• Word of mouth is the best way to find
a tutor. Your best bet is to get recommendations from
other parents as well as teachers and school administrators,
who often have a list of preferred individuals. Keep
in mind that even if a tutor comes with the highest
recommendations, it doesn’t guarantee success.
A tutor who worked wonders for one child might not click
• An advanced degree is beneficial but
not essential. An expert in calculus will not necessarily
know how to teach your child to add and subtract. While
an advanced degree ensures that the tutor knows the
subject matter, you need to consider other qualities
such as patience and communication skills.
• Monitor your child’s progress.
You should see your child improving her study habits
and becoming more confident with the subject matter.
Parents should check in regularly with the tutor to
track their child’s progress. It is important
for both the parent and the child to be patient: Learning
does not happen overnight.
• Help your child feel comfortable with
the idea of getting help. Getting tutored can be especially
tricky when one sibling excels while another struggles.
“Children need to be constantly reminded that
there is nothing wrong with them and nothing that needs
to be ‘fixed,’ ” says Nikki Geula,
founder and president of tutoring company Arete Educational
• Year-long or life-long? Some tutors
think their job is never done. “The ideal situation
is to have an ongoing tutor who acts as a personal educator,”
insists Nathaniel Frank, a member of a tutoring service
called the Teaching Collective. Other tutors believe
their services should diminish over time. However, all
tutors agree that they should not just be used prior
to an exam or term paper. It is best to establish a
set schedule, usually one or two one-hour sessions per
week (at first), without a set end-date.
• Consider group tutoring, if private
sessions are too expensive. “School-class sizes
are so big that if a child can get guidance along with
three or four other students, it is very helpful,”
says Julie Binder, a third-grade teacher in Brooklyn.
• Tutor prices vary significantly. A private
tutor can charge anywhere from $90 to $300 per one-hour
session, and group-tutoring programs start at about
$60 an hour. In addition, some tutoring services charge
a fee for the preliminary consultation.