Academic support is something that every student, young and old, will benefit from. Kids especially thrive when they feel supported by their parents and educators through any challenges they may be facing with their academics. For this reason it’s important to be attentive to your child’s education so that you can quickly pick up if there is a learning area they may need help with.

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Keeping tabs on your kids' academics can sometimes be as simple as observing them as they do their homework - Unsplash

Should you pick up that your child is having difficulties with their academics, begin taking action by making an appointment with their teacher to discuss the situation. You may discover that your child’s school provides an after-school tutoring programme. If this is the case, you probably won’t need to do much apart from helping with the odd homework assignment.  With time, supplemental instruction provided by the school should begin to make a big difference.

There are also plenty of supplemental academic options available for kids who homeschool. Sometimes it helps to simply enroll your youngster with a learning center in your area. They can then receive tutoring for subjects they may be battling with such as math and science. Another popular route is to make use of online tutoring.

Whether you decide to make use of the tutoring services offered by your child’s school or you choose to hire a private tutor, if your child is motivated  and feels supported, they will soon be on their way to academic success.

When you have a clear idea of the weak spots in your youngster’s academics it’s very important that you communicate clearly with your child’s tutors. If they are informed then it gives them the opportunity to prepare individualized lessons that are specifically tailored to your child’s needs which will only help to improve their academic performance more quickly.

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Understanding the Value of Academic Support

When kids have the opportunity to receive academic support such as tutoring and mentoring they learn new academic skills and learning strategies that can help them to reach their full potential.

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At the end of the day we all want our children to feel like winners and to feel supported - Unsplash

The objective behind academic support is helping learners to be successful.

The motivation for looking into getting academic support can be influenced by a variety of factors. Sometimes it’s just that kids need help with test preparation due to stress and anxiety in which case tutors can teach them effective study skills. And sometimes there is a long-term process that needs to take place where learners are struggling academically with the coursework of a particular subject at school. In this case a personal tutor would be ideal.

If you find someone who has an education certification and has also taken the time to do tutor training then you can be almost certain that student success is their passion and that you and your child are in good hands.

Remember too that although supplementary academics usually addresses problems that learners are facing in their schooling career, sometimes parents will seek out tutorial services because they have a child that’s passionate about a particular subject and simply seeks enrichment.

Here Are Some of the Options When It Comes to Academic Support:

  • After school programmes,
  • In-depth courses,
  • Summer school programmes,
  • Peer tutoring or mentoring
  • Private tutoring
  • Counseling

Getting Prepared to Begin a Supplementary Learning Programme

Remember that communication is key. So before your child begins one-on-one tutoring make sure that you take the time to chat to their tutor yourself and express any concerns you might have about your youngster’s academic achievement. Give them an outline of your kiddo’s educational ups and downs and let them know what goals you hope can be achieved.

two women in conversation
Take the time to get to know your child's tutor and keep the communication channels open - Unsplash

Professional tutors that have been tutoring for some time will also quickly pick up on your child’s learning needs simply through observation during tutoring sessions. But any additional input and information you can provide in the beginning of the learning programme will obviously save time and help tutors to be prepared with more specific learning materials and lessons suited to your child’s particular needs.

Private tutor fees will of course be an extra expense that you’ll have to work into your budget if you decide private tutoring is the best solution for your situation. And because time is money, it really is in your best interests if you prepare the tutor beforehand as much as possible.

How to Look for Tutors

Here are some points to think about as you search for the perfect tutor:

Have a Clear Idea of the Learning Objectives You Want to Achieve

When you hire a tutor you should have some specific objectives in mind. It’s no good just dumping a learner with an academic tutor and hoping they will automatically fix all the academic problems that your child faces.

You need to decide exactly why your child will benefit from a tutor and communicate these hopes to their tutor. Explain what your child’s education goals are and be open to academic advising from tutors, they are, after all, trained professionals.

The Student Must Take on Some Responsibility

If you want your child to gain the full benefits then they must understand that being tutored is a give and a take and they will have to bring their side if they want to see success in their studies.

There will be times when learners will just want to give up and walk away but it’s in these moments that the magic really happens. Prepare your kids and tell them that their tutor is going to help them become stronger at school but sometimes it’s going to be hard work. However, it will be worth it in the end.

And if they see that you view the tutor as a partner and that you expect them to collaborate with their tutor then it sets a good tone from the beginning.

A tutor isn’t a magic wand, but tutors can be secret weapons!

Learners Need to Understand Why They Are Being Tutored

Have open conversations with your child before the tutoring programme begins and make sure they can recognise where they need help. Ask them to tell you how they hope a home tutor might help them.

Are they hoping to get homework help or revision for exams? Do they feel that the teacher moves too quickly through the work at school and they need more time to understand certain concepts? Would it help if they could practice how to concentrate better?

In the same breath, speak to them about their strengths and make sure they understand that these are just as important as their weaknesses. If they can tell their tutors what they excel at and enjoy it will also help their tutor to show them how to use these strengths to their full potential.

Finding the Right Academic Assistant

Once you have decided that professional tutoring is the best course of action for your youngster, you may be what kind of tutoring to choose. There are number of options. Do you go for personal tutoring or group tutoring? Would your child be more comfortable with an at-home tutor or does online tutoring fit better into your schedule? The most important thing to do before hiring anyone is to attend a consultation with a few tutors who may suit your requirements.

Here are some pointers to think about when selecting the best academic support tutor:

Different Personalities

“People for people”, as they say. There are plenty of highly qualified tutors out there, but don’t forget that tutors are still people and each one will have their own unique personality.

Hiring a private tutor for your child will mean that you and your child will be spending a lot of time interacting with this person. It is therefore very important that you find someone whose company both you and your child enjoy.

Trying to learn valuable lessons from someone your child doesn’t even really enjoy will just add more unnecessary stress to the learning process which is the last thing you need. Make an appointment to meet a tutor that you are thinking of hiring before you make a long-term commitment.

Teaching Methods

Different tutors use different approaches to teaching and what works for one student may not work for the next. While a personal tutor will naturally adjust lesson plans to suit each learner, their general style of instruction is likely to remain the same. Remember that many children end up in need of academic support because of traditional teaching methods within the classroom that they struggle to follow, so this is a very important point.

It's a difficult thing to gauge before seeing a tutor in teaching mode but you should have the liberty to enquire about how they like to run their lessons. For instance you may have a youngster who thrives under strict instruction but your tutor tends to be more flexible.

Another way of finding out more about a particular tutor is by asking for references or choosing someone based on a referral.

Consider Your Schedule

Before settling with a personal or online tutor you should have a clear idea of how much time both you and your child have to spend on extra academic support. Decide on times and days that suit your family best and find someone who is able to fit into a schedule that is convenient for you.

black and white planner, striped notebookand laptop on desk
Find a tutor that can assist you in a way that suits your family's schedule - Unsplash

It’s no good hiring a math tutor and then discovering that they only have space available for tutoring lessons on Wednesdays when you were hoping they could instruct your child on Mondays and Thursdays!

Some tutors have more flexible schedules than others. You may want to hire somebody that can be available at short notice in case of emergencies such as unexpected maths tests or writing assignments. If this is the case then it’s important to clarify schedules from the start.

Tutoring Fees

Many schools offer tutoring programmess which will usually only cost a fraction of the price of hiring a personal tutor. But free tutoring and extra lessons aren’t always available and sometimes the free tutoring that a school provides doesn’t fit into everyone’s schedule.

This means that many people are obliged to contact tutoring companies and find personal tutors. However, be sure to enquire about fees as you begin your search and bear in mind that tutoring online tends to be less expensive than in-person tutoring.

Be Specific About Your Needs

By the time you have decided that extra tutoring is the kind of instructional support your child needs you should have a fairly good idea of the specific areas that need attention. Don’t make the mistake of hiring a math tutor if your child actually needs English tutoring!

Tutoring isn’t a standardised service and different tutors will have different specialties. This doesn’t only apply to subject-matter but if you really do the research you will probably find someone that has experience in tutoring children that suffer from particular mental and emotional issues such as anxiety or attention deficits.

Location, Location

You need to decide where the best spot will be for the tutoring to take place. Think about what is convenient for you and most of all where your child will feel most at ease. More often than not, kids would like to be able to work in their home environment but if this isn’t possible perhaps you could make use of a tutoring center or library in your area.

You Are on the Right Track

With the right kind of support and input each and every learner can achieve great academic success. Unfortunately though, mainstream schooling isn’t geared towards catering for an array of learning styles and some students just get lost in the crowds.

teacher and learners in class
Although mainstream education can seem archaic at times, there's a lot we can do to help our kids get ahead of the curve - Unsplash

But the good news is that with a little nurturing and mentoring from the right tutor you can set your child up for success!

Remember to equip yourself with as much information as you can glean from your youngster’s educators and then take it from there. There are plenty of alternative support services available if your child’s school isn’t able to provide tutoring.

You now have some great pointers to work with and if you approach your search for academic solutions methodically and calmly, you will soon find an academic support plan that’s perfect for you, whether it’s home tutoring, online tutoring or simply an awesome peer tutor from your child’s school.

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Kyla

Born from a family of creatives, Kyla has a passion for the arts and interior design.