eendje1990's picture
eendje1990

English and Maths Tutoring

Hi everyone!

I'm tutoring a boy at school who is quite behind intellectually. There is nothing wrong with him mentally but he grew up on a farm and had minimal social interaction until he started school. His parents have also done very little with him in the ways of learning the basics so he is pretty far behind. He is 7 and just starting to manage counting to 10. I am really enjoying helping him and find it very rewarding, but it can be really frustrating at times. He has a very short attention span and finds it very hard to concentrate.

Does anyone have any tips or ideas of how I can help him in the best possible way? I don't have any teaching qualifications and don't want to do anything wrong.

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!



concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Hi there,
A few questions. What grade is this boy in? Also, what qualifications do you have to be able to tutor this child?
I think it's wonderful that you are willing to help this boy, who obviously is delayed, but honestly he may be better off w/ someone who is more qualified in this area. Has the child been tested for any learning problems? You mentioned that he has a very short attention span. This cld all be related to his lack of exposure to education and socialization, or it cld be linked to a bigger picture. This boy needs to be seen by a dr. that specializes in the development of children. He also needs to undergo testing, either privately or through his local school district, to determine the level that he's at. At that point it can be determined where to start. How long have you been working w/ this boy? Do you feel he's making steady progress? These are all questions that need to be considered before determining the appropriate educational plan for this child. As for the socialization part, this boy desperately needs to be around other children his age, whether it be in school, at the park, having friends over, or joining sports. This too is a very important part of the learning process. I'm curious how much of a role this boy's parents have in his life. I hope for his sake that they become more involved. Please keep us posted on how the process goes. I'm sure w/ given support and lots of love, this child will gain what he needs to catch up and be successful. Good luck w/ everything!

eendje1990's picture
eendje1990

Hi ,

D is in year 2 (the equivalent of 1st grade I think). I don't have any qualifications in teaching, but am working towards a diploma in early childhood and have had a lot of experience in working with and teaching children. he still has a lot of contact time with the teacher and in class, but this is just one on one to work with him on the things he's struggling with.

He has been tested several times and no problems have been found. He was diagnosed with mild pediatric mental retardation, but it was said it shouldn't affect his ability at all.

His attention is getting better, but he struggles being in the same classroom as the others while he is working so we have started going to a separate room to do some work and then he goes back with the rest of the class.

We have started with the very basic things. Scribbles and shapes in English and number 1 and 2 in maths, but he is clearly further along than this. He can count up to 7 on his own and 10 with some help. his writing is still very messy and hard to read but he can write his name on his own and quite a few letters.

I have been working with him for 2 or 3 weeks. He is making progress, but it does take a lot of time and effort. I find I'm spending nearly an hour every night planning and searching for resources and tools. I spend 10 hours per week with him so not much progress is made, but there is some.

He is very shy but has made considerable progress socially since last year. Last year he sat in the classroom during lunchtime and playtime, whereas now he is playing with some of the other children and talking with the staff members he knows.

From what I know the parents do involve themselves but not nearly enough. They will read a book with him after school and help with homework but that is about as far as it goes.

Thanks for the insight! I was getting discouraged, but am raring to go again now!

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

This child sounds a bit like my son who is also delayed. My son has never been officially diagnosed yet, but he too has difficulty w/ learning, as well as with social situations. I think you are doing a great service to this boy you are working w/, and it sounds like he's progressing, even if it's at a slow pace. Keep up the good work! From my experience w/ my son, it's helped to use pictures and cues. This way, if he's having trouble following the verbal instructions or if he can't remember the words, he looks at the pictures or uses the cues to get to the answer. W/ colors, for example, we'd hold up 2 crayons, red and blue. Then we'd ask our son to point to the red crayon. He was able to identify it by sight, but if we asked him what color it was, he'd forget the word (red). After some repetition, however, he was able to master the concept. This is the case w/ other concepts as well. For letters and handwriting, we started w/ letter recognition w/ lots of repetition, then pre-handwriting skills (horizontal, vertical, and diagnal lines, as well as circles, crosses and X's). W/ counting, we wld clap after each # or sing a # song. My son seems to connect to music well, so that has always been a good learning tool for him.
I hope these suggestions help. If you need any other ideas, please let me know. Also, if I think of anything else, I'll write you back. Good luck!

eendje1990's picture
eendje1990

Thanks! He is starting to make huge progress. I was given a report of where he was at last year in all areas of school life and looking at him now he is a completely different boy!

Thanks for all your ideas and encouragement!