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Online Tutoring: The Role of the Parent

As a parent, you've helped your child get on the right track to success by working with an online tutor—but your work doesn't end once you've connected your student to a tutor who can help them achieve academic success.

Just what is the role of the parent in the online tutoring process—and how can your contributions increase your child's success in tutoring and the classroom?

Let’s dive into these questions and explore what you can do to support your child and their tutor.

Help Set a Positive Attitude About Tutoring

Your attitude about the tutoring process will have a huge impact on your child's attitude about it.

Tutoring isn't a punishment, nor is it something that takes away from other activities—including the many things that both you and your child would rather be doing. Instead, tutoring is an opportunity to help your child.

If you're excited about it, your child will be, too! Create a positive atmosphere surrounding your child's online tutoring sessions. Prioritize them just like you would other extracurricular activities. Treat them as something positive, and your child will, too.

Create a Distraction-free Environment

Just like when you're working from home, your child needs a distraction-free environment to learn best.

Start by creating an area dedicated to learning time. That may mean a specific space at the kitchen counter or a corner of the living room, where you can monitor your child's engagement and learning, but it needs to be free of clutter and other distracting items.

Make sure your child has the right technology. For example, if you often have a noisy household, you may want to invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones with a good microphone your child can use to engage in tutoring sessions.

Finally, make sure you avoid unnecessary interruptions and distractions. Guide other children out of the room while your child is in a tutoring session. Don't interrupt to ask your child a question or drag them away to another task unless it absolutely can't wait.

Distractions interfere with the learning process and may prevent your child from grasping that vital concept they were just inches away from mastering.

Keep Track of Your Child's Learning and Progress

Stay connected to your child's teacher and tutor. Pay attention to the progress they're making in the classroom.

Does your child seem to be doing very well with their tutor but still struggle with the same concepts when presented in class?

You may want to discuss those challenges with your child's teacher and work out ways to help your child perform better in the classroom.

Furthermore, as the parent, you have access to your child's records, grades, and assignments. Your online tutor won't know how your child is performing in the classroom unless you tell them. Make sure you keep the tutor informed of your child's academic understanding and grades.

If you hired a tutor to help bring their reading up to grade level, and your child has jumped two reading groups over the school year, that's important for the tutor to know!

On the other hand, if your child starts lagging or seems to need more support in another area, you need to share that with the tutor, too.

Engage With Your Child's Tutoring Sessions

Your child's tutor may introduce several strategies to help increase their understanding. Depending on your child's age, you may want to engage with the tutor to get a feel for those strategies.

Suppose, for example, that you have a tutor who introduces your child to a new strategy for reading that works incredibly well. If you don't know what that strategy is, then you can't apply it to your child's nightly reading assignments!

By getting to know the techniques that work for your child in tutoring, you can better guide them through homework on non-tutoring days or provide more feedback that can help your child's teacher support them in the classroom.

Alternatively, if you have an older child, like a middle or high school student who is usually independent, you may want to check in to see how they're progressing or discuss strategies you can remind them of later—but you may not need to be as directly involved in the sessions.

However old your child is, it's vital to keep the tutoring sessions focused on their learning experience.

Online tutoring takes place in a limited timeframe—and your tutor may have to leave your session on time to work with another family. Keep the focus on your child's learning throughout each session.

Encourage your child to try those strategies and work through challenges rather than do things for them or shift the focus on how you've tried to help them in the past.

Create a Plan for Your Child's Future Learning Needs

You know your child's goals and needs for the future. For an elementary school child, that could be anything from bringing them up to grade level in an area where they've struggled, to offering them more opportunity to explore a subject in which they usually excel in.

As your child reaches high school, they may start planning for the future—what colleges they want to attend, for example, or what courses of study they might want to pursue.

You can help create a plan with your child that will address their goals and learning needs—one that incorporates the classroom, tutoring sessions, and more.

Parents are a vital part of the online tutoring journey. You're your child's best advocate. By taking advantage of that position, you can help set your child up for greater levels of academic success and make their tutoring sessions more productive.

You've taken the vital first step by beginning the tutoring process—now use these strategies to help improve the support you can offer your child!

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