As a parent of three kids, I know the challenge of helping my own children with their homework—especially if they are really struggling. Even though I spent years as a classroom teacher, my own children seem immune to my “instructional savvy.” Instead of battling with them, I have chosen to turn to a tutor.
If you are considering hiring a tutor, I suggest reading Carole McGraw’s “Four Steps to Finding an Excellent Tutor for Your Child” on readingrockets.org. Here are a few of her suggestions in condensed form:
First, ask for suggestions from your child’s teacher about what he or she needs to work on. Before you start, know what your child needs and the goal of tutoring.
Second, know your child. How does he or she learn best? Look for someone you think would connect with your child and make learning fun.
Third, research your options. Before heading to a tutoring company, consider all possibilities. Ask if there are free options available through your child’s school. Some schools provide time before or after school for review. If this isn’t available or doesn’t do the trick, ask the school counselor how you might find a tutor outside of the school environment. Asking friends, relatives, neighbors, the local high school, the local community college/university, or posting on Facebook may provide some great resources. Be sure to ask for a résumé to check credentials, look for teaching experience in the specific subject area, check references, and meet with the person before the first session. It is wise to supervise the tutoring sessions until you and your child become more comfortable with the person.
Finally, think about how your child learns, and work with the tutor to design an age-appropriate learning plan. There are so many fun, innovative ways for children to review skills and content beyond the standard worksheet approach. Find what works best for your child. Sometimes learning a new skill or reviewing missing areas is all about finding a different approach.