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Find the Right Tutor for Your Child


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find a tutorMaybe your child has started to struggle in a certain subject. Maybe he’s forgetting to turn in assignments. Maybe she needs help prepping for a big test. Maybe it’s time to consider a tutor.

Tutors and tutoring programs can provide extra help in a particular subject area, but they can also help high-achieving kids get extra enrichment. They can motivate kids, keep them on task, and teach organization. But finding a great tutor—someone who challenges your child and builds his abilities and confidence—can be daunting.

Issues to Consider

Before hiring a tutor, speak with your child’s teacher. While you might assume that your child doesn’t understand math, the teacher might see it as an organizational or study skills issue.

Make sure you’ve got the right reasons for hiring tutoring help. Eileen Lambert, head of the Saddle River Day School, a K-12 independent school in Saddle River, has seen everything from preschoolers being taught to read before kindergarten to middle schoolers being tutored to get into an honors class. Neither, she feels, is the best choice for the child.

“The level of competition right now is very high,” she says. “But the early readers aren’t necessarily the brightest students by middle school. Kids’ light bulbs go on at different times, and for some kids it’s not until sixth or seventh grade. Not all kids are ready for the rigors of an honors class.”

Finding a Tutor

Because the tutor relationship is personal as well as professional, finding the right tutor can be tricky. Lambert suggests asking the child’s teacher for recommendations. He or she may have worked with tutors or tutoring programs in the past, or there may be teachers in the school who offer tutoring services.

Word of mouth works, too. Try asking friends and other parents for their recommendations. “A good tutor should be able to build a good rapport with the student and make them comfortable,” says Lynn Bowen, a private tutor in Hamilton. “Sometimes word of mouth gets you that info. Sometimes trial and error.”

Choosing a tutor—>

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