Practice Often and for a Short Period of Time

A child has to learn they best way to learn for themselves. A great place to start is with short but frequent and short study periods.

Many studies have shown that this approach works better then less frequent and longer sessions.

In addition to this, I suggest that frequent switching between subjects also helps with retention and has the side effect of keeping the child in question awake!

For example during a weekend or holiday, a great place to start would be something like this agenda:


9AM: Maths

10AM: English

11AM: History

1PM: Science

2PM: Modern Languages (e.g. German / Spanish)

3PM: Geography or ICT

Get in Contact

If you need help identifying specific maths topics which need help, or if you need further help or advice with study planning please get in contact:

The Year Long Intensive Preparation for the 11+ Starts Here

Time of Writing: August 2020.

Planning, discipline, strategy and tactics are all required to make the most of Year 5 and the summer holiday leading up to the 11+ exams which usually take place each September in the first or second week back to school.

My top advice is to combine past papers you can download, papers you can buy, and short one-page or ten-minute tests.

Doing exam paper practice is useful to help a child learn how long they have and how to pace themselves during the exam.

Doing papers you can buy is useful, but I would advise to photocopy them for your own use so your child can practice papers more than once.

Short one-page or ten-minute tests are useful to target specific areas that need help – e.g. ratio & proportion.

Finally, there’s online tuition which can help fix any gaps and give the child more confidence going into the exam.

Get in Contact

If your child needs help in general or with specific topics please get in contact:

What’s the best way to keep up with Maths over the holidays?

Whether you’re staying at home or heading off somewhere on holiday, there are easy ways to keep up with Maths

It’s never easy persuading a child to get on with some maths whether you’re at home or away on holiday or with relatives.

The first and most important thing to do is manage expectation. Don’t spring a ten-minute maths paper on your child unexpectedly. Instead, agree and plan up front what will be done and when.

It is FAR BETTER to do a little each day than a lot once a week.

In that respect the ten-minute maths books are very useful – as are freely available maths worksheets such as Ninja Maths and Maths is Fun.

TRY THIS: Have a chat with your child making it clear that a reward such as screen-time can only happen once they’ve shown you a completed worksheet (e.g. from Ninja Maths).

Make it clear that they should do this every day – maybe with the exception of Sunday 😉

If you plan to have a mock exam at home, it is vitally important that you discuss this in advance with your child and agree a date and time in advance.

It is also important to make it clear that the marking process will take place after the mock-exam at which point the child is expected to re-try any questions which they did not answer correctly.

Also worth noting that bribery really works, so relating screen-time or some other reward works well up to a certain age.

If all this seems tough – remember this quote:

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

Attributed to Eppie Lederer, the woman who wrote under the “Ann Landers” pseudonym in 1975.

Need Help?

Contact the Tutor Dragon for an initial free online tutorial:

The Tutor Dragon Notepad & Stylus

The 52 page Tutor Dragon notepad is now available and free when you sign-up for your first paid tutorial.

The notepad contains pages which are alternately lined, squared and blank.

Also, we recognise that you many not always want your child using your stylus, so we’re happy to also include a Tutor Dragon stylus which is also a pen (black ink):

Contact us now for a free introductory session.

What to do over the summer holiday before starting Secondary School

In the UK the beginning of Secondary School is Year 7 when children are typically 11 years old. Here are a few ideas on how to prepare over the summer holiday before starting.

Read a lot

A visit online or to your favourite book store is useful to start reading books which are a notch more difficult than what your child may have been used to. Of extra value are non-fiction books such as encyclopaedias covering subjects such as Geography and History.

Audio Books

Following on from the point above, listening to audio books (fiction and non-fiction) aimed at early teens is a useful way to help increase vocabulary and the complexity of sentence structure.


Yes I hate to say, but buying a few Year 7 / KS3 workbooks is a good idea – not to finish but at least to have a go and to understand some of the key concepts especially in Maths. Always useful is to start working on more complex algebra and geometry.


It almost doesn’t matter what a child wants to write about, but it is worth a child spending a good amount of time every week over the summer holiday writing about anything. It’s useful to mix this 50/50 writing by hand and writing on a computer. This is also a useful time to build vocabulary and practice more complex sentence structures.

Get Organised

Compared to Primary School there’ll be a lot more work at school and home work, so you’ll need to figure our what works best for your child in terms of keeping track of everything. I’m a fan of using post-it notes on the wall above a child’s desk to keep track of Mon-Fri and also Sat & Sun for the homework schedule. A whiteboard is also a great idea which enables the child to draw out their own organisation.

How can I encourage my child to do their homework well?

At times it’s not easy to get your son or daughter to do all their homework on time and to a good level of quality. Here are some ideas:

Don’t shout

Don’t shout if they don’t understand something. There can be many reasons to shout but this isn’t one of them. No matter how loud you should it won’t help a child understand something, in fact it will just close up their brain.

Get help from a teacher

If your son is unable to do their homework, make sure they go to the teacher and ask for help. Try calling up the teacher a couple of days later to see if it has happened and if it hasn’t, it’s over to you to arrange it.

Work it out at home

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the questions. If your daughter is trying to work out a percentage, try working out the answer on a calculator and see if they can get to that answer, or try googling how to work out this problem. If you do it together it’s an intellectual and emotional win for both of you.

Think long term

A great way to give rewards to your child is not on every piece of homework or on every test, but at the end of each half-term results. Reward good results at the end of a half-term and issue reasonable consequences if grades have slipped. Consequences should always be discussed in advance so they’re not a sudden shock for the child. A popular consequence is loss of the Xbox or screen time for a month.

This allows for the occasional mistake or poor results in a test and puts focus on the overall progression.

Email the Tutor Dragon for advice

I’m happy to answer emails when I get time so please feel free to email me with any questions regarding homework, performance and rewards & consequences.

The power of drawing during a tutorial

When a child draws on their touch-screen their mind lights up connecting visuals with maths and understanding.

More useful even than writing on paper, a drawing on a touch-screen can be erased and redrawn lots of times with clarity.

If a child makes a mistake it is easy for the tutor to draw over it, correct it, then rub it out and ask the child to redraw and explain it as they go.

I have observed many times that by drawing a fraction, a percentage or a chart makes a huge difference in the child’s ability to not only understand a concept but to also recall it later.

Tutor Dragon Addition A4 Poster to Print at Home

Click on the image for a PDF of the Tutor Dragon Addition A4 sheet to print and stick up on your child’s wall

Why is this addition PDF useful?

This simple A4 PDF does not follow the normal pattern of 1×1=1, 2×1=2 etc.

Instead it uses a randomised approach which is a significantly better way for a child to improve numeracy.

Going from 3×8=24 to 9×6=54 works better than 5×6=30 and 6×6=36.

A child should be able to recite the times table in their heads faster and faster as they approach the age of 11 in preparedness to go to Secondary School.

Online maths tutorials start in Hong Kong

Very pleased to announce we’re starting online maths tutorials with clients in Hong Kong.

Sessions are run out of London starting at 6AM London time which is currently 1PM in Hong Kong.

We accept payment in HKD via a PayPal link.

Please get in contact if you are interested in booking a free introductory session, which will help check the technology works for you.

As a reminder, you need a touch-screen device like an iPad or laptop with a touch screen, and a stylus which is easier to use than trying to do maths with your finger.

The benefits to a child of studying in a noisy environment

Although noise in the classroom is a negative factor for learning, some level of noise and/or chaos in the home environment can be healthy.

We are not suggesting that constant noise and chaos at home are desirable, but anecdotal evidence suggests that when a child gets used to dealing with noise and unexpected events at home – e.g. someone at the front door or a crying younger sibling, it can help with a child’s ability to stay focussed during study.

This in turn can help a child during SAT’s, exams and even in a noisy classroom.


If a child can ONLY study and complete test papers in the silence and solitude of their room, this may not translate to good results in a real exam situation if the child has not built up some immunity from surrounding noise and unexpected events.