Does My Child Need Tutoring…or Something Else?


When we see our children struggle in school it is sometimes hard to know exactly what will help.

Often the first place parents turn to is tutoring. There are so many options from independent professional tutors, college students looking for a little extra money, big tutoring corporations like Sylvan or Huntington or online tutoring. Yet, many parents don’t realize that no matter which they choose, tutoring may not be the solution to the problem. Some students have weakness in memory, attention, processing, or other cognitive skills that can’t be addressed through tutoring. They can only be improved through brain training.

So what is the difference between tutoring and training?

Brain training (also known as mental or cognitive skills training) is different from tutoring at a very basic level.

  • Tutoring is simply re-teaching material that a student missed the first time it was presented.
  • Brain training gets to the root of the problem to rebuild skill weakness that will improve learning in all areas with specifically designed and delivered training exercises.

When to use tutoring:

Tutoring is perfect for a student who missed class, needs something explained one more time, or learns well in a one-on-one setting. If you’ve ever sat down with your child and gone over, or repeated, school assignments—and he or she immediately got it and needed no more help—then re-teaching or tutoring will work.

When tutoring won’t work:

If simple explanation did not solve the problem, or if a few days later the problem persisted or was repeated, there is most likely an underlying skill weakness that tutoring or re-teaching cannot correct. For example, many students that struggle with math can’t remember their times tables. No matter how much re-teaching of the times tables or math concept is done in a tutoring session, the underlying problem is that the student can’t remember their times tables. This is a memory problem, not something that the student just missed getting in class.

If these symptoms remind you of your child, tutoring won’t fix the underlying problem:

  • Seems to get the concept but can’t remember it the next day.
  • Tutoring helps for a while but must need a tutor every year/continuously to succeed.
  • Must have things explained multiple times in multiple ways.
  • Must have instructions broken up into many smaller pieces.
  • Can’t stay organized: at school, at home, in writing, in backpack, etc.

These are all symptoms of underlying cognitive skill weaknesses including processing speed, short-term memory, auditory processing, logic and reasoning, and attention skills.

If you think that your child might have a weakness of one or more cognitive skills please give LearningRx a call at 303-284-6105 to schedule an assessment to see what is causing your child to struggle at school. This could mean the end of a never-ending tutoring cycle that isn’t fixing the root of your child’s problem.


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