Tutors – do they really help? This is a universal question that many parents may need to take under consideration at one time or another? In this busy world we live in, with so many outside activities, advanced classes and parents working long hours, helping your child understand their schoolwork is not always possible.

At least 10 percent of American students from kindergarten through high school find it necessary to turn to someone outside the classroom or family for additional help with schoolwork. School policies, high-stakes testing such as FCAT and others have put pressure on children to succeed and to do well.

Even the brightest of students at one time or another may find it necessary to turn to outside help in order to come up with solutions to problems that overwhelm them.

What are the signs your child might need outside help?

  • If your once happy child suddenly decides he/she hates school and balks at doing their homework, you can assume there is a problem.
  • Your “A” student drops to a “C” or “D’ in a subject they once excelled in.
  • Your child’s teacher may tell you directly that outside help is needed in a certain subject. Reading comprehension and mathematics seem to take top honors in the subjects needing the most outside help. Find out exactly what skills your child needs to work on and if a tutor is the best option.
  • When your child is trying its hardest to understand a certain subject, but cannot get beyond a “C” or “D”.
  • When they come home in tears and proclaim that they are dumb or stupid and hate school.

    Many children will balk at first when a tutor is recommended. To them it re-enforces the thought that they are either dumb or stupid, however once a tutor begins to shed some light on the problem subject, their faces begin to light up.

    A tutor can pinpoint a crucial area in a particular subject that was beyond the child’s ability to comprehend and make what seemed like a mountain turn into a molehill. A tutor can restore lagging self-confidence and show a child that he/she has the intelligence and ability to shine.

    What should you look for in a tutor?

  • Make certain the tutor is state-certified teacher for the particular subject your child needs help in. Being state-certified means that the tutor has met certain professional standards. Being certified by the National Tutors Association is also a definite plus.
  • Make certain the tutor has worked with children in your child’s age group before. It is important that the tutor’s background and experience meets your child’s needs.
  • Check references and I will say this once more – check references. Accept personal letters from satisfied parents or make personal contact with parents who have used the tutor, but check references.
  • Check the tutor’s rapport with your child. Do they work well together? Is the tutor paying enough attention to the child and engaging in other conversations besides the subject being worked on? If the personalities do not mesh well, do not hesitate to change tutors. It is important that your child is happy and that they work well together. Eavesdrop on their conversations for the first few sessions, to be certain all is going well.
  • Make certain the tutor will meet with you after every few sessions to discuss progress made and what future projections might be.

    What are your options?

    The average tutor charges from $ 25 to $150 an hour depending on the subject matter and most expect to work with the student for at least 20 hours (usually twice a week for at least two to three months.)

    Realizing that many of us do not have that expendable income in our budgets there are other alternatives. Many schools, local libraries and even some community centers offer tutorial help at much lower prices and some even offer it for free. These are well worth checking out. Granted it will take you some time and effort, but budget wise it will be a smart thing to do. Keep in mind that just because it is offered at a reduced rate does not mean the help will not be first rate.

    There may be local tutoring centers in your area run by a group of former educators that may offer special rates and one on one tutoring.

    National franchise chains like Huntington and Sylvan Learning Centers offer one on one tutoring and group classes and generally charge about $50.00 an hour. Fees however, are dependent on the area in which you live.

    Then of course there are students who have mastered a certain subject and teachers looking for extra income that will come to your home and help your child understand and work through the difficulties they are facing.

    A last resort is the Internet. Internet tutoring is easy, accessible and inexpensive, however it does not provide individual help a child might need. It can help your child with a particular question and offer on line homework help. Such sites allow your child to e-mail a tutor with a question or a particular problem and cover all grade levels. Charges for this vary according to services rendered.

    There are also some no fee sites that offer help with specific subjects like math.com and nationalgeographic.com/homework. These sites can be used for help with problems that seem hard to solve, but should not be used as an everyday crutch to do homework.

    Tutors are a great way to help your child work their way through a period of time when a subject is too hard to understand without a little extra insight or guidance. Nearly 5.5 million American children at one time or another are using tutors.

    When a child is unhappy in school, due to the fact he/she does not understand a subject or subjects, life at home can be almost unbearable. This is where a tutor can bring peace to a home, by helping a child get a good start in life by liking school, building their self-esteem and proving to them that they have the intelligence to accomplish anything they set their minds to.

  • Author's Bio: 

    Audrey is co-owner of www.healthyrenegade.com and has a particular interest in helping children reach their full potnetial in life. For more informtion on
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