How to find the right tutor for your child

“I’m a teacher – kids are important,” said Victoria Overton, owner of Fort Wayne’s Mathnasium. “We want them to have the success of moving forward.”

Overton speaks to the goal that many tutors have, that of helping students learn how to successfully manage concepts that they would otherwise struggle to understand. Finding the right tutor can be exactly the right move that propels a student from struggling to exceeding expectations.

The Mathnasium in Fort Wayne is part of a franchise that started in the last decade. Specifically designed to help students with math concepts, Overton explained that her Mathnasium tutors are able to teach students all the way through pre-calculus.

But tutoring isn’t just a case of kids getting dropped off to have a worksheet completed. While homework can be discussed, Overton said that their system is actually an education process. “I want the chance to fill in the gaps,” she explained.

What have they missed out on over the past years? If a student is having trouble with a concept, they will go back until the tutor figures out what is at the root of the misunderstanding. If that means starting over with some basic math principles, that is okay.

“You have to learn to use your resources, your book, your notes, your teacher…” Overton explained. “We want (students) to have the success of moving forward.”

If a student has no homework to complete for the day, then Overton said, “We have workout books. We have specific things to move them forward (in learning more math concepts)… It’s not like ‘you’re in this grade, so we’re stopping here.'”

Success is important to Overton, not because it garners a fine GPA but because it helps the student as a person. Tutoring is a way to “trigger that familiar joy” of learning.

To that effect, she mentioned a student who attended the Mathnasium for a year and a half. The student went from struggling with math to doing math bowls at her school.

“There is not one student who is the same as the other,” Overton said. To meet individual needs, the Mathnasium has an unlimited drop-off program, where students in grades 2-8 can come every day for up to 60 minutes of tutoring each day. High schoolers are able to come in any day, at any time, for up to 90 minutes per day.

“We move around a lot… let them breathe,” Overton explained of her tutoring vibe. Tutors team teach, meaning that each tutor is able to help any student who may need assistance. “Everybody has to be able to teach and move on,” she said. If one tutor isn’t getting through to a student, another can come and try explaining it from a different angle.

“(Tutors) not only have to be good at math, they have to be able to relate the information to the students,” Overton said. Her tutors are rigorously screened through interviews, background checks, and a training program, to ensure that students have the best experience possible.

Overton was adamant, though, that a student can’t depend too heavily on a tutor. She gave another example of a student who predicted that she wouldn’t be able to do well on a test at school because her tutor wasn’t there to help. Happily, the student did pass the test – without the tutor.

“If you want (students) to have a prayer’s chance of succeeding, you can’t be with them every day,” Overton said. That’s why she insists that her tutors be trained to help students build their own independence – and confidence.

Parents, too, are a major part of the learning process at the Mathnasium. Overton explained that tutors go through tests, assessment, and results with the parents and students – and parents come in every day. Overton looks to see what the parents notice is changing about their kids’ math abilities.

There are some reluctant learners who may be afraid of coming into a math tutoring center. Parents sometimes come in, apologetically, to say that their child is crying out in the car. To alleviate this situation, Overton said that they have a rewards cabinet with little prizes to give when a student achieves a goal. Sometimes, a tangible reward is just the thing to give a student a little boost.

Tutoring is a way to help students pick up information that they missed – or that was missed in their classroom – so that they can be prepared to handle more advanced concepts later. Overton summed it up by quoting a former pupil, who is now a student at Georgetown University: “We’re preparing them for life.”

TUTORING IN FORT WAYNE

There are a variety of tutoring centers in Fort Wayne, with a wide variety of specialties. Here is a roundup of some of the places you can access from the Summit City. Information was gathered from interviews and websites. Be sure to check with the individual tutoring center to make sure that there have been no schedule/rate changes before you commit to a program.

MATHNASIUM: The Math Learning Center

This tutoring center helps students with math. An assessment is given, to pinpoint where gaps may be in the student’s learning process.

Specialized workbooks are composed for each student. Progress is not limited to meeting grade level.

Open: Year Round, 5 days a week

Payment: monthly memberships offered

Helps students in grades: 2 – 12

Attendance policy: up to the student and parent; can come every day if needed/wanted

Tutoring Style: in person, one-on-one or group study with a tutor moving from one student to the next

Online availability: no

Location: 340 E. Dupont Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Contact: Phone (260) 637-3113 or (260) 209 – 2532 or www.mathnasium.com/fortwayne

SPECIAL TUTORING: Building Confidence, Overcoming Learning Difficulties

According to program director Adrienne Rogers, this tutoring center assists students with reading, writing and math. She noted that they do not tutor specifically for homework difficulties, but instead work on improving “foundation-based skills.” According to their website, their specialty focus is on reading fluency/comprehension, writing and math. Specialty Tutoring is careful to note that they are not an enrichment tutoring center; in other words, “If your child is already at grade level, we are not the right fit for him or her.”

Open: during the school year and in the summer

Payment: initial assessment tests vary from $115 – $225; tutoring is completed at $40 per hour/$80 per week. 30 tutoring sessions are recommended; more than 30 or fewer than 30 may be taken. (Some financial assistance available.)

Helps students in grades: elementary school and up

Attendance Policy: Students are expected to attend tutoring sessions twice a week; accommodations may be made for families that have long commutes/difficult schedules and have already completed 30 hours of tutoring.

Tutoring Style: one-on-one, individualized

Online availability: no

Location: 12603 Coldwater Rd. Fort Wayne, IN 46845 (Tutoring may also take place at the student’s school)

Contact: Phone (260) 637-0144 or specialtytutoring@frontier.com

KUMON MATH AND READING CENTER

The Kumon method is an “after-school academic enrichment program,” helping students to become “focused, motivated and self-reliant.”

Classes are held twice a week. Students proceed at their own pace, and the Kumon instructor ensures that a student has good comprehension of an idea before moving on to the next concept. The Advanced Student Honor Roll is a program that allows students to pursue more challenging material than they receive in school, in order to “stay above their grade level.”

Open: classes offered on school day afternoons, year-round policy not stated

Payment: Registration fee $50 (one time only); materials: $30 (one time only); First month’s fee for one subject class: $115 + last month’s tuition $115 ; First month’s fee for two classes: $230 +last month’s tuition $230. Monthly tuition for all other courses is $115 for one subject, $230 for two subjects. 12 months of enrollment are recommended for the best results.

Helps students in grades: not listed

Attendance policy: sessions meet twice a week

Tutoring Style: class with individualized instruction

Online availability: no

Location: Kumon Math and Reading Center of Fort Wayne North Fort Wayne, 10130 Auburn Park Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46825

And Kumon Math and Reading Center of Fort Wayne West, Fourteen Square Shopping Center, 4916 Illinois Road, Suite #102 Fort Wayne, IN 46804

Contact: Kumon North 260-489-6500 fortwaynenorth_in@ikumon.com, Kumon West 260-459-6500 fortwaynewest_in@ikumon.com

SYLVAN LEARNING

Sylvan Learning offers personalized tutoring, academic coaching, and advancement and test prep. Tutors help with math, reading, writing, upper-level science, study skills, homework, AP class support, advanced study skills, advanced reading and advanced writing, ACT and SAT test preparation. They also offer robotics, coding and engineering STEM enrichment. Results are guaranteed.

Open: tutoring/teaching occurs Monday – Thursday 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Covington Rd. location) and Monday – Thursday 3:30 p.m. – 7: 30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Auburn Rd. Location)

Each location is open Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., (closes at 8 p.m. for the Covington Rd. location) and Friday-Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Payment: personalized tutoring/advancement and test prep begin at $43 per hour; academic coaching starts at $259 per month

Helps students in grades: K-12

Attendance Policy: not listed

Tutoring Style: personalized assessment and teaching

Online availability: no, but iPads are used and parents can keep track of their children’s progress electronically

Location: Sylvan Learning of Fort Wayne: 6227 Covington Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46804 and Sylvan Learning of North Fort Wayne: 10016 Auburn Park Dr., Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Contact: Sylvan Learning: (260) 436-2710 https://locations.sylvanlearning.com/us/fort-wayne-46804-in

Sylvan Learning North: (260) 485-1330 https://locations.sylvanlearning.com/us/fort-wayne-46825-in

WYZANT

Wyzant is a web-based tutoring service that can facilitate in-person or online one-on-one tutoring sessions. Students choose a tutor from over 80,000 specialists who are part of the Wyzant system. Tutors may be local, or from many miles away. Local tutors can do an in-person session, but distance learning may be best for working with a tutor based in, say, New York City.

Open: any time the tutor is available

Payment: pay per session, fees due after the session and rates vary by tutor

Helps students in grades: elementary through college

Attendance policy: set up meetings when student/tutor available

Tutoring Style: online or in person, one-on-one

Online availability: Yes

Location: varies – could be at the library, coffee shop, online, etc.

Contact: www.wyzant.com/

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