Not smarter than your 5th grader? How to hire him a tutor

Sometimes, your kids are going to need some academic help. You want to help, but let's face it, it's been a long time since you did fifth-grade math. You may need to hire a tutor.

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  • Sometimes, your kids are going to need some academic help. You want to help, but let's face it, it's been a long time since you did fifth-grade math. You may need to hire a tutor. You might picture yourself placing an ad in the newspaper and interviewing a long line of sour-faced candidates, like the scene from Mary Poppins. Thanks to modern technology, there are easier ways to find an ideal tutor for your child.

  • Search the Web

  •  Simply type, "Find a tutor," into a Web search and you will discover several websites that make finding a tutor quick and painless. You can search by location, price, subject and student ratings. Many offer a free first session. With some tutoring companies, you pay the service rather than the tutor, so money is handled easily with online payments.

  • These services will help in narrowing the field. However, it's up to you to make the final choice of a tutor that will best serve your needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Remember that you are the employer

  • You are hiring the tutor to perform a service, and you have the right to dictate how that is to be done to a certain extent. The tutor will have ideas about what's best from their prior experience, but ultimately, you are in charge.

  • Provide a safe environment

  • Be sure to plan a tutoring time when others will be home. If necessary, plan to meet at a public library to keep things safe for your child.

  • Get a reference

  • Good credentials are important, but excellent references are even better. Satisfied customers are a sign of favorable results.

  • Match personality types

  • A proper fit depends largely on personality. Don't be afraid to make a change based on how well the tutor and student communicate and get along. It's okay if the first tutor you try doesn't end up being the one you ultimately choose.

  • Get progress reports

  • Ask for a way to determine if progress is being made. You may want the tutor to give you reports once a week or once a month. Work out a plan before you start that will let you know what the tutor will be working on and what goals will be met.

  • Ask around

  • Sometimes, the recommendation of a fellow parent is the best way to find a tutor. The classroom teacher can also be a resource in locating the right person. Older students are often an excellent consideration. There may be a trade-off in experience, but your child may do quite well with a younger tutor and there will usually be a price advantage.

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  • Choosing the right tutor doesn't have to be hard! Don't forget you're the one with the power ... the power to choose, and the power to help your child succeed.

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Margot Hovley is the author of the novels "Sudden Darkness" and "Glimmering Light." Her self-reliance blog is at mynewoldschool.com, and she blogs about her writing adventures at margothovley.com.

Website: http://www.margothovley.com

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