After School Activities or Tutoring—Which Should be a Priority?

I think it is pretty safe to assume that most of us are thrilled that the world is back open, and our routines and lives no longer revolve around staying away from others. This also means that many of us are, once again, SUPER BUSY! Between school drop-offs, pick-ups, work, sports, clubs, dance, feeding the children, homework, and getting everyone to bed at a reasonable hour… I truly do not know how we fit it all in.

Admittedly, the idea of having more downtime in our lives is one thing I miss about the pandemic—but that’s another post for another day.

With all these activities, it can be difficult to prioritize things. If your child seems to be struggling at all with academics, it can even throw yet another thing onto your plate—trying to find a tutor. Most children would much rather participate in activities with their friends than work with a tutor, so how do we choose? How do we include them? How do we decide which things are most important?

As a teacher, dyslexia specialist, and owner of an online tutoring company, my opinion is pretty obvious—you need to prioritize the tutoring/intervention. This does not mean your child cannot participate in any activities, and I am not just saying this to drum-up business. I am saying it because I have seen parents wait, I have seen them put academic support on the back burner because of after-school activities, and I have seen how much further behind their children fall.

I feel like it is important to say that it feels unfair to have to choose between help with academics and social activities. If you feel this way, I definitely agree with you.  However, the longer you wait, the harder it will get, and the longer your child will be in tutoring.

How do I know if my child needs help?

First, trust that mama gut. Some other signs your child could need help include:

  • Homework battles

  • Poor reading and spelling

  • Difficulty understanding what they read

  • Feeling like they are behind their peers

  • Teacher feedback

  • Shutting down in school or on homework assignments

  • Failing grades on independent assignments

How to make it work:

There are a couple of different strategies you can use to help organize and prioritize all the things in your schedule:

  • Find an online tutor! At my company, LD Expert, our services are all virtual. We have found that parents like this better because it eliminates driving back and forth from somewhere, wasting time in the car. (Pro tip: If your tutor is not doing online tutoring well and it does not seem effective for your child, they are probably not doing it right.)
  • Make your schedules a teachable moment for your student. Learning to prioritize things and keep track of what happens each day of the week is a great skill to teach your student. Additionally, it might help them understand that while they work one night per week with their tutor, they also still have other days open to participate in their activity of choice.
  • Attach an end date to the tutoring. Explain to your student that if they can show progress after a certain amount of time (I wouldn’t do any less than six weeks.), then you can pause the tutoring and give them a chance to take a break.
  • Bribes. I said what I said. Our world is driven by extrinsic rewards in almost everything we do as adults. I have a hard day, I let myself buy a coffee. Same principle! If your child has had their eye on something, now might be a great time to offer it as a reward for working hard to catch up academically.
  • Communicate with your tutor. Sharing information about your child can make the sessions more fun because your tutor will know your child’s personal interests. If it is fun, there is certain to be less push-back.
  • Don’t just use any tutor. There are lots of tutoring companies out there, but it is extremely important that you find someone with actual qualifications to work with your child on whatever it is they need. This is especially true with reading, spelling, and dyslexia tutoring. Ask questions about their certifications, and choose the person who is most qualified and clear about their programs and strategies. Otherwise, you will end up paying for something that doesn’t actually help and have to spend more time and money in the future on tutoring from someone who is more qualified.

Moms are busy, that is just a fact. Tutoring does not need to (and should not) be daily, or be so intense that you no longer have time for other social activities. I promise that getting help sooner than later will be the best decision, and your child will feel the success sooner as well!

A grateful San Antonio transplant that fled the midwestern winters at the first opportunity. Driven by her core values, faith, family, and knowledge, Stephanie and her husband are passionately raising their three daughters - Nikoletta (2017), Eleni (2019) and Emmelia (2022). With a husband from Greece, travel is a big part of their family life along with their Greek Orthodox identity. Stephanie has a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology and is a licensed teacher, school principal, and dyslexia therapist. She is also the CEO and Founder of The LD Expert, a nationwide company that brings the best academic tutoring and dyslexia intervention to schools and families through virtual instruction. Favorite Restaurant: Jets Pizza Favorite Landmark: Marriage Island Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Cascarones