Your child has come home deflated and upset. They can’t seem to grasp the subject no matter how hard they study or how much support you offer. They have met with their teacher several times and it has not made any difference. It is time to find a tutor for your child. There are so many options today it is hard to know how to find a trustworthy and quality tutor that will significantly change their grades in a short period of time. There are tutoring centers, online tutors and private tutors. Here are some things to consider as you choose a tutor of any subject type for your child.
If you child is struggling in only math or language arts, tutoring centers chains like Kumon and Sylvan are very good. They tend to hire tutors who are experienced in both subjects and have teaching or tutoring experience. They also offer diagnostic tools to help you get a better idea of your child’s abilities. These centers are usually more reasonable than a private tutor in price and offer a variety of hours. You also do not have to worry about having anyone that you do not know well into your home as you will be taking your child to an established learning center. The downside of these centers is that they often do not have a great deal of specialty tutors in subjects outside of math and language arts (English). They can also get quite crowded during peak hours. If your child is easily distracted this may not be a good place for them to learn. Some children are also embarrassed that they need help and would resist going to a public place to be tutored.
Online tutoring is a relatively new phenomenon. Parents have to be exceedingly careful with online tutoring services that are not reputable as they become homework answer mills rather than tutoring. Online tutoring is great for middle through high school students that need subject specific help in specialized subjects. Tutor.com and Brainfuse.com are two very good online tutoring sites that have portals for students to exchange information, be in a virtual classroom and have direct one on one interaction with live subject specific tutors. These tutoring sites have specific policies about contact with students and strictly enforce their safety precautions. These tutoring sites also test their tutors to ensure they have the subject knowledge and ability to teach students in an online environment. Older students with computer and internet savvy are better served than younger students in this type of tutoring scenario. Younger students tend to have a hard time with the portal and interface when asking questions. If you choose online tutoring, be sure to pose as your child and make sure the website is not simple giving out answers. They usually offer pricing packages that are more affordable than tutoring centers or private tutors.
There are two basic ways to find private tutors. The first way is the old fashioned way, by asking through word of mouth. A good place to start is with your child’s school. Your child’s teacher or principal may have tutors they have used over the years that have an established reputation. You can also ask other parents or friends for referrals from tutors they have used. It is always a good idea to interview the tutors before they start working with your child. The second way to find a tutor is through a service like Wyzant.com. These services offer background checks, testing of their tutors and resumes for all tutors who use their service. You can also pay online rather than the worry of having money on hand when your tutor arrives. These online services also allow parents to rate their tutors. Only choose tutors who have experience and good ratings. Overall, these tutors (especially in math and science) tend to cost more than any of the above mentioned types of tutoring. However, there is something to be said for one on one tutoring for your child, as this type of tutoring offers the most specialized help available.
Once you decide on a tutor be sure to follow up with your child and the tutor about their progress. It is important for parents to play an active role in the tutoring process as an advocate for their child’s needs and to ensure they are getting a quality learning experience. This does not mean that the parent has to watch and listen to the tutor the entire time they are teaching, but they should have an idea of how effective the tutor is. Always ask questions if you are unsure of the manner in which your child is learning and find out if there are additional ways you can support your child’s learning progress.
Gioia is a veteran teacher of 15 years an active tutor. Gioia has tutored for Tutor.com and Wyzant.com.