Parents seek the help of a tutor for many reasons. Some parents may choose to have their kids work with a tutor if they are struggling with a subject or particular concept, but tutoring isn’t just for kids who are struggling in school. Some parents may hire a tutor because they do not have time to work on schoolwork in the evenings but feel their child needs one-on-one attention while working on homework. Working with a tutor can be beneficial for kids to learn good study habits, how to use their strengths, and work through their weaknesses all while getting individual attention. What are the benefits of tutoring?
Tutoring can be adapted to fit the child’s needs. Kara Thomas, a teacher who has offered tutoring in the past says “Tutors can provide different tools and techniques
because they are working one-on-one with each child. They can also adjust material quickly to be able to meet the child where they are and give them challenges targeted at their skill set.” The benefit of having a tutor is the individual attention that even the best teacher cannot accommodate in a larger classroom setting.
Tutoring can help kids build confidence that helps them be successful in the classroom. Some kids lack the confidence they need to speak up and ask questions. Others may have anxiety about test taking. “I have worked with kids who simply lack confidence and need to talk things out,” says Meg Thompson, math teacher and tutor. “They are completely capable, and they are just worried they won’t know how to do it. They often just need a reminder that they can do this.” A tutor can work through these obstacles to help build a child’s confidence and give them tools that can help them manage these insecurities in class.
The most common reason parents seek out tutoring is for academic improvement. Tutors can help children work through the challenges they may be facing and give them the tools they need to improve their grades and their understanding of the material. This will build confidence in test taking and strengthen understanding of the material so that daily homework isn’t such a chore.
Improved Study Skills
When children develop good study habits early on, they are able to use these skills throughout their school career, in college and even in the workforce. Tutors can give children tips that are tailored to their needs and help develop the skills they will need to tackle more challenging work on their own. “I tutored a child that I had in my class as a 7th grader. We worked together until he graduated,” says Thompson. “He has autism and for some reason, we completely hit it off and he moved from grunting in class to being able to do everything asked of him in higher-level math classes.” Everyone learns and develops at a different pace and a tutor can not only work on a specialized skill set, but also help kids gain study habits that fit their learning style and personality.
Working with a tutor can be hard work but can have a big payoff when kids understand concepts they didn’t before and see their grades improve as well. Tutoring can be a way to highlight the value of hard work and build your child’s character and work ethic. It can also stretch them out of their comfort zone, help them understand that it’s okay to ask for help, and that it is normal to not understand concepts at first. These lessons will serve them well in life.
“It’s a different relationship with the student,” says Thompson. “It’s one where they know you are completely on their side. Sometimes this gets lost in the classroom. I am always on everyone’s side in the classroom, but there is more competition for my time and limited time for questions.”
Tutoring can be beneficial for nearly every student and does not have to be utilized because your child is “struggling” in a school subject. Working with a teacher who is there to listen to their concerns, answer questions, and review concepts at a pace the child is comfortable with is priceless and can have long-term benefits.
Finding the Right Tutor for Your Family
- Tutoring Center – A tutoring center can be a good fit for families that want a structured environment with progress reports along the way. Centers like Sylvan usually offer a pre-assessment of skills, something that may not be offered with other types of tutoring.
- Retired Teacher – A retired or former teacher can be a great fit for many students because they have the opportunity to work one-on-one with someone who has a lot of expertise in a casual environment. A referral is typically the best way to connect with a former teacher who may be offering private tutoring.
- A High School or College Student – Working with a student can be both affordable and convenient. Some schools may even offer free tutoring as an after-school program. Some kids may respond better to an older child or one of their peers.
- Free “Drop-in” Tutoring – Libraries, community centers, and even churches often offer free “drop-in” tutoring for math and reading after school. This can be helpful for kids that need help with a few concepts, but may not need long-term tutoring, or families who cannot afford private tutoring.
- Online Tutoring – For kids who are comfortable working on a computer, online tutoring can be helpful. Websites like varsitytutoring.com and Sylvan offer an online tutoring option for a fee. This is beneficial because kids can ask questions 24 hours a day allowing flexibility for busy schedules.