Tutor Advice PLEASE!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I have absolutely HAD IT with difficult child 1's homework issues. Up to my eyeballs had it. Just done, Done, DONE with nagging him, lecturing him, yelling at him, revoking privileges, dangling carrots, having husband talk to him, asking for his own input. Just done.

    Nothing we've tried motivates him. CASE IN POINT: I found out on Saturday evening after checking his grades online that a book report was due Monday. I asked difficult child 1 about it and he was genuinely clueless. I emailed the teacher about it. She replied on Sunday that she was certain she told him about it (it was assigned October 26th, the week before he transferred to that class ) and gave him the paperwork for it when he first came to her class and has been talking about it all quarter. It's also been posted on her website since then. She said it was actually due on Wednesday (today) and that he could download the forms he would need.

    So I printed out the forms for him and he spent some time working on it Sunday night. Fortunately, he had a book he'd just read that was acceptable for this assignment.

    He worked on it a bit Monday as well, but didn't make nearly the progress he needed to. Last night I got home and he was laying in bed watching TV -- the assignment was NOT finished! AAAARRRGGGG!!! He has no drive to get it done. I got him up early today so he could spend some more time on it, but he still couldn't finish it and the time he did spend on it was very slow going.

    I told him to go in to see the teacher before school and ask for an extension. Maybe he'll get lucky.

    After ranting to her on the phone today, my mother, in her infinite wisdom, suggested we hire a tutor to shift the problem over to someone else. It is just affecting our relationship with him too, too negatively. I cannot be his mother AND his teacher AND his therapist AND... you get the idea. Something here has to give, and being his mother is more important right now.

    So I want to give this a try (provided husband is behind it 100%, which I think he will be). The problem I'm having is choosing where to send him.

    Do we hire one of those professional tutor companies?

    Do we hire a highschool student? Should it be a boy? A girl? Should they come to our house or should I send him to their house (fewer distractions in my opinion)?

    Is once a week enough?

    What other questions should I be asking?
  2. dadside

    dadside New Member

    I never faced the same need, and really would like to have a sure-fire way to get him motivated. Still, perhaps having a good, respected high school boy come to your house two or three times a week for an hour or two each time could help your son get his work done and see that the more-respected students really do it themselves. Once a week wouldn't be enough to foster any good continuity, at least not early on. A high school student could be a good role model for studying the subject matter (and getting assignments done), and having a boy would avoid any girl-distraction potential. And doing it at your house would mean your son presumably would have all he needed there.

    My understanding is that the "professional tutor companies" tend to follow their own script on subject matter, and may not do so much with individual assignments. In any case, you'd lose the role model potential a high school student could offer.

    Finding a good student tutor might be achieved through your high school's counseling office.
  3. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I like the idea of a highschool boy. Maybe a senior.

    I'm also on the side of the fence that says let the kid face natural consequences. No homework? Fine, get a zero. What? You failed the course? Awww I guess you will have to make that up in summer school, huh buddy?
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks for your suggestions dadside. I also thought a senior boy in highschool would be a good fit. I have a couple of friends with kids who could possibly do this, so I need to investigate. The only reason I thought to send him to THEIR house was that we have two other kids here and there are all the usual distractions of being at home. He could just take his textbooks with him and he'd have all he needs to work.

    BBK, I usually am all for natural consequences, but if he has to go to summer school, that affects ME too and screws up our vacation plans. And no, I don't think I have anyone I could leave him with while the rest of the family goes without him (that thought did occur to me!) :(

    husband said he supports the tutor idea, but he that he would prefer hiring one of those companies. He and I need to talk about this a bit more, and I still have some research to do (cost, hours, format, etc.)

    Okay, any other parents out there that have been there done that?
  5. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    Take the tv out the bedroom.
    Electronics are priviledges linked directly to behavior and require that the chores and grades are up there lofty like a cloud.
    I used tutors who were training to teach school. Also the school has an obligation to provide some after school as well as in school support for completion as your childs diagnosis adhd is classical for attention disorder.
    If the school teachers are not supporting the correct behavior during these years when he is qualified to recieve the educational support to learn the correct behavoir:When?
    I also agree that if the learning deficit is disrupting the home then it is important that the learning at home is NOT fight behavior.
    I would ask the boys to read there school books at home and do their work at the tutors at school and that you pay for until the grades are up to par. Then at the end of a week where all the grades are up allow a limited amount of enertainments that are purely passive.
    If, by magic, they are able to consistantly achieve top grades then after one or two semesters of those habits allow them more choices entirely contingent on the top grades, and chores and co-operative behavior.
    REmove all the tvs and have reading the textbooks the new fun. Read them out loud even if they have already read the chapter once. Twice is better.
    Getting school work done well IS THEIR JOB. No grades...no fun.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No advice- just stopping in to see if you'd like to take deep breaths together!!
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Ropefree, yeah the TV got yanked, that's for sure. And this is the second time he's had it in his room. Both times I fought husband over it, but lost. Maybe now he sees this is a NO GO for this particular kid!

    FWIW, I'm working on getting him a neuropsychologist evaluation since he's never had a formal evaluation of any sort. His ADHD diagnosis came off of parent and teacher questionnaires in preschool. His Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) diagnosis came more recently, just from my observations and his behavior. It's time to get the microscope out and make sure we're not missing anything and get a professional document to give to the school to say he needs X and Y and Z added to his 504 plan for supports (better yet, let's see if he qualifies for an IEP).

    Klmno, thanks for the reminder to breathe! Hope you got down to the clerk's office in time today...
  8. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I like the idea of a tutor. Sure he could face natural consequences but even that might not make him get his act together in the end and you will be suffering along with him.

    If the HS boy as a tutor works out, it will be cheaper as well as provide a role model.

    I am struggling with homeschooling difficult child 2 because she is so easily distracted even when I am right there. If your son is anything like her, I think it would work better if he could go to the other kid's house or to the library.

    My only experience with tutors is at Mathnasium. I'm not sure if that is exactly what you are talking about. They do have a set curriculum that they follow. If the child brings in their homework, they will spend about 1/2 the time on that.

    I was recently looking into tutors for my daughter but husband is not ready to do that. :( I was looking into professional tutors since I wanted it done during the regular school day.
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I did the natural consequences with easy child. And, if he's lucky, he'll graduate with his class this year. In hindsight, I wouldn't have done natural consequences.

    The only advice on a tutor, is that I wouldn't do a high school kid. That's still a peer. I would see if I could get a college student.
  10. ML

    ML Guest

    I hire a hs girl to help manster with his work. It has been one of the best things I have done to lighten our nighttime load. It's cheaper than hiring a professional tutor too. She works with him 3x a week and I pay her $120 once a month when I get paid. Money well spent!
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    FOP -- there are WAY too many distractions at our house, too. It's just the way things are, unfortunately. The library is a great idea for a location. I need to check into that.

    Heather, he's not yet in HS (8th grade) which is why I thought a senior would still be okay (at least for this year). Plus, he is SO immature, any easy child a few years older will seem like an adult to him. I know he really looks up to his older male cousin (who is 18), and he might be too intimidated by a girl, Know what I mean??

    ML -- the cost factor was my thinking as well for going with an older HS kid.

    I've emailed all my friends with HS kids and am hoping someone will reply back. In the mean time, I'll be running around town tomorrow to check out the three or four different tutor facilities. I'll also call the local HS's and find out who might be available.

    Then husband will have to discuss all the options/factors and decide what would be best.

    It's very helpful to hear how others have handled this! Thank you!
  12. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Oh...been there. Sylvan and Huntington is like college tuition. We checked into it to keep him challenged years ago. No go. He wouldn't talk.

    checked into a private tutor over the summer. Had a lady respond that is a special education teacher, licensed for high school, major in math, minor in psychiatric. Just before she was to start she cancelled. found a full time job.

    difficult child often says he doesn't do his work because he doesn't understand it. So I start searching for tutors again. Then teachers tell me he DOES understand. So, he is just lying to me to get out of homework. He spends all his time on the computer playing games.

    Many High School kids tutor on the side. Many are honors students and this is part time work. However many have absolutely no idea how to handle a difficult child. When he gets upset and frustrated and doesn't understand they are speechless. (tried a student)

    The going rate which I have found for adult tutors is $30 and up per hour. Wish I could go the student route, but he would just manipulate them. Or talk up a storm.

    I did find one really good guy once. Instead of saying lets do your work, or do it. He said, "I don't know how to do this." difficult child responded in a very outgoing way to SHOW him how.

    I am the one who deals with school. If I ask him to do it after school he says, I just got out of school, I am not making it a longer school day. - and he plays on the computer. If it is a weekend or a day off - he says "I am not making this another school day". Even though as of last Monday he had 15 missing assignments. But that is NOT homework to him. It is missing work. Must watch how you say it. To him, homework is what was assigned that day. If I ask about homework he sometimes says he finished it in class and has none. when I blow up about missing work he tells me that is not homework!
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Are there any universities in your area? We have an EXCELLENT education dept at the local university (this is a college town) and they have a math and reading program, as well as private tutors. I would look for a college kid or the child of a friend. I have a friend who works with one of the big-name tutor companies, and they have a script they follow. The evaluation alone was over $200 about 4 years ago. and they won't work with-o the evaluation. A university would have students who could help while being supervised by a professor, which gives more professional input than just having a high school kid to help.

    Does he have any learning disabilities? Those can REALLY get in the way, and make a kid "unmotivated" or "lazy" seeming. The testing at a big name tutor company MIGHT identify these, if he has them.
  14. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Kjs, isn't it funny how semantics makes such a difference to their way of thinking? I think difficult child 1's biggest issue is related to executive functioning -- time management especially, and focus, which could be a medication issue but I hesitate to give him a stimulant booster in the late afternoon because then he's up all night.

    Susie, I am working on getting him a neuropsychologist evaluation, but not sure when that will happen (still in phone-tag mode). I hadn't thought of the university route, but that may be my next step. A friend knows someone whose senior or freshman college daughter used to tutor AND she has a high-functioning autistic brother, so she'd be accustomed to dealing with difficult child behavior and issues I'd think. She's going to get back to me to see if this would work... but if not, the uni option might work.

    I just hesitate shelling out big bucks with husband's job being "iffy" right now...

    Thank you for the feedback -- it is so amazining helpful to hear everyone's experiences!
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We actually had Wiz go through the summer reading program at our uni, mainly because we had a friend who's grandson NEEDED it and wouldn't go alone. The friend is a reading specialist and described learning to read as a brick wall. Sometimes the wall is still standing but missing bricks here and there. With Wiz being majorly hyperlexic, the reading program wasn't sure why he was there. I knew, with that mother's instinct, that his reading skills were not all they were showing to be. I knew there were deficits, but it was very hard to get anyone to see them. This reading program taught him the skills to fill in the gaps in his "brick wall" and it has made a MAJOR difference in how successful he is in school.

    Just be aware that the major tutoring place that starts with an S is NOT all it is cracked up to be. they came into my dad's school two years before he retired. Yes, they boosted test scores and helped some kids. But ANY kid with a real problem was not admitted, only those with small problems. I lost a lot of respect for them when I realized that they refused services (even though contracted by the school district) to students with disabilities like dyslexia or major exec functioning problems. They only wanted kids they could quickly show results with. it kinda disgusted me, actually.

    Anyway, I hope you find a good option. If nothing else, call the Education Dept of the local university. They will have students who will tutor.
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Boy, does that sound familiar.
    We went the tutor route. We hired a teenager. She basically sat there and let difficult child boss her around. :(
    We sent him to Sylvan. It did wonders. He stopped. He backslid. (It's expensive.)
    We held him back a yr. That helped a lot.
    The teacher has after-school hrs. difficult child lied to us and told us she wasn't in. Now she emails us her schedule so the parents can keep tabs.
    This yr, the principal and teacher put him in in-school suspension for two days and made him sit alone and catch up with-all his work.
    It worked.
    And he's gotten 100s and A's ever since.
    I rarely help my son with-his homework.
    I just tell him that if it's not done, there's no TV, no gaming, nothing. Oh, and then there's that ISS thing ... :)
    I don't know if that would all work for your son. Mostly, I'd say just let him reap natural consequences. Lousy grades mean no TV, no fun stuff.

    It sounds like he's got a TV in his room. I would remove it. (Not when he's home.)
  17. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thank you, Susie. I think I will check into the uni. I went to the library this morning to find out about meeting space and they said if it's a paid tutor, our city has an ordinance that prohibits them using the public library space. BUT if it's a tutor who's doing it for community service hours, then it would be allowed. So we'll see.

    The girl with the autistic brother is not available :( But my other friend's daughter is going to pick up the list from her highschool of students who are available to tutor.

    Terry, the TV is gone, gone, gone now :) I told him yesterday if he has to go to summer school it means he misses out on family vacation (not sure if I could follow-through on that one) and his annual summer camp for kids with Crohn's (which he really looks forward to each year). I think that got his attention! We'll see...
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ooomph! Ow! Oh!
    I just got hit in the head with a flying TV!


    Good luck. I hope it works out.
  19. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'm coming in late to this but I think you will want to be clear on what you expect. It sounds to me that difficult child needs more help with organization, work habits and studying than with actual comprehension in any given subject.
  20. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    TM, you hit it on the head! :)