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If your child is sinking in a jumble of grammar rules at the elementary level, getting lost in the haze that Newton’s Laws, or getting confused by the details that AP biology classes come with, you should not test fate. You need to find help for your child as early as possible, lest he or she falls way too behind to recover. So, which kind of help is appropriate?





The obvious solution for this is hiring a tutor. However, the process of hiring a tutor is not as obvious as it might seem. For starters, every child has his or her unique needs. Secondly, every tutor comes with a unique combination of know-how, experience, and caring abilities. With this in mind, the onus is upon every parent to investigate their child’s prospective tutors, with a focus on their skills, personality, commitment, and experience to ensure they meet the needs of their child.

Here is how you can find a tutor to meet your needs.

#1. Know Your Goals

Ask your child’s teacher and or yourself:

  • What level of tutor help does my child need? Will intensive remediation, homework help, or something in-between suffice?
  • What are the areas of concerned that we need to see some improvement? Are we after general improvements in a certain skill, for instance, math, science or reading? Do we want our child to score better in a certain subject, for instance, geometry or chemistry? Are we interested in our child study skills improvement? If so they need the right person for the right subject.
  • What is our child study style like? Does it involve a lot of reading, a lot of listening, or a lot of moving and touching? Does he or she understand better when taught by a man or a woman? Does he need a firm grip, a lot of nurturing, or a combination of both? What motivates and interests him or her?
  • How much resource (time and money) can you devote to your child tutor? be honest with yourself when answering this question.

#2. Know Your Options

Contact your child’s teacher or counselor and discuss your concerns. A good and effective counselor will have met and discussed with your child on various issues on numerous occasions. Importantly, they will have a file documenting your child’s progress throughout their school career, personality development, and their scores on standardized tests.

Importantly though, the counselor will have a list of approved tutors on file. In some cases, they may have resumes of tutors in a book or file for you to peruse before making your choice. Other times, the resumes or tutor information may be posted of bulletin boards for student and parents.

Aside from your child’s school, you can check the local paper. Good tutors make usually make an effort to advertise their credentials on local papers.

You should also ask your neighbors and friends. In case there is a retired or even “stay-at-home” parents who are teachers, they may be willing to help you. Just makes sure they understand the subject matter of concern.

Contact a local learning center such as Kumon or Sylvan and ask whether your child suits their profile. They usually work with general problems such as reading comprehension and not specific subjects such as literature or biology.





Dollars Vs Sense

Typically, for many parents, the price is the only determining factor while choosing a tutor. Ideally, however, parents should consider value as more important. A more expensive tutor may be the better fit and may end up being more effective in meeting your goals. As such, do not rule out such tutor out merely by considering price alone.

Furthermore, you need to ask yourself:

  • What are the payment policies? When considering a tutor, find out the payments they accept and more importantly, when the payment is expected. Some tutors accept a wide variety of payment while others accept cash only. Also, note that some tutor will bill you at each session, others will accept monthly prepayment, and other still will bill you after every completed session.
  • What are their can cancellation policies? In most cases, tutors are flexible with regards to cancellation. However, some require a minimum of 24-hour notice if are going to cancel. This information is important to avoid unnecessary charges.

#3. Test Your Options

Check their credential thoroughly and carefully. Ask as many questions pertaining to your child’s needs as possible to determine whether they match your needs.

  • Inquire about their educational background. When you hire a tutor to work on chemistry, ideally they should have a college minor in chemistry. Different needs require different educational backgrounds.
  • What is their teaching experience? An ideal tutor is one who has previously worked with students with similar needs to what your child has.  
  • Make an effort to meet many different candidates and ask many questions. It is also important to include your child in those meetings.
  • How does the tutor go about evaluating a child’s needs? Find out if the tutor will use school reports, standardized tests, or any other kind evaluation to determine your child weaknesses and strengths.
  • How much time does the tutor need to prepare for each lesson? Every subject or topic requires a different amount of time to prepare. Some will take longer than others. As such, expect to pay more for lessons that require extra time to prepare.
  • What are the tutoring methods the tutor will use? A skilled and experienced tutor will go beyond answering questions and doing problems with their students. He or she will assess their student weaknesses and strengths and thereafter prepare individualized tutoring materials. Importantly, he or she will cooperate with your child teacher for the best results. Additionally, he or she will give your child a positive attitude thereby giving your child a ‘can-do’ attitude.
  • What does the tutor expect from you? For the tutoring sessions to be a success, tutors need cooperation from parents. For instance, they need parents to seek cooperation from teachers with regards to getting a copy of their textbook and syllabus used and any other relevant materials.
  • How does the tutor motivate his or her students and keep them interested? Consider things that motivate your child and look for a tutor who uses such methods.
  • What hours is the tutor available? The tutor’s schedule can be a deal breaker. As perfect a tutor he or she is, if they do not fit your schedule, it will not work.
  • Where do you carry out the tutoring sessions? Typically, tutors use public places such as libraries to carry out tutoring. However, in some cases, home tutoring is acceptable, especially when there is another person in the house when the tutoring sessions take place.
  • How long does the tutor expect the tutoring to last? There is a possibility of the tutor becoming a crutch. As such, it is important that they give you an estimate of the time they need to help your child become skilled and confident enough to pursue their education independent.
  • How much does the tutor charge for his or her services? The cost will vary greatly depending on the subject area, credentials of the tutor, the location, and much more. Typically professional tutors charge professional rates while neighbors and friends charge lower rates.
  • What is the range of results the tutor expects? A good answer to this question is to explore the improvement that the tutor’s past student garnered.
  • Who are the tutor’s references? You should ask for contacts for people who know the tutor’s skills.

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