Seeing their child do well in school is a source of pride and peace of mind for parents who go to great lengths to give them the best education. At the end of the school year, the desire is even greater: parents want to make sure their kids avoid the “summer slip.” But is a tutor the best investment for helping your child catch up or get ahead in school? Experts have differing opinions on the pros and cons of tutoring, and here are some surefire tips to help your little one all year long.
How to know if your child needs extra help
Your child’s report card is the first place to check to see if something is wrong. But beyond grades and tests, it’s important that parents keep an open line of communication with their children’s teachers. Conversations after class and teacher conferences can shed light on behavioral challenges, attention deficits, and other issues that aren’t reflected in report cards.
Alternatives to tutoring
Private tutors can be very expensive, but there are alternatives parents might want to consider first. Consult with your child’s school to see what assistance may be available. Often schools have after school homework clubs or be able to recommend the name of older students who can help children who are struggling in various subjects. Many colleges offer monitoring and assessment services and can give extra attention to your child if necessary.
Consider the school as well as the student
Before hiring a tutor for your child, it is important to assess the school itself. Sometimes, learning difficulty is not due to a student’s lack of interest, but a breakdown in the educational environment. It is important that parents partner with their child’s school and make sure its methodology is being followed at home. Speaking with other parents about their children’s struggles is another way to determine if a tutor is the right solution or if more extreme measures—including switching schools—may be in order.
When to get a tutor
As the end of the year approaches, many parents consider tutors to help their children bring up their grades. Of course, the ideal is to closely monitor your child’s performance throughout the year and head off any problems before they pile up. However, for those children who lack maturity and interest, having a tutor other than their parents can help to keep them motivated and accountable.
Punishment as incentive
Although there’s no consensus about punishing children for poor grades, some experts suggest that negative consequences can help parents motivate their children. The loss of privileges such as TV or computer time can be an effective incentive for students to make more of an effort or pay a little more attention in class. However, for children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia or ADHD, punishments are ineffective. In fact, they are likely to yield even more negative results.