What experiences have you all had with private tutors for elementary ages children?
How much did they charge per hour, what types of activities did they do, did the teacher recommend them, did they help your child do better in school??
Never have used one and probably wouldn't recommend it in most cases because we were able to help our own children by both myself and DW being in education. They were above average. Our three children were No.2 (2) and No. 1 in their class.
I have heard of parents in my neighborhood using the places such as Sylvan learning centers. They seem to get good results.
We had a neighbor who used a tutor. The homework wasn't unusually difficult for the child. However, they found that their son had an easier time with a tutor than with his parents. The only thing the tutor cared about was how the boy did his homework. The tutor didn't care how well he kept his room clean, how he treated his younger sister, or what his table manners were like. For that family, having someone who didn't have that kind of baggage while going over homework and preparing for tests helped a lot. I don't recall what the qualifications or cost of that tutor was though.
How about checking with a teaching Master's program at a college near you for an elementary education student? Those students are poor and they aren't going to be getting rich anytime soon. I am sure they could do a great job and use the extra money.
A wealthy friend who did not want to tutor her first grader herself hired a kindergarten teacher from her church's elementary school. Some use Sylvan these days. We kept tutor lists at our school. Some were moms; others were teachers, some of whom were retired. They charged about $25 per lesson in theh 1980's. I always tutored my kids till they were in high school. I told them in high school in any course that was beyond me, such as geometry, algebra, trig or calculus, that we could hire a tutor at any time. We never had to, but I am sure they asked for help from the teacher after or before school, friends, etc.
One of our daughters did go to a speech therapist who was paid by the school. This helped her speaking abilities. This undoubtedly help her self-esteem.
I have heard from some people the same thing that Duckie mentioned - that even though a child's parents obviously understand the material that the child is struggling with, a tutor can have a very positive effect because the child doesn't have the same personal attachment to the tutor. Thus, study time isn't complicated by family concerns, and the child isn't as distracted by emotion as he might be if he felt some kind of pressure to win the love and approval of his parents by understanding the material, or he felt some kind of resentment towards his parents for making him do the work.
Besides all that, everyone has different learning styles, and it just might be that a child's parents don't really get how the child learns. I know that I have to adjust the way I train adults to use systems at work according to the way they seem to be learning, and there are some people who I just can't seem to explain simple things to, because the way I communicate just doesn't work for them. If a child is having problems understanding schoolwork, a person who is trained at identifying learning styles might have a method of teaching that helps the student gain confidence and enthusiasm in the subject, rather than just get a basic understanding but still feel frustrated. For struggling children, I think that tutors really help.
Plus, I know that when my FH was tutoring when he as doing his undergraduate work, the children he tutored liked him a lot, and he would joke around with them and stuff, so it was kind of a treat for the children to have a "study-buddy;" made them feel special and made them want to try harder so they could share their success with this rare thing - an adult who took a personal interest in them and only them (not their siblings, and not their classmates).
I took my son to a reading tutor last summer, once a week. She was a retired teacher, and also certified in Reading Reflex tutoring. I got her name from the national register kept by the Reading Reflex trainers of certified tutors. It helped him a lot, and she was able to do impartial evaulations of his abilities, which a parent CANNOT do.
I would call the school and ask if they keep lists of retired teachers who tutor. Personally I'd avoid the Sylvan centers. I work for an insurance company, and one of our VPs left to open a Sylvan center. This woman had ZERO qualifications to tutor or teach, had worked in insurance for 20+ years. That gave me a bad view of them - they are a franchise and anyone with enought $$ can open one!