I was asked this question today.
When should parents consider tutoring for their child?
I think there are three primary reasons parents consider tutoring for their child.
1. there is evidence of a learning difference – in which case you get all the help available
2. the child is doing average work and is capable of more or is not receiving the information in a way that she connects to – her amygdala is not stimulated
3. parents want a super star (see Tiger Moms and Montessori posted Feb. 24, 2011) and tutoring is a plus option
What should parents look for to decide if a child is having difficulty? If all variables are equal and the child is: not hungry, not tired, has a prepared workspace with light and tools, and has had a vision and hearing test and all systems are go – how do you know?
The best way is through observation. Spend time watching your child while she is doing academic or multiple stepped tasks at home. Is your child frustrated/delighted/distressed? How much time is she spending on the same activity? Is she focused and attending to the task at hand? Does she understand the purpose of the task? Is she avoiding or escaping from the task? What is your “gut” telling you? (that is your amygdala talking!)
What should you do if you think that something is amiss? Make an appointment to talk to her teacher (not a quick minute at drop off or pick up time). Share your observations, “this is what I am seeing at home, what are you seeing at school?” Your child’s education depends on the partnership you have with your child’s teachers. Educators do consider parents to be their child’s first teachers. Together, you will be able to find the best solution in school and at home. Tutoring maybe an unnecessary option.