When to get a math tutor for your child?

As parents, we all want to see our children excel in school. Some children are great at motivating themselves, while others need a push to catch up or even a little help to accelerate beyond their current curriculum. When it comes to building math skills, there is no reason to postpone giving your child that push. Signs Your Child May Need a Math Tutor If your child is old enough to receive report cards, you can tell pretty quickly whether or not he might need help when you see his grades. Always look at grades. Grades can indicate anything from a straight-A student getting her first B to a kid showing signs that he needs extra help. Beyond slipping grades, look out for a lack of enthusiasm for math. Elementary school kids love to learn about new subjects, especially math. They like to learn about counting, money, telling time, all math-related subjects. When you see enthusiasm slip, that definitely signals something. That loss in interest could signal that your child needs help, but it also may mean that he or she is bored. That’s where a tutor can come in. Tutoring is good for children who are highly able, not just for children who need academic help. If the math course is not challenging enough, that might mean that your child is pretty smart in math and in need of extra challenges. One of the best ways to get more insight on how your child is handling math is to talk to his or her teacher. It is important for the teacher to know your child’s relationship with math, especially if it has changed. If your child used to love math in second grade but suddenly dislikes it in third, let the teacher know. Since you cannot be in the classroom, starting a dialogue with the teacher will help you identify how best to help your child. Get Help Sooner Rather Than Later Whether you choose to hire a tutor or provide more games and learning opportunities at home, it’s important to identify your child’s signs of needing extra help early on, particularly in math, due to its linear nature. No subject is more important than math when it comes to vigilance. Each new year, each new course builds on the previous lesson and course. Once you miss a lesson, once you don’t master a particular skill, it’s difficult to build something on top of it without it all falling down. By delaying the process of getting your child the help he needs, you risk letting him slip further behind as well as lose confidence, which is essential to continuing learning, Bavaria cautions. Hiring a Tutor By the time your child has reached second grade, it will be pretty clear whether a tutor would be helpful. Once you decide to find a tutor, take your search seriously. You want someone who is properly trained, will assess your child correctly, has a good reputation, and will provide lessons that are age appropriate. Stay away from tutors who rely mostly on technology, because the time spent tutoring should be focused on the child and tutor working together. That being said, the tutor should attempt to make learning fun. For tutoring to be effective, the tutor should support the learning in the classroom by re-teaching or accelerating. The tutor becomes an advocate for the student’s learning for the school and a support for the parents. Setting Goals When you select a tutor, make sure you explain to him or her what you (and your child) expect from the experience. To determine this, first sit down with your child and identify two to three goals you want the tutor to focus on. Consider whether your child wants to catch up, keep up or get ahead. Does she want a higher grade? Does she want to study for tests better? Does she need help organizing? A good tutor should ask you some of these questions to help set goals. Parents need to explain to their children that tutoring is not a punishment, but rather is designed to help them succeed in the classroom. Tutoring is not looked at as something only for the kids who are behind and need a tutor; often they are at grade level, but parents want them to be challenged.” Helping at Home Math may not have been your best subject in school, but you can help your child by dusting off your math skills and knowing the lingo. If your child asks you to look at her geometry assignment, you want to be ready to relate as best you can. You can ask your child’s teacher or tutor for ways to provide support. Another great way to keep in touch with your child’s schoolwork is by checking out the teacher’s web page, which many teachers maintain on the school’s site. Don’t let your child’s latest math challenge be a surprise to you. Keep in mind, though, that you’re not required to be the teacher. If your child is struggling, let his teacher know that he needs more help and has been having a hard time with certain assignments. Parents can encourage kids by giving them time to do their homework and by giving them a place to do their homework. Free Resources Tutoring, especially if you do it on a weekly basis, can be expensive. With sessions running $35 to $75 an hour in many places, you may be interested in other options. Luckily, there are numerous free math websites that offer lessons, games, or a combination of both.  
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