How to find a tutor in Austin

June 1, 2010

Many children will struggle academically from time to time.  The consequences for the student can be frustration, embarrassment, and can lead to a dislike of school.  If the student does not receive academic support they are at risk of falling further behind as each year builds upon past learning. It is therefore important that the child receive timely intervention.  While some parents can offer this support others find that turning to a tutor is the best answer.  With so many tutoring options available it can be a challenge for a parent to know where to turn for assistance.

Just about every neighborhood has a tutoring center, national tutoring chain, in home tutoring, college students, or professional certified teachers available to work with your child.  So, what is the best approach for your child?  A good starting point is to talk to the student’s teacher or a school guidance counselor to identify key areas of academic concern and to set up a plan.  The next step is to review the various tutoring options to see which of the above choices best suits your child’s needs and tutoring goals.

Once you’ve established the type of tutor you want to work with your child now comes the hard part, finding the “ideal” match.  “Parents spend approximately eight billion dollars a year on tutoring nationally” says Sarah Ribeiro director of Four Points Tutoring. “It is a big commitment monetarily and an important step in your child’s future. So make sure that you take the steps necessary to find the right tutor.” Ask a lot of questions, check references carefully, and listen to your child’s feedback. There are six important questions that you should keep in mind when talking to a tutor/agency to make sure that you are getting the best person for the job.

  1. What is the tutor’s background?  What type of education and teaching experience does the tutor have?
  2. How does the agency screen tutors?  Do they conduct background checks?
  3. Where does tutoring take place (home, agency, library), who else will be present during tutoring.
  4. Will tutoring be private or small group based?
  5. If your child struggles with a specific area such as dyscalculia, dyslexia, etc, is the tutor skilled to give the student the assistance needed.
  6. Ask for pricing, policies for making up missed lessons, get this in writing when possible and expect to pay between $20 to $150 for a tutor depending on the tutors training, and background.

Finally, get to know the tutor.  Even though you are seeking the best academic match for your child it’s also important to find a tutor that is going to make the session as enjoyable as possible.

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The Organized Student

May 26, 2010

How being organized improves grades

As the owner of a tutoring business I hear it all the time “the work was completed it was just not turned into the teacher.” Or, “my child forgot that the test was today and didn’t study last night.” The stories are plentiful and the common theme is that these students are struggling with disorganization which often results in poor academic performance. It is a problem for the brightest of students and those that struggle academically, but the bottom line is that with a little organization and planning ahead these problems can be eliminated.

Being organized is a skill that comes naturally for some students, but for the majority it is a learned habit. To set your student on the path to academic success they must learn good work habits, time management, and organization skills. These essential skills can be taught and supported at home, in school, or by using a tutor.

The educators at Four Points Tutors have compiled some of their best advice for parents and students to guide them on the path of academic achievement

  1. Rewards: The most powerful step is for the student to realize that the rewards of being prepared are plentiful. Once they understand that by taking a few extra steps to organize themselves they will reap the benefits of better grades, more free time, lower their stress levels and create a more positive relationship with teachers and parents.
  2. Tools: Students should start each year with a binder that contains the following: subject folders, notebook for daily assignments and a calendar to map out future projects and test dates.
  3. Time Management: An at home wall calendar, dry erase board, or daily agenda is essential. This let’s the child feel a sense of control over their time. They will list all social, athletics, and academic commitments.
  4. Remember books: At the end of the long school day students can be forgetful about what books to bring home. An easy way to remember is to use post it notes, highlighting the classes they have homework in (agenda), maintaining one folder just for items to go home, or putting the books they will need in their backpack after each class.
  5. Study environment: A good study environment can reduce stress and help the student focus on the task at hand. While some students claim to work better with music playing or the television on, the reality is that a distraction free environment is clearly the best choice.
  6. Habit: While the intentions are good, mistake will occur. As with any new habit it will take practice. Once everything is in place, remember maintenance. As we all experience this can be the most challenging. It’s fun to purchase the items we need to organize, and feel so good when things are in their proper place, but it will fall apart if the time is not taken to maintain. A good practice is to “reorganize” and “clean out” folders, backpacks and lockers every few weeks.

These steps will take time to master but are key tools for students to stay organized and excel academically.

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What clients are saying:

Pam Waggoner: "I have used Four Points Tutoring for 2 school years. They will match your student with the right tutor and if you need to make a change, there is no problem. I have really appreciated the reliability of the tutors......" continue reading

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