A Parent’s Perspective of Online Tutoring
A Parent’s Perspective of Online Tutoring
Nov 11, 2015

Almost as soon as my son started school, his peers and teachers treated him with suspicion.  They assumed because he had a teacher for a mother, that somehow placed him at an unfair advantage over his classmates when it came to homework help.  This was, of course, quite ridiculous, but being a gifted child, he felt the suggestions quite keenly.  He soon tired of hearing people tell him he was lucky to have a teacher for a mother. And who can blame him?

By the time he reached high school, then college, homework help from his teacher/parent was shunned by him.  He would go straight to his room after classes and complete all of his homework before I even arrived home from work.  For him, it was a matter of pride to prove his independence.

When his exam results came through, people inevitably attributed his A and A-star grades to excessive parental homework help—and sadly those people included my own teaching colleagues!  They could not have been more wrong.

My son’s self-motivation came entirely from his own love of learning… but hold it right there.

I think I did play a formative role in this.  From his earliest age, I actively fostered a love of reading, which he readily adopted.  I firmly believe this is what gave him a head start over his peers from an early age.

That is not to say I was unavailable to discuss problems or issues with schooling, offer homework help, or any of the countless other things that most parents do for their children, but his academic achievements were all his own work.  My support merely provided him with the confidence to become an independent learner.

By the time he reached university, his work was well beyond my scope or useful input.  But that early fondness for reading is what, in my opinion, laid the groundwork for his academic success.  Did he ever use online tutoring or college homework help websites when I wasn't around to help?  I doubt it very much, because such sites are a recent phenomenon as they - and indeed the internet - continue to grow almost daily.  Had they been around, and had he needed them, I doubt I would have objected, providing he used them properly.  That is to say, for help and guidance, not because he, for whatever reason, was unwilling to tackle the given homework assignment himself.

By all means, when it comes to using homework help websites primarily for live online tutoring, do encourage your children to seek help and support.  Reputable sites should offer such help to supplement their learning, not to replace it, nor to do the work for them.  There is nothing at all wrong with a student seeking extra support when and where needed and the best school or academic websites recognise this.  They are there to support and encourage a student’s academic growth.

A child who has achieved success through his own merits is a child who will succeed in everything else in life. Online tutoring websites, just like parents, are there to support, not live his life or do his work for him.  Encourage him in that belief and he will thank you ever afterwards for giving him the confidence and faith in his own ability to succeed.

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