Finding a Good Tutor for Your Child
Does your child have a learning disability, poor or declining grades, poor time management skills or difficulty understanding homework? If so, tutors are an effective way to get kids back on track and keep them there. But how do you find a good, reliable tutor you can trust? And what if hiring a tutor isn’t in your budget? Today, there are many options.
How to find a tutor
Your child’s teacher and the school administrator are an excellent place to start. They might be able to recommend a tutor in your community or online resources to help your child.
Also, chances are that one of your child’s friends has a tutor. So, ask other parents for a recommendation.
Another option is to search more broadly online for tutors in your area. These often offer on-site tutoring, but some might offer in-home tutoring as well.
There are also many websites developed for helping parents find tutors. TakeLessons.com has a searchable database of tutors. Just enter your zip code and the school subject to find tutors in your area. This site also shows tutors’ ratings and their fees per session.
Another source is Care.com, which connects people with various service professionals, including tutors. Experience in tutoring varies widely, however. Check their reviews and ask for references.
Online tutoring is another popular choice, though it isn’t right for every child. Also, do your research, because the reviews of many online tutoring companies are fair to mediocre, at best. The costs of online tutoring aren’t always consistent with quality.
If tutoring isn’t in your budget, there are several options. First, check with your child’s school. Although the No Child Left Behind Act is now defunct, some schools still offer one-on-one tutoring programs for eligible students. Many schools also offer after-school group tutoring. Kids can stay after school to work on their homework with a teacher to assist. Some teachers also offer after-school tutoring for their students.
If tutoring isn’t available at your kid’s school, ask trusted family members, neighbors and friends if they can help. You might discover that someone you know is enthused to help your struggling child.
Another option is to contact your local high schools and community colleges. Students majoring in particular subjects including teaching are required to do a certain number of hours of tutoring. For that reason, students often offer it free.
There’s also the popular Khan Academy website, which offers free online video tutorials for students at all levels.
What to look for in a tutor
There are several factors to consider when looking for a tutor. These include:
- Is the tutor qualified? Your best bet is to look for someone with a teaching degree, since tutoring requires skills that not everyone possesses. For younger students, if the tutor has a teaching degree, specialization in a particular subject isn’t necessary. From high school and beyond, look for a tutor with expertise in the subject your child needs help with.
- Does the tutor have the right personality? First, a tutor should be patient, empathetic, positive, passionate, creative and fun. These characteristics help ensure your child can learn from the tutor and will walk away with self-confidence. Also, the tutor’s personality should be a good fit for your child. It’s essential the tutor and your child connect with each other.
- Is the tutor flexible? Each child has their own best learning style. It might be visual, aural, physical, verbal, logical or any combination of these. Also, some kids are solitary learners, whereas others are social learners and enjoy learning in groups. Look for a setting and tutor that fit your kid’s style.
- Does the tutor have excellent references? Online tutoring services often have reviews from previous clients. Look for those with overall high ratings and positive comments. But beware of reviews directly on the tutoring company’s website, since these can often be manipulated. If you find your tutor offline or find very few reviews, ask for several references. Still, the references a tutor provides might not be an entirely accurate depiction of their character and experience either. So, use due diligence for your child’s safety and to ensure your child receives quality service.