How to Tell It’s Time For a Tutor


When your child is struggling academically in school, it shows, and not just on their report card. Your child might express anxiety about upcoming tests, make negative comments such as “I hate reading,” or even express physical complaints of headaches or nausea. Oftentimes, parents can work with their child themselves to bridge the gap.

But sometimes the parent doesn’t have the time or skills to help, or they sense that a different grownup will have more success working with their child. In these cases, it can help to hire a tutor.

A child could need a tutor for any number of reasons, and might find the one-on-one support boosts both grades and self-confidence:

  • The curriculum might simply enter a challenging stretch, and the child has trouble grasping it.
  • Students who transfer to a new school might find themselves playing catch up.
  • Children with a learning disability can find it difficult to learn at the same pace as their peers. In any of these cases, hiring a tutor might provide enough one-on-one support to boost both grades and self-confidence.

If you suspect your child might need extra help, talk to your child’s teacher — and the earlier, the better … preferably before a report card comes home with failing grades. Your teacher might invite your child to come to class before homeroom for extra help or suggest online resources pinpointed to your child’s needs.

Your child’s teacher might also suggest the name of a tutor, but they’re not the only source. You can also try your network of friends, school counselors, the public library, volunteer organizations, websites etc.

“65 percent of fourth graders read at or below the basic level. As curriculum advances, these children will fall behind.” — Reading is Fundamental Facts & Stats sheet

A couple of things to keep in mind: If your child is struggling with third-grade math, a fourth-grade math teacher can make a great tutor. That teacher will be able to bring your child to proficiency at their grade level and show the child how they’ll be building on that math next year. Also, consider extending your sessions through the summer. It keeps the material fresh and allows the child to build skills when there’s no pressure of tests or homework.

Finally, tutoring doesn’t always have to be one-on-one, where costs range from $20 to $75 per hour depending on the tutor’s qualifications and the subject matter. Your child can also make gains at a learning center or with an online tutor.

Hiring a tutor is an extra expense, but the learning and confidence it brings to your struggling child can turn out to be priceless!

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