Thank you Explore Horizons for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% my own. #fearlesslearning
We recently made the switch from private to public schools and I was very concerned my kids would be behind everyone else academically. My husband and I thought the best way to prepare them for the transition would be to find a tutoring center to get them accessed then enroll them at that center for a little extra help. We found that not all tutoring centers are created equal and that it is important to know what you are looking for and why. To ensure you pick the right place for you and your child (since all kids are not created equal either) here are five things we look for (and so should you) when choosing a tutoring center.
As a parent being involved was one of the most important things to me since I am my child’s biggest advocate! I wanted to be involved in the process from start to finish. When looking for a tutoring center, make sure to find one that will allow you to help tailor your child’s tutoring program as well as continually update you on your child’s progress, areas of difficulty and goals.
Individualized development plan
My oldest daughter is super sharp and always ahead of the curve whereas my youngest seems to struggle a bit more so it was important to me to find a tutoring center that would look at both of them as individuals and develop a learning plan that was just right for them. I found that some centers were very rigid and seemed to lump all kids together by age or grade no matter their level or needs. This was one of the biggest reasons we selected Explore Horizons!
Explore Horizons was exactly what we were looking for from start to finish. I was able to help tailor a customized program that was just right for both of my girls needs from staff recommendations, the initial assessments and my own observations of their needs. During our 5 weeks at the center we had one-on-one parent progress meetings after each session to talk about what my kids learned that day, how they did and any strengths or struggles they might be having.
Someone who works with children in this capacity is a very special person. Tutors must be able to teach, inspire and motivate kids of all abilities and can make or break a tutoring center. Make sure the center you choose does strict background checks on all their staff, are trained in your states school curriculum, and receive regular training on current teaching methods. Tour the center, meet the staff and decide if they are the ones you want working with your kids to help make them a life-long fearless learner.
Everyone has a budget so when looking for a center it is important to know what you are willing to pay for tutoring and also what the going rate in your area. Compare apples to apples since all centers are not the same and what they offer is different. For example, Explore Horizons offers Fearless Family Nights as part of their normal membership where you can get in-person academic assessments (pre-K through 8th grade,) STAAR practice tests, test prep strategies for kids (grades 3rd to 8th) and parent seminars to help you prepare your child for the Texas STAAR Tests. Free homework clinics on Wednesday evenings are even included in your membership as well. Just make sure you are comfortable with the price and that it is worth the gain.
We picked Explore Horizons not only for their passionate, inspiring and friendly staff but because they offered a sibling discount, refer-a-friend program and the membership plan was simple compared to other places. For a reasonable monthly fee we got two 75-minute tutoring sessions per week, access to at-home practice tools, ongoing assessments in math, reading and writing and even skills-based group workshops during school breaks. The ability to just drop in with no pre-booking required was just an extra bonus!
Studies show students in small classes exceed their peers across all locations, on every achievement measure and for all subjects. Unfortunately most kids in school have 20 or more peers in their classes and might not be learning or thriving like they should be. When looking for a tutoring center look for one that offers one-on-one tutoring and/or a low ratio of kids to a tutor. Because the kids at the tutoring center are all different and have different needs you need to ask how the tutors motivate and teach the kids in the group to ensure that they are being stretched and challenged at a level and pace that is right for them.
Since tutoring is the best complement to a school education I wanted my girls to have access to the best available teaching tools and be inspired at the same time. Our sessions at Explore Horizon’s were a tutor to student ratio of 1:6 and just the right fit for us. A tutor was always on hand to help my kids master each lesson as they worked at their own pace on their own progress chart so their academic achievements could be tracked throughout their learning session. They were encouraged to ask questions in return for a variety of short-term and long-term incentives like ‘lizard cards’ and let me tell you the thought of collecting ‘lizard cards’ (that can be redeemed for real prizes) motivated my kids like no other!
Explore Horizons provides engaging enrichment and tutoring in math, reading and writing, for children of all abilities in Pre-K through 8 grade. To find out how they can help your child become a fearless learner, check out their website here!