What Type of Tutoring Does Your Child Need?

Tutoring TypesIt’s September and school is in full swing. We’re (nearly) back to the morning drop offs and the afternoon clubs. And as the school year progresses, we’re also back to the nightly homework.

Cue the woes.

At some point in a student’s academic career, there will be a subject or a concept or a class that they will need a little help understanding. There’s no shame in asking for help.

But how do you, as the parent, know which kind of help will suit your child best?

Awhile back we talked about what to look for in a great tutor. Now, let’s explore the types of tutoring that are out there and which ones benefit which type of learner.

Teacher Tutoring

Getting extra homework help from your student’s teacher is always a great way to understand how the teacher (aka the test preparer and homework grader) conceptualized the assignment. Teacher Tutoring also helps build rapport. The problem is time. Coming in at lunch or recess or even after school is great for quick questions. When it comes to digging into the root of the concept, however, there just aren’t enough hours in the school day.

Peer to Peer Tutoring

I love having students work together and learn from each other. When you think about it, school is really a microcosm of our larger society. School is more than just academics; it’s also about social skills and friendships, learning to collaborate and work out differences appropriately. So when the opportunity presents itself, allowing students to teach each other helps team spirit, build confidence and character, practice empathy and patience, and discover a new side to themselves as mentor.

Group Tutoring

There are a lot of tutoring centers that employ the group tutoring methodology. As with Peer to Peer Tutoring, this process focuses on a small group setting (usually 3-5 students) but with a teacher at the helm. It’s usually student-led (ie: what are most people in the group challenged by?), which helps students learn to speak up — that all important self-advocacy piece of the puzzle — and defend their answers, thereby learning through the argument. Group tutoring is great for a self-starter student or one who may be struggling with a particular concept. It’s harder, though, for our quiet or more introverted kiddos who get a little anxious over having to voice their opinions in a group setting.

Online Tutoring

I’m not a fan of online tutoring. Even for the best student out there, there’s nothing that can replace having someone sit next to you for an ask and answer session. Human connection trumps technology every time.

1:1 Private Tutoring

Almost everyone can benefit from private tutoring. Building a strong mentor:mentee relationship is key to student success and with the right person sitting at the table, homework doesn’t become so daunting.

Private Tutoring is great for students who are struggling not just with the concept but study skills too. All those time management, organization, forward-planning skills (those executive function needs) are key building blocks to student success in and out of the classroom.

A good tutor recognizes that they are not just there to practice that algebraic equation or review grammar, but, rather to help the student learn to help themselves by building confidence, strong study habits, and problem-solving skills.

I’m so proud that I stumbled upon my calling as a tutor several years ago and so grateful that I’ve been able to sit side by side with students, helping them blossom into confident, young people who are learning to value learning from their teachers, their tutors, their parents, their friends and themselves.

Christine Terry, J.D., is the Founder & Executive Director of Terry Tutors Specialized Education Services.

She created the One Wraparound Service for The Struggling Student, which includes Academic Support, Behavior Management, Special Education Advocacy and School Placement services. Christine truly loves helping struggling students realize their inner potential and the possibilities that await them in and out of the classroom.

My Student Attended Her Own IEP & Loved It!

IEP for aspergers child11 Years Old and already CEO of her own IEP!

I was so impressed when my student’s school suggested that she attend her own IEP Meeting. As meetings go, IEP’s have the reputation of getting contentious rather quickly and losing sight of the real reason why parents, psychologists, teachers, learning specialists, principals, advocates, and attorneys are sitting at the round table in the first place– the student.

Humanizing PLOPs, Goals & Services

But something amazing happened when my 11-year-old student sat in the big chair between her learning specialist and her mother, and joined the conversation. Instead of a heated debate over standard deviations, we were able to humanize the plan of action and include her in the review of all of those Present Levels of Performance (PLOPs), Goals, and Services.

Our “adult speak” had to be tailored to her “kid level” of understanding. By doing so, it made all of the attendees that much more cognizant of what we were saying and how we were saying it. We asked for her input, addressed her concerns, and clarified her job to continue to work hard and work towards her very best.

It was probably the most honest, quick, and productive IEP I’d ever been to, and I have my student to thank for that.

Student “Buy In” & Self-Advocacy

My student felt important because she got to attend her own IEP, a key component to her “buy in” and, ultimately, her ownership over her own education. It was just as much a lesson for me as it was for her, and it got me thinking: taking into consideration age and appropriateness of course, perhaps having our students attend their own IEPs should be the best practice.

After all, what better way to meet her annual self-advocacy goal than to learn to advocate at her own IEP.

Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Comprehensive Wraparound Service for The Struggling Student, which includes Academic, Behavior, Special Education Advocacy, and School Placement services.  Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com.

You’re Never Too Young to Learn to Self-Advocate

say itSelf-Advocacy is the act of taking ownership and responsibility for your own choices and learning how to ask for guidance from those who can help shape your goals in a positive and practical way. It’s a term whose origins stem from the civil rights movement, specifically for those with intellectual disabilities or cognitive impairments. But really, all it means is that you’re learning how to stand up for yourself and your rights. I encourage even my youngest students to begin self-advocating so that they can get a jump-start on navigating their own educational and life goals.

Now, even as a tiny child I had a natural knack for arguing, but learning to effectively advocate for my position came much later in life. I credit my law school training for teaching me how to remove emotion from very emotional situations, as most litigation turns out to be. As with any family dynamics, emotions run high too. I find that those who are part of the family are unable to truly have a clear, unbiased take on the troubles that their child or their family as a whole are undergoing. That’s why I’m such a proponent of having a third-party advocate (therapist, religious counselor, education advocate) who can come into a sticky situation and help each individual member feel heard, respected, and vital to the family as a whole. They can also teach you the skills necessary to learn how to advocate for yourself because, really, who is a better advocate for your own needs than you?

The fact of the matter is no one can advocate for your position better than you can because you are living it! You’re on the front lines: deciding which path to take, making small decision after decision that can either lead you towards success or failure. Note that, there’s nothing wrong with failure. In fact, failure has the unique ability to wake us up from a lackluster existence and put some spring back into our step. Because I’m working with families whose kids are on the verge of expulsion in school or have sadly already been kicked out or suspended indefinitely, what is perceived as failure becomes an opportunity for a reality check and readjustment of behavior, academic, and family goals. I use every perceived failure as an opportunity to teach grace under pressure and instill honesty in the face of defeat.

Self-Advocacy is often overlooked in children because most adults are so used to coordinating care on their behalf, so much so that we often forget to even ask the child for his or her input and hear their side of the story. A sure-fire way to teach your child the beginnings of self-advocacy, however, is to take a step back and let them try it on their own. Yes, they may not get it the first time but at least they’ll learn how to do it better the next time. After all, isn’t that really the bigger life lesson here: If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. It may sound trite but trite, in this case, is true.

Christine Terry, J.D., is the Founder of Terry Tutors and Creator of the One Comprehensive Support Service for The Struggling Student. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com