Choosing the Right Tutor for Your Child: A Parent’s Guide

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Many parents hire tutors for their elementary, middle, and high school-age children. Tutors can help children catch up after losing learning time during the pandemic. They also can help students master a tricky subject, score better on standardized tests, or stretch their knowledge.

tutor for child

Tutors are plentiful, and you’ll easily find advertisements for various tutors. However, not every tutor is suitable for every child. Here are some tips to help you choose the best tutor for your child.

Prioritize Your Needs

Some children need a private tutor, while others will do fine in a tutoring center. Consider which will work for your child and your budget.

If you want a private tutor, decide whether you need an in-person tutor or whether you’ll work better with an online tutor. Some children build a relationship more quickly with an in-person tutor. Some may learn more quickly if they see the concepts demonstrated in person. However, in-person tutoring requires travel to the site and may be more expensive.

For some, online tutoring can be more time-efficient and cost-effective. Scheduling can also be more flexible because the child can learn from anywhere.

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When considering needs, decide if you want a tutor for a specific subject or a more general tutor. If your child has special needs, consider prioritizing tutors with that expertise.

Ask for Recommendations

Ask your child’s teachers or principal for tutor recommendations. Also, ask your friends about their experiences with specific tutors.

However, remember that all children are different. The perfect tutor for your neighbor’s child isn’t necessarily the best choice for your child. When you receive a recommendation, ask questions to discern whether the tutor’s style will match your child’s learning style.

Examine Credentials and Personal Qualities

Of course, credentials, such as a college degree and tutoring experience, are essential. The prospective tutors’ credentials in the subject and grade level are also important.

Depending on your needs, experience working with other students in your child’s school or school district may also be helpful. For example, those tutoring in Vancouver might have experience with both the Vancouver and Western Vancouver school districts and independent schools in the area. Many of those tutoring Vancouver students may also be teachers in the area’s schools.

However, formal credentials are only one consideration. The best tutor for your child will see your child’s strengths and build upon them. They’ll also have emotional intelligence. A US News and World Report article says a good tutor can discern whether your child is experiencing a content problem or a confidence problem, for example.

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The best tutors are also patient and upbeat. Your child will look forward to tutoring sessions if you find the right match.

Look at the Track Record

Past performance is often a key indicator of future performance. Ask prospective tutors for references. Call each reference to see whether they were satisfied with the tutor. Ask whether the tutor helped their child improve their grades, test scores, or confidence.

Ask Questions

While most tutors have textbooks and other resources they use with many students, a good tutor will personalize the experience for your child. For example, they may work with the child to complete a worksheet, asking follow-up questions rather than just leaving the child to do the sheet alone. When you meet with prospective tutors, ask them how they initially assess students and how they personalize lessons.

Also, ask the tutor about their approach to giving feedback to students and how they monitor progress and report to you. A good tutor will listen to their student and provide encouragement and constructive feedback. They will also provide regular progress reports to parents. Some will be able to show you a sample progress report.

Good tutors build rapport with their students and are good role models. However, they aren’t friends with their students. Ask prospective tutors how they build rapport and how they set boundaries.

Obviously, you’ll ask how much the tutor charges. However, ensure you and the tutor understand and agree on cancellations and makeup session rules. Find out whether you’ll have a say about who will substitute for the tutor if they are ill.

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Pay Attention to Timing

The timing of your child’s tutoring session affects how well they learn. Your work schedule and your child’s extracurricular activities may limit scheduling options, but you should be as flexible as possible. For example, schedule the sessions after dinner if your child needs downtime. If you know you’ll have trouble encouraging your child to work again after a long break, schedule the sessions as soon after school as possible.

Keep Everyone on the Same Page

Your child will learn best if everyone strives for the same goals. As a parent, you should be involved in setting the goals. Teachers and tutors should all work toward achieving the goals. Ideally, they should both communicate regularly and reinforce each other’s techniques.

Summing Up

A 2023 US government survey found that about half of US students could use tutoring help, yet only about 10 percent received quality tutoring. Yet, Canadian and US experts have flagged tutoring as a way to help students improve their grades, confidence, and test scores.

The key is finding the best tutor for your child. You begin by prioritizing your needs and finding the best professional tutor to meet those needs. The best tutors will interact with and engage your child and build rapport while maintaining professionalism. They’ll also work with you and your child’s teachers to ensure your child meets their goals.

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