I know similar topic has been discussed here about why selective school students need tutoring to compete or to survive. I seek opinions from those who have been doing high school recently with and without coaching to help my child. I know that coaching can save a lot of time for students who just could not get good information easily. As the syllabus for ever subject gets so big, there is not a lot of time to cover all the stuff unless the students are very diligent (workaholics). Therefore having a tutoring means studying ahead, doing more homework, having a second go at school when the topics eventually get covered, having a chance to ask questions, ... I feel that having tutoring helps to do better in exams but not necessarily better in project work where you do more research at a slower pace. Having more practice means that your exam answers will be more polished knowing that your exam work is like second attempt rather than first attempt.
My child is smart, pretty well rounded and and generally keeping pace with the best in her school (elite private) where the best (only a handful) are very very good (James Ruse quality I am talking about). She has no tutoring at all and a relax learning regime with lot of time to enjoy life, playing computer games, enjoying music, watching TV every day and movies every week. Now she starts to slip in a few areas that she was not naturally the best at. She is still holding ground in areas she is naturally good at. It is a problem because all her competitors go to tutoring and work like workaholics. They would be upset and cry if they get a mark under 85/100. How can a student without coaching and also wants a life beside studying match with extremely smart students who work so hard and having an extra day of study with tutors?
I hope some one who never went to coaching and still did extremely well could give me some ideas what would it take to cope with the very best who get constant coaching from year 7 - 12. I wonder if extra work at home by self-research and limited parental help in mentoring rather than direct detail help could help a student keep pace with these very hard working and continuously coached students?
I would also seek advice to overcome the issue that a student without tutoring may know the topics but fails to produce polished exam work to secure good marks. Teachers at school probably cannot help by giving kids a trial test before semester exams. Does this mean the only way is to have some form of limited tutoring before each exam?
I wonder that it is now impossible for smart kids to self-learn and match with those of equal intelligence and always have a tutor throughout the high school years?
Any advice to cope with high school English is much appreciated. My child is not naturally good at English except in reading comprehension and creative writing. She does not cope too well with analytical and critical response writing work. It seems that HS has so much response writing work and her tutored classmates are leaping ahead (not sure about this).
Any advice is much appreciated.
I never get tutored (coaching) and I get 90%+ easily (in my favorite subjects, in my others I get 80%)
You only need commitment and dedication
I'm going to speak from my experience (and I hope I don't sound like an arrogant douche).
I have never been tutored in my life. I go to Sydney Tech (a selective school). In Year 11, I was dux of the year, currently in year 12 I am either at the top or near the top in all of my subjects. I still play sport with school, meet up with friends on the weekend, go to movies etc. From this it is possible to do well without tutoring, though obviously with this it is neccessary to both study very effectively and have some natural ability. In junior years (7-10), I didn't do much work at all (maybe 15 minutes a night) and started studying before tests maybe the day or two before. In Year 11 I picked up the game a bit and now in year 12, I study similar amounts to other people in my year (3 hours + a week night- not so much though on weekends). Even though this seems like a lot, it is still possible to have a life. From my experience in Year 12, a lot of people have already completed the course like you said- to combat this I try to teach myself ahead some things (such as X2 maths which works well), as well as do a lot of past papers etc. In essence, the time when everyone else is at tutoring, I'm doing past papers or something so it balances nicely.
In regards to high school english in general- PRACTICE. Get your child to write an essay or creative and get it marked. Refine it. Find other people that are very good at english (have high marks in HSC or whatever) and get their essays and stories and read them to understand what makes an english response really good and then imitate it.
I didn't write the above very clearly, if you have questions, go for gold and good luck
I am just going to say this.
Your child will only be the best IF he/she wants to be.
The results will ultimately rest upon your child's dedication
Ultimately it is up to the student, if the student is motivated and smart enough, they should be able to attain high marks/atar regardless of whether other students go to tutoring or not. I know plenty of people who go tutoring and still do not perform as well as they can and vice versa with those who don't go tutoring. Tutoring whilst may help, is not necessary by any means.
As for english, the best way as mentioned already is practice, continually writing essays and creative pieces and getting them marked regularly by their teacher for relevant feedback is one way I would highly recommend
My girl is a bit too young at heart. She still enjoys very much the fairy tale Disney movies and behaves like a dreamer. I am not sure if year 8 is the right time to tell her to snap out of it and face reality in this fast pace and fiercely competitive school environment. Surely she has the luxury of a full tank of gas and the accelerator only half pressed. If she hit the accelerator and drop 1/2 of her entertainment time I think she will rise to the top but the timing of this is the question. Just like the Tour De France, the winner does not have to be leading all the way. When to hit the pedal hard is part of the strategy.
I need to help her to come up with a self-study plan. getting over 90% in areas she has natural strength is never an issue. But getting to 90% in a few areas she is naturally weak in is now an issue.
Pretty much agree with the above, tutoring is by no means a necessity - its just a tool which can help certain people out. As I have said hundreds of times on BOS, the biggest determinant of a students ATAR is the student themselves. If a student isnt motivated or doesnt care, no amount of tutoring will help them. Also another thing to add, becoming overreliant on tutors and coaching colleges can be counterproductive when the student gets to uni. At uni, there is nowhere near the level of outside support and help as there is with the HSC. If you are struggling at uni, its not like you can go out and easily find an external tutor to help you out. I'm not saying tutoring is bad by any means, but you need to know how to help yourself.
In year 8 don't worry so much about results. I never cared about my test results really until about year 11. Its very important that she builds the important fundamentals for senior school (how to do maths, construct sentences etc.) but don't pressure her too much to come first. Building a well rounded character is much more important in year 8 than coming first because ultimately, who really cares who tops year 8. In year 11, pick up the pace a bit (start developing a very solid exam technique, understand all theory very well etc.) and then in year 12 when it counts pull out all the stops.
Our school didn't release past papers for junior school (or they might have- I never checked) but why can't a teacher mark her essays? Surely her english teacher could?
She is never going to get 90%+ if you push her.
No offence but you to understand that it is ultimately up to her. And I am sure her teachers will mark essays, you don't have to.
Also, you can buy books with questions which can be marked
It is very possible for a student to self-learn, yes, but they would have to work very hard. A tutor is not necessarily needed, but does help.
Also I feel a bit concerned for your child, she's only yr8? I don't think you need to put all this pressure on her at this stage. You should be aiming for her achieve her best and what results she would be happy/proud with, not necessarily being the best.
Speaking from my experience as student from a top3 selective school who has never been tutored, I would say its definitely not essential to achieving high marks. The majority of students in my grade were tutored, but most probably did not need it, and I think its only really helpful if your child is genuinely struggling or has a terrible teacher. At the end of the day I outperformed most students in my grade without having to throw away thousands of dollars on unnecessary tutoring or having a ridiculous study regime.
If your daughter is only in year 8 you should seriously just let her enjoy life and not put too much of an emphasis on academic results, because at that stage its really nothing more than building a solid basic foundation of knowledge. Skills such as essay writing will be developed all the way up to and through year12, and by then teachers will be more interested in her development and will invest time in marking essays and past papers etc.
1/ Referring to having a life and not working real hard, I only mean that many of us believe in this and trust that a balance will be beneficial and may be all the tutoring and extreme hard work might not really matter after all. But they seem to matter by the look of it.
2/ Regarding year 8, I know it is not the time for very hard work. That is why she is quite relax and happy and not unhappy about not getting the top marks. Having said this, there is some pressure because we turned down James Ruse for this very expensive thing! They recruited the like of her for the glory of the school so there would be noise if she is not keeping pace with the very best. I think some senior teachers understand and look toward year 11-12 and would be more forgiving at year 7-10. But it is not unusual to get 80/100 and a comment "Need to work harder!". I don't put pressure on her. The pressure is already put on her by best students in her class as most of them have tutoring.
I don't know if all elite schools are similar but the top 15 students of each year are snowed under with academic pressure. Almost every one of them is with some form of scholarship. Almost all of them go to coaching to stay at the top even though I personally have never heard of any being kicked out for less than "acceptable" performance.
Blame it on the clout of the top 7 public selective schools and tutoring colleges if you like, but elite private schools now recruit the toughest students, put them into special classes and have no qualms about knowing that these students work 7 days a week, attending coaching, ... I have heard plenty of words like "extreme level of dedication", "work ethics", "self-motivation", ... I don't hear much of words like "intelligence". The word "balance" in this little world does not mean adding free time and entertainment into a student's life. It means adding sport, music and religion on top of the heavy academic load similar to what students at top selective schools already experience.
In a sense, we are looking for a way for us to retain control of our sense of balance and dignity without having to resort to what so many others are doing which we did not believe in (workaholics and tutoring).
So is your child on a scholarship, if you don't mind me asking? Maybe it might be better if she was at a normal school without this pressure?
Yes, they will invest a lot in students at year 11-12 to match top students in top selective schools (ATAR 99+). But I think between year 7-10 is more of swim or sink or get yourself a tutor. I am not sure if it makes any sense but it may make sense to say "If you can afford 25K/year fee, you can afford a tutor" or "If you already save up to 25k/year, surely you can afford a tutor". So my child is in a different situation when compared to students in the top selective schools. I suppose we just feel a bit unnerved because English is the most important subject and she will get out of the tight corner with a bit more dedication.
The question is what do you want for your daughter from education?
Also, if your child is in this group of 'prized' students, cant she just as easily drop out and return to a normal class with the rest of her cohort where such high expectations aren't placed on her?
Yes, you see this is an issue. If you turn down James Ruse, you know you cannot come back to a public selective school even if you want to. At least until year 10 anyway by sitting for a special entry test. A normal comprehensive HS is the thing that many parents and students don't want at the first place as teachers will cater mainly for average students. We make a choice to avoid the fierce competition in a top selective school. We land into an equally fierce competitive class of much smaller size.
What I see is that we cannot escape. Running away from tutored students only mean we land in another place full of tutored students. So my kid is hanging around mainly with untutored students who are more relaxed. But it won't surprise me that her untutored friends may also get some limited but very private tutoring by the very best teachers. Their parents have a lot of cash to burn if they need to. It is not easy to befriend heavily tutored students unless my child is extremely sociable and average in academic performance. Not that she likes to befriend grumpy workaholics, but it is hard because workaholics don't like those who don't work hard and share the suffering. So she wants to be with the relaxed students but at end of each year, she would want to get up and get awards like the workaholics. Top academic girls spy on scholarship status and rumour like crazy. Some of them are so rude as to ask "Are you on 100% scholarship?" That is really nasty because the only way to answer is to lie or to say "I don't want to talk about it". The school told parents to tell kids NOT to talk about it. You kind of make a nemesis for no reason.
Anyway, it feels like you win some and lose some regardless of what choice you make.
Well, what do you consider to be 'coaching'? Does receiving extra help from a teacher during recess/lunch count as coaching? Does Olympiad Training count as coaching? Does attending a Holiday Seminar constitute coaching? Hell, if I attend the BOS Study Day and the seminar, will that be considered coaching? The term 'coaching' is very broad and subjective.
But I do think it is possible to be the very best without coaching, like no one ever was.
There was absolutely no tutoring going on there - of course, there would have been for the ocassional student who may have been struggling in a subject like maths or english, but there definitely wasn't any sort of tutoring to get ahead.
Also even at my current selective school, yes there is competitiveness to a degree, but the school is still full of friendly people. I don't get any sort of tuition, and I get along fine with all my friends who do, and I do alright in tests. I don't get top marks, but I get marks that make me happy, which is all that matters in my opinion.
As for "So she wants to be with the relaxed students but at end of each year, she would want to get up and get awards like the workaholics." - if she wants to get awards like the workaholics, then she needs to also put in the same amount of dedication and effort. There's no easy way to the top. Those students put in the effort, and reaped the benefits.
And of course some of them hold entrance exams for entry into yr11.
You could also apply for scholarships at another private school. I am sure there are many that aren't 'elite'.
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