When Johnny Needs A Tutor - Consider these points first

NH Lifestyle Articles: Parenting Advice

When Johnny Needs A Tutor
Consider these points first

by Sue Rouillard, M.Ed

Everyone can use a hand at one time or another with learning something new. Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about hiring a tutor.

1)  Make a list of your concerns and discuss them with your child's teacher.   What does the teacher have to say? Does (s)he have any suggestions? If your teacher suggests waiting, but you feel that you'd like to give it a try, go ahead and hire the tutor. It certainly won't hurt anything. Does your teacher have concerns that your child may be ADHD? Go see your doctor and have your child evaluated. ADHD doesn't just go away and most likely your child will not grow out of it. If your child has ADHD and you ignore the possibility, you are only making life more difficult for your child.

2)  Most schools do not provide tutors.   If the school has been designated by the state as a school in need of improvement (SINI), then the school must offer tutoring services at no charge to you. Talk to your principal if you are not sure about this designation. Occasionally some of the teachers may start a homework club or allow students to remain after school to get extra help. This type of help would be good for the times when your child is struggling with one particular piece of schoolwork. If your child struggles with a subject, then a tutor may be the answer.

3)  Hiring a tutor.   If you do not know a tutor, the best place to start is at your school. Ask around. Quite often school staff knows someone who does tutoring. Also ask your friends and family if they know anyone. Depending on where you live, there may listings in the yellow pages of your phone book, and of course you can go to the web. An hourly fee in northern NH could run $25-$40, with most tutors charging $25-$30. Outside of the North Country prices are most likely a bit higher.

4)  The tutor must have a good rapport with your child.   A good tutor will identify your child's learning style and will then individualize each lesson in a way that will speak to your child's style, making the material easier to understand. The tutor can now show the student how to get more out of a textbook, organize their materials and ways to practice the information so that your child will remember and understand.

5)  This is not a quick fix.   Even the best tutors can't produce miracles, learning takes time. One to two hours a week total, in at least two separate sessions usually works well. There should not be any pressure for the child to perform better within a certain time frame. Stress shuts down cognitive processing (as well as all other systems) and a stressed brain cannot perform well. Hopefully, your tutor will make learning fun and interesting for your child. If your child and the tutor do not "hit it off," try another tutor. Be sure to check on your children's progress along the way and praise everything they do!


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