Are you asking yourself "Should I get a math tutor?" or "What does a math tutor do anyway?" To help you answer these questions, I will share with you what I do as a math tutor.

My approach is all about building math confidence and building the student-tutor working relationship while supporting the student as they learn new concepts.

To begin, I have a free consultation with either the parent and/or the student. This is typically a 15 to 20-minute conversation on the phone that allows me to gather the information that will help me to provide the best math tutoring service for the student. This includes determining the goals of the parent and student. For example: Are they looking to pass the class, prepare for a test, or achieve a higher A? More details about this conversation are available __here__.

Depending on the age and goals of the student (also the timing of where they are in their current course), I typically begin the first session with a variety of problems at the student's grade level to find the student's strengths and weaknesses. These are examples of phrases I use during this informal evaluation.

"It's okay, this is the first time we have worked together. We are learning how to best work together. I am looking for the areas where I can help you."

"You are going great. I'm looking for your strengths and weaknesses so that I can best support you. I am keeping track of the areas where I can help you to improve."

Before each subsequent tutoring session begins, I carefully select the problems that will be presented to the student before the lesson.

During these sessions, I present a couple of problems that I know the student can answer correctly (based on the informal evaluation described above). This builds confidence and establishes a positive working relationship. Then, I present a problem that I know they will be able to begin independently but may struggle to complete. At this point, I use words like the following for the parts that were correct:

"I like how you did _______ ."

"Yes, you started the problem correctly. That is very good."

For the parts of the problem where the student needs support, I will use the following type of phrases:

"Let me show you this part."

"Let me help you with this."

"It's okay, you are still learning this part. Let's do this part together."

Next, I will give them similar problems. As the student does more of the problem, I provide less and less help with the problem until they are able to do this type of problem independently.

I end each tutor session with a couple of problems that I know the student can answer correctly. In this way, the student can feel good about the session.

Going forward, the knowledge from prior lessons is reinforced by including similar problems from previous lessons, and more difficult problems are presented until mastery and independence are achieved.

Further, strategically selected word problems are included that cover the specific math topics where the student needs to grow to deepen their understanding. I have the students read the problem out loud to me so that I carefully listen for the words where the student stumbles (possibly mispronouncing the word). For each of these words, I will ask 1) "Do you know what ___________ means?" or 2) "Have you ever seen a _______________?" This allows me to help them with the vocabulary that they do not understand. Not understanding the words in the problem can prevent them from solving the problems. These could be math vocabulary or non-math words.

Additionally, more complex word problems are presented.

I hope this helps you to answer the questions: Should I get a math tutor? What does a math tutor do?

I have a large collection of material that I pull from to select the problems for the students. Some of these are listed here. For younger students: Kumon workbooks, Spectrum workbooks, online workbooks, IXL, and sample year-end tests (available online). For older students: textbooks I have collected over the years for Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, AP Statistics, Calculus, and College Algebra. When one resource does not provide enough problems at the just-right level), I turn to another resource. In this way, the student is engaged for the entire lesson and growing at their own pace while being supported, building confidence and math ability.

Click here is you need support from a __Pre-Algebra tutor online__. Alternatively, if know of a child struggling with math and think they might benefit from this type of support, then please either share this information with them or their parents.

Author: Sigrid Kimbrough with __ThriveMathTutoring.com__

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