Frequency, duration and number of hours of tutoring: is there a secret formula?

When a parent first contacts us, they often ask what method is recommend to begin the tutoring sessions. How often per week should we have sessions? How many hours should it last? Is there an ideal location where they should take place? Here is an overview of these main points, with recommendations from School Success!

Frequency, duration and number of hours of tutoring: is there a secret formula?

Frequency of meetings

Should the meetings be once or many times a week? Should they be close together or spaced out?

Depending on how much catching up is needed and the overall work required (homework, review, exam preparation, etc.), the frequency at the beginning might be quite variable. Nevertheless, in order to establish a good routine and give the tutor the opportunity to do a proper follow up at the beginning, we suggest a minimum of once a week.

If the student is significantly behind and has a lot of catching up to do, you can also start with many meetings close together. Once this “urgency” has been met, you can, with the tutor, reevaluate the necessity of continuing this way or maybe space the meetings out more.

The time period when the tutoring begins may also influence the frequency. At the beginning of the school year, the meetings can be more spaced out then when end of term exams are around the corner. At this time, the number of meetings per week can increase.

Homework help can also be more frequent and can take place during the week or on the weekend. This way, the tutor can do a proper review of what has been seen in class, targeted to the notions that were not well understood, and will help prepare the student for the notions to be covered the following week.

Length of sessions

Is one hour enough? Is it too much? How long should a tutoring session last?

One hour of tutoring often goes by quickly: by the time everybody gets set up, books are opened, and progress is checked, new problems or concerns are addressed, etc. Also, with the preparation and the travelling that the tutor must do, less than an hour is not really worth their time when it’s a tutoring session at your home.

During the week, after school, or in the early evening, one hour sessions and often enough, especially for grade school students. You must consider that a full day of school can already have been demanding for your child and that asking him or her to concentrate longer can be difficult. Students in high school or Cégep can stay concentrated longer, therefore you can discuss with them and with the tutor what the best approach would be.

Meetings can, however, be longer on the weekend: based on our experience, we have often noticed that students are more receptive and better rested. Their ability to concentrate is therefore greater.

Preferred locations for sessions

Is it preferable to have the meetings at home or at school? At the library or at the coffee shop on the corner? Online?

Between sports practice, art classes, or extracurricular activities, why not avoid more moving around? Meetings at the student’s home are the most popular method and we have some good tips on how to set up an efficient study space.

At times, in order to develop the child’s autonomy, some parents prefer to have the meetings outside of their home. For the Montreal region, we often suggest our learning center in Côte-des-Neiges, which is available to students and tutors during the week after school and on weekends.

Otherwise, with permission from the principal, it is at times possible to have the meetings at school. However, it is important that an appropriate location is made available to you and that the opening hours permit it.

Similarly, a library is a good place to have the meetings. It is a calm location favorable to studying. However, you must make sure you have access to an area for studying that is slightly apart from other visitors so as not to disturb them. Also, before planning a meeting, make sure to check the library’s schedule: some libraries close early or are simply closed on certain days.

Online meetings are another option to consider, which may be used as a compliment to the other meetings. Using our virtual classroom, the web-cam sessions offer live interactions and are often quite useful. In fact, if a meeting in person is not possible because of a transportation problem, do not hesitate to use our interactive platform!

As you can see, there are many factors to consider for individual tutoring. Since every case is unique and requires a particular follow-up, the secret formula requires many different ingredients! First of all, keep in mind that you must be well prepared ahead of time, communication properly throughout the sessions, and don’t forget that the main goal is the success of your child. We will be here to be part of the winning solution!

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