Many children don’t like to admit they are confused. The teacher is talking about algebra or history or literature—and suddenly your child decides that the words sound like gibberish. So, if your little Ella or Justin says that he “doesn’t understand,” and you see grades that are uncharacteristically low, take notice. Help him or her get back in sync with other students in the class so that he/she can move forward incrementally.
How can a parent persuade a child to go to a tutor? Whether you have a third-grader or a high school senior in your family, watch for signs that your child is struggling and try to find out what’s going on. “You may find that your teen is doing absolutely everything and still not understanding the course,” says tutor Josefine Borrmann, founder of Strive to Learn. “Or he or she may be playing computer games and spending too little time studying, and that’s the reason he or she can’t seem to master the course material.”
For tutoring to help, a child must invest in the process. If your teen is reluctant to try tutoring, Borrmann advises saying, “Let’s make a pact. I’ll give you four weeks to try to improve the grade on your own, and if that doesn’t work, according to our pact, you will try one session with a tutor.” It sounds fair and it is; most kids will go along with this plan. Better yet, what typically happens is that the young person is 100% sold on tutoring after experiencing the tutor’s empathy. Borrmann contends that there should be no stigma attached to seeking help because “a tutor is a teacher, and it’s just a great opportunity.”
What keeps students from succeeding in school is that some kids have a hard time believing in themselves. The goal of tutoring is to create “a growth mindset.” This helps the person later in life—in college, in jobs, in relationships. Believing you have value really matters, of course, and that’s why Borrmann looks for tutors whose strong suit is empathy. She also wants tutors who have had struggles because they tend to connect with students more successfully. A tutor is a “mentor” and “teacher,” she says.
In addition to its regular tutoring program, two specialties of Strive to Learn are: college counseling and a prep course for students taking the ACT/SAT. With a tutoring program that is student-centered, Borrmann and her staff work with students K-12 and adults. “The goal is to foster independence and confidence in students. If you sign up for tutoring, you’ll have a mentor, and that will allow you to dig deeper… It’s just a great opportunity to improve your study skills and gain confidence in yourself.”