As an educator and a tutor myself, it has always been a passion of mine to help students do well academically. Tutors can be extremely helpful with everything from study skills to test preparation, but are they always necessary? Before you run out and hire a tutor, here are some tips to help you decide whether or not your child will benefit.
Your Child Typically Completes Assignments:
A tutor can be helpful when your child is struggling with assignments, but is still attempting to complete them. A tutor shouldn’t be someone who sits with your child and forces them to complete their work. If your child isn’t completing assignments, it’s best to find out what is going on. Are they having difficulty understanding the material? Are they disorganized and forgetting to write down assignments? Have they become defiant? These are all areas that should be explored before calling a tutor.
Your Child Has a Specific Target:
If you are in search of someone to help your child, you will want to find out what your child’s specific goals might be. Your child might want to practice for a specific test like the SAT or ACT and a tutor can help with study strategies. If your child needs help organizing notes or learning how to write an essay (more tips on college essay writing here), a tutor can be an invaluable resource. Most tutors will not edit papers or simply do the work for your child. If your child needs more of a “study buddy” engage the help of a local high school or college student. Many would be more than happy to do some peer to peer work sessions for a much smaller fee.
It’s Fairly Early in the School Year or Semester:
If your child is just beginning to have difficulty, I cannot stress how important it is that you do not wait to get help. Many parents want to give the child the opportunity to “catch up” which can prove counterproductive. The result is usually that the child falls even further behind in the subject, which makes it more difficult to catch up. This can cause the child to lose self-confidence in his or her ability to learn the material. Enlisting the help of a tutor for a session or two can to get the student on the right track quickly. Very often, they only need a few sessions to get back on track and may not need one at all for the rest of the year.
Your Child is Motivated to Work:
Students who are completely unmotivated will not become magically interested in school work once the tutor arrives. While we do offer a bit of motivation, it is not our primary goal. Finding out why your child has lost interest in academics is a step any parent should take before calling a tutor. Students who disengage from their studies may be facing social issues that can seriously impact their academic work. Ignoring or avoiding school assignments may only be a symptom of a larger issue.
While there are some really fantastic tutors out there, definitely do your homework! Be sure to ask your child how the sessions are going and whether or not they feel comfortable with the teaching style of the tutor. Academic tutors take pride in helping students become more confident in their own abilities and developing skills for themselves. The good ones can always provide you with references.