Parents hire tutors for many different reasons. Some want their children to catch up with the lesson in class, some others have more specific goals, like passing certain test. Whatever the reason is, all parents want to help children becoming better at studying.
There are many types of tutoring, from direct to online, from private to small group, from session at student’s house to cram school. Tutoring has many varieties to offer, and sometimes it can be confusing and overwhelming, like ordering coffee from Starbucks for the first time.
However confusing these types seem, they actually have purpose and benefits. This way, tutoring is highly customizable, ready to be tailored to your children’s need. The question right now is, what is your children’s need? At this point, it’s your duty as a parents to understand your children inside and out, including their strength and weaknesses in academic setting, their personality as well as their study pattern.
Question to answer about your children before choosing tutor
- What subject my children is good at? How good are they? Are they too much more advanced than the rest of their friend?
- What subject my children is weak at? How weak are they? Do they fail to reach minimum requirement or barely pass?
- What subject my children are interested at? Do they like it? How much? Does it seem like I can tell them to study without heated rejection?
- What subject my children hate the most? How much they hate it? Does assigning them tutoring session help them hate the subject less?
- Are your children extrovert or introvert? Do they like meeting new people or prefer to have familiar ones?
- What is your children’s learning style – visual, audio, or kinetic?
- Do they prefer studying at home or at other place?
- What do they think about the idea of tutoring? Do they like it? Do they agree with it? How much voluntarily they agree?
You can observe your children and ask them directly for some questions, but other questions, like number 1 and number 2, would give you more insight if you ask their teacher at school. Check their school notes and text book, see with your own eyes which subject they are more interested in by looking at those books.
Online vs Face to Face
Everything is online these days, and tutoring is one of them. Online tutoring is very practical. Your children don’t have to wash their face or change their clothes before session (you don’t have to as well!). You don’t need to clean your house just before the tutor come to give him or her impression that your house is always like this. You don’t have to drive your children to the tutoring place. You just have to turn on the laptop and connect the Wi-Fi (and your children possibly can even do it themselves!). Also, you and your children have a lot more selection of tutor to choose because there is no geographical barrier.
However, online tutoring makes the session very impersonal. If your children have difficulty concentrating, not having the tutor actually in the room together with them make them more prone to distraction during tutoring.
Face to face tutoring offers intimacy that can make the atmosphere during tutoring relaxed and fun, and your children will like the session. The tutor can capture the attention of your children fully, and they get distracted less. If your kids like meeting and making connection with new people, face to face tutoring is preferable.
The downside, is of course, limited selection of tutor due to geographical barrier. You must be more careful in selecting the tutor as well, because you will let this person to be around your children for quite a long time.
Private vs Small Group
Many parents seem to favor private tutoring so their children can get undivided attention from the tutor, unlike what they get from school. It’s true that in private tutoring, your children can direct all of their attention to the tutor alone, without distraction from friends around. If your children encounter difficulty, they will have no problem to show their tutor what they don’t understand and receive the explanation. The problem with private tutoring is of course, you will have to screen and select the tutor very carefully. It can also be quite pricey.
Tutoring in small group can be beneficial if your children are very social. Spending time studying in silence only with tutor who is practically a stranger at first can be very boring for some children. Meanwhile, receiving tutoring together with friends can help them thinking that studying is fun and interesting. The kids can teach each other what they don’t understand, and in fact, the best way to retain information and knowledge to brain is to teach them to other people. Students in private tutoring may lack the opportunity to do so.
Once a week vs more than that
Frequency of tutoring will depend a lot on your children’s age. For example, younger kids under grade 3 probably needs no more than once session a week. More than that will rob their time to play. Of course, if your kids have special needs, this rule can be changed. Older kids, on the other hand, would need at least twice a week to ensure the tutoring session is effective.
One hour per session for younger children is enough, since it is impossible anyway to hold their concentration longer than that. For older kids, between two and two and a half hour is usually the standard time. However, once again, all of these could be tailored to what your children actually need.
The baseline here is to understand your children first before hiring the tutor. Taking some time and effort to match the tutoring session with your children’s needs, interest, and personality will ensure that the tutoring won’t end up useless and ineffective. So, do you think you know what kind of tutoring will suit your children’s need the best?