Going the Extra Mile: How New Homeschool Students Can Benefit From Routine Tutoring

By Kylee

Homeschooling has become America’s fastest-growing form of education, according to a Washington Post study. The analysis, based on data that The Post collected for thousands of school districts across the country, reveals that the dramatic rise in homeschooling at the onset of the pandemic “has largely sustained itself through the 2022-2023 academic year.” While many new homeschoolers may be quick to underestimate the value of resources like a private tutor, there are several benefits of tutoring worth exploring. From taking the time to work on problem areas to enhancing motivation and self-discipline, teens can develop highly effective habits needed in the homeschool environment and beyond.

The power of new perspectives

Whether you’re using a dedicated homeschool program or are taking a more independent route, any homeschooled teen can benefit greatly from a new perspective in regard to their coursework. For example, those who have a difficult time with a certain subject like math can benefit from a private tutor who is well-versed in the subject. Not only can they explain various mathematical concepts in different ways that can be easier to understand, but they can help teens achieve that lightbulb moment. As a result, homeschooled students can gain confidence within their studies and heighten knowledge retention all the while deepening their understanding of the coursework.

While the traditional school experience is well known for its ample opportunities for socialization, a tutor can bring unique advantages to the table for homeschoolers that crave collaboration in a group setting. “[There is no doubt that] socialization is important for kids,” says Ben Bring, DO, a physician specializing in family medicine at the OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital. “They learn how to interact with their peers and communicate their feelings. They also learn how to be on a team and work together to accomplish a goal.” It’s a common misconception that homeschooled students don’t get enough socialization when compared to those in a traditional school setting, though activities such as sports, clubs, and even tutoring can all be great social activities. Group tutoring (whether online or in-person) can be a powerful resource for homeschooled teens when it comes to peer-to-peer collaboration. This type of tutoring allows teens to learn from others, and can also introduce new perspectives on subject matter as well.

Boosting accountability and self-discipline

A more relaxed approach to schoolwork can benefit homeschooled teens (especially those who crave a bit of independence), however, challenges can arise. Maintaining motivation and sticking to academic goals can quickly become difficult, and constantly reprimanding teens as both parent and teacher can result in frustration for many. Tutoring, however, can present a variety of advantages in regard to boosting accountability, whether the issue involves staying motivated to do homework or staying on task with assignments in general. For example, simply knowing that a tutoring session is coming up can help teens stay on track with their assignments. “They must be prepared for the next lesson and show that they have been practicing what they are learning,” points out one LinkedIn article by president and CEO at Crafting Scholars, Kris Harris. Harris goes on to note that a tutor can also provide regular check-ins and monitor progress, which can help greatly to identify problem areas. “In turn, they can adjust tutoring plans to fit these needs and make sure students are mastering required objectives.”

Working on problem areas

For parents and their students that are new to homeschooling, addressing previous educational gaps can be made possible through the extra attention that a tutor can provide. This is particularly important today, with public school leaders estimating that about half (49%) of their students began the 2022-23 year behind grade level in at least one academic subject. While an experienced private tutor can help adjust to certain academic challenges associated with homeschool (such as time management and structure surrounding coursework), private tutoring can also help address specific problem areas, whether it be the development of reading skills or working through math and science concepts.

In addition to experience, assessing the suitability, skills, and safety of a potential tutor is essential in order to find the right fit, especially when looking for an in-person tutor. A background check, for example, is crucial in determining whether an individual is free of any sort of conviction, while an interview is equally as important to the hiring process. This is a great way for everyone to sit down together (student included), ask and answer questions, and determine whether there is a good rapport between the student, tutor, and parents to serve as the foundation of a productive working relationship. From there, a second, more informal meeting will allow for the negotiation of the tutoring process (including where and when the tutoring will take place), and will serve as a more in-depth discussion regarding the student’s academic needs. This will allow you to discuss how the tutor will go about addressing your student’s needs in greater detail (perhaps by outlining a learning plan, for example). By discussing such matters upfront, you can get any burning questions answered and assess whether the tutor is ultimately a good fit for your teen.

Tutoring may seem unnecessary for homeschooled students, especially for those who enjoy working at their own pace. However, there are a variety of manners in which a tutor can help homeschool students go the extra mile — from boosting accountability to the advantages of a new perspective and opportunities for collaboration.

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