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How do You Know When it is Time to Find a Tutor?

With the way we communicate today it is often difficult to read between the lines that your child is in trouble with a subject at school. The phrases 'Sarah can do better' or 'Johnny can apply himself a bit more' is often used and can apply to anyone. I mean, if we are totally honest, most kids can do better.

Perhaps you started noticing your child coming home with lower grades. Or perhaps the report card is so tactfully worded that you can't tell that the teacher is saying there is a problem. Perhaps you left a parent-teacher interview with the feeling the teacher isn't being completely honest and you have this nagging feeling that all is not well.

Unfortunately the student is often not willing or able to recognise or address the issue. Imagine your year five student coming to you and saying: 'I think my poor result in mathematics is showing a learning deficit that need to be addressed as soon as possible.'

So it is up to you as a parent to have the insight and to come up with a solution that will solve the problem. What a difficult task! So what are your choices as a parent for intervening? Where do you start?

You should start by seeing the teacher, and find out what the teacher perceives as the problem and where the teacher thinks the solution lies. Once the issue is identified, the teacher should be asked what he or she suggests should be done about it.

Don't be scared to go and seek a second opinion. Not all teachers are sympathetic, and caring, and not all teachers have a passion for teaching. There are many organisations and individuals today that will be able to test your child and say which level he should be at in a certain subject and what they think should be done about it. Then it is time for formulating a plan and setting goals for the student to achieve. You will also have to find a person to execute the plan. Perhaps it is you. It could be a spouse. More often than not it would be with the help of the school, or a tutor.

If the answer is tutoring, the school may be able to offer low or no-cost tutoring through the RTLB's or other volunteers. Professional tutors and tutoring centres are widely available, but they can be expensive and inconvenient. Fitting tutoring into a busy schedule or a tight budget can seem like an impossible task.

Luckily there are services available that can take the hassle out of finding an affordable tutor that can fit in with your schedule. First Tutors is such a service. With First Tutors, all you have to do is go online, register and type in your postal code and the subject that your child needs tutoring in. A list will come up with suitable tutors in your area. You can then make a shortlist of tutors, ask the tutor questions, and when you are happy that the tutor can fit in with your budget and your circumstances and seem right for your child, you can select that tutor. Now it is time to exchange contact details and book your first lesson.

It is a good idea to stay with the child during tutoring so that you know what is going on and so that the child feels comfortable. So it is important to select a tutor that will be comfortable with this. This way you know immediately if the tutor is not suitable, and you know exactly what your child is having problems with. You will then be able to help your child with homework as well. Remember, no-one knows your child as well as you. If you monitor these lessons closely and be involved with the tutoring you will know when your child no longer requires tutoring.

And above all, remember: if you choose tutoring for your child, you help him or her with gaining confidence in that subject. This will motivate him/her to do their best and achieve their full potential.