Practical tips for parents looking to find the right tutors for your child’s academic needs.
As parents, we want the best of everything for our children. There is little that most of us won’t give up in order to see that our children succeed.
Why then, in this age of enlightenment, is it so hard for us to see our own children struggle.
Seeing our children fail, and not being able to help them, is a blow to our own self worth, one that many of us as parents have difficulty accepting.
Often, it isn’t until we receive a recommendation from the school guidance counselor, or our child’s teacher, that we are even willing to accept that our child’s excessive homework drama may be due to more than just a simple dislike of the subject. Perhaps the frustration is due more with an inability to understand and is really a call for help.
It could be time to consider a professional tutor for your child if he or she:
- Cannot grasp a subject
- Struggles to understand concepts
- Has trouble planning for or carrying out projects
- Cannot study effectively for tests
- Is excessively anxious about schoolwork
- Cannot complete homework without rigorous supervision
Find a local tutor today with WyzAnt.com, currently with the largest network of certified tutors and private instructors nationwide in all academic subjects, test preparation, musical instruments, foreign languages, computers, etc.
What Kind Of Tutor Does My Child Need?
There are a variety of different ways that your child can receive the extra help they need to succeed in school. The kinds of tutors available are as individual as the needs of your child, the flexibility of your budget, and your family’s schedule. Your choice should be based on the help that your child needs and the supervision they require. The right tutor will adapt lessons to cater to your child’s strengths whether he is an auditory learner (learns best by listening), visual learner (learns best through sight) or a kinesthetic learner (learns best through experience). This can be determined after a meeting with your schools guidance counselor and answering a few questions about your child and their capabilities.
How Can I Find the Right Tutor for My Child?
Your child’s school can provide recommendations for Tutoring Centers or services, or may have names of trusted, qualified, private tutors on file for parents to make use of. But how do you know which will be the best choice for your individual child?
The most common choice, and perhaps the most beneficial for children with alternate learning styles, a private tutor can meet one on one with your child in your home or another location and address the needs specific to your child. These tutors can often tailor a schedule and individualized plan to suit your child as well as encourage and challenge him or her in ways that might not be possible in a classroom setting.
Commercial Tutoring Centers
These are companies that employ tutors, often teachers or former teachers, with a variety of backgrounds and specialties. They often work with standardized materials designed to complement what is being taught in the public school classroom, many offer diagnostic testing to determine your student’s needs and are able to develop a plan based on that information.
A good option if you cannot find a tutor in your area, or if you or your child have a schedule that is too erratic to attend a center service, online tutoring may provide the help and flexibility you need. These services are often offered in a chat session format or through video conferencing and can be convenient if your child requires help for math or reading, which is what the majority offer, but are not as useful if your child struggles with another subject, such as science or history. For assistance in those subjects, a person to person tutor may be a better choice.
Tutoring Software or Interactive Websites
There are many programs and web based services that range in price from free to a modest monthly service charge for licensing or access to their database. These can be useful if your child loves computers, is motivated to learn and can work independently without supervision. Often presented in game format, they can help your child grasp a difficult subject in a way that seems more like playing than learning. However, if your child is not well self regulated, they will struggle to achieve mastery through these devices, or even staying on task and you may find yourself looking at other options.
What Should I Ask Before Hiring A Tutor?
So, you’ve talked with your child’s teachers, asked fellow parents for recommendations, crunched the numbers and have decided that a real live, in-person tutor is what you need. What should you ask before you trust this person with the educational well being of your child?
Care.com has a list of suggested questions to ask before agreeing to a trial with a new tutor to ensure that the person you choose is concerned with your child’s success and not merely collecting a paycheck.
- What kind of academic training do you have in the subject you are tutoring?
- Have you tutored before? For how long? For How many children?
- Do you have experience working with different learning styles?
- How would you help my child with the specific subject in which he is struggling?
- What materials will you bring with you? What will I be expected to supply?
- What is your availability? Do you have your own transportation?
- What kind of commitment can you make to my child?
Based on your own need, the list may be longer and may contain some very specific concerns regarding any special challenges that your child may have, but the above list gives a good place to start.
Once you’ve winnowed down the list of potential candidates, it’s time to bring your child in. In order for a tutor to be successful, it is absolutely essential that they have a rapport with your child and be able to communicate the subject matter effectively on a child’s level. Without a good working relationship, your child will benefit nothing from the attempt and remain frustrated. An ideal tutor is not only your child’s supplemental instructor, but will also provide encouragement and support to help your child get beyond whatever hurdles they are facing and on to academic success. A good tutor will work to not only improve your child’s grades, but will help to build their sense of self worth as they gain mastery over their studies.
How Long Will My Child Need Tutoring?
Ideally, a tutoring contract should be limited. It is the tutor’s job to ensure that your child learns to approach their studies in a way that honors their learning style and allows them to learn effectively and independently. A good tutor will seek to make themselves obsolete. According to a recent nationwide poll of private tutors, it just takes as little as 8 hours of one-on-one tutoring to improve a full letter grade.
A good tutor should give your child the confidence to tackle the most challenging subject matter with the new tools and confidence that they have acquired. If chosen carefully, a tutor can teach your child about more than good study habits and how to diagram a sentence.
A good tutor can turn “I can’t do this!” into “I can.” And that lesson will take your child far beyond the walls of the classroom and into an adulthood bright with promise. A competent tutor will be worth their fee and more.
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For more information on choosing a qualified tutor for children with different learning needs, check with the National Center for Learning Disabilities at www.NCLD.org.