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Dear Teacher

Mar 7, 2012
11:11 AM

Finding School Tutoring Help for Your Child

Is your kid struggling in class? Two veteran teachers offer their tips for a parent whose son is having a tough time in middle school math and science.

Finding School Tutoring Help for Your Child

Parent's question

Things are going downhill fast in math and science for our son, who entered middle school this year. His teachers don't have the time to help him. How do we find a good tutor for our child?

Our answer

You say that your son's teachers don't have the time to help him. That could be true for some of his teachers, but others may have before- or after-school tutoring times for groups of students. Be sure to investigate this.

Your son definitely needs an intervention plan to be put in place quickly. He may or may not need a tutor. Perhaps the school can provide sufficient help. Enlist the guidance counselor in setting up a meeting with your child's math and science teachers. Your son should attend.

At this meeting, you need to find out what your child's specific problems are. Is he not turning in assignments? Is he doing poorly on quizzes? Is he flunking tests? How is his daily class participation? Can he read and understand the textbooks? After this meeting, you should know the level of help your child needs and exactly how the school can help him – and whether or not you need to go the route of finding a tutor.

When you are looking for a tutor, the best place to start is frequently with the guidance counselor. The school may also have a list of teachers in the building who tutor, as well as other tutors. The counselor may also be able to recommend a learning center that has produced good results. Another resource for finding a tutor is talking to parents who have used tutors.

One possibility that parents do not often consider is finding a high school student who is an ace in the subject in which a child needs tutoring. Some high schools even have groups of students who tutor. While these programs often cater primarily to high school students, they may also tutor younger students. Local colleges may also have students who tutor.

We realize that price must be a consideration in choosing a tutor. You must also factor in the tutor's credentials, experience, availability and methods. Have your son be part of the selection process, as you need to find someone with whom he can work comfortably. It is generally a good idea to interview more than one prospective tutor.

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