How to Get Kids Excited for After-school Tutoring

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If your kid thinks homework is the pits, he could benefit from a good after school tutor.“If your kid thinks homework is the pits, he could benefit from a good after school tutor.Jupiterimages/Thinkstock

Be honest: Did you like school when you were a kid? Even if you were the teacher’s pet, you probably weren’t wild about homework. There were far more exciting things you could be doing, like going out for ice cream or playing video games. So, it should come as no surprise that your kids inherited your good looks and your aversion to after school studies. If you want them to succeed scholastically, you’re going to have to hire some help. However, it’s important that your kids aren’t just begrudgingly agreeing to being tutored — they should actually look forward to it!

That’s right, we said "look forward" and "tutored" in the same sentence, and we were referring to your children. Impossible, you say? Sound too good to be true? Well, it is possible to get your kids pumped for learning in their free time, but dropping them off at the nearest after school program isn’t going to do it. You’re going to have to pick the right tutor and make sure your kids feel like they’re getting something out of the experience.

It may seem like a daunting task, but over the course of this article, we’re going to school you with numerous tips for getting your kids excited about tutoring.

Ever wonder what separates the good tutors from the bad? Find out on the next page.

How to Find a Tutor Your Kids Will Like

When selecting a tutor for your child, it’s important to find someone who knows how to make normally dull homework feel fresh and exciting. Your kid isn’t going be enthusiastic about any activities that take place after school if all he has to look forward to is suffering through another class. Choose a tutor who isn’t afraid of breaking out of the box and doing whatever needs to be done to help your kid grasp academic concepts.

Since tutors aren’t school teachers (well, they might be teachers during the day but tutors after the last bell rings), their teaching methods aren’t constrained by classrooms and the needs of multiple students. If it’s a nice day, why shouldn’t your child learn the fundamentals of fractions outside or act out a few Shakespearean scenes under the shade of a tree? Even if your kid is enrolled in a program with other children, there will be more one-on-one time devoted to helping him understand what he missed in class.

How do you know the difference between the exceptional tutors and the ones who are exceptionally mundane? Where can you find an after school program that fits your budget — and your child’s needs? You have many options, but the best bet is simply taking the advice of other parents in similar situations. It’s also not a bad idea to ask some of your kid’s teachers if there’s anybody they recommend for tutoring. There may even be some teachers that your child knows and likes who tutor after school. If you’re the kind of mom who prefers to do her own research, a quick Internet search that includes the name of your city and "after school tutoring" or "after school programs" will give you rates and reviews for many of the tutors and programs in your area.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to two or three options, set up a time you can interview the candidates. Ask questions about the tutors’ teaching experience, style and availability. Invite your child to participate in the interview, too. After all, it’s important that he feels comfortable with the tutor. Get him involved in the selection process and ask for his honest feedback about the candidates. Your kid isn’t going to be excited about learning if he can’t stand his tutor.

TLC Tip

Look for tutors who are willing to take extra steps to assist your child. Many of the best tutors will contact your kid’s teachers to correlate concepts with class work and provide regular progress reports to keep you informed on how your child is doing.

Highlighting the Benefits of After-school Tutoring

Your child is sure to see numerous benefits from after-school tutoring, but the most immediate change will probably be an improvement in his grades and a better comprehension of the lessons being taught in class. It’s an expected result, sure, but the first time your kid brings home a test stamped with an A, you’ll be overjoyed (especially if you would’ve been pleased with a B or even a C).

However, it’s the increased sense of self-confidence, not the grades, that will be the most significant benefit your child receives. Feeling good about his abilities is what will keep him looking forward to his tutoring sessions. Once he starts understanding the material, the frustration, anxiety and apprehension he felt about his schoolwork will disappear. Many tutored children transition from reclusive students into active class participants, and there’s no reason your kid can’t be one of them.

This confidence boost is often more than just academic. The uptick in attitude may also carry over into your child’s social life and (dare we say it?) home life as well. If your kid is struggling in class, he may feel overwhelmed, angry and even ignorant, all of which can have an enormously negative effect on his psyche. Once he begins to understand the lessons and schoolwork, though, he’ll feel self-assured and empowered — feelings which will positively affect every other aspect of his life.

We’re not promising he’ll never talk back, or even start taking out the trash on a regular basis, but there’s a good chance his newfound academic confidence and success will make him a happier and more agreeable person. Now, that’s something to get excited about!

TLC Tip

You know that brain-dead feeling you get at the end of a hard day? Your kid feels the same way immediately after school, so make sure he eats a snack and has time to play and relax a bit before tutoring begins.

Lots More Information

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Sources

  • Afterschool Alliance. Home page. 2010. (Dec. 10, 2010).http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/
  • — "Evaluations Backgrounder: A Summary of Formal Evaluations of the Academic Impact of Afterschool Programs. July 2008. (Dec. 11, 2010).http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/Evaluations%20Backgrounder%20Academic_08_FINAL.pdf
  • Obenschain, Nancy. Fourth grade teacher and after school tutor. Personal interview conducted by Chris Obenschain. Dec. 10, 2010.

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