Why are you considering tutoring?
- Report Card Shock: Did your child’s final report card shake you up and you believe only a tutor can rescue your youngster? Will tutoring during all or part of the summer holidays actually help and encourage your child, or will it make her even more antagonistic toward learning? Figure out with your child the reasons for being behind before you decide upon tutoring or another solution to the problem.
- Summer Learning Loss: Are you afraid your child will “lose what he’s just learned” over the next couple months? September classes are usually mainly review, so unless your child was already behind, there may be better summer alternatives than tutoring. If you do want review, consider the 2 to 3 weeks before school starts again, rather than early summer).
- “I’m so bored!” Do you dread hearing those words? If so, will tutoring be the best way to keep your child occupied?
- Punishment: Are you punishing your child by threatening him with summer tutoring? If so, what might be the long-term results for his attitude to learning and education?
- Your child loves school and/or learning: Does your child miss school during the summer? Is it studying she misses or is it other aspects like time with friends or fine arts or similar classes? Is there a particular subject (or topic) she’d love to dive into or just a “buffet selection” of different subjects?
- Babysitting: Are you thinking of tutoring as a method of “babysitting” while you’re at work, when summer camps and visits to the grandparents don’t fill up the schedule?
Would tutoring or some other solution be best for your child? What kinds of tutoring are best during summer holidays?
- Students need a change of pace. They have been in school for nine to ten months and are looking forward to a holiday. Check around and see what kinds of learning alternatives different tutors offer. Standard tutoring sessions just like during the school year? Or…
- Educational “day camps” offered by local colleges or community recreation programs? Or residential camps that include learning options?
- Summer school programs offered by the local school district–or by private tutoring companies or even by individual tutors. These are usually offered as half-day or full-day programs running for at least a week at a time, and often up to a month or more. Unlike traditional tutoring, these are generally group programs–and while your child may not get quite as focused one-on-one attention, the longer hours and continuous days/weeks will provide just as strong a program. And because you’re sharing the cost with other group members, the hourly rate will probably be lower, or you may be offered a flat rate for the program (don’t expect refunds for days missed, though).
- Outdoor learning: In pleasant climates, tutors may be willing to teach your child outdoors in a park or similar location, which may make it more palatable for a child who is really opposed to summertime tutoring.
- Interests and passions: Seeing as it’s summer, consider a different approach. Does your child have a special interest, even passion? Can you find a tutor (or perhaps even become your own child’s best tutor) who will take that interest or passion and develop it into a study that involves all kinds of “subjects” that are wrapped up in that topic? Every topic in some way involves math, reading, writing–and even science, social studies, fine arts, physical education, languages, and more. It may involve more planning than ordinary tutoring (and therefore an extra cost) but it may also be the perfect way to introduce your child to the joy of life-long learning, and provide a positive attitude and self-motivation to continue learning. If you can find another child who could take this path with your child (a good friend, perhaps), the cost could be shared. A wonderful way to spend the summer learning!
- Group sessions: Even traditional tutoring can be more fun and acceptable in summer if your child can participate in group sessions. Ask your tutor if he or she offers group sessions your child can join, or if you know of other children who your child would enjoy working with, see if your tutor would be willing to take on a group (with the costs shared among the group members–a larger group will have a higher overall cost, but divided up could be considerably less than individual hourly rates). If you have more than one child requiring tutoring, the tutor might be willing to work with them at the same time, for a reduced price per child (for example $30 per hour per child, or $45 per hour for 2 children–depending on the tutor’s usual rates).
- Family holidays: Consider finding ways to make your family vacation, and indeed your entire summer, into a learning experience while still being fun. (See this post for some great specific examples!). And when you’re looking around town for things to do with the family at home, choose activities that are not only fun but have learning opportunities.
If you decide on tutoring, how should you prepare?
- Talk it over with your child. Discuss the reasons tutoring is needed, or what alternatives might be better. Even with tutoring, what type will be best?
- Subjects and/or topics: Decide what specific subject(s) or topic(s) the tutoring should focus on. Better to start with something that is really vital; you can always work on other things later.
- Documents: Don’t let the kids toss out their school work if they’re going to have tutoring; bring it to the first tutoring session, along with report cards and other relevant documents such as psychoeducational assessments, related medical information and IEPs (Individual Learning Plans).
- Travel/transportation: Will the tutor come to your home, or will you need to plan your child’s transportation to the tutor’s office or other location?
- Insurance and contracts: Tutors usually require clients to sign contracts laying out the plans, costs, times, location, etc. If you want “extras” such as having the tutor travel to your home, or if you want the tutor to take your child on summer “field trips” you will need to sign a form agreeing not to hold the tutor responsible for any accidents, etc. Extra travel or requirements for extra insurance may increase your tutoring cost.
- Missing appointments: Summer schedules can easily be more interrupted than the rest of the year. Be aware that if you miss tutoring appointments, you will likely still have to pay. Some tutors charge ahead in the summer for this reason. Plan carefully so you won’t miss appointments.
- Tutors need holidays too: Be aware that tutors need holidays, too. They’ve been working steadily during the school year (quite often during winter and spring breaks as well) and they have a right to take summer holidays. Ask if there are times when the tutor is not available and plan alternatives for those times.
- All-day tutoring: If you are hoping for all-day tutoring, or even half-day tutoring daily for a week or more, plan well ahead. Tutor schedules for summer start filling up in the spring, so if you have requests like this, make sure you make reservations well ahead.
- Week or month-long all-day programs: Make sure you are clear on requirements for lunches, snacks, etc.
What are your summer plans? If you want more suggestions or are looking for summer tutoring in the Penticton area, please feel free to contact me. Let’s chat!