Working in the tutoring field, one of the most common questions I am asked by friends, family, and prospective clients is, “Does my kid need a tutor?”
Even when parents understand the potential benefits of tutoring, it’s not always clear to them whether this additional support is needed for their own child and whether paying for tutoring is worth it.
Tutoring is an investment, both financially and in terms of time. Today, families are busier than ever with jam-packed schedules and extracurricular activities. Parents want to be sure that their investment is going to be worthwhile.
Considering Tutoring: 7 Questions to Ask
If you’re mulling it over, here are some questions to ask that may influence your decision of whether or not to hire a tutor.
Has tutoring been recommended?
Many parents come to tutoring based on advice from a teacher, guidance counsellor, child psychologist, or other educational professional who has worked closely with their child.
Is your child is struggling with homework?
If your son or daughter is having trouble completing homework and is struggling with overall curriculum, extra help may be warranted.
Is your child reaching his or her potential?
While failing grades are a clear indication that a child needs help, tutoring is not just for remedial support: even children with strong marks may benefit from tutoring if they are not realizing their full academic potential. At Teachers on Call, we often receive tutoring requests for students who already have strong grades but want an extra boost in order to excel.
Is your child shy or unhappy at school?
Sometimes kids avoid asking for help in school when they do not understand material. Sometimes they lack confidence in group settings or are just a bit shy. A tutor can help explain and clarify concepts on a one-to-one basis in a comfortable environment. They can act as a role model to help boost self-esteem and provide positive learning associations.
Has your child been identified with a learning disability?
Extra support is commonly recommended for students identified with a learning disability. Tutoring can be helpful for academic performance but also in teaching strategies like time management and organization—which are useful skills even for students who do not have a learning disability.
Extra support is commonly recommended for students identiﬁed with a learning disability. Tutoring can be helpful for academic performance but also for teaching strategies like time management, organization, and exam preparation—useful skills even for students who do not have a learning disability.
Is your child a high achiever?
A less obvious reason for tutoring is that students want to work on enrichment. My colleagues and I often hear from parents who tell us their child is an academic superstar who loves to learn. In situations like this, the family wants to work ahead on material that will enhance student learning and keep their child engaged.
Has your child asked for a tutor?
In my opinion, the most successful tutoring takes place when the student wants extra help. If your son or daughter specifically asks for additional support or enrichment, it’s a sign they are motivated to succeed.
Next Steps: How To Find a Tutor
As a starting point, I recommend you look for a referral from a trusted source like your child’s school (teacher, guidance counsellor) or other educational professional monitoring and working with your child. You can also ask for further word-of-mouth recommendations from your personal network, social media community, local parenting group, or online parenting forum. For kids with learning disabilities, local, provincial, and national support associations can be beneficial resources too.
Ultimately, this may lead you to a professional tutoring company that specializes in finding the right match for your son or daughter. This educational service will act as a partner throughout the tutoring process to select the appropriate educator with subject-matter expertise, help ensure there is a good rapport, and ultimately monitor academic progress.
When hiring a professional tutor, understand what you are looking to accomplish in the sessions and be clear communicating your child’s academic needs and goals. While I believe in consistent and ongoing tutoring to achieve desired results, I recommend parents look for flexible pay-as-you-go tutoring arrangements so that families only purchase and receive the time the student actually needs.
Browse tutors in the GTA in the Help! We’ve Got Kids directory.