A former New Ipswich teacher has started up a tutoring business, aimed at helping parents who may be overwhelmed by trying to assist or home-teach their children in the COVID-19 age.
Diane Slyman of New Ipswich has been retired from teaching since 2015, but she said she knows that her skills are in high demand at the moment. She put her name in as a possible substitute in the Mascenic Regional School District, but said she also felt there was something she had to offer individual students and parents who were struggling with the current schooling models, many of which only have students interacting in-person with their teachers a few times a week.
“Being so aware of what’s going on right now with remote learning and hybrid learning, I knew this was an opportunity to come alongside parents and help. This is a hard thing. Parents aren’t used to homeschooling, or this hybrid model,” Slyman said.
Slyman started LessonUp, a tutoring service where she offers either in-person or virtual one-on-one tutoring, mainly aimed at elementary school students, which was the grade levels she had in her own teaching days. She’s already had parents sign on to have her assist their students in the core subjects of reading, spelling, phonics and math.
Lisa Papastefanou of Jaffrey said her two sons, aged 6 and 9, will be starting tutoring services with Slyman next week. Papastefanou said she decided to homeschool both her children this year, due to COVID-19. And though she was raised in a homeschool household, and has homeschooled one of her sons before, she said she welcomed the extra help and perspective that can be offered by an outside teacher.
“Just that motivation of an outside person offering encouragement and an outside perspective, I know is helpful,” Papastefanou said. “When I was homeschooled, I know I would have benefited from it. It’s just someone who can fill in the gaps. You have to know what are your own weaknesses and strengths.”
She said she’s also aware that with homeschooling it can be beneficial for her children to be exposed to other perspectives than her own.
“I can see them challenging themselves more with someone else. He wants to rise to the occasion. It’s a good incentive,” Papastefanou said.
Slyman said that’s her main goal. She said she doesn’t anticipate parents using tutoring services long-term, but to help students get over problem spots, or to help a student in an area where parents aren’t confident in their own skills.
“The current situation, it’s creating quite a bit of stress. As a teacher, I used to hear every day, ‘Why will they do it for you, and not for me?’ Well, because I’m a teacher, and you’re mom. It’s different. My main goal is to instill confidence, not only in students, but in parents,” Slyman said.