When a child begins to struggle academically, the problem may be out of a parent’s scope of expertise. This may be the time to consider a tutor
to help a student over the rough patch. How do you know which tutor will be able to offer the most help to your child? Start by asking these 10 questions before determining which professional will meet your child’s specific needs best.
Which subject is causing the most difficulty?
Before considering a tutor for your child, it is important to identify the specific areas in which your child needs help. This typically involves a conference with the teacher
to determine which subjects are causing your child the most difficulty. Reading
should be evaluated first, since reading troubles can cross into other subjects as well. Math
and science are also common subjects requiring tutoring, according to Education News Colorado
Does my child face organizational or academic challenges?
For some students, school issues are pointedly academic in nature, such as the child who is struggling with reading or sums. However, if you notice your child is performing well on tests, but showing more difficulty with homework, the cause of the problem could be more organizational than academic. Does your child have trouble keeping track of assignments? Does he complete assignments but fail to turn them in? Organizational issues
may require a different type of tutoring than academic problems.
Is the tutor trained to work with children with learning disabilities?
If your child has a learning disability
, such as dyslexia
or attention deficit disorder
(ADD), you need to find a tutor who specializes in helping children with similar issues, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities
. These disabilities require a set of coping mechanisms to help a child overcome the deficit. Tutors should have a bag of tricks to use to help these children stay focused during tutoring sessions, as well as tools the child can use to make learning easier and more successful.
Is test preparation the largest obstacle my child faces?
Some children do just fine academically – until the test is handed out to them. These students freeze up in a testing environment for a variety of reasons. If your child appears to suffer from test anxiety or consistently performs poorly on tests even after learning the material, you need to find a tutor specifically trained for this problem. Tutors can give students a series of strategies to use at test time to minimize anxiety and recall important facts.
What outcome do you expect from the tutor?
Before you begin working with any tutor, it is important to have a precise list of your expectations for the tutoring process, according to Reading Rockets
. Are you expecting the tutor to help your child raise his grade, turn in homework assignments or get a better grip on specific material? No matter what your objective might be, it is important to clarify that to the tutor from the beginning of the relationship. This ensures the expectations are properly met.
What sort of background does the tutor have?
Tutors may sport a wide range of backgrounds, from working professionals in the specific field to retired educators. While someone who works in the field may have a good applicable knowledge of the topic, it is uncertain whether this individual could accurately communicate that knowledge to a student. Tutors with a background in education may have a wider arsenal of resources from which to draw.
What type of environment does the tutor use for sessions?
Tutors may work in a wide range of environments, from group lessons in a tutoring center to private lessons right in your home, according to Education.com
. It is important to find an environment that is comfortable for your child is you want to reap the full value from your tutoring sessions. If your child is relatively shy and withdrawn, private lessons might be more valuable. If your child prefers an environment with other students, the tutoring center approach might be the better choice.
How often will the tutor meet with your child?
Length and frequency of sessions should also be based on your child’s personal preferences. Some children are simply unable to focus after a long day at school, which is why morning sessions, or even sessions during the school day, might be a better choice. Also, consider the length of the session – some kids can remain focused for an hour or even two, while other students may perform better in shorter, more frequent sessions.
Will the tutor provide regular progress reports to you?
Once you hire a tutor to instruct your child, it is important to track the progress your child makes. In addition to receiving regular reports from the tutor, you may also ask your child’s teacher to provide regular reports on how the tutoring sessions are benefitting your child in the classroom.
Is the teacher or school administrator familiar with the tutor?
Finally, once you choose a tutor for your child, check with the school or your child’s teacher to find out if they are familiar with the person. Good tutors tend to have stellar reputations in their communities, so you can use your resources to determine whether the professional you choose will be able to provide your child the greatest possible benefit.
Tutors sometimes become a necessary part of the academic experience for struggling students. By taking the time to choose the best tutor for your child’s needs, you can rest assured your child will get the greatest benefit from his tutoring experience.