This is a guest post from Katie Bugbee, the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert of Care.com. A busy working mother of two, she's an expert on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect babysitter.
There are many reasons your child could use a tutor: slumping grades, concept struggles, big test-prep, or fighting too much when you try to teach her. These are all excellent reasons to outsource extra help. But tutoring can be expensive, and if you haven't budgeted the average $40 a session (about $15 for a college student, $20-50 for online, $75 for a certified teacher), into your family budget, we have some suggestions for working around the fees.
1) Use After-School Help
Teachers are often required to stay at the school after the day has ended to grade assignments or be available for students who need extra help. If this is the case, use this time to help your child catch up. This is a free way for your child to get one-on-one help and form a better relationship with her teacher. If possible, ask if you can join a few study sessions as well. If you learn the content with your child, you'll become a valuable resource at home.
2) Find a Tutoring Center
Kaplan, Sylvan, and Kumon are some of the largest national companies that offer monthly tutoring packages. Buy a bundle that breaks down to under $30 a session. This option might be your best choice if you see that your child has struggled consistently with a specific subject like reading or math. Just check in on the curriculum to make sure it can be customized to your child's needs, as much as possible.
3) Find a Combination Caregiver
Many babysitters and nannies would be more than happy to help your child with homework, as long as you emphasize this in the job description. You may have to pay the caregiver more, depending on the level of commitment necessary for the job, but it will still be cheaper than hiring a certified tutor. If your child is having organizational issues or trouble understanding the assignments, this could be the perfect option.
4) Choose Every Other Week
Maybe your child doesn't need help every single day after school. They may only need help before a test to review their notes and fill in the gaps. If this is the case, you should schedule a tutor on a bi-weekly basis or just call to schedule a session when you need them. Be sure to communicate with your child's teacher(s) to get all the upcoming tests and projects on your calendar in advance.
5) Name Your Rate
Use a tutor job posting site like Care.com to name your rate. That way, tutors with only the qualifications you specified who are comfortable with the price will apply. Be sure to look at resumes, references and background checks. Look for experience as well as a personality fit. High school students who charge $12/hr and are enthusiastic and relatable might be a better match than the $75/hr PhD certified instructor with 30+ years of experience. Try to gauge your child's learning style and match them with a tutor who fits.
6) Form a Study Group
For many kids, small-group instruction can be a very beneficial form of learning. They can feel comfortable asking questions and have more of a hands-on learning experience with friends. Gather your child's group together for a play date and invite the parents to stay and chat. You might be surprised at how many parents are concerned with their child's success in school and would be open to forming a study group together. Although tutors will charge more for a group, it still may be cheaper to split the total between a few families.
What suggestions do you have for finding the perfect tutoring relationship?
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