Ensuring a Home Tutoring Session Is Productive for Your Child


Ensuring a Home Tutoring Session Is Productive for Your Child

The decision to bring a tutor into your home can be a big step in helping your child become more academically successful. What should you be doing to prepare for the experience? How can you ensure a home tutoring session is productive for your child? Here are four things you can do to get your tutoring relationship off to a great and productive start.

Designate a Tutoring Work Space

Establish a location where your child can work free from interruptions and distractions. Things like televisions, video games, snacks, and siblings should be kept out of sight and out of reach. Your child is on their home turf and is more likely to lose focus and waste time if they are thinking about things they would rather be doing than working on academics, especially when they are close at hand.

Learn more about what is the best environment for learning at home.

Be Present Without Looming or Hovering

When considering a location for the tutoring session to take place, also consider where you will be. It is important that you are home and available during a private tutoring session for the safety of all parties involved, but being omnipresent throughout a session can be distracting to both your child and the tutor trying to deliver instruction. I, personally, have had the most success when parents are occupied in a neighboring room; being out of sight but within earshot seems to provide an ideal level of comfort and accountability for both the tutor and the child.

On the other hand, remember that your tutor is there to teach and support your child, not be a babysitter. If you need to leave the house for any reason, expect the tutor to leave as well (and likely charge for the full session). This is not an attempt to defraud you or withhold services, it is simply the tutor protecting themselves from any potentially compromising allegations or situations (it is a sad and unfortunate reality in our modern world). If you know you cannot be present for the duration of the session, suggest a public meeting place instead like a local library or coffee shop.

Clarify Any Ambiguous Terms Ahead of Time

If you are unsure of any aspect of the arrangements with your tutor, iron them out before the tutor arrives for a session. Some things to consider would be:

  • Session date, duration, and location
  • Payment amount
  • Payment type
  • When payment is expected
  • Cancellation policy (how much notice is needed on each side)
  • Session expectations (homework help, conceptual support, test preparation, etc.)

Handling the business side of the relationship outside of the scheduled instructional time will help maximize the time focused on your child’s learning and also allow your tutor the best opportunity to prepare materials and plans for the session.

If you are unsure how different tutors handle these types of terms, find and reach out to several tutors in your area to see what their policies are. Using a free, searchable database like The Knowledge Roundtable is a good way to find tutors to speak with. This will give you a starting point for negotiating how you will establish the relationship with the tutor you ultimately hire.

Build in Time for Feedback

If you are looking for immediate feedback from the tutor following a session, build the time for that conversation into the allotted session time. Private tutors often have busy schedules and, in order to offer their best possible service to each client, they need to keep them. Consider how you would react if your tutor arrived late because the previous client had their ear and wouldn’t let go. Be respectful of their time and cut a session short by a few minutes if you need to speak with them. If there are truly lengthier matters to discuss, consider calling the tutor or sending an email outside of their tutoring hours.

These four tips should help you ensure a positive and problem-free tutoring experience. For more advice on ways to support your child’s academic growth, be sure to check out the Parenting Blog at The Knowledge Roundtable. What advice do you have for parents beginning a tutoring partnership? Please share your comments below.

About Sheldon S

Sheldon Soper is a ten year veteran of the teaching profession and currently serves as a junior high school teacher in southern New Jersey. His primary focus is building reading, writing, and research skills in his students. He holds two degrees from Rutgers University: a B.A. in History as well as a M.Ed. in Elementary Education. He holds teaching certifications in English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Elementary Education. Sheldon has also worked as a tutor for grades ranging from second through high school in a wide variety of subjects including reading, writing, calculus, chemistry, algebra, and test prep. In addition to his teaching career, Sheldon is also a content writer for a variety of education, technology, and parenting websites.