For the Mackay family, attending Scholars during the summer is a not a question—it’s the norm. Faith, the oldest of two daughters initially enrolled at Scholars four years ago for summer math tutoring when she began experiencing challenges with her math homework.
Faith was struggling with math and couldn’t grasp the methods her teacher was using at school. Her father, James, found himself in a situation faced by many parents; he was able to teach Faith how to solve the math problems, but his approach was different than the way she was being taught at school.
“The way they were teaching her math—my wife and I couldn’t figure it out. Of course, I know how to do math, but I didn’t know how to explain it to my daughter the way they were being taught.”
They thought it best to seek the help of a certified tutoring Centre to help their daughter grasp the current curriculum. “We started with an assessment and evaluation, and her results weren’t great. We enrolled her twice a week from the start,” said James, when describing the start of their journey with Scholars.
A long-standing Scholars student and well into her high school journey, thanks to summer math tutoring, Faith now excels in her mathematics courses. Once Faith initially caught up with her classroom material and was able to stay on task, the Mackay family continued to make tutoring a weekly priority to ensure that she didn’t fall behind again. They want her to be well prepared for any challenge, and staying ahead of her grade-level material helps her do this.
Seeing Faith’s success, The Mackay family enrolled Hope, Faith’s little sister, with Scholars. When asked about her experience with Scholars, she explains: “I like tutoring because it helps me with school a lot. I’m in seventh grade, but I’m learning eighth grade stuff. At school, my class is still learning stuff from sixth grade, so I’m pretty much two grade levels above most of my friends!” Both the girls are weekly attendees at the Centre throughout the year, and that doesn’t stop come summertime.
Like any Canadian family, the Mackay’s have a jam-packed and busy summer schedule. Both parents work full-time throughout the year and make the best of the summer as a family, but they still keep education and summer tutoring a priority in their daughter’s lives. When asked what summer in the Mackay family looks like, James responds: “We do the same thing every other family does in the summer, but whether we’re on vacation, camping, or out of town, we still commit to tutoring on a regular basis.”
The flexible scheduling format at Scholars is a bonus for busy families like the Mackay searching for summer math tutoring. “Finding time for tutoring during the summer is not an inconvenience. If we’re away and the girls miss one week of tutoring, the next week they do two sessions to make up for their missed week. There’s no excuse not to—it’s easy.”
“Children have at least thirty-five hours of education in just one week during the school year. In the summer, it just stops. From thirty-five hours to zero. Multiply that by two months and we’re finding a dangerous deficit in children’s ability to retain the information they’ve learned during the school year. As a father, I find the same stress and pressure over the summer for my kids. But I know it’s crucial for my kids do some sort of summer learning,” says Ian Macdonald, owner of Scholars Education Centre in Barrie.
“A friend of mine teaches music lessons, and in the summer, the students drop off. They stop. When the kids come back, they don’t know what they knew in June. It’s a huge step back. It’s the same with school; if you stop for two months, you regress. If you don’t do math for two months, you don’t remember it,” explains James. Whether the focus is music, sports, or school, it takes time and practice to continue growing and learning. Suddenly stopping this practice for two months equates to a natural regression.
The benefits of summer tutoring were especially crucial when Faith was preparing for ninth grade. James was concerned about her transition to tougher course material. “High school is a big shift if you don’t know math going into high school. I know for Faith it was a huge shock. Without continuing with summer math tutoring, it would have been disastrous,” says James.
There’s no argument that students need downtime or a break—just like everyone else. For parents seeking a balance in their child’s life, a few hours of summer math tutoring each week can provide a safety net to prevent any learning regression during the summer break. It can also make the back-to-school transition easier in September.
When asked how she feels about returning to school after a summer of regular tutoring, Hope smiles and says, “It’s great, I know more than all my class.”