoring was a good idea for our daughter. He immediately said yes. That led me to get in touch with her to see if she remembered us and she did! She had recently been the substitute for my daughters’ class. We met the following week to discuss my daughter’s “issues” and she immediately said she would be happy to help her. She and I discussed schedules and finances. It turned out that the tutoring sessions would be once a week at a time that worked great for us, usually lasted a minimum of an hour, ran for 9 weeks, and cost less than $30 a week.
Our tutor met with us at the local library which was a central spot for us and had private rooms that could be held. She brought the supplies and all we had to do was show up. Before we began the first full tutoring session, our tutor, went to our daughter’s teacher and explained she would be tutoring our daughter. They discussed the best plan so that my daughter would have cohesive learning and the best path forward. After two visits, the initial discussion and the first time they had together alone, our daughter said to me “I had so much fun!” What? You guys just sat in there for over an hour reading and that was “fun?”. Granted I said that to myself and said to her “that’s awesome”! What did this lady do to make reading for an HOUR “fun?”!
After the third visit, our daughter was dancing to a metronome beat and reading like a champ. On a side note, my daughter has a musical beat in her head constantly and is constantly dancing. Our sweet tutor immediately picked up on that and used our daughter’s favorite thing to help her learn. To me, a mom who was lost trying to force my daughter to sit and just read, that was absolutely genius! However, it was something I would never have the patience to even think about doing.
Then the quarantine hit and I was afraid tutoring would be over. Would we be able to tutor through the lockdown? Our tutor said to me “I need to order a document viewer and have you done zoom before?”. I asked her why she needed a document viewer and she explained to me she herself had a mentor in tutoring. Her tutoring is not a hobby; it’s a business. She is constantly educating herself on the latest techniques and continuing her education. She spent probably all the money we paid her to purchase the tools she needed to continue to tutor.
We began zoom meetings the second week of quarantine with much success. They found new inventive ways to connect. She taught my daughter how to set up her hands on the keyboard and to type out words that she needed to spell out. Those words were sent over the chatbox. They bonded over stuffed animals or dolls that were brought as extra reading partners. We decided after the first 9 weeks were over to continue based on all that was going on in the world. We wanted our daughter to continue to build her skills with a trusted partner and set her up for success.
Let me tell you, the confidence that my daughter now has when it comes to reading and herself from these 12 weeks, is unbelievable. I never would have adapted to my daughter’s learning traits and incorporated the techniques that needed to be taught. I never would have known to look for learning boundaries and have the patience to work within those boundaries.
Teachers are amazing. Nights of getting frustrated because we as parents didn’t understand our daughter are over. Due to the quarantine, my daughter and I share a desk for all the zoom meetings. I have learned so much about how my daughter learns. It has truly helped in our approach with her in our homeschooling and teaching other things in life. I am so thankful for our tutor and all she has done not only for our daughter but for our entire family.