Have you ever been stumped by your child? Did they bring home some work from school that you just could not help with? Do they ask questions about a subject out of curiosity? Or, has your child fallen behind in a subject? Are you frustrated because you don’t know how to help them catch up? Maybe you just aren’t wired to be a teacher. If any of these sound familiar, your child might need a tutor.
I consider myself a pretty good student. I did well in school and am fairly well-rounded. But, both of my boys have had homework that I couldn’t help with. There were phrases that I’ve never heard. Ways to do things that I had never seen. Concepts that were foreign to me. I know it will happen with my daughter too.
I managed to stumble through and learn enough to help my boys. Either I read through the book or looked it up on the internet, but together we found the answers. In some cases it was very tough. I’ve not had to hire a tutor, but perhaps you will.
If any of the following apply to your child, they will need some help whether from you or a tutor.
Your child is struggling. They have fallen behind and they try hard, but don’t seem to get it. Their frustrations are growing. You sense that they want to do better.
Your child wants to know more. Maybe your child is gifted and has a natural curiosity. You would like to help them but your knowledge on the subject is limited. A tutor that specializes in a subject area may be the way to go.
Your child’s teacher recommends some extra help. There is no better gauge on your child’s needs than their teacher. They know when a tutor would help because it’s their job. Don’t dismiss this recommendation.
In the following situations, it’s probably better to hire a tutor.
Your child is preparing to take an entrance exam. This is one area where I definitely recommend tutoring help. These specialists understand the test so they know how to help your child manage the test. They can also identify weaknesses through practice exam and pinpoint improvement areas.
You simply don’t know how to help. If you feel like you’ll be in over your head, then trying to learn the topic may be ineffective. Or, maybe you just don’t have the background to learn the subject well. In this case, find a tutor.
You lack the patience to help. It happens. Some of us just aren’t wired for the traditional homework model. We all have different learning styles, so if you find yourself getting agitated or frustrated, stop and hire a tutor. Just don’t use this as an excuse not to engage with your child.
Your child gets frustrated when you help them. Sometimes our children cannot separate the parent role from the tutor role. If they argue that maybe you aren’t doing it right, then this is a sign you could need outside help. Your help may do more harm than good. Instead of creating stress, hire a tutor.
However, here are some times when a tutor may not be the way to go. In these cases, you can teach the child yourself or look for creative solutions, mentioned below.
Cost is an issue. Look for a high-school or college student instead of an adult. Or, maybe you have services that you can trade, like babysitting for tutoring help. Look for alternative means of payment.
No quality tutors are available locally. Always ask teachers for recommendations. Don’t be afraid to go online. With audio and video streaming, a child and tutor can interact almost as well as in person.
There are many great websites like khanacademy.org which provide video instruction for free. These may be helpful for some students. However, there is no substitute for individualized tutoring. If you find that your child needs help, don’t be afraid to seek it out.
Discussion Question – What alternatives do you have for tutoring? Share with other readers!