Every student needs a little extra help from time to time. Everyone knows this. One-on-one tutoring works. The individual attention kids get, the absence of distractions, and the confidence that results are all no-brainers. When your children struggle, act now.
But what to do at home to reinforce that tutoring? Whether the tutoring’s continuing or kids have reached their goals, what can parents do make sure those academic gains stick? Try this.
- Keep expectations high. It was high expectations, yours and theirs, that made them brave enough to seek help in the first place. Keep up grades and confidence by expecting continuous improvement.
- Keep up periodic checkups. Tutors regularly assess for growth. So do schools. (Why do you think teachers give weekly quizzes or have children read aloud?) Stay informed about the results of periodic checkups.
- Keep in touch with the tutor. Don’t lose touch with your child’s tutor once the tutoring has ended, especially during high-stress times like oral reports, long-term projects, or major exams. Think of it as a “booster shot” of confidence.
- Keep in touch with the classroom teacher. The more people who know you’re actively interested in your children’s progress, the better. Communicate through regular parent-teacher meetings, email, texts, informal notes, or the school’s website.
- Keep up the monitoring. Just because they’ve had some tutoring, that doesn’t mean you can lessen up on checking homework, even if you don’t understand all of it. (Pretend you do. Or ask them to explain it to you.)
- Keep the rewards and consequences. Nothing wrong with a small reward for a job well done. Or a reasonable consequence for an unmet goal.
- Encourage study buddies. Encourage kids to study together, to help each other figure out problems, to challenge each other, to compete a little, and to celebrate each other’s successes.
- Keep to routines. Kids need routines to keep on track, to provide structure, to know what’s next, to know what our expectations are.
- Encourage “stretching.” After tutoring, students feel greater confidence, ready to tackle greater academic challenges. Encourage yours to read a book that stretches the mind a little, to take a new or more challenging course (a foreign language, say, or a higher level math), or to try an extracurricular activity they weren’t ready for previously.
- Be alert. Be aware of important dates, like the science fair, major book reports, and mid-terms. Be on the lookout for changes in your children’s attitudes about school, teachers, or friends. Be watchful for drops in grades. These can all be danger signs.
Stay positive. Kids go through peaks and valleys. One day they’re on top of their worlds, the next day, their worlds are crumbling. Our job is to let them know we love them, we’re there for them, and we’ll keep them safe.
Even if it takes a couple of tutoring sessions.