Back to school season isn't just about the shopping, it's also about preparing your child socially, emotionally, and educationally for the coming school year. Don't wait for the first report card. Make sure your child is on top of things academically before school starts and get him a tutor so he's prepared to go back to school.
How to Find the Perfect Tutor
To see the best results with a back to school tutor, you want the tutor to work with your child over the summer and into the beginning of the school year, so it's best to start looking about a month or two before school lets out. When thinking about how to go about finding the perfect tutor for your child, you'll want to consider multiple factors including what you hope to accomplish with back to school tutoring, what you can reasonably afford, and the tutor's qualifications and ability to build a rapport with your child.
Figure Out What You Need
When you first start to think about back-to-school tutoring, think about what your goals are for your child. Are you trying to catch them up over the summer or get ahead before the coming school year? Perhaps you're trying to keep your child from falling behind. Narrowing your focus in the search for a back to school tutor will alleviate many of the stresses that come with such a big decision. Before you decide, think about the type of tutoring you'll want your child to have:
- Elementary tutor: Typically focuses on helping students with a variety of subjects, but may pay special attention to reading and math, standardized test scores, and study skills.
- General tutor: Goal is to support middle and high school students in a wide range of subjects.
- Special education tutor: Typically holds a degree in special education and is able to utilize individualized strategies to aid students.
- Specialty subject tutor: Have a particularly strong background in one subject area and usually help high school students in that subject.
- Test-prep tutor: Main goal is to prepare students with test-taking skills.
- Homework helper: Offer assistance with homework on a regular basis.
Finding a Great Tutor
Once you know the type of back to school tutoring you need, you can focus on where to find the perfect tutor for your child. When choosing where to look, keep your goals in mind.
Online tutoring is quickly becoming a popular choice and finding an online tutor is as easy as a quick Internet search. This option gives kids the freedom to work during the hours they find most convenient and it eliminates any social awkwardness with a live tutor. Established, trusted sites like Eduboard.com and Tutor.com offer a range of prices, personalized assistance, and 24/7 access to an online tutor. Generally with online tutoring, you register and then are allowed to select a tutor based on the specific subject you want.
National Tutoring Centers
Look for a tutoring center near you. There is a variety of nationally-known tutoring centers with good reputations:
- Sylvan Learning is a nationwide company focusing on everything from math and reading help to online tutors and test prep. They even offer a back to school academic check-up for just $49.
- Huntington Learning Center focuses on specific subject tutoring as well as test prep.
- Kumon tutoring centers use a step-by-step approach toward self-learning to help kids improve math and reading skills.
By using tests and evaluations, all of these centers are able to create an individualized plan for your child that may be implemented in a small group or one-on-one environment. Typically, you will not choose your tutor, but all the tutors use the same, or similar methodology to achieve results.
Since most teachers work only during the school year, you may be able to find a certified teacher offering tutoring help in the summer. Using a teacher from your child's school is a great option as it could help your child be a little more comfortable and the teacher would have specific knowledge of your child's curriculum.
If you live near a local college or university, this is a great option for tutoring - especially in high school subjects like math or science. Try calling the department of the subject for which you are looking for a tutor, or try posting flyers on campus bulletin boards. Start a bit early to catch students before they go on summer break.
Put the word out. Many families find tutors through word of mouth, especially in smaller towns. Use social media to put a call out for information on tutors in your area. Tell your family, friends, and neighbors that you are looking for a tutor and they may be able to give you a reference.
Find a peer tutor. Ask parents of other children in your child's class if they would be willing to foster a partnership. Many students are more willing to work with a peer and see it less as a hindrance.
Ask about programming at your local library. Many public libraries offer drop-in tutoring programs as well as summer reading programs for kids of all ages.
Read local newspapers and magazines. Local media publications may have featured stories on available summer programming as well as ads for tutoring services. You could even put an ad in the paper describing the kind of tutor you are looking for.
What to Look for in a Tutor
The cost of a tutor ranges from $20-$85 per hour for private tutoring depending on the experience and subject. Tutoring centers can run from $45 to $60 per session. While a good education may be priceless, tutoring definitely is not. When you are considering a tutor for your child, you'll want to really vet your options to make sure you're getting your money's worth.
Once you have answered these questions about your child, you will want to formulate a list of information to gather from potential tutors. Researchers and educators at Reading Rockets offer an extensive list of information to gather from a potential tutor, some of which are offered here.
- What are her qualifications (educational background and work experience)?
- Can she supply you with a list of references?
- What methods of teaching does she frequently use?
- What are some of the goals she usually focuses on?
- What is her availability?
- What forms of payment does she accept and when does she expect to be paid?
- Are there any other terms under which she operates?
After you select the tutor that fits your family's needs, be sure to sit in on at least a couple of sessions to see how the tutor works with your child.
Finding a Tutor That Fits
Searching for a back to school tutor is an important and time-consuming task. If you know exactly what you are looking for, finding the best tutor for your child will be easier than you think.