Trying to find the right tutor for your child can be a very stressful experience, especially if your child is embarrassed about the idea of extra help, or your budget is tight. But when your child is falling behind in school, frustrated parents everywhere need a guide to choose the best tutor for their family’s needs.
The first step when determining what type of tutor your child needs is often contacting your child’s teacher. Teachers can only do so much with the time they are given, and they will usually be eager to help you determine what type of tutor your child needs, and how often. For instance, will the tutor be short- or long-term? Will the tutor be for a specific subject or a range? There are many different types of tutors, and each one can offer your child different end results.
What is it: Remedial sessions typically focus on filling gaps in core subjects, often after a bad report card arrives on your desk. These tutoring sessions are to get your child’s skills up to grade level. Once sessions start, and your child’s self-esteem improves, you can move into other sessions to enhance the skills they have just learned.
When you should try it: If your child is struggling in core subjects or grade-level skills that are affecting their ability to complete basic work.
Where to find it: Try a learning center, private tutor or online tutoring program.
What is it: These sessions are typically devoted to helping students who work at grade level, but need help doing so. Maybe it’s a new school, demanding teacher or something else that is affecting your child’s ability to complete their work. In addition to the necessary grade-level skills, these sessions also include organization and time management skills.
When you should try it: If your child has ADHD, executive functioning issues or gets overwhelmed with changes in routine (sometimes after a move).
Where to find it: Private tutors or educational therapists
What is it: The SAT/ACT’s are a huge stressor for high school aged students trying to get into the college of their choice. These tutoring sessions tend to alleviate test-tasking anxiety in addition to specifics about the test.
When you should try it: If you child has test anxiety or doesn’t perform well on exams.
Where to find it: Learning centers or online-test prep programs
What is it: These sessions provide activities that enrich your child’s existing knowledge in specific areas. If it’s clear that your child is performing well, and may even be bored, enrichment is a great option to challenge your child and accelerate skills development in certain subjects.
When you should try it: If your child complains of boredom in school, whether in certain subjects or across the board.
Where you can find it: Private tutors and learning centers
Once you have determined which type of tutoring your child needs, there are some important questions to ask your tutor to ensure they will mesh well with your child and your family. An important part of tutoring isn’t just the tutor’s skill in a subject – it’s their ability to connect with your child and make him or her excited about learning. Keep in mind that a tutor who appears perfect on paper may not work well with your child, and that’s okay.
- What type of teaching experience do you have?
- How much time will you need to prepare lessons?
- How will you get a sense of what my child needs?
- How do you measure progress? And how will you determine when my child no longer needs tutoring?
- How do you motivate students?
- Can you tell me about your teaching philosophy?
- Will you work with my child’s teachers?
- What’s your availability?
- How much does each session cost?
- And finally, what do you need from me during this process?
The answers to these questions depend on what works best for you, your child and the rest of your family. As a general rule of thumb, though, include your child in these interviews if you can. After all, this process is all about him or her, and making sure they feel comfortable and start to love learning.