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Tutoring: Not only for those kids struggling

All children face challenges in school at various times. But even if they are doing well, students may benefit from some additional instruction.


Lexie’s latest report card showed all As. Her lowest grade was math where she got a 90. Lexie’s teacher recommended she join a small group of students after school on Mondays. This way she could get a little extra instruction or ask any questions about math or any other topic for that matter.

Participating in this type of tutoring can help students master difficult concepts that are the building blocks to more complex ideas. Lexie and Jase both participated in small group tutoring last year and it helped them both.


Now all of the tutoring my kids have received has been done through the school and best of all, free. Last year when Jase began learning violin, his instructor suggested that all students have a tutor. But I wasn’t sure Jase, then a fifth-grader, would stick with it. About half of those fifth graders did drop out of orchestra when they entered sixth grade. Jase wasn’t one of them.

Again, this year, his instructor recommends getting a tutor for some one-on-one learning. It isn’t like Jase doesn’t get instruction five days a week. It is just the teacher cannot provide individualized instruction when he has a class full of other sixth graders. The suggestion for tutoring has nothing to do with how well Jase does or doesn’t play. It is just meant to give him addition help in mastering his instrument.

His instructor gave us several names for tutors and I contact one of them to find out how much tutoring cost. The man I contacted use to be with the Boston Symphony and charges $40 for a half hour lesson. Sounds great to me but Jase seems hesitant about the idea of a tutor.

I’ve explained to him that it doesn’t mean he isn’t doing well. It is meant to give him someone who can answer his questions and make sure he fully understands how to play each note. It gives him extra time to practice with someone who knows what he is supposed to be doing.

I think it will help his confidence. During his last chair test, Jase came in last. At the end of the school year, he will have to test to see which orchestra he will be in next year. I think tutoring will help him get into his goal – the symphony orchestra (one step down from the top orchestra – honors orchestra).

But I also don’t want to force him to do something he doesn’t want to do. I don’t want him to agree to this just because he thinks I want it. He will get more out of it if he is fully on board with tutoring. So, we will have him meet the tutor and see what he thinks after that. If he doesn’t want tutoring after that, I am fine with that.

As for the rest of his middle school classes, many of them offer my favorite type of tutoring – free. And Jase has already decided to occasionally show up his math teacher’s tutoring hour for extra help. It must be working as he has an A in that class.

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