By this time in the school year, your child may have received his or her first progress report. Perhaps it’s lower than you thought it would be. Or maybe now that the semester is underway, and the pace of instruction has picked up, your child is starting to feel a little overwhelmed. Should you be concerned at this point, is there something you can address with the school, or is it simply a matter of working out the kinks at the beginning of the school year?
The key to determining whether or not your child needs a tutor at this point is figuring out the difference between your child’s expectations for each subject versus what he or she is actually experiencing. It’s time to sit down and have a heart to heart with your child.
If your child is struggling in a class that he or she usually performs well in, then it may be a matter of getting used to a new teacher’s style, or perhaps there is a steeper learning curve with some of the class content. Some subjects, like English or History, have a somewhat natural progression of themes and skills that are easier to anticipate and prepare for. As a result, perhaps a tactful email to teacher to introduce yourself and to set up an in-person meeting would be enough to understand what your child may be overlooking.
With other subjects, like Geometry, a transition at the beginning of the year can be jarringly different from last year’s subject, and may require a wholly different approach. Even if your child has the best teachers, it is sometimes necessary to provide him or her with after-school support in the form of an engaged, knowledgeable tutor.
The good news is that if you can start your child with a tutor at this point in the year, many of these concerns can be addressed without low grades impacting your child’s transcript. A good tutor can present the material in a different way, help to figure out a new teacher’s style, and proactively anticipate what will be coming up for each class.
If you and your child sit down and talk about what is happening at school, and really open up the expectations versus reality conversation, you will be able to figure out the level of support your child will benefit from throughout the school year.