There may come a point in your child’s life where you will consider hiring a tutor for your child. You may feel frustrated by falling grades, have difficulty helping them as they get older or find that you and they don’t make good studying partners. Regardless of the why’s it is important to remain flexible and positive about the experience so that your child can gain the most from the endeavor.
First, realize that children go through all sorts of phases and stages. The perfect elementary school student may struggle as they near middle school for the simple reason that the teaching style changes drastically. In order to provide children with responsibility and accountability teachers begin letting go of their students hands as early as fourth grade. This means that children need to start remembering homework assignments, looking to the future to realize what they need to be working on and relying less on reminders, notes home to mom and dad and constant time in class to work on assignments. Another factor is that children who are struggling with a concept or idea have to gain the confidence to ask for help and identify with the fact that teachers are there to help them. If you notice a sudden dip in one particular subject, normally math, your first step should be to talk with your child’s teacher to see if there is any after school help or supplemental instruction that they could gain. The reason this is important is because even though states mandate curriculum each school district moves at a different pace and seeking help from your school system first ensures that your child will gain supplemental instruction that is tailored to their learning experience.
Most schools districts have policies about hiring a tutor for your child that is a current teacher due to conflict of interest. However, if no one on one help is available your child’s teacher can be an excellent resource to finding a tutor. The simple fact that they have a first hand account of your child’s capabilities and study style means a teacher may know someone who is a good match for your child. Obviously, there are costs involved in hiring a tutor for your child. On average, extra help costs around 20-35$ per hour. While this may seem expensive, this is completely one on one time spent with your child and teachers can be much more efficient in their instruction. You should hire someone that is trained academically whether a teacher or retired one and interviewing them before hand is important. You should be aware of what sort of homework or additional home assignments they will require as well be able to see a plan of action that details what your child will be working on. Tutors should also provide you with milestones met and areas of trouble, similar to a report card of progress as often as possible.
SO many parents feel let down by school systems when their child runs into trouble. While it is easy to point fingers, the truth is that physiologically, emotionally and psychologically your child is changing at a rapid pace. Hurdles are part of growing up and accepting them not as failures but as realizations of areas where you can help your child is important to their academic confidence and future success. Teachers are limited in their abilities, especially in higher grades and education takes a three-way partnership between students, parents and children. Your child is ultimately responsible for themselves at school and YOU are responsible for upholding rules at home. Both you and your child are accountable for their performance. Berating them, yelling at them or disciplining them may not be the answer. You aren’t the first parent bewildered by a sudden dip in performance and the goal is to get them back on track as quickly as possible so they don’t fall further behind. Every day they get one more step behind if you don’t act quickly. A good rule of thumb is if you have been ruminating about hiring a teacher in your mind for a while or have an inkling that something is off – go with it! Your parental intuition is probably spot on.
You also have to consider that there is a chance your child is struggling socially at school or that something is going on you may not know about. Hiring a tutor for your child will not resolve all of these issues, however giving your child extra confidence in their abilities may be the added push they need to overcome any obstacles. Talking with teachers and administrators and trying to get to the bottom of things is important. Remember while you may feel you know your child best, you aren’t privy to what’s going on a day-to-day basis in school. Listen to what they have to say and be open to the fact that home life can also affect academic performance. Teachers will tell you that parents are often defending their children without realizing their ‘real’ behavior or academic personality is the problem.
If you are considering hiring a tutor for your child, it is essential that you make it a positive experience for you and your student. Going to tutoring shouldn’t be a form of punishment and altering routines at home, socially and even leaving your child more time to study can be instrumental in a fast recovery. You may realize that your child is in need of constant tutoring. Take heart…every child is unique and learns differently. Structured school settings often do not realize the giftedness of students who test poorly or can’t be measured on a generic scale. This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your child and actually might just mean that your child is gifted and passionate in other ways. If this is the case find as many means possible to nurture and guide your child in the skills that make them special and be willing to let go of expectations you may have so that they will flourish in their life by following their own dreams.