Does My Child Need a Tutor?

Does My Child Need a Tutor?

When your child feels overwhelmed by a specific subject in school, they can fall behind rather quickly. Sometimes they don’t feel comfortable asking the teacher for help, and in many cases teachers themselves are so overwhelmed with the multitude of students they teach each day, they don’t have time to offer extra help. Even when teachers do make themselves available for extra assistance before tests, sometimes peers and outside tutors can make a huge difference in how your child processes the information needed to succeed in trouble areas.

There are numerous signs you as a parent can look for when determining whether or not your child actually needs a tutor. One of the earliest signs is your child’s general unhappiness in school. If they make regular references to how much they dislike school and wish they didn’t have to go, chances are they are struggling in one or more areas. This struggle makes it difficult for them to face each and every day in the classroom because they tend to feel inadequate, or even stupid when compared to their more successful peers.

If your child does not regularly bring home homework, or makes consistent excuses about why they haven’t done their homework, it may be because they don’t understand the work and feel that even trying it is a waste of their time. Consistent poor or failing grades, as well as notes from your child’s teacher expressing the teacher’s concern could indicate that your child may benefit from outside help.

Finding a tutor for your child isn’t always easy. Tutors can be expensive, and if you are going to invest money in a tutor you want to make sure your child will actually benefit from the tutor’s help. So how do you go about the process of finding the right tutor?

Start at your local library. Many tutoring and educational programs partner with local libraries, which often offer their space for tutors and students to meet. Ask the librarian on duty for information, and he will direct you to the literacy program director. After talking to the literacy program director, meet with different tutors on their staff. Many literacy program tutors are student volunteers, which means you may be able to find a quality tutor for your child without the high cost often associated with tutoring.

If your local library does not have a tutoring or literacy program available, call the school administration office. Ask if they have a tutoring service, and if so, how you can get your child involved. In the event that the school does not offer a tutoring service, meet with the guidance counselor, who may be able to recommend a good tutor or service.

In some cases, the guidance counselor or librarian may steer you toward a local university or community college. Students in college have a firmer grasp on the material your child may be struggling with, and because they tend to be younger, your child may relate to and connect with them easier than they would a regular teacher or adult tutor.

Be sure to bring your child when meeting with tutors, and allow them to interact together. Watch from the sidelines, as you can learn a lot about how your child feels about the different tutors she meets with. If she continues to feel uncomfortable, or won’t open up, it may be a good idea to move on and meet with another tutor.

Ask other parents for a recommendation. You’d be surprised how many parents go through the same process you are in the midst of, and you could benefit a great deal from their experiences. They can recommend specific tutors, or even the services they used themselves when searching for a tutor for their child.

If after all is said and done, and you haven’t found a tutor in your local area, there are a number of online options your child may benefit from. The Sylvan Learning Center and Score Educational Centers connect your child with an online tutor who will sit down with them and work through difficult problems in the area your child struggles in. Unfortunately, these services run on the expensive side, but in the interim it’s a small price to pay if it helps your child get over a difficult hurdle holding him back in the classroom.

No matter what you decide, connect with your child’s teacher and let them know you’re seeking outside help for your child. It may even be a good idea to put the teacher in touch with your child’s tutor so they can work together on the material your child is struggling with.

Your child may not ask you for help, but if you pay attention to the signs you can step in and get them back on track before it’s too late.