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Does Your Child Need a Tutor?

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Does Your Child Need a Tutor?

Although many parents are hiring tutors for kids who are doing fine in school, experts say the best time to enlist help is when you see the following signs that your child is struggling:

  • She's behind her classmates in a skill she should have mastered in an earlier grade, such as spelling, grammar, basic math, or writing.
  • His grades start to fall even though he's working really hard.
  • Homework and projects are not complete or accurate, no matter how much time your child spends on them.
  • She says she's not good at a particular subject. "Preteens and teens are forming a solid sense of self," says Tracey Frazier, a teacher at the Springs School in Easthampton, New York, who tutors middle school children. As part of that process, kids start to examine what they're good at and begin to put more energy into developing their strengths. But they also tend to avoid perceived weaknesses, which can make performance in those areas even worse.
  • Your child's schoolwork is ruining your relationship with him. At about age 11, kids begin seeking more independence from their parents. That's why even if you know everything there is to know about a subject, your child will often resist your advice. "Preteens and teens often view what their parents have to say about schoolwork as interference," says Mitch Artman, a former middle school teacher who is now a tutor in New York City.

That's the problem Manhattan mom Mindy Garelick experienced with her 12-year-old, Ben. "Whenever I tried to correct a mistake on his homework, he would tell me I didn't know what I was talking about," she says. "Now that Ben has a tutor, we're no longer fighting all the time. He listens to his tutor in a way he never did with me."