There are a number of things to think about if you are considering hiring a tutor. You should first assess whether your child’s problems in school might be caused by an undiagnosed learning disability. If not, you should consider the areas in which your child needs help. As well, you need to consider the different types of tutoring that are available to your child, and the ability of the tutor. Also, think about the security of your child when hiring a tutor, and make decisions on what you can afford to pay for a tutor’s services.
Children with learning disabilities benefit from diagnosis because they then qualify for assistance from the school system that may give them the opportunity for greater success in school. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider privately hiring a tutor for a child with learning disabilities.
Even when a child doesn't have a disability that affects their learning abilities, they may struggle in one or more subjects for other reasons. Some children need assistance in all subjects, while others have one subject that appears to be their downfall. When hiring a tutor, one wants to make sure the person is a good generalized educator. Alternately, one should reflect on hiring a tutor with special experience or knowledge in problem areas for your child.
Some college and high school age students can make excellent tutors. They may be a better choice, when hiring a tutor, as some students will emulate the “big kid” that is teaching them and feel special because they have a young tutor’s attention. If a young child is having trouble memorizing times tables, and does not exhibit learning disabilities, finding a good, sensitive kid to help them work on this area may be a better choice than hiring a tutor with a college education. It is also generally less expensive, about 10-15 US dollars (USD) per hour.
You can also use tutors with a college education, and perhaps even a teaching credential through learning services programs like Sylvan. These programs tend to be the most expensive option, but may offer you the widest range of experts in a certain field. For kids taking the new SAT tests, many programs have also recently developed to tutor kids on the written section. These may also offer good options for hiring a tutor.
You should be prepared to sit in on the first few tutoring sessions in a non-intrusive way. Observe the interaction between your child and the tutor. If the tutor doesn’t seem a good fit with your child, or you have any concerns about the tutor, there are many more to choose from. Hiring a tutor that is right for your child means finding someone who relates well to your child, can be inspiring, and who is a good communicator. Not every tutor is equally skilled. So if necessary, shop around and get recommendations from friends or from your child’s school.
If the tutoring is being conducted in your home, you can probably be fairly certain of your child’s safety. However if you are leaving a child at a tutor’s house, you must look to the safety of your child by performing background checks before hiring a tutor. Sadly, child molesters tend to be attracted to positions where they can be around children. Getting references when hiring a tutor and verifying these is also helpful.
Lastly, price is often an issue. Tutors who have college educations tend to charge at least 30 USD an hour. A tutor with a teaching credential may charge as much as 60. If money is an issue, you might be able to work on a trade situation with a tutor, or look to less expensive options like hiring high school and college kids. Further, many middle and high schools now offer free tutoring services which may be just what your child needs for academic success.