Do you want to tutor your own child?
My name is Tamara Kidd and I’ve been helping parents/caregivers and children with just about anything and everything to do with learning for a very long time. Clients tell me that things improve not just regarding their children’s learning but also the quality of family life.
This is my website, where I help parents become a tutor for their child or children. Here, I’m an Education Consultant.
I’m out of the box because that’s what my children needed, and when I’m in the box that box is a Tardis.
So. How do we educate each other? A teacher presents a lesson and tries as hard as possible to help a student learn from that lesson.
A tutor helps a learner teach themselves by removing any pebbles or boulders from the ‘path of learning’ and ultimately that the learner is choosing the path for themselves, or that their teacher has directed them to follow. Let’s hope it’s where they want to go.
These are two distinct approaches to helping people learn.
The first naturally leans towards the teacher, the other towards the student.
Good teachers make the lessons relevant.
Excellent teachers let the learning be relevant.
Learning, like our stream of consciousness, flows through the connecting neural pathways and no two brains are exactly alike. No two streams are exactly alike and how those brains change over time is also unique.
Here’s where you come in…
Excellent teachers know the learner so well that they know when to get out of the way of that path, or stream of thought.
Stellar teachers are mindful that they don’t become pebbles or boulders on the learning path of students.
The same can be said about leadership and management in organisations. What is a family if not an organisation of closely related humans? Have you ever had an out of touch boss? What if someone boldly gave them the right tools they needed, like self-awareness?
To tutor your child, whether after school or instead of school, you’ll need some tools from time to time. You might run into communication problems between you and your child. Or feel you need to learn about tutoring compared with teaching. If you think you need confidence, some understanding of what your responsibilities are or simply some support, I’d like to help. That way you can help you and your child find your way together.
So what is this website for?
I began helping my friends with their children in 1997 during the second year of my teaching degree. I would give advice ‘for free’ on how to support their children with school work. It would go beyond subject assistance and helped them understand how the system worked. They learned how to use the system, rather than be used by the system. They told me I should charge. I didn’t but asking ‘oh you want help to tutor your own child?’ gave me a business name idea. After 10 years of doing it for free, it was worth a shot!
In 2006 I found myself outside of schools and home educating my young children, a separate story I’ve written on this site too (currently updating), and so I began also helping home educators/homeschoolers.
‘Tutor Your Own Child’ were the words I used to describe what parents were learning how to do when they had a consultation with me. TYOC or TutorYourOwnChild.com became the labels I use for a business that I created in 2007, formally through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS). About 6 months later Maths Online launched (for free) and people thought a computer could tutor their children instead. Most of the parents using schools stopped asking for help.
Time to retire? No, far from it. I was about to get really busy!
So, for another 10 years, I volunteered because no one was willing to pay and I’m a volunteer-type by nature. It was disheartening to see parents using technology instead of an opportunity to connect. I know that parents and caregivers are very much required. You need caring adults plugged in too. I could see how easy it was for them to learn how to tutor for their own children. After about 7 years, I did see people who use schools ask for help again because the technology didn’t replace parenting.
Once again I was helping people who used schools learn how to tutor their own children. Once again I taught people how to ‘use the school rather than be used by the school’.
Then in 2017 something rather wonderful, but fleeting, happened. An association I had volunteered for, from 2008, offered me a paid job. It required online office and admin skills. I had those, and a bit of paper to boot! It was offered to me due to the networks I had developed over many years of helping people. It was specialised, using my qualifications and experience. I discovered I was a Clerk Grade 4 Education Speciality.
What was it like to suddenly, but not actually suddenly, have a business?
Well, it was an abrupt end to my volunteering due to their insurance which only covered volunteers. As a sole trader offered a contract for ongoing work and employed for superannuation purposes, I was an admin with regular hours, pay and tasks to complete. It was a part-time job. I worked by the direction of a committee (who had the legal and financial responsibility for the entire membership) even though legally as a contractor I could dictate my own hours. There was minimal flexibility though. No helping members with educational advice, like the volunteers. I had to refer parents to volunteers. If they wanted ‘me’, they would have to book a consultation and be prepared to pay. It was hard. It took a year to transition our ‘home educating community’ into understanding that I couldn’t volunteer, as I would risk the insurance of my main client, an association for home educators.
I was delighted that most had been wanting to pay me something for some time and that what I had to say had been really helpful, valuable and “should be paid for”. It has taken 20 years of helping for free before my work was recognised as monetarily valuable. I don’t believe I would have had that response had I not been a home educating parent myself. Like a lot of things, until you do it you can only guess what it’s like. That’s how parenting is but even more so for home educating. It’s really important to understand that home education is not school at home. Being inspected by teachers who have never home educated their own children is the cause of pointless misunderstanding and I talk with those inspectors in the hope that something is done about it.
If I wanted to help people I had to start charging. Thankfully I found a way to keep it affordable for all.
The volunteering of my business has ended (sorry). I’m also a full-time carer for my Aunt. I fit my availability around home educating my son, giving driving lessons with my daughter, and being an Auslan interpreter and errand-runner with our Aunt. So consultations require a booking. Pretty sure 20 years of helping around 10-30+ people a week and not charging are enough to earn my street cred though.
So, if you help homeschoolers, who not say ‘teach’ instead of ‘tutor’?
Even though it’s assumed people are replacing teachers when they decide to homeschool, ‘teach your own child’ didn’t seem to fit based on my experience and the research. Parents often start with ‘schooling at home’, acting as a teacher, but then they move through deschooling and eventually we almost all fall into the ‘eclectic, natural unschooling and whatever-you-call-it’ plane. Even if you use Distance Education or an ‘off the shelf curriculum’ you’re following educational material put together by a teacher.
I don’t think you have to be a trained teacher to help your child to learn.
How do homeschoolers learn without someone teaching them?
Young people who have the freedom to learn outside of classrooms, from the world directly, become their own ‘autodidactic’ learners. The world is their teacher. So ‘tutor’ and not ‘teacher’ fits best.
Also, because most people are using a school and therefore engaging with formal teachers, what all of the children of my clients want and need more than ‘lessons’ is ‘support’.
Supporting you is my role.
You supporting them is your role.
Them getting on with their lives is their role.
A tutor’s ultimate responsibility is to become redundant as the student no longer needs help.
Parents also need to become redundant as our children become independent adults.
Parents are already natural tutors, as much as they are teachers. You’re doing it, you are tutoring your own child and I help you to do it better with information.
You’ve got tickets on you, Tam!
Better? Apparently… well, that’s what my clients, and the parents and caregivers I’ve helped for free while volunteering my services for all the many years, have said. Easier, less stressful. “Like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I wish I’d called you sooner!”
That’s about as self-promoting as I get.
Tickets? hmm, not really… I’ve taken decades to even charge for what I do. Also, when I do teach I leave my ego at the door. Montessorian in that regard. In Montessori, even the classroom is called the ‘Children’s House’. Although the teachers give presentations, it’s the materials that do the teaching.
The way I work: It’s not about me, and it’s not about you either (sorry). It’s about your children being free to learn. I really, really care about that! Learning to tutor your own child is more gentle than teaching or instructing. Sure, there are times we need to do that but mostly tutoring, or support, is all they need. Click here for more.
Learning is the key to freedom and freedom is the key to learning.
The days are long but the years are short? This year, 2020, marks 30 years since I began tutoring! I began teaching Primary in 1999, Montessori in 2003 and home educating in 2006. My eldest is an adult with tertiary qualifications, who works full-time as a costume designer/maker. My youngest, who has never been to school bar some months at Montessori preschool, is currently in his last year for home education as he prepares for tertiary studies, and learning how to drive.
I’m still learning
In 2019 I completed post-graduate studies in my research area of interest, CIE (Comparative and International Education). I’m exploring options for writing more formally what I have seen as a professional educator embedded in the home education community. I don’t know what that looks like yet. I often reflect on what this means both locally and nationally, as well as internationally, as I look at how others ‘home educate’ around the world. For now, I work as a Sessional Academic for at ACU in the areas of Social Justice, especially regarding Inclusive Education and Disability Studies. It has combined CIE which is about Human Rights, and my love of helping all people access learning.
As a parent and a teacher, I’ve had to walk my talk. That means I’ve learned a lot. I hope to continue helping anyone who wants to help their children for a long time to come.
Parents and primary caregivers will always know their children better than teachers and it’s been my privilege to help hundreds, possibly thousands, of parents and caregivers gain confidence in their very important role, of tutor to their own child.
How to avoid stuffing up their education.
When parents/carers are actively involved with their children’s ‘learning experience’ children learn more easily, regardless of whether you choose a public, private or independent school, or to home educate. There’s something about keeping connected with your primary caregivers as you move out into the world that makes you feel secure, confident and happy.
If either you or your children feel a disconnection, don’t ignore it. Reconnect. You don’t need to worry either if it’s been a while since you felt in sync with your child, it’s still possible to reconnect. Very possible. Let’s make that happen. I help take the fear about education out of the way so it’s like before the whole ‘school/learning/officialese’ got between you.
Yes, the website is brief. For now, it’s a lengthy business card.
The institutions and labels around the teaching and learning we all experience during childhood create established patterns in our minds. Tutor Your Own Child is a place to get information and clarify facts, deconstruct and reconstruct new patters that liberate learning. Moments of connection and disconnection are frequent during our journey with children. This usually happens when we become overwhelmed. Learning how to be the ‘calm in their storm’ is such an opportunity for parenting and for their educational opportunities. I do that by providing answers based on my knowledge and experience of what works, what doesn’t and the Education System.
This website will grow…
I will be adding articles, reviews, links to resources, questions and answers and you’re always welcome to contact me. If you want to deep dive into an enormous amount of free stuff now, especially if you’re thinking about homeschooling, please visit The Educating Parent, because Beverley Paine has covered everything you need to start today.
Beverley is the reason we have a vibrant home education network across Australia. After beginning to home educate in the 80s she now helps with home educating her grandchildren. Shes VERY generous on her page. If you want to purchase any ‘how-to’ books then visit Always Learning Books. They are easy to read and very affordable.
Videos of experienced home educators sharing information about home education.
Beverley and I both presented at 2019’s
*Disclosure. The link provided here is an affiliate link. I will be paid a commission if you use this link to make a purchase.
I will be paid nothing if you click it, so click if you want to see the topics and speakers for the 30+ talks. To purchase it costs $25 and access is forever.
I’m presenting again this year! Last year I covered registration and reregistration for home education in Australia. This year I’ll cover how to record learning for registration when you’re natural learning but still want/have to jump through the hoops. I might give one on tutoring your own child one year.
Do you require a consultation? Here is where I mention how much I charge.
Every person I work with is coming from a different place financially and I respect that. I would prefer we come to an arrangement where we are both happy. Therefore, you can ‘pay according to means’ or according to my hourly rate ($60-80/hr). I prefer you to choose which method of payment that fits you best. I don’t want to know your private financial situation, so you pick.
The amount needs to feel to you like you haven’t ‘under’ or ‘over’ paid me. If we saw each other at a home ed meetup we can just hang out and chill and you wouldn’t feel super awkward. I worked, you paid, now we’re even.
Yes I help with registration plans too, but it’s a bespoke plan that you own and I need your input to make it fit.
Payment is via a direct bank transfer (email or pm me and I’ll give you the deets) or Paypal. I want to get to the part where I’m helping you so you can get back to making things easier for your child. Payment is after the consultation.
Before we go
If you have worked with me and you want to write a testimonial, thank you! Please email them to support [at] tutoryourownchild [dot] com anytime and I’ll upload them onto the site. You can also leave a review on my Facebook page. You can also write to me about how you tutor your own child, even if you’ve never had a consultation.