Opinion

Catch up, stay up and get ahead with a tutor | Hoff

Allison Hoff is an 11-year-old Kirkland resident. - Reporter file photo
Allison Hoff is an 11-year-old Kirkland resident.
— image credit: Reporter file photo

Tutoring is very common for students of all ages, and many children receive help from tutoring at some point in their academic career. In fact, a Wall Street Journal article in 2011 said that, according to education-research and consulting firm Eduventures, the “supplemental education” sector is now a $5 billion business and grew 50 percent between 2008 and 2011.

Kids go to tutoring for many different reasons: extra help, enrichment, getting ahead and test prep.

There are many different organizations and companies where you can find a qualified tutor to help you. Some examples in the Kirkland area include Kumon, Sylvan Learning, hiring private tutors and the Kirkland Library. Depending on what your needs are, you might use a different tutor at different times.

Kumon is a tutoring resource in downtown Kirkland. The two subjects Kumon offers are math and reading. Each one of their 120 students works at their own individual pace, completing worksheets in order to move up to the next level in their subject. The majority of their students do math, but both subjects have equally strong curriculums. Kumon’s curriculum overlaps with the public schools’ Common Core curriculum about 80 percent of the time. Students come in once or twice a week and complete 15-20 minutes of daily homework. This daily practice helps students increase their confidence in math “We form a strong foundation and then build on top of that for more advanced mathematics,” said Peter Youngs, the owner and instructor at Kumon in Kirkland. “The goal of Kumon is to make independent learners.”

The idea behind Kumon’s strategy was that a little bit of work every day, gradually getting harder and harder, would create successful students who are confident. Kumon costs $125 per month for one subject, or $230 for both math and reading.

Sylvan Learning is another tutoring resource in Totem Lake in Kirkland. Sylvan’s learning model is more group focused. Three students work with one certified teacher, who is there to supervise and answer questions. Students all work individually on their own assignments based on their goals and needs.

Students work at Sylvan two to four hours a week on subjects including history, math, reading, writing, science, test prep and study skills.

“Sylvan helps students meet academic goals by helping them catch up, stay up, and get ahead,” said Michael Bell, Director of Education at Sylvan Learning. Students are four years old and up. As Bell puts it, “Anyone who needs to learn can come here.”

Sylvan helps its 105 students stay motivated by giving them a token each time they finish or accomplish something. The tokens students receive are saved and collected until eventually they have enough to buy something at the Sylvan Store. This is a way to keep students focused and on task. Sylvan costs $45-50 per hour.

Hiring a private tutorial a good option for kids who want one-on-one attention or specialized help.

It may be more expensive, but it allows for a very individualized learning program. Some kids prefer private tutoring for foreign language or for help studying for big tests like the SAT and ISEE. It’s also a great option for help with homework.

Julie Feng, from ATAC Tutoring in Seattle explains how she feels tutoring is helpful to students, “A vital part of success is recognizing one’s own strengths and weaknesses, and I think that’s a lot of what tutoring is. This kind of support can empower any student. I believe that although intelligence and hard work are important, they aren’t enough. I credit my own successes to the support of people I had in my life – my teachers, tutors, parents and mentors.”

Last but not least, the Kirkland Library offers a program called Study Zone for drop-in tutoring. This free-of-cost resource allows kids K-12 to come in without any form of registration and receive help on assignments and projects. Teachers are volunteers who want to help children with their work. The teachers help students in a group setting to complete their tasks. For the Kirkland Library, the Study Zone hours are 1-3 p.m. on Sundays and 3-5 p.m. on Wednesdays.

As you can see, tutoring can take place in many different forms. Whether it’s studying for a test or beefing up on your math skills, or staying sharp over the summer, tutoring can help. Although you may be hesitant at first, as you have seen, there is a method of tutoring that fits everyone’s learning style and personality. You can get help on almost anything through tutoring, so why wait?

Allison Hoff is an 11-year-old Kirkland resident.

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