February 27, 2014

How long will my child need tutoring?

We are often asked: “How long will my child need to be tutored?” It’s a wonderful question but one that may require a crystal ball, especially if there is no goal in sight like a standardized test or final exam.

42The length of time any child will require tutoring varies from child to child and with the specific purpose of the tutoring. If a child is receiving tutoring to build skills in a specific subject (i.e. computational skills via math tutoring or decoding skills via reading tutoring), it is likely that instruction will take place for a shorter period of time that is based on a specific, quantifiable set of goals. On the other hand, if a child is receiving tutoring to improve his executive function skills (organization, prioritization, initiation of tasks, time management, goal-setting, planning), tutoring is likely to take place over a longer period of time and be less easily defined in terms of quantifiable goals.

Private tutoring to improve executive function skills focuses on practice, repetition and the forming of strong study and organizational habits. The amount of time it can take for any individual child to both unlearn less constructive habits and build new skills varies from child to child. Examples of these factors include the age of the student and the degree of assistance the child needs in building executive function skills. It also depends on the child’s commitment to the process and the support that parents provide at home to ensure that students are practicing these skills.

The building of executive function skills is similar to skill building of any kind. Here at Engaging Minds, we often cite the example of learning to play an instrument to help illustrate the point: your child can’t take a piano lesson on Sunday, not practice during the week, and think that by the following Sunday’s lesson he’s going to be a master piano player! Your child has to practice and that takes time, a willingness to try new things, and persistence. But it’s doable! It is important to remember that the building of skills is a process rather than a product, and tutoring with this goal at its center takes more time than math tutoring or reading tutoring typically would.