Supporting my children’s learning is really important to me and over the years I have tried lots of different things that would help my children meet their potential. Coming from a secondary teaching background I understand the importance of regular study and the little and often approach. Chloe had a tutor for Maths in Year 11 as she asked for some extra support for her GCSE Maths revision, and we found a great tutor who lived locally and he was able to give Chloe the additional GCSE Maths revision that she wanted. Over the years we have used a number of different approaches including a personal tutor, online tutoring and now we are giving a virtual tutor a go in the form of ‘Tutor In A Box’.
Tutor In A Box is the brainchild of Sophie Parker, an award-winning Maths tutor based in Warwickshire. Sophie saw a huge need for extra support for GCSE Maths revision but understood that private tuition may not always be the best solution. Hence, Tutor In A Box was born! As a former teacher and mum to teenagers I loved the concept. My son is currently in year 10 and working towards GCSE Maths and therefore I was keen to investigate the Tutor In A Box subscription service and see how it compares against other approaches.
Tutor In A Box is aimed at those students hoping for a grade 4, 5 or 6. Therefore it is designed especially for those on the borderline of the old C grade. Suitable from as early as year 9 through to GCSE final year, Tutor In A Box can be used as a teaching aid or revision aid, providing students freedom to study wherever, whenever. Each box is aligned to a topic area in the specification and Dylan opted for a box on probability and a second box on angles. The box arrived very quickly and are well designed. Each box consisted of some motivational cards, the equipment needed for the session, including pencils and geometry sets, the worksheets and of course the answers!
The contents are well packaged and thoughtfully presented which is ideal for GCSE students. The workpack is printed in different colours and yellow information is designed for parents whereas the other section is aimed at the student.
This Easter I have ensured that Dylan started the revision process, he has mocks coming up in the summer term but I also know that he needs to start developing good study habits. What quickly became apparent for Dylan is that he had no idea of how to revise or what to do. Like many 15 year olds he needs structure and tangible things to do rather than ‘the go study approach’. The Tutor In A Box complements this as it provides structure and explanations. There are a few tasks to complete to ensure that the topic is understood. There are then some questions to demonstrate understanding. This suits how he is studying, it gives him a focus and logical approach to each topic. He is methodical and likes to work through tasks. Many teenagers don’t know how to study and this certainly helps with that.
Dylan worked through the boxes and reported back that he thought they explained the topic areas well, he also got all the questions right when completing the questions. I would say that he is working at a higher level and it would be great to see the boxes expanded to challenge higher ability students in addition to the ‘middle ground’.
On a practical level, it would also be great to see the workbooks developed to allow more space for writing answers and also a greater range of questions including those that you would expect to see in the Maths GCSE paper. I like workbooks that are more comprehensive, however, that said Dylan definitely felt more confident on the topic area after completing the box. The boxes come with the physical things needed to aid understanding. For example, the probability box came with dice that help explain probability. Likewise, the angles box had pipe cleaners that helped the students explore angles. This is especially powerful for those kinesthetic learners who need to be doing something in order to understand the objective. This is much like you would expect to find in a classroom Maths lesson and this approach will definitely support middle ability teenagers.
The concept is great and I like how the topics are explained to parents and that there are ways for the parent to get involved with the Maths GCSE revision as parents often wonder how they can best help their teenager with revision and study. This bridges that gap and helps parents understand and work with their child to help them meet their potential.
The Tutor In A Box costs £29.99 and there are currently 10 topic boxes available. Do pop over to Tutor In A Box to discover more and you can also read more I have written on revision including when to start revision for GCSE’s.