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Time to explore tutoring options

Posted by on July 27, 2011 – 10:27 am

With each passing school year, expectations are raised, the work gets tougher and the amount presented to students grows.

More students — or their parents — are seeking outside help from tutors to keep up with it all.

At the end of last school year, my son’s teacher expressed concern about how he’ll do with third-grade math. That’s when division and multiplication come into play.

With the school year right around the corner for my son, and most East Valley students, now may be the time to line up help.

Jennifer Wilkins, co-owner of the Wilkins Learning Center in Gilbert, said her company has seen a 20 percent growth each of the last few years. And that’s simply from word-of-mouth references. The Wilkins family has sights set on expanding to a bigger facility later this year (the center also holds a preschool program).

About 30 children received tutoring last school year in math, reading, writing, or in one of the center’s after-school homework clubs.

That last program has proved popular, Wilkins said. Parents can drop their children off daily or a few days a week for an hour. Two teachers assist the four to five students in the homework clubs when they need help with assignments.

“The goal is for everyone to come, work hard, encourage each other and get your homework done. When you walk out you get to be with your parents, be with your friends. So many parents have said it takes the frustration of doing homework with your child out of the equation” after school, Wilkins said.

Jared Duensing, a tutor with Chandler’s Mathnasium, said he often sees an influx of students – especially older ones – seeking help just after the first math test, report card or assessment of the year.

“When the school year starts we get the influx of high school students who need help with higher level math,” he said.

Waiting until a child is struggling with a subject may mean frustration, a drop in confidence and a poor attitude about the future, said Katy Nasiff, co-owner of the Tutor Club in Gilbert.

“If you’re not good at school, you’re not going to consider yourself college material. When you start to do well, your horizons broaden. The sky’s the limit,” Nasiff said.

Many students seek help in math because concepts build upon each other as the math advances.

“The farther these kids fall behind, things fall so fast, especially in math,” she said. “In the days with such big classrooms sizes, teachers try hard, but when students are not getting a concept, they can only go so slow. So when they’ve missed something key, their confidence comes down. They miss the skill, and skills build on each other, so they fall further behind.”

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