Tag Archives: holidays

No Slots Left!

I’m completely booked up for the rest of the academic year with a waiting list for any cancellations. This means that I won’t be taking on any new students until September 2016. Obviously this is great for me but I’m sorry for all those I’m having to turn away. I sincerely hope they find a suitable alternative tutor.

The only possible exceptions might be for daytime tuition during the Easter/half-term/summer holidays.

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The early bird…….

So many people wait until school starts in September to think about starting or restarting tuition.

Things are usually fairly hectic at this point and it’s only too easy to keep putting it off for another week. The end result can be, that your son or daughter is already playing catch up and to make matters worse the tutor of your choice can’t fit you in on the only evening that Kevin or Tracey doesn’t have football or drama.

Why not get ahead of the game and start tuition in mid to late August? You will have  a good choice of teaching slots and your offspring will start school with a real advantage. Some of the entrance exams are in October/November which doesn’t leave much time for tuition to work its magic, if you delay starting until mid September.

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Summer Holidays recycled!

No apologies for re posting this one plus its link to an even earlier Holiday post – they’re both still very relevant.

Well, the exams are just about over now and it’s time to put the books away and set off on holiday. I’m sure you all deserve a really good break!

But – and there’s always a but – the summer holidays are a long break, particularly if you’ve just done GCSEs or A levels, and you don’t want to start either your AS courses or University on the back foot. Try to put aside some time during the long summer break to get some of your reading list completed, for example. You’ll be really pleased you did, once your courses start. As I’ve commented before, there’s quite a jump up in level from GCSE to As and even more so when you start a degree course. Some universities even run remedial/catch up courses in the first few months as pupils struggle with the level of work.

Another factor is that at University and to some extent  AS/A level a student is expected to be self-motivating and to study alone. This takes some practice and the holidays is a good time to start.

For pupils lower down the school there are plenty of suggestions in my blog of last year, Holiday Work  https://suesmithprivatetuition.com/2011/07/18/holiday-work/ ‎, of ways to learn/study painlessly (well, almost!) during the holidays.

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What is French for capacitor?

I’m lucky to have a share in a house in France but sometimes it does test my fluency in French! There’s nothing quite like things breaking down for revealing the gaps in one’s command of a language.

The word capacitor isn’t one that I use regularly in English and I would be hard pushed to explain exactly what one is. I have  a vague idea that they are connected to motors?  So when the pool pump died recently I was pleased the OH (an engineer) was with me in France to diagnose death of said capacitor.  But I hadn’t a clue what the word is in French and dictionaries are notoriously bad at including  technical words or making clear which ones are used in which context. Cue panic in how to track one down – and not just any one – one that would fit the pump.

After an involved discussion with French friends the required word appears to be condensateur.

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Summer Holidays

 

Well, the exams are just about over now and it’s time to put the books away and set off on holiday. I’m sure you all deserve a really good break!

But – and there’s always a but – the summer holidays are a long break, particularly if you’ve just done GCSEs or A levels, and you don’t want to start either your AS courses or University on the back foot. Try to put aside some time during the long summer break to get some of your reading list completed, for example. You’ll be really pleased you did, once your courses start. As I’ve commented before, there’s quite a jump up in level from GCSE to As and even more so when you start a degree course. Some universities even run remedial/catch up courses in the first few months as pupils struggle with the level of work.

Another factor is that at University and to some extent  AS/A level a student is expected to be self-motivating and to study alone. This takes some practice and the holidays is a good time to start.

For pupils lower down the school there are plenty of suggestions in my blog of last year, Holiday Work  https://suesmithprivatetuition.com/2011/07/18/holiday-work/ ‎, of ways to learn/study painlessly (well, almost!) during the holidays.

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Easter Revision

Why not consider some tuition through the Easter holidays to help boost GCSE grades? The margin between GCSE grades can be very small yet make a huge difference in terms of university entrance and careers. Many schools run revision classes at Easter which are excellent, but another perspective, a different style of teaching or simply a new face can work wonders. Private tuition will be tailored to your son or daughter’s needs specifically – not to a whole class. I still have availability during the holidays – why not send me an email to discuss further?

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Au secours!

Many parents ask how they can help encourage students’  French learning. Of course, you can always help with testing vocabulary, for example, but in my experience students often resist the more obvious types of parental assistance.  So, how about some other ploys?

Why not try switching your car radio to a French station – France Inter and Europe 1 are both easy to get on Long Wave – they won’t understand the majority of it but it will tune their ears  to the pronunciation, and some of the words from the new bulletins and weather forecasts should be familiar.

Or, if you’re lucky enough to have satellite TV there’s a movie channel that shows a topical current affairs/news programme late afternoons plus  a variety of French films. You may also find that your local Blockbuster has French films to rent and even if they read the subtitles they’ll still be absorbing some French.

Why not encourage your son or daughter to do a French exchange if their school runs a scheme (and if it doesn’t, you could suggest it)? There’s nothing quite like staying with a French family that speaks no English to force you to speak French!

Or, if finances permit, a trip to France will certainly help. Even if little French is actually spoken (you could try getting your son or daughter to order in cafes/buy food in markets  but co-operation is not a certainty!) they will passively absorb a huge amount of French just by hearing it and seeing signs etc. Even a day trip to Calais to buy wine for Christmas would give them a taster of France.

Learning a language is so much more than just mastering the grammar – it should involve an appreciation of the culture of the country too. And with France’s reputation for good food and wine that’s not a hardship. is it?

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Holiday work

Everyone needs a break and I’m not suggesting that you force your children to study during the summer holidays, however there are painless ways to help boost their literacy skills.

Why not choose a family book that you can all read together – taking in turns to read a chapter out loud. This works particularly well if you are on holiday with another family or are a large group. Younger children enjoy this especially and don’t forget to encourage people to try out character voices for the dialogue. Roald Dahl’s The Witches was a great success for one of our family holidays.

Encourage them to keep a holiday diary.

Why not take your youngsters to a play? Introduce them to Shakespeare with an open-air production – usually great fun. There are regular open-air productions all over the country from London (Regents Park) to Cornwall (Porthcurno). Taking them to any type of play/musical will encourage their powers of concentration if nothing else.

Many theatres run activities for young people over the summer – check out The Watermill in Newbury, for example, in this area. Museums and art galleries also offer similar opportunities – The Lightbox in Woking is a good example in the South East.

If you’re going on a long car journey, what about an audiobook? It’s a great way to revise a setbook, for instance, or to get a head start on one you will be studying when you go back in September.

If you’re going to France don’t underestimate how much French you can all pick up by listening to French radio or watching French TV. I particularly recommend silly quiz games – it’s fairly easy to follow these.

If they see you reading – they might too! Reading is one of the best ways to increase vocabulary and improve spellings. Encourage them to read anything and everything – football mags or OK are much better than no reading at all.

If you’re staying somewhere with plenty of outside space why not challenge them to devise a treasure hunt for the adults (you buy the prize!) perhaps with rhyming clues – or if that’s too tricky you write one for them. A good bottle of red wine can provide excellent inspiration (for the adults that is!).

Learning isn’t just something that happens at school.

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