18 Jan

Where To Start if Student is Lost

I’ve just started with a grade 3 student. We are doing 1 hour twice per week in order to cover gaps as well as school work. It is quite hard at the beginning to decide where to start as he is very intelligent but is lacking so much knowledge. He can’t do anything besides addition. His class is not following a textbook so it can be a little hard to know what to work on or what direction to take.


Firstly, just because his class isn’t following the textbook doesn’t mean that you can’t. A textbook can really help create structure within tutorials. If you do follow his textbook, then he will be “in the know” when they do cover that material in class. This usually gives students great confidence when that topic is covered since they already know the work – before their peers. When it is done at school it will also serve as a natural revision for him and instil the concepts further. Given that your student is so far behind, such an ego-boost could really jolt him in the right direction.

If he is so far behind at such a young age then it is likely that he hasn’t developed his logical thinking skills in general. Any work you do will help in this regard.

This student clearly has bigger problems than worrying about the structure of his syllabus. At the end of the day maths is still maths, in any language, in any syllabus. It is probably better to focus on his basic arithmetic and logical thinking skills. Once these develop tutoring him will be a lot easier and he will be able to learn at a much faster rate. Just be careful not to neglect school work. School work should take priority since it affects him on a daily basis and we want him feeling confident as soon as possible. Obviously, tutoring content which would support current class work is also a good idea.

With 2 hours per week, being only in year 3, he should be well ahead of his class in 3-6 months, assuming a good attitude and decent work ethic. Make sure to set some homework between tutorials so that he gets a chance to practice independently of you.

Check out our year 3 maths page – there is some good info there in regard to what students should know at this age.

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