Learning Center vs One on One Tutoring – not a competition but an option

Learning Center and One On One tutoring are great source of Supplementary Education both aimed to fill gaps left by the regular school system.

Most learning center work with two tools – a tutor + structured material developed by the Learning Center. Role of a tutor is minimized due to formal structure and so the flexibility of the program.

At the same time in One On One tutoring Student becomes a focal point – everything revolves around student – what he/she is learning in school, what are his/her strong areas & weak areas, what is needed to strengthen weak areas, who is the right teacher, how many no. of hour per week, how much practice, etc.

Question is what is the best option for your student – Learning Center or One on One tutoring.

Learning centers are definitely good for students who can proactively find their weaknesses and seek help to strengthen them. Such self learner now only need more practice and variety of material to master the game of learning. However, most students need help in identifying their weaknesses and chart out a plan to improve their study skills and hence do not get enough from the learning center.

On the other hand, One on One tutoring provides highly focused and very personalized learning experience. Expert and passionate teacher has one goal for one student & each session is modified to meet the ever changing need. Timely help and clarification on subject matter helps improve student’s confidence when they go to school next day. Less stress improve their reception of new material each day.In short such personalization creates a roller coaster effect where learning gets serious momentum & better result/impact.

Cost also plays a very important role in choosing between the options – cost per hour. In most cases hour is considered as time of engagement, in fact parents and students should look at actual tutoring time. For example 2-3 students tutored by a teacher in learning center may get approximately 20-30 minutes of tutoring time. If one of the student needs more help, tutoring time available to other students will reduce. What you can accomplish in an hour from one on one tutoring is more than a multiplication. One on One tutoring is focused towards improving weaker areas only making it very efficient to improve confidence and grades in shorter period of time.

To summarize this topic, in this resourceful world we come across many options to choose from. It is always better to spend some time in exploring and choosing the option right for the student. Remember student’s time is the most important time – make a very educative selection. Should you need more information on this topic or to discuss your concern, do not hesitate to call your Tutor Doctor at (908) 866-1433.

Remain in a loop with your Child’s Education!

If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings.
Brian Tracy

If you’ve never been hated by your child, you’ve never been a parent.

Bette Davis

How was your day at school today? Most of you must have asked that question to your child and many have received a reply from your child saying, Nothing, Same, Boring, Fun, etc. If you do not get specific answer, dig dipper, ask about their favorite subject, favorite teacher and than move towards tests, not favorite teachers, annoying student partners, lunch aids, etc. Keep asking ….. Idea is to find out as early as possible that they need help or to collect as many questions as you can which you can ask other parents, their teachers or counselors during the next meeting.

Don’t skip a day, anytime is a good time to ask, don’t think I will ask tomorrow, or it is too late. Your good sons and daughters are always looking forward to talk to you, even if they say “don’t bother me”, “can we talk later?” etc. Initially, it will take time for them to understand the change.

Believe me you are the only person in this world who knows your children very well and no one else. You have to spend only couple of minutes every day to make sure that you know more about what they do in school.

Collected information over the weeks and months from these two minute warm and light conversations will be very useful when you go for parent teachers meeting or meet counselor or visit family doctor or even select a supplementary education agency to help your child. After few weeks your child will anticipate these questions and remain conscious throughout the day to collect specific answers for you. Such consciousness will make them more responsible to do what they are expected to do in the school. Encourage and praise them when they reply very specifically, offer them a help if needed, and of course reward them for achievements and good work.

The whole interaction will build a higher level trust and friendship bond with your child and more often they will start considering you for help. Since now you know so many things coming from various angles – your child, teachers, counselors, doctors, your friends, etc. you will become an expert on your child and a great resource for your child.

I have mentioned above to so many families and many remembered that they parents did the same thing with them, however they do not use the technique, instead they rely on external information like student’s grades, comments from teachers, etc. to find how and what they are doing in the school. Many I have met have practiced such rituals and find it more rewarding for themselves and their child. Please feel free to comment and share on above.

Summer Learning Loss – how serious and how to avoid?

Summer vacation is the longest break from structured academic activities for the students. What many parents don’t know is that kids experience a phenomenon called “summer learning loss”. During summer vacation students forget a lot of what they learned in the previous school year. Studies have shown that kids lose an average of over two and a half months worth of math skills in the summertime. For kids that were already struggling in math will start the next school year even more challenges. And it’s not just math. Overall, kids lose an average of 1 month of learning in other subjects during the summer.

Think of athletes. Imagine if they stopped training for 2-3 months in the year. You would expect that when they return to their sport, that they would experience a lag in performance. The brain is no different. It needs to be exercised.

So how can you keep your kids learning over the summer? Here are a few ideas.

  • Use educational workbooks. These are available at most bookstores, and geared towards different grades. Have your child do an hour each day.
  • Visit a library. Find some books with topics that interest your child so that they are really engaged in reading.
  • Visit museums, zoos and historical sites. Help your child learn about history and the world they live in.
  • Enroll in summer tutoring programs. For children that are struggling academically, summer can be the perfect time to address it with a customized tutoring program.

These ideas will help your children build up more confidence, and prepare them to start the new school year with a bang.

Learn more about Summer Learning Loss

1. Summer Learning Loss – Wikipedia.

2. Summer Learning Loss debate – TVO Parent

3. Headlines@Hopkins

Five Questions to ask when looking for a Tutor?

There are many different tutoring services out there and it can be a dizzying adventure trying to pick the right one for yourself or your child. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a tutor or a tutoring service.

1. Is there a fee for an assessement or consultation and is it required? Some services require you to pay upfront for an assessment before they will recommend a package. These fees can range from $50-$200. You may go through the assessment and then find you cannot afford the tutoring services proposed.

2. Do they have customized packages? Some services only have standard packages and will not be flexible.

3. Do they use their own curriculum or do thy follow the student’s curriculum? Some services will introduce the student to a brand new curriculum in addition to the curriculum the student has to absorb at school. If you or your child are struggling, learning a new curriculum rather than focusing on your existing curriculum may not be wise.

4. Do they provide in-home tutoring or center based tutoring? Some services are center based only which means one more trip for the student while others come to the home or will meet the student at a convenient location.
5. What is the tutor to student ratio? Some sevices will have a 4 to 1 student to tuto ratio vs a one-to-one ratio. If you are looking for individualized attention and need focused improvement, one-to-one will be more conducive to learning.

What to take SAT or ACT?

Now most of the colleges accept both SAT and ACT, it was not the case earlier. So check the colleges you want to take admission into and see if they accept both. Since both tests are quite different, it becomes very important to select the test to leverage the expertise of a student. However, once again, check with your college and specific courses which test is accepted for admission eligibility. Following comparison and links to articles will help students and families decide better. More than 1.5 million students from class of 2009 took SAT, of which approximately 105,000 students scored 2,000 or more (out of 2,400). Compared to that more than 1.5 million students from class of 2009 took ACT, of which 137,531 students scored 30 or more (out of 36).

Length 3 hours 25 Min 3 hours, 45 minutes
Content 10 Sections + 1 not scored
(3 Math, 3 Critical Reading, 3 Writing, and 1 Experimental, which is not scored)
4 Sections + 1 optional
(Math, English, Reading, Science, Writing – optional)
Testing Critical thinking and problem solving Content based, it is closer to core curriculum taught in high school.
Scoring 0.25 point penalty subtracted from your raw score for each wrong answer (NO PENALTY for Math Grid-Ins) Wrong Answer – NO PENALTY
Language Arts (English) Reading Comprehension




Less than SAT


Math Arithmetic
Algebra II
Algebra II
Reading Reading Comprehension
Sentence Completions
Reading Comprehension
Essay First Section
25 Minutes
Factored into overall score
More abstract topic.
Optional Final Section
30 Minutes
Not Included in Composite Score
Topic of importance to high school students
Science Not applicable Analysis
Basic Content
Problem Solving

More information on SAT and ACT:

  1. Why the Midwest Rules on the SAT

  2. SAT on Wiki

  3. ACT on Wiki

  4. SAT or ACT: five top points to help determine which test to take

When should a parent start thinking about hiring a tutor?

As soon as the child shows signs of frustration and assisting the student is beyond the capabilities and/or time availability of the parent and teacher.

Many parents find helping their children with school homework so frustrating and stressful that they prefer to “outsource” the task to a tutor.

At Tutor Doctor, we work hard to ensure a “magical match” between the tutor and student  in both personality and teaching style/learning style.

How can tutoring help a “B” student?

First of all why any students get “B”, when most scientist and education expert believes that all students have equal learning potential.

There are many reasons – main reasons are:

– Missing Building Blocks

– Lack of motivation / purpose

– Poor study skills – focus, organizational skills, etc

However, most fundamental reason is every child is different – they receive and process information and they get motivated differently. In a class room environment or any similar environment like class room (learning center, library, other public places) student face intimidation which reduces their focus and retention. In a class room information is delivered in a way is most suitable to everyone, do not get me wrong, schools are the best way to impart learning and build social skills. However, schools and class room are not designed to identify individual challenges and address them. Supplementary education is needed to make “B” student an “A” student. One on One Private Tutoring at home is the best and efficient way to help students improve grades.

In a study done by Chris Lubienski and Jin Lee of University of Illinois, they observed that there is an inherent inability of public sector organizations (public schools and colleges) to provide adequate educational services. Yet efforts to shape effective market mechanisms in the US have not produced the results anticipated by reformers.

Why do you think countries like Korea, India and many other developing countries have brighter students? One reason, in these countries better grades are directly related to supplementary education. Korea and India has very poor public school system & a student who shines gets plenty of supplementary education.

Some studies agree that Supplementary Education increases a learning gap within class mates and makes it more difficult for schools to manage wide range of learning difference/level. Though schools & teachers try their very best to challenge each and every student and keep them interested and motivated, it fell little short to meet global competitiveness of US students.

Answer is very simple, use supplementary education to make or keep your student at “A” level. Education is an investment which always earn much more than any other investments. On a lighter note there are no bubbles, it is a rock solid investment.

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Dedicated to teachers who listens!

Story you may have read – I dedicate to teachers who listens!

Her name was Mrs. Thompson and his was ‘Teddy’. As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners … he is a joy to be around. “His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle. “His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death had been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken. “Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class”.

By now, Mrs Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs.Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life. Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer – The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD. The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs.Thompson’s ear, “Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference. “Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

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