(BPT) – For many parents, slipping grades and missed assignments can be sure signs that their child is in need of help academically. And whether your child needs assistance to get up to speed with the rest of the class or is looking for help to get ahead on their SAT’s, there are a variety of tutoring options available.
“Keep the lines of communication open with your child’s school,” recommends Amanda Bates, an English teacher and coordinator of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program at Rim of the World High School in Lake Arrowhead, Calif. “If your child seems to be struggling, reach out to his/her teacher and have a frank discussion about what you’re seeing at home and what they experience with your child in class to determine the areas your child needs help in and what the best course of action may be.”
“The drop of a single letter grade, diminishing enthusiasm about school or complaints that school is ‘too hard’ can all be signs that your student is dreading a particular class or subject,” says Adriene White, center director for Sylvan Learning – Long Beach. “The issues they are having can be clues that they need help with time management and study skills, test preparation or with a particular academic subject.”
“If your child is spending excessive amounts of time on homework, it could be a sign that he or she doesn’t understand the skill or concept needed to complete that homework,” says Dr. Dominick P. Ferello a professor in the College of Undergraduate Studies at Argosy University, Tampa. “If your child is laboring over words when reading out loud and can’t retell the story they just read in their own words, your child likely needs help with reading.”
“There is a range of tutoring options available to parents,” says Bates. “For some students, there may be a volunteer or specialist at the school who can assist with their needs. For those who may need help outside of the classroom, your child’s school or school district should be able to provide you with a list of private tutors and tutoring centers that can provide more in-depth assistance for your child outside of the school day.”
“The right tutor can make all the difference in the world when it comes to improving your child’s academic success,” says Ferello.
“Whether you seek out an individual tutor, or look into a tutoring service, the qualities you need to look for are the same,” says White. “First and foremost, the tutor should be properly trained in teaching to the individual. It’s also a fact that tutors who receive intensive and continuous training are more effective than tutors who don’t. Inquire about a tutor’s experience, credentials and specialties. Get references. Ask those other parents how the tutor performed.”
“Look for a tutor who does an assessment to help them understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses,” says Ferello. “Knowing where to start and what to focus on saves critical time when a child already is falling behind. Ongoing assessments throughout the course of your child’s tutoring also allow the instruction to be fine-tuned and personalized to your child’s specific individual needs.”
“A good tutor builds a rapport with their student,” says Ferello. “Learning takes place when your child is comfortable with his tutor and when you are comfortable with the approach they are taking.”
“Remember that a tutor doesn’t remove you as a parent from the learning process,” says Bates. “Stay involved, set goals for the tutoring experience and check in on your child’s progress. Once you’ve reached your goals, keep an eye on your child’s studies to make sure they stay on track academically.”