You’re considering hiring a tutor because your child need some help with education at home. The purpose of a tutor is to give private, personalized instruction to accelerate learning, increase retention, and improve academic performance. But there’s more to consider about the power of tutoring for homeschooling families than that.
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Anyone who participated in sports had that one coach who taught them valuable life lessons. The right tutor can have the same kind of impact. Here are seven key benefits of hiring a tutor to help with remote learning, homeschooling, or any school at home approach that works for your kids.
1. Personalized Accountability
Some people are self-starters. They get things done on time with no motivation but their sense of accomplishment. Those people are rare. For the rest of us, somebody to hold us accountable can be valuable.
For kids who are schooled at home, a tutor provides a personalized deadline for completing assignments and other material for regulars “check-ins”. Teachers set the same type of deadlines, but don’t have the time to make them personally relevant – especially given that their students, for the most part, are attending class virtually.
As a parent, you’re often navigating deep waters in your relationship with your child. A tutor has one job besides instructing: providing accountability. Tutors are educators, and fill a different role than teachers or parents – that puts them in a unique position to support students in ways they’re used to.
The relationship between tutor and student is foundational to success. It’s the bond that creates trust and respect…both essential for students to learn effectively.
2. Identifying Appropriate Goals
Regular classwork led by a teacher sets goals, but often these goals conform to the mean, or average acceptable performance. The tasks are items most student can accomplish, given the tools and timeline. This kind of goal-setting is necessary, given the realities of a teacher’s classroom, but for a handful of students in the center of the curve, there may be room to more clearly identify what’s important for individual success.
If a student is performing below the curve while learning at home, a tutor can give additional instruction and support to help them keep up with the class’s pace. If a student is ahead of the curve, the tutor can find bonus material and new goals. This kind of find-tuned, personalized approach is the cornerstone of one-on-one instruction, and can fit into any homeschool plan.
Tutoring helps at-home students engage and unlock their potential during the school year, both in general and specific terms. It can help identify interests and talents, so you can plan the rest of their education to best set them up for success.
In strictly homeschool terms, a tutor will help you look objectively at your kid’s education, family’s goals and capabilities, and educational milestones important to every student. They can help your family set reasonable timelines and manage time effectively, which takes a lot of skill and hard work, for even seasoned homeschoolers.
3. Bridging the Support Gap
A tutor can help any student. But for gifted students, working with a private tutor can help them further explore their interests and develop their skills.
For children, this brand of customized support provides an intelligent, interested study partner to guide them through advanced materials (both from class and for self-study). Tutoring can provide instruction on topics that excite your student, even if it strays a little beyond standard curriculum material. All of this helps children move toward subject mastery.
The relationship with a tutor can broaden students’ horizons. and help them dive even deeper into areas that ignite their love of learning.
4. Enhancing Performance
In his landmark book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discussed how children identified early as talented and gifted receive special treatment. That special treatment enhances performance, which supports the identification that the child is unique, creating a self-reinforcing upward spiral of achievement.
Outliers demonstrated that this occurs in academics, sports, and professional fields. A tutor for your child can help position them similarly, and by doing so, inspire their growth. Whether it’s reviewing concepts, preparing for tests, or diving into a subject that just interests a student, tutoring can propel your homeschooled kids toward new ideas, and through them, new horizons in the same way that professional coaching can propel your career.
5. Providing Education Role Models
The opposite of the above can also be true. If a child at school is identified as “slacking off” or in need of improvement, it makes success a challenge for them. Their achievements are overlooked, while their failures are often cited as evidence for why an original assessment of “Needs Improvement” was correct.
For children, having a tutor counteracts this predicament in three ways.
First, tutoring bolsters and enhances instruction in the classroom through personalized help.
Second, it improves the overall quality of a student’s work.
Finally, tutoring models commitment and focus for students – things kids need as their educational journey continues.
6. Enhanced Structure and Organization
You’re more likely to go to the gym if you have an appointment with a personal trainer than if you only go by yourself, right?
Similarly, when a student has a general syllabus on a term-long schedule, it becomes easy to put off work in favor of other things. This is especially true in the case of homeschooling – accountability and adherence to a structured schedule is the key factor in homeschool success. A tutor provides a weekly (or more frequent) check-in – the kind of consistency that students need in order to stay engaged with their schoolwork.
Subdividing long-term projects into short-term goals is a tried and true tactic for managing time and resources. The natural structure of frequent, personal meetings with a tutor helps you do precisely that. For kids schooled at home, this is a matter of checking in on progress, setting new goals, and celebrating successes. As a parent, you have a lot to worry about without focusing on the minutiae of a study schedule. A tutor can make sense of your child’s class syllabus, determine an appropriate approach that aligns with your kid’s learning style, and plan sessions accordingly.
This results in a kind of flexibility only found with private tutoring. Each session, your homeschooled students “touch base” with accountability to your family’s schedule, their learning goals, and working together, you, your child, and your tutor can make adjustments based on how things shift and change.
7. Objective Observation
A tutor provides an extra set of eyes, noticing changes in practice and other warning signs about a child’s progress in their education. It’s a good idea to schedule a monthly or quarterly session with your child’s tutor so you can check in on what the tutor has observed.
What kind of progress has been made? How should you change course as your student grows and absorbs new material? Whats working? What’s not? There are many items on a potential checklist for a homeschool tutor check-in. The right instructor will help you not just with the specific subjects your student is learning, but in success with their everyday life in general.
Hiring a Tutor for Homeschooling
The benefits of hiring a tutor are powerful. Besides the obvious structure that regular sessions provide both your student and your family, the improvements to a homeschool kid’s overall educational approach and level at which they can engage with schoolwork even though it’s happening at home are numerous. Tutors are so effective that that many families don’t wait until a student falls behind before hiring one. Instead, they find an excellent tutor to work with their student on topics they want the most help with, have the most trouble with, or subjects in which they want to make excellent progress. A quality homeschool tutor teaching your student the subject you hire them for can be among the least impressive lessons they impart!
Thanks to Money Crashers for this article. Jessie Lipeon is an engineer in Ohio and has personally hired several tutors for his four school-age children. He also hired a tutor when he took on a new project five years ago.