Parent Q&A: Tailored learning for each child to boost their confidence
What first sparked your reason to seek out after-school tutoring?
It was word of mouth that pointed me to the program. My eldest had been in school for only six months in Sydney and then we moved to Melbourne. I felt like we needed to find something to ensure that her foundation was going to be really solid. I had a chat to a few mums and a friend had said NumberWorks'nWords in the Melbourne suburb, Brighton. I went straight there and I had her assessed and we started. I knew that going between the different states, that certain aspects of the curriculum had been well covered in term one and others needed repeating.
As an occupational therapist, my belief is that a strong foundation in English and maths in the young years is really important as part of children’s development. We decided to commit to tutoring and not look back in terms of costs to get it right. When we got back to Sydney I thought, "Oh, maybe we'll be okay and we'll give it a term to wait and see". We went into a public school which was very fast moving in terms of the curriculum. I was concerned we'd missed bits and pieces for my daughter. Once I was in a system of NumberWorks'nWords from our time in Melbourne, I just switched across centres and they handed everything across. It was super easy.
What was your initial experience that made you feel confident that NumberWorks’nWords was working?
What made the assessment so effective, was somebody sitting down with my daughter and giving one-on-one attention which I really liked. They were a trained teacher and referred to how many specific words she knew. It was very in-depth and provided me with an idea of her current level and how we would progress. Once she got rolling, I felt she had more confidence. So, that was the big tell-tale sign.
I'm not typically a huge fan of computer-based learning but when I understood that the online program ensures that a child understands before they go through to the next level in the program, it gives you confidence that nothing is going to be missed.
Do you remember how long it took for you to see progress with your child?
It took six months to give it a good crack and to see progress. There was some resistance to going at first and then the kids realised it was super fun.
I think a lot of people that I know give up quite quickly, with all sorts of different tutoring. They expect it to be a quick fix. I feel like this is something we will do forever until we get through the program. My four-year-old also does Letterland, so she's now learning her letters and her sounds. All of this just needs time and it's something that you just have to continue to do rather than doing it as a quick fix.
Would you say it is a valuable investment?
Well, it is an investment, isn't it? In addition to NumberWorks'nWords there’s also another after-school tuition program we use to help our children. It comes up in our budget regularly - it's a discussion that we have and think, whilst we're in a public school and we're not paying private school fees, this is something for four different children, for four different reasons. We will continue to do it.
To get a nanny would cost $25 per hour. Why not send the children to a class instead where they're actually learning something? I'd choose not to have babysitters and nannies and to put money into their education. I’d rather skip a holiday to invest that money in education.
You mentioned that the NumberWorks'nWords experience is fun. What part of it do the children enjoy the most?
They enjoy lots of things. They like the young tutors; they like the fact that they’re uni students. If you've got a daughter like my eldest, she's eight going on nine-years-old and she looks up to the bigger girls and really listens to them. They like the games they get to play at the end of the lessons ... they like achieving milestones and they get a water bottle or they get certificates and can read the percentage of how well they've gone.
They also really like going to the centre not just for the tutors but there’s other students who are different ages and come from different schools. My eldest will sit down and she'll be beside a girl who is in Year 9 or 10. And so she feels like “I'm such a big girl”. My kids have never had a stigma around going.
So I wonder how you find the pros and cons. You know, the traditional pencil to paper versus the computer based learning?
It's just a balance really, isn't it? I would probably prefer pen to paper, but then I feel really supported by an online program because it's making sure everything is met in terms of an understanding of the subject before you move to the next level. If it was pen to paper and the tutor changed ... I see having an online program as a safety net.
The cement's been laid now and I just want to make sure that it's really solid and set before we move on rather than pushing the kids to skip grades and move too far up. I think the computer based program gives me that assurance that everything is being met.
The centre drop-off is a signal for them that it’s time to learn?
Yes that's right. When it’s playtime I think, ‘go nuts. Do whatever you like. We're done. We're good’.
Now when the kids come home and say ‘we did times tables today and I finished first’ I'm like, ‘well there you go. How did that feel?’
It makes life much easier for all of us. It means I can focus more on feeding them, loving and cuddling them, putting them to bed rather than constantly nagging.
Wondering what other parents are saying about their experience? Hear from them to understand the NumberWorks’nWords difference.
Want to find out whether your child needs maths or English tuition? Book a free assessment and introductory lesson with NumberWorks'nWords.