With all these snow days and lapses between consistent instruction, as a parent of a child who has special needs, learning disabilities, and/or just a difficult time in school, you begin to wonder…when is it time for a tutor? I am asking myself this same question. In an ideal world, a tutor would be found quickly and scheduling would just effortlessly fit into your already crazy life. But this is not an ideal world and it is not easy to find a tutor that meshes well with your child. So what is a parent to do?
1. Start NOW! Start your search now for a tutor. Many of us are heading into parent/teacher conferences and this is the perfect time to get their input. Many teachers tutor on the side. I know when I taught, I tutored after school 3 days a week. If they don’t tutor, they may know a fellow teacher or friend who does and get you in contact with them.
2. Do YOUR part. It all starts at home. Take the time to work with your child. But prepare yourself for a fight. Prepare yourself for tears. Prepare yourself for it to be a quick session. For your child, you are the person he/she feels the safest with and they will react so much differently with you. I have been trying 10 minutes each day to work with Hunter. Is that enough to see a difference? No. But it is what works for us. It is enough time to get something small in whether it is just reading a book or practicing his spelling words. And it usually is enough time before there is a meltdown.
3. Think Summer. Yes we are in the middle of winter and summer seems so far away but a good tutor’s calendar will fill up quickly. Once you found someone, get a set day and time for the summer. This way you have it set aside and are able to schedule around the tutoring session.
4. Prepare for a fight. Your child will not be happy about having to do school work outside of school. Hunter left the table crying after our discussion of getting a tutor. He wants his “summer to be fun and not have to practice speech and reading”. Depending on the age of your child, they will not understand the importance of getting extra help. Now is not the time to be passive with your decision. It is just going to get harder as time goes on. And with summer, no instruction means more loss of the skill.
5. If possible, buddy up. If you can, to help with the cost of a tutor, get a friend and see if you can split the time or have your child and their child work together. Tutoring can cost you, depending on their fee, around $50 an hour. This isn’t always the ideal situation but it is worth consideration.
If you can’t afford a tutor or it just isn’t an option for you, there are so many resources out there. I have had luck with finding books on Amazon as well as at Barnes and Noble. There are so many educational apps as well as computer games that make learning fun for your child. However, I personally feel there is nothing like interaction between 2 human beings. I, also, feel that many of these games and apps are geared toward younger children. But my feeling is, if it helps, than use it! Every child learns differently and every child can learn. It is up to us to teach to their strengths.