Five Signs Your Child Needs a Tutor (Hint: It’s not a failed test)

needs a tutor

“MOM!!!! I don’t get this.  We went over it so fast in class. I need help!”  Sound familiar?  Does your stomach lurch like mine every time you hear this?  Walking into my daughter’s room, I’m always hoping it’s something I can actually help with.  I was a good student, but I haven’t looked at rational functions for math or written a chemistry lab report in a really, really long time.

I know I’m not alone, because about 50% of parents say they can’t help their kids, but does that mean your child needs a tutor?  We know that 30% of high school kids at some point seek help from a professional tutor.  Parents ask me all the time—what are the signs that it’s time to use a tutor?

Working with our tutors and looking at the feedback we have from parents and students, we find kids tell us when they need help long before a poor test grade or report card comes home – we just have to know the signs.  And the earlier you recognize these signs, the better.  It will save you and your child hours of frustration.

  1. Homework Becomes Epic. Homework loads vary, but if your child usually spent an hour or two on homework this school year and starts spending several hours then it’s time to find out why.  Do they simply have a big project or assignment or is the same homework load taking twice as long?  This may mean they don’t understand what they are doing and need extra help.  Remember that in subjects like math and science, concepts build on one another. Missing just one concept can have a snowball effect.
  2. Help Me! Most middle school and high school kids report needing help about once a week with homework.  They can often get that help from school resources, a friend, you or their teacher.  But if your child starts asking for help 2-3 times a week and finds their normal support group can’t help them, it’s a sign for outside support.
  3.  Your Child “Hates” Everything. If your child goes from generally liking school and not complaining much to claiming they hate school, hate their teachers and hate a subject, that’s a sign.  “I hate this” is often code for “I don’t get this.”  Check in with your child and see what specific subject is making them “hate” everything. 
  4. Hard Work But No Reward. Your child has been doing her homework diligently, seems to be studying for every test, but her grades on homework and quizzes are down.  When your child is really putting in the effort, but not seeing the grades she usually gets, then it’s time to pinpoint the problem and get some extra help.
  5. Shut-down Mode  If your very diligent son stops handing in assignments on time or tells you he doesn’t have to study anymore or blows off homework and instead spends hours building Minecraft worlds, it’s time for a talk.  Students who completely shut down and stop trying are usually struggling and they have gotten so frustrated that they just give up.  Getting help can put them back on track and build their confidence. 

The bottom line is that you want to step in and get help from a tutor before it’s too late. Look for these signs and act early. You don’t want your child to get so frustrated that he gets turned off a subject that he may be really good at with the right help!  Online tutoring like offers great results at a fraction of the cost of traditional tutoring and you can get the help on your child’s schedule.

, ,


  1. I Hate School: Tips to Help Your Child Cope - Official Blog - August 26, 2014

    […] year’s work. This also might be the time to consult a tutor for regular review. Remember that the best time to start working with a tutor is before your child feels hopelessly […]

  2. How To Pick the Right High School Classes - Official Blog - April 9, 2014

    […] help teens who need a little extra support to master those tough concepts. By all means, consider enlisting the help of a tutor who can help bridge the gap between class work and assignments, and essentially act as an expert on […]

  3. Are Homework Wars a Myth? Debate Continues Among Researchers and Around Kitchen Tables - Official Blog - March 18, 2014

    […] outside help if need be. You can’t outsource the “battle” but you can outsource the help! I find that kids just do better having someone other than their parents help them – if you’re […]

Leave a Reply