Whether your child is lost in a haze of elementary grammar rules, sinking fast in a jumble of Newton’s laws in middle school, or lost in the details of an AP biology class, you need help quickly, before your child falls way behind the class and never recovers. So, what exactly can you do….now?
Many frustrated parents solve this problem by hiring a tutor. However, each family has unique needs, and tutors have many degrees of know-how and caring. So it is important to know what you want, then thoroughly investigate the skill, experience, commitment and personality of the tutor.
1. Know your goals
Ask yourself or your child’s teacher:
What level of help do we need? Does my child need homework help, intensive remediation, or something in between?
What areas do we want to see the tutor improve: better scores in one subject (chemistry, geometry); improved general skills (math, reading, science); study skills; motivation?
What do I know about my child’s learning style? Does he learn best by reading, listening, moving, touching? Does he do better with men or women? Does he need lots of nurturing or a firm hand? What motivates and interests him?
How much time and money can you devote to tutoring? Don’t skimp, but be honest with yourself before you start.
2. Know your options
Call your child’s school counselor or teacher and share your concern. Good counselors will have met with your child and should have files on her progress throughout her school career, her scores on standardized tests, and notes on possible personality problems. Most schools have a list of registered tutors on file in the counseling office. Often it’s in the form of resumes or fliers. Many times these are posted in a book for parents to look over before making a choice. Or schools may post them on a bulletin board for parents and students.
Check out the local paper. Many good tutors list their credentials there.
Ask friends and neighbors for ideas. Retired or “stay-at-home-parent” teachers may be willing to help out. Make sure they know the subject matter you need.
Call your local branch of a learning center like Momentum Learning. Ask if your child fits our profile.