If you’re considering hiring a tutor for your child it’s probably not because they bounce out of bed every morning full of joy at the prospect of going to school. Or maybe your student is enthusiastic, but doesn’t excel at all things academic. Your child needs help and that’s not unusual. Most of us do.
It’s also possible that your child is brilliant—you’re impartial, of course—and you’re hoping to supplement their classroom education because you want to make the most of that supple mind. Exceptional kids deserve the opportunity to learn beyond the general curriculum. They can enhance their overall academic performance by developing a deeper understanding of the world around them.
Whether you want to hire a tutor to help your child through a slump in grades, prepare for standardized tests, increase reading fluency and comprehension, or to promote the rapid advancement of your gifted child, evidence suggests that tutoring works.
If you’re wondering, “Can my child benefit from sessions with a private tutor?” The answer is ‘yes,’ if…
Your child needs extra help
Not everyone learns the same way. There are many factors that affect the way a student learns. In a classroom setting, it’s not possible for a teacher to cater to the individual needs and learning styles of each child. Total customization of the educational experience by the teacher for every student is logistically impossible, particularly for elementary-aged children.
Maybe you’ve noticed that your child isn’t meeting the predetermined, standard age-level benchmarks for reading. You feel somehow inadequate even though you’ve been religious about reading bedtime stories with your little one nearly every night, since birth. It’s not your fault. In fact, if your child doesn’t measure up to any statistic, you shouldn’t consider it as a negative reflection of your child’s abilities or your competency as a parent. Statistics are numbers compared to other numbers. Your child is human. If he’s conscious, he’s learning, and that’s how a tutor can sneak in and assist him in the process.
For reading skills in particular, numerous studies conducted around the world have documented that achievement gains are often multiplied when students have the opportunity to work with a tutor, even for as little 10 minutes to an hour, on a regular basis. In fact, the duration of the sessions is less important than the frequency and consistency of the meetings. More sessions result in greater gains.
Your child doesn’t like school
The relationship between a child and his school is complicated. If your student complains about going to school it might not have anything to do with the education he’s receiving. In many cases, your child may find it difficult to verbalize the reasons why he doesn’t like school, which only makes it harder on you, as a parent who wants your child to enjoy his experience.
You’ve probably spoken to your child’s teacher, hoping for insight and advice. However, in a classroom setting surrounded by a dozen or more of his peers, your child may communicate and behave much differently than he does at home. The teacher may not pick up on the subtle apathy or increased negativity you’ve noticed. A tutor who works one-on-one with your child is an ideal ally in this circumstance.
A tutor gets to know your child individually. During sessions with a tutor your child has the undivided attention of a supportive adult. Even a kid who is comfortable being open with his parents about his feelings may find it difficult to talk to them about some topics and issues. When a student is experiencing difficulty at school, his tutor is a respite. The tutor can elicit a great deal of valuable information from a pupil about his school day, and in turn, share that with you.
Tutors may not be therapists, but studies show that the relationships they build with students result in positive gains that transcend grades and test scores; students who attend sessions with a tutor have lower absentee rates, fewer disciplinary referrals, a more positive attitude towards school and higher self-esteem than students who don’t work with a tutor.
Your child is cognitively ahead of his peers
Everything seems easy for your kid. He learned it, he’s got it and he’s ready to move on. Awesome. Now what? If you’re not an experienced educator, you’re likely to be at a loss as to how to encourage the development of your child’s gifts. Exceptional students should have the support of professionals that understand the unique needs of the gifted child.
Just because your child doesn’t need help with his homework doesn’t mean he wouldn’t reap the benefits of the individualized education a tutor can provide. There are tutors available who specialize in structuring the content and delivery of their sessions to be student-centered and encourage creative learning, allowing your child to explore his whims and find his passions. You know your kid is amazing; a tutor can help them prove it.
A student who learns at an accelerated pace requires enrichment in order to grow and progress as a learner. Your child should be given the opportunity for relevant learning experiences that allows them to process important ideas and concepts at a higher level. They need to be faced with challenges that urge them to grapple with complex issues and attempt to create their own methods and solutions, at a level that is developmentally appropriate. Doogie Howser, M.D. may have been a cute concept for the creation of a T.V. character, but in reality, just rushing your super-smart child through their prescribed schooling will not make them a more successful human being. Before you enroll your 12-year old virtuoso in med school, consult a tutor.
It’s official, you know want to hire a tutor
You’re a stellar parent. You want your child to be his best, and you’re willing to reach out to find someone who is trained in the strategies that will help them access all that untapped potential. The Internet has a wealth of resources for finding tutors to match students with all varieties of needs and abilities, at varying price points. Do your research. You may also consider letting your child be a part of the selection process, to increase their buy-in.
Once you think you’ve found the right tutor, schedule regular sessions for at least a month as a “trial period.” This time will give pupil and tutor the opportunity to get to know each other and develop a working relationship, and for you to establish a solid line of communication with the tutor. Within a few weeks you should have the pleasure of seeing your child excel like never before!