For many parents, choosing a tutor can be a difficult and stressful process, complete with resistant child, unfulfilled expectations, and wasted money. With school in full gear, one can almost hear the words “I don’t want to do my homework!” Fear not parents, because chances are, there is a tutor out there that can help make a difference in your child’s school success. A tutor can help spark the imagination of a kindergartner or help a teenager work through that pesky geometry problem. The right tutor can help eliminate student and family stress and help develop a self-sufficient life long learner. Even if your child does well in school, a little extra help under the supervision of a professional can ensure your child stays ahead in school and keeps them challenged.
Keep in mind there are many types of educational resources. Understanding what your child’s learning difficulties are will ensure you choose the right program. Consider speaking to your child’s teacher to see what they feel is the best course of action. A visit to your child’s pediatrician can help you determine or eliminate any learning disability concerns. They also may be able to help you categorize the type of help your child needs. Here are a few of the categories:
- Foundational Learning: Mastering basic skills and concepts.
- Cognitive Learning: Mastering the techniques of learning.
- Life Skills Development Program: Creating a self-sufficient and motivated learner.
- Enrichment: Continuing the learning process to stay ahead.
- Homework Help: Supplemental help to eliminate homework hassles and prepare for tests.
Access to a tutor or tutoring program is varied too. Here are a few options available to you.
- Online (This is the latest innovation in tutoring. The number of programs are limited but it is really catching on with students and busy families).
Make sure to ask the tutor or educational professional the following questions:
- What techniques or methods do they use?
- Is there an assessment?
- Is it one-on-one or group tutoring?
- How often do you meet?
- Where do you meet?
- Do you need to purchase courseware or supplies?
- How much does it cost?
- Is there an up front fee and hourly fee?
- How long will it take to fix the problem?
- Is there a guarantee?
- Do we need to sign a contract?
- What type of updates and reports will we receive?
- What are the teacher’s credentials?
Ask about training, experience, and references and ask to sit in on a tutoring session. Make sure to take your child along to visit the teacher or center because a child that is included in the process will be more open to accepting the help.
Be especially concerned if a tutor or tutoring center requests that you prepay for months up front. You will have no recourse should you be dissatisfied. Another red flag are programs that claim they can help you determine if your child has any learning disabilities and then provides you with a program that they say will eliminate the problem. These programs can be into the thousands of dollars. Leave that to your doctor and the learning program to teachers.
As you can see, selecting the right program and professional to help your child may require a little homework on your part. But making the right choice now will make all the difference in the choices and success your child has in his or her educational career.