Home tutors speak at Mount Isa School of the Air's forum

TAKING A BREAK: Tutors have lunch together during the first day of the home tutor forum in the Overlander Function Room. Photo: Chris Burns.
TAKING A BREAK: Tutors have lunch together during the first day of the home tutor forum in the Overlander Function Room. Photo: Chris Burns.

HOME tutors explain the rewards and the challenges of teaching their own children in remote locations. 

Catherine Woodhouse, who lives 100 kms from Julia Creek, said she had two children that she tutored, but she was fairly new to doing it. Her daughter Hayley, five, started prep this year. Her daughter Eliza is in e-kindy.

“It’s hard finding a balance between being a mum and being a home tutor,” Mrs Woodhouse said. 

“But the rewards are far greater than the challenges.

“The rewards are seeing the smile on their faces when they understand what you teach them. They call it the lightbulb moment. They just get it. 

“Seeing Hayley starting to read and recollect words, that’s amazing.” 

Children's book author Ian McIntosh signs a copy of a book for Catherine Woodhouse and her tired daughter Claire, 2. Photo: Chris Burns.

Children's book author Ian McIntosh signs a copy of a book for Catherine Woodhouse and her tired daughter Claire, 2. Photo: Chris Burns.

Mrs Woodhouse travelled about 350 kilometres to attend the home tutor forum held in Mount Isa’s Overlander Hotel Function Room last week. The two day forum was structured into a day of English topics and cyber safety while the other day focused on science and math. 

While she learned more about being a home tutor, her children were excited to be spending time at the Mount Isa School of the Air. About 90 home tutors attended the forum. 

Among these was Susan Bellingham, who is based in Richmond. Her daughter Amy had won a writing competition last year which had been judged by children’s book author Ian McIntosh, who spoke at the forum. 

Amy won by writing a story about her life. “She never liked writing,” Mrs Bellingham said. 

“That’s why we did it, it is an extra to get some motivation. That gave her a lot of confidence.” She still did not have the passion of writing constantly. “She likes to have a purpose to write.” 

Mrs Bellingham had tutored three children over 14 years. 

The key to tutoring was having patience. 

“There’s a lot of frustrations but when it’s all done it’s one of the most privileged challenges I’ve had in my life.” 

Mount Isa School of the Air deputy principal Janeen Fricke said there were home tutors from WA, NT, Birdsville, the Gulf and as far east as Hughenden that attended. The forum aimed to supply professional development to parents and governesses.