The fall approaches and parents must think how best to help their children succeed this year. While some children breeze thru their academic programs without support, most children at some time require some help to build a strong foundation and to keep up. This note reviews the choices for the younger children (up to grades six):
Tutoring programs such as Kumon, Sylvan, SCORE, or Huntington have become very popular with parents. Kumon has extended their offering down to preschool with Jr. Kumon. These tend to be expensive (hudnreds of dollars / month) and have a relatively rigid approach to education. Kumon jr, for instance, takes the approach that systematic practice of activities that increase in difficulty in miniscule steps assures the students of mastering each skill. Most of the elarning is doen at home supervisied by their paretns with a once or twise weekly to the centers to get new flash cards and worksheets.
Many parents go beyond helping with homework to providing their own educational program for kids in school or a complete homeschool program. For most parents, schedule and multiple children and family dynamics makes this a difficult effort to maintain.
Private tutors are a very hit or miss alternative. Because it depends on the individual and their match with the student, it is hard to generalize. Usually teachers can recommend good tutors who will match up with a child.
Online learning - This alternative has moved from games and research to interactive learning exercises with individualized programs with assessments and lessons. The Online Compass Learning Odyssey is available as part of the Teaching Games from Time4Learning for use at home.