This is post 4 in the series: Questions About Tutoring Costs
What if you really cannot afford to hire a qualified tutor at their advertised rate, or you feel the rate is unreasonable? Will a tutor be open to discussing their rates? Are there other tutoring options which may be worthwhile exploring? Here are some possibilities:
Ask the tutor if they can offer alternative rates or payment alternatives: While some tutors have set rates, and stick to them, others may consider payment options. For example, if a potential client knows others who also need a tutor for similar needs, group tutoring sessions might be available at a reduced rate per student. Or a tutor might offer free sessions if a client provides recommendations that result in new clients. Another possibility is barter: the client may have skills or products that the tutor would be willing to trade for. Some tutors offer reduced session rates for longer-term contracts. Some tutors will even provide a “scholarship” for a special student from time to time.
Ask the tutor to teach you to help your child: If you can only afford a few lessons, consider asking a tutor to teach you to teach your child. If you already have a reasonable basic education, and if you are willing to work hard with your child, the tutor may be willing to teach you skills and recommend materials that will allow you to tutor your child yourself. Investing in a few lessons yourself, may well provide you with the ability to help all your children in the long term. And if, from time to time, you need a little extra help, the tutor may be willing to provide individual sessions on the occasions they are needed, instead of a long-term tutoring contract.
Hire a student or a less-qualified tutor: If your child (or you, yourself) only need a little help with some basic skills, or a bit of extra practice, it may be fine to hire, for a lower rate, an older student or a neighbour with a bit more experience than you have, or even a friend of your child’s who is doing very well in the subject. If you have a reliable babysitter who you feel might be qualified for the needs you have, ask if they would be willing to do some tutoring for a little extra pay. Try a few lessons, and see how it goes. If you are satisfied with the progress made, great. If the progress is not what you would wish, you may then want to consider a more qualified tutor.
Decide not to hire a (paid) tutor: You may decide, of course, that you will not hire a tutor, after all. You may decide to help your child yourself, or perhaps you have relatives (like grandparents) or friends who are willing to help. There are also other alternatives: the child’s teacher may be willing to offer extra help before or after school or at lunch time; the school may have a peer-tutoring program; a community center or a local church may offer a free or very low-cost homework assistance program; and of course there are now many computer-based learning programs. Some of them are free on-line; others you can borrow from your public or school library; or you can purchase a program. You will certainly want to check out reviews of the various programs available before choosing.
But do realize that sometimes a student really does have serious learning needs that require the expertise and experience of a well-qualified tutor. If at all possible, in those cases, you will want to find a way to engage the services of a tutor who can provide the help the student needs before the problem grows even more serious.
There are usually several tutors in any community; so check around. You will most likely be able to find one who can help you with your learning needs, at a rate you can afford, or with a option you can handle.
Be sure to check out the other posts in this series!
Penticton tutor: If you live in the Penticton area, and are looking for a tutor, be sure to check out my Penticton tutor information page!