To Hire a Tutor or Not Hire a Tutor: That is the Question

Getting a good education is becoming more difficult today due to increased class sizes and budget cuts. Your child is having trouble in one of his or her classes. When is it a good time to call in a tutor?

SUBJECT MATTER
If you are comfortable with the material with which your child is working, you may not need a tutor. However, if your high school student is having problems with Algebra II and the last math class you took was Algebra I, and that was twenty years ago, you have a problem. This would be a good point to bring in a tutor.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE SUBJECT?
You may know a given subject backwards and forwards, but not be able to explain it in a manner that makes sense to your child. For example, my father knew math inside out, but was unable to explain it to me when I was a child without confusing me more than I already was. If you are unable to explain subject material to your child so that he or she understands it, it may be time to hire a tutor.

DO YOU “DO” INSTEAD OF “HELP?”
If you find that you are doing your child’s homework while he or she watches, you might be helping keep his or her homework grades up, but you are ultimately doing a disservice. If you do all of the work, your child is not going to learn. Part of learning is making mistakes and then learning how to not make the same mistakes again. Keep in mind that you will not be able to sit in the classroom with your child when a test is given. If you cannot resist “over-helping,” consider a tutor.

DO YOU GET THE “YEAH, YEAH, YEAH” TREATMENT?
Does your child merely tolerate you when you are trying to help? Are there a lot of sighs and rolling of eyes? Are you seeing results in your child’s work relative to the amount of time that you are spending working on homework and projects? If not, get help.

ARE YOU STARTING TO FEEL LIKE THE BAD GUY?
Do you feel like you are spending more time emphasizing what your child is doing wrong versus what he or she is doing right? Get a tutor to take the heat off of you. That way, the tutor can focus in on helping your child improve and you can applaud when you start seeing the results.

IS HOMEWORK BECOMING A TUG-OF-WAR?
If you realize that doing homework and improving school work are starting to reflect power struggles that are developing between you-and-your-most-likely-teenager, get a tutor. Education is too important for your child to ignore just because he or she is going through “that stage” with you.

HOW CAN YOU FIND A TUTOR?
Most high schools have students that excel in their subjects who would like to earn money tutoring. If you want someone a little more mature, contact your local colleges. They may have a referral list of both students and tutors who help students who are looking for off-campus work. Finally, there are professional services that provide tutors for a variety of subjects.

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