Guest writer: Alisa Gilbert
Nowadays, finding the right tutor for your child has gotten even more complicated. Everywhere you look, tutoring services claim to offer the best and most customizable programs available, while graduate students crowd the internet offering their services in the hopes of earning a little cash on the side. Despite the intimidating nature of the search, I know you’re committed to finding some help for your child as the school year gets underway. Here are a few ideas to consider as you choose between a tutoring center and a private tutor.
Before you begin your search, try to establish some goals for you and your child regarding his or her education. It’s important to establish these goals immediately, as the nature of your goals will affect every aspect of your search. Do you want to help your child get a head start on next year’s curriculum? Are worried about your child’s falling grades? Do you simply want him or her to have some extra academic practice while you have a little free time? Regardless, be sure that you sit down with your child and talk with him or her about tutoring. Sensibly helping him or her understand the reasons why you’d like to hire a tutor will help preempt any rifts between you and your child down the line.
Now that you’ve got a list of goals, think about what each service could offer. Certainly either option has advantages and disadvantages, so the key will be figuring out how to best maximize those advantages in order to reach your goals. A tutoring center will most likely cost a lot more than a private tutor; however, because they use many tutors, they will be able to work around your schedule. With a private tutor you might be at the whims of his or her schedule, especially if he or she is in demand among other parents. A private tutor, fortunately, will be able to customize his or her tutoring to the needs of your child, while tutoring centers make use of standard verbal and math curricula in order to target and improve general skills.
Furthermore, if you value a close working relationship with your child’s educator, you might want to hire a private tutor, someone with whom you can meet and communicate as often as necessary. Although tutoring centers often don’t allow parents to interact with the tutors, they do have a center director who communicates with parents regarding the child’s progress. This isn’t to say that tutoring centers don’t work with parents well, but that you can have a greater hand in your child’s education if you go with a private tutor.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your child. Before you finalize the hire, make sure your child has some say in the matter. Remember, if your child isn’t happy with the situation and with his tutor, then you’ll have a bit of a struggle every time a tutoring session rolls around.