We all want to see our children to do well in school, especially in math. Some children are able to motivate themselves, while others need a push to catch up or a little help in their math skills. When it comes to building math skills, there is no reason to postpone giving your child that extra push.
In this article we will examine some of the indicative signs your child may need a math tutor and the potential risk by postponing such help. We will then examine hiring a tutor and the role of the tutor as well as setting goals for a successful tutoring session and how you can help at home. Lastly, we will summarize some of the key concepts discussed in this article.
Let’s begin with identifying if your child needs a math tutor.
Signs Your Child May Need a Math Tutor
The easiest sign is to look at your child’s grades. This is a quick way to determine whether or not your child might need help. Falling grades can indicate anything from a straight-A student getting their first B to a child not being able to keep up in class. These may be signs that extra help may be necessary.
Another sign is to look for a lack of enthusiasm for math. Typically, elementary school children are interested in learning about math. They like to learn about counting, money, telling time and other math-related topics. When you see enthusiasm slip in math that could be a sign your child may need a math tutor.
Loss of interest in math may be a sign that your child needs help, but it can also mean your child is bored. That is when a tutor can help. Tutoring is good for children who are highly talented and is not limited to children in need of academic help. If the math course is not challenging enough that might mean that your child is probably smart in math and in need of extra challenges.
Talk with your child’s math teacher to get more insight on how your child is doing in class. It is important for the teacher to know your child’s relationship with math has changed. Let the teacher know if your child used to love math in one grade but suddenly dislikes it in the next grade. Since you cannot be in the classroom, having a dialogue with your child’s the teacher will help you identify how best to help.
Falling grades, being unable to keep up in class and lack of interest are not the only signs your child may need a tutor. Disruptive and/or similar behavior, stemming from a plethora of reasons can also be a sign and is beyond the scope of this article. However, the ones discussed in this section are probably the most indicative your child may be in need of tutoring.
Whether you choose to hire a tutor or provide more learning opportunities at home, it is important to identify your child’s signs of needing extra help early on. Mathematics is typically a linear structured curriculum. Each new lesson or course builds on the previous one. Should your child miss a lesson or does not master a particular skill; it becomes increasingly difficult for your child to succeed in future lessons or courses.
Delaying getting your child the help they need and you may run the risk of letting your child slip further behind. This may lead them to lose the confidence they need which is essential to continued learning, especially in mathematics.
Hiring a Tutor
Once you have determined that your child may need help in math, take your search seriously. You may want to read Tips For Finding A Good Math Tutor to help select a tutor for your child.
Obviously, you want someone who is properly educated in the field of math that will assess your child’s abilities and provides lessons that are age appropriate. Depending on the age of your child, on-line technology such as a visual Internet communication (e.g., Skype) or virtual classrooms may be an alternate and helpful resource as a learning resource. However, the most effective tutoring is where the tutor and your child work together. You may want to read Tips On A Successful Tutoring Session for additional information.
Depending on the particular needs of your child and age, it may be necessary for the tutor to have contact with their teacher. This way the tutor can get a better understanding of curriculum and classroom goals, teaching styles and practices and gaps the teacher is noticing with your child.
Tutoring can also be used as enrichment and not necessarily for remedial support. A good math tutor can stimulate students to prepare them for advanced math courses. Parents may feel their child is not being challenged enough and a tutor may provide the additional challenges lacking in the classroom.
The tutor should be supportive of the learning process by emphasizing or accelerating the material covered in the classroom. It is important that the tutor be an advocate for your child’s learning and success as well as a support for yourself. Also, the tutor should make learning math interesting and fun.
Setting Realistic Goals
When selecting a tutor make sure you explain what you and your child expect. Discuss with your child the goals you want the tutor to focus on. For example, does your child need help to catch up, keep up or get ahead in class? Does your child need help studying for better test grades? Does your child need help organizing and assimilating the classroom material? A good tutor should ask you some of these questions to help set realistic goals.
Also ask how the tutor likes to work to provide the best tutoring session. Most tutors should provide a quiet workspace. Some tutors do not prefer the parent to be hovering during the tutoring session, but be in earshot to listen on how the session is progressing. It is important that the parents explain to their children that tutoring is not a punishment, but is intended to help them succeed in the classroom.
Helping at Home
Although math may not have been your best subject in school you can help your child by refreshing your math skills and knowing the vernacular. If your child asks you to look at their homework assignment, you want to be ready to relate as best you can.
When you suspect that your child is having a little trouble in math that may be the time to start boning up on stuff that you have forgotten since you were in a math class. You do not have to be in expert in math, but should at least have the vocabulary to know what your child is talking about. You can also ask your child’s teacher or tutor for ways to provide support.
It should be noted that you are not required to be the teacher. If your child is struggling, let the teacher know that they need more help and is having a hard time with certain assignments. You can encourage your child by giving them time and place to do their homework.
In this article we explored the signs that your child may need a tutor. Here we focused on three easy signs: falling grades, lack of enthusiasm and difficulty to do the assignments. We discussed that tutoring is not restricted to those in need of help, but even the talented child can benefit from tutoring.
We discussed the importance of determining if your child needs a tutor and the risk of postponing such action. We discussed the importance of mastering each lesson prior to the next in order for your child to succeed in math and the potential risk.
We discussed hiring a tutor and the role they should play. Setting up realistic goals can make the tutoring session more effective. Lastly, we discussed how you can help at home and to provide the setting for your child to succeed in math.
Some items to keep in mind regarding teachers and tutoring:
- Teachers typically provide a general teaching level that fits most kids in the class.
- Children with special challenges may need more individual attention and help from someone that understands their personal situation.
- Children with exceptional abilities may need the individual stimulation that may be lacking in their class.
- Encourages your child to learn new concepts and provides motivation.
- Saves valuable time by providing hints and guidance.
- Provides the necessary skills in general logical thinking and problem solving.
It is important that parents tell their child that tutoring is not a punishment nor should they feel embarrassed but rather as a alternate means in learning.
Obviously, each child is different in their abilities as well as their age and academic background. What may apply for elementary students may not necessarily apply for high school or college level students. However, the intention of this article is to give parents a general guideline to determine if their child may need a math tutor and how they can help.
We hope you found this article informative and welcome your comments. Whether you seek the services from a good math tutor or provide the necessary environment yourself, we wish the best for your child’s success.
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