Questions to Ask to Find the Perfect Private Tutor for Your Child 

Private tutoring is one of the best ways of accelerating learning – however, it’s crucial that you find the right person for the task. Here are some of the questions you should consider asking viable private tutors before hiring anyone and cover issues like qualifications, teaching methods, progress tracking, and how they can help your child/children prepare for the future.

What qualifications does the professional have? 

When you begin your search to find a tutor take the time to find out more about the tutor’s education – what university and school they went to, what did they study – as well as finding out if they’ve attained QTS or Qualified Teacher Status. Keep in mind that “experts” do not always make for the best tutors; while core knowledge is crucial, it can be just as important to know if they took the same exams/tests your child will be sitting.

Do they have any tutoring experience? 

It is vital to remember that for specific subjects like UCAS applications or degree-level assistance, tutors who’ve recently been through the process and were successful can be very helpful, even if they have minimal tutoring experience.

Can the tutor provide testimonials from his or her past clients?

Hearing what other parents and students have to say about the tutor you are considering is one of the best ways of finding out what they are like. Think of it as booking a table at a new restaurant online – it can be useful to go through some reviews first.

Which examination board is the tutor familiar with?

Ask the tutor about the exam board(s) they use to ensure that both your child and tutor are aligned. Each board’s syllabus is available online, and often practice or past exam papers are available for download, free of charge.

Tutors with experience as examiners can also be quite valuable, and that is something that most tutors don’t publicize. It is, therefore, worth asking this question.

Does the teacher have any specialty?

Some tutors specialize in exam practice, while others are great at making learning fun or building confidence in students. There are others who’ve has success with students taking specific exams and tests; such tutors should be able to tell your child what to expect and to help them prepare for the test. Remember to ask the tutor about their approach on specific issues and areas.

Is their documentation up-to-date?

For some people, this is a critical factor while for others, testimonials are sufficient evidence that a tutor is competent. Experienced tutors, basically anyone who’s a teacher, should have all the required documentation at hand. Ask the tutor to carry one or two academic certificates and their DBS (the new name for the Criminal Record Check) along to the first lesson.

Where will tutoring sessions take place?

Traveling to a tutor’s home works well for some students. Then, there are those who are comfortable talking or working with their tutor online – this is one of the best ways to keep sessions useful and relaxed.

How does the tutor make lessons engaging? 

It can be helpful to find out how the tutor structures their lessons; does he or she engage through mutual interests or use fun learning materials? Great tutors will quickly pick up the best approach to engaging your child and tend to ask for your advice on the approach.

How long are the lessons? 

Can your child concentrate fully for one whole hour? This is one of the questions you should ask yourself when deciding on lesson length. The decision on whether to take half-hour sessions or not will depend on your child’s age and what you and the tutor you hire think is sensible. It is a good idea to ask your tutor how long they’d recommend. Either way, a break is important, so do not forget to incorporate several breaks in there too.

If possible, what’s their attitude to liaising with your child’s school teacher?

A tutor liaising with a school teacher isn’t common; however, it can be beneficial for both the tutor and teacher to do so to help ensure that teaching goals and methods are aligned. Keep in mind, however, that this is not necessary, and tutors who don’t liaise with your child’s school aren’t worse than those who do.

Who arranges all the required books and paper, worksheets, and resources for lessons? 

This is one important thing to remember to ask. In most cases, parents are the ones who provide these materials so make sure you consider this when thinking about costs. Nevertheless, some tutors do provide their own print-outs or resources.

How does the tutor track your child’s progress? Does he or she set homework?

Most tutors opt not to add more workload to their students. Though, small amounts of work or past papers for revision during the exam period is beneficial. Make sure that the tutor you get understands your child’s homework schedule so that he or she doesn’t become overwhelmed with all the extra work.

How does he or she conduct assessments?

The assessment methods tutors use will vary since different methods work for different people. As such, remember to follow up on the tutor’s approach.

What feedback can you expect from your tutor and when?

Some tutors prefer communicating through written reports, others by scheduling time for a face to face meeting once a term or month while others prefer giving feedback at the end of lessons. Consider what works best for you.

Can you, as a parent, contact the tutor in between lessons?

Most tutors don’t mind being in touch between lessons; however, there are some who have other jobs apart from tutoring and might not be in a position to be contacted or to reply within certain hours.

How can parents assist with the child’s progress when their tutor is not available?

Some parents will have tutors help with all of the child’s homework while for others 10-hours of one-to-one tuition is a huge investment. It is crucial to remember that you could benefit from the tutoring experience without spending much. Simply ask your tutor for advice on skill or strategies you can work on with your son or daughter when tutoring ends?

How long are their tutoring relationships?

It is a good idea to think about whether you would like the tutoring to be long-term, or if you simply want a few lessons before an interview or exam – and remember to communicate this to the tutor so he or she can plan accordingly.

What is their view of independent learning?

Understanding their view on this is a good step towards making sure that your child and the tutor work well together and make progress. The best tutors often aim to get their students to that point where they no longer require them!

Dear Jack: Why Your Teacher At Rainbow Child Care Center Is Awesome

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Why Your Teacher At Rainbow Child Care Center Is Awesome

Dear Jack,

You have been attending your new school, Rainbow Child Care Center, for a month now. I’m assuming it’s been pretty obvious in my recent letters how happy our family is with you attending there.

Today, I want take a moment to “feature your teacher”, Ms. Aimee.

She is truly exceptional. She is the ideal teacher I could hope for, working at the ideal school I could hope for you to attend.

Last week she taught you to use a hammer, a real hammer, to build a tiny house, which is currently being displayed in our wine cabinet.

Consider how atypical it is that a 4 year-old gets to build something out of wood, using a real hammer, at his preschool. That is so cool you get to do that.

And this week, Ms. Aimee started teaching you and your friends how to use a sewing machine. I love the super serious look on your face in this picture as you were working on your patch.

Montessori

This is a quick note she sent me about it:

Here are photos of Jack using a sewing machine for the first time! He observed a couple friends do it first, then, became very eager to try. After learning some of the rules (ie: always watch your fingers) he was a sewing pro! He picked out his fabric, and slowly guided it through the sewing machine. After he was done, he loved showing his project off!

These examples demonstrate not only how much creative control that Rainbow Child Care Center gives their teachers, which I extremely appreciate, but also how creative and talented your teacher is.

To me, that’s all the “Montessori” revealing itself.

Plus, it’s pretty revolutionary and unique that Rainbow Child Care Centers have a kids gym in them, so you are able to physically play- despite the weather.

Montessori

I can see that every day at your school, you are being creatively and intellectually challenged.

Ms. Aimee inspires you. Because of her, you are now fascinated with pet reptiles and amphibians, since Ms. Aimee has 4 of them in your classroom. I imagine not many 4 year-old boys get to have 4 pet reptiles and amphibians in their preschool classroom as class pets!

It’s no surprise that we bought tickets for Repticon for the weekend after next. I can’t wait to see how much you’re going to enjoy it.

Mommy and I even bought you a gecko stuffed animal as part of your upcoming Easter basket.

Here are photos of Jack using a sewing machine for the first time! He observed a couple friends do it first, then, became very eager to try. After learning some of the rules (ie: always watch your fingers) he was a sewing pro! He picked out his fabric, and slowly guided it through the sewing machine. After he was done, he loved showing his project off!

Oh, and your class recently won a pajama party due to good behavior. It was a big deal to you!

I obviously recommend Rainbow Child Care Center to any parent who is considering enrolling their child there.

It is a perfect fit for our family and lifestyle.

Love,

Daddy

Montessori

Which Role Do You Play in Your Family?

As I a guy who doesn’t know anything about cars or building stuff, or even computers, or how to really fix anything, or sports (golf included), or politics, or business (investments and stock market crap), there aren’t seemingly many important roles left for me as a man in a family. 

Sure, I can tell you which actors from Saved by the Bell are Jewish and which songs were hits in 1983 and how tall Albert Einstein was and I can solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than five minutes every time, but how does that fill any kind of necessary void in family dynamics?

I am a walking Wikipedia with an unforgettable memory of life events, sometimes nearing borderline Asperger’s.  So by default, what is my role in my family of six?  And to see the full picture, what are the roles of each member of my family? (My parents, my sister, her husband, and my wife.)

Me: The storyteller, the writer, the historian, and the event planner.  What drives me are memories.  Good memories take place because of events.  So I enjoy planning the family’s activities. 

I tend to be the one in the family that decides what we will do with our time when we’re all together.  And if I didn’t have an agenda for everyone to follow, it’s possible we would all just sit around and do nothing.  It’s possible we wouldn’t know where to go to eat, and end up settling for something mediocre like Outback or Chili’s. 

But I take the responsibility on myself for the six of us to decide where those memories (including potential funny stories and inside jokes) will take place.  And because “life happens” around food and entertainment and going to new places, my niche is being the one to set the backdrop for those events.

My role doesn’t fall into any of the typical manly stereotypes; I am the Montgomery Moose, the Desmond Hume, the John Cusack, the Pat Sajak.  The host, the MC of the evening, the narrator, the journalist of past, present, and future.  I just can’t fix anything.

My wife: The organized one, the teacher, the nurturer, the listener.

My dad: The mechanic, the electrician, the carpenter.

My mom: The financial expert, the chef, the encourager, the conversationalist.

My sister: The interior decorator, the helper, the initiator.

Her husband: The computer whiz, the tech expert, the sports enthusiast. 

Not that anyone can limit the talents and capabilities of their own family members down to just a few roles.  Because family members are not just stereotypes or TV characters.  They’re family.

What brought all this to mind is by watching the wonderfully crafted sitcom/drama Parenthood.  I love the dynamics of the family and how they all interact.  It hit me that the members of my family all have specific roles like the characters on that show.  And also, it seems the entertainment world is oversaturated with superheroes. 

I just wanted to know what my “superpowers” are.  Now I know. 

(And in case you’re still curious, Screech and Jessie were played Jewish actors, on the show Saved by the Bell.)

Would you, the random or regular reader, be willing to share with me your role and your family members’ roles in your family by leaving a comment below?  This isn’t a clever marketing ploy to boost my numbers or make this post seem more interesting.  I am just truly interested in this topic and want to know what other random family roles are out there.