Do You Think Your Child Needs a Tutor?

By Kelly Goede
Two kids getting help with their homework

The scene is played out in homes all around town. A showdown—day after day, mom or dad vs. a child. Homework papers sprawled on the table in front of them, heads in hands, tears, frustration and confusion. Many times parents reach the same conclusion. Their child’s academic needs are beyond what they can offer, and it’s time to call in professional help. So how do you know if you’re there, that your child needs a tutor?

Does my child need a tutor?

In my own home, I knew when I watched the hours tick by on the clock, and we had only painfully and tearfully worked through one math equation, with my daughter not recalling how she had been taught to solve it in school. Those hours, although incredibly frustrating, were not productive and my daughter still needed help. After several months with our wonderful tutor (who is a teacher of a different grade at my daughter’s school), we have seen a boost in her confidence. Her ability to work through problems on her own has dramatically improved. Our tutor also ascertained my daughter’s learning style. She gave her kinesthetic ways to learn math concepts, since that’s the way she learns best.

Lisa Morris is the guidance counselor at Waldo Community School. She shared that parents can first look at their home routine before making their decision about whether their child needs a tutor.

“Building good habits by reading daily with your children, doing homework as a part of the daily activities, and staying informed of class requirements and expectations can aid in reducing the need for outside help,” Morris said.

If you feel you are doing everything you can and your child still needs help, Morris explained that calling in a little reinforcement may be your next step.

Morris said tutors can be helpful in several situations:

If your child is struggling in a particular subject or area of a subject.

For example, if your child is having trouble getting over a barrier in reading fluency or comprehension, a tutor can focus on that area and with extra practice and encouragement your child may be able to move to the next level.

To boost skills for an upcoming test.

Listen to your child’s teacher though. If your child is struggling in second grade, that is the time to look for help, not in third grade right before a standardized test.

When the parent/child interaction is so stressed from frustration and anger that the relationship is suffering.

If homework time is an enormous fight every night, and the family has the means, hiring a tutor is a way to release the pressure (although Mom and Dad are irreplaceable).

To build confidence and make a student feel more prepared for daily class assignments.

In most cases they can be of help for several months, but most students should not need a tutor for more than a year.

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