1. What will One-on-One’s testing specifically tell me about my child’s problem?
This may sound odd, but first, let’s look at what it won’t tell us.
Let me tell you why. Because the one thing we do not offer is excuses. If your child comes in, our job is to make learning possible. Period. A few years ago, Brett was brought in by his father. At 14, Brett was completely unable to read. He had gone through I.Q. testing twice, yielding scores of 44 the first year and 45 the second. His father was very direct. "Please don't tell me those scores are right! This is my son, he's bright. C’mon, a baked potato has an I.Q. of 45!” Putting the baked potato comment aside, his father was correct. Brett was bright. In a period of weeks we had progressed through all the letters and sounds, and soon thereafter Brett's father watched in amazement as Brett began reading and comprehending fluently. Hmmm. Those I.Q. scores must have been wrong. The point of the story – the parent was right, the test was wrong. Don’t trust a test that says your child’s situation can’t or won’t change. We’ve never found that to be true.
Okay, so what will the scores actually do for us?
First, they should pinpoint exactly what is really happening in your child’s life right now. If an algebra student is working with 3rd grade level math skills, he’s not lacking motivation, he simply needs immediate, intense instruction to get his skills up. Notice that we emphasize right now. That’s because skills can be changed – this is not a permanent score, it is a snapshot of what’s happening at this point in time only. In fact, it’s our responsibility to make it change. Right?
Second, they should tell us how to help and where the help should be applied. Students will often want to improve their skills in more than one area. The most effective program for any student will be one that addresses all their needs, so that they experience success across the board.
Third, the testing will give credit where credit is due. Parents often ask if their student is just being lazy, or if their child is “just not that sharp”. Don’t go there. Your student probably already has, and the result is painful self-doubt and loss of motivation. If a student is working on, say, 7th grade English (which requires good reading ability) with 4th grade reading skills, a poor grade doesn’t indicate laziness. Instead, it indicates an overwhelming situation that is both difficult and confusing for the student. When the student’s skills are brought up to grade level, the change in both confidence and motivation is remarkable. That achiever, that hard working child you once knew, is still in there. As one dad put it, “Thank you for giving me the rest of my son back.”
2. Testing terrifies my child! I’m afraid that the test results may not show a clear picture.
We’re cautious about that as well. We actually administer the test directly one-on-one, with specific sections of the testing being done out loud. In so doing, we can monitor the student, watching for signs of confusion, overwhelm, or loss of focus, and adjust the process accordingly. Remember that the testing is nothing more than a tool to help us understand the student – once the actual lessons have begun, we continuously monitor the student’s level of functioning, and can adjust the level of instruction to an ideal fit even if the testing didn't yield a complete picture of the child’s skills.
3. Are the test results communicated to my child?
No! And yes. We will never give your child their testing scores, but we will be very direct with you, looking at the scores quite candidly. Our goal is to create just the right program for your child to improve in the best possible way. Part of creating the right program is helping to instill both confidence and motivation. We’ve never met the student yet who would be enthused and happy to find he was working years below grade level.
On the other hand, we will be honest with your student about the situation in a way that explains the struggle without making him feel bad. Typically, we’d pick an area where your child feels very positive, very competent. Let’s say you have a boy who just loves to play baseball, and he knows he’s good at it. If he asks what his testing scores are, we’d say something like this:
“Okay, you know how you’re great at baseball? Well, the first time you ever picked up a bat, you weren’t near as good a hitter as you are now. The first time you tried to field a ground ball, you probably didn’t just scoop it up and fire it to first base like you do now. You’ve practiced, and you’ve gotten a lot of skill. All skills get better with practice. Your scores on the test showed some of your skills are already strong, and some aren’t serving you as well as we want. We want the skills in math and reading to feel just like when you’re playing baseball. So you’re doing exactly what you need to do, you’re working on your skills and you’re getting better and better every time you come in. Pretty soon, all these skills will be serving you, and your work at school will feel very different.”
It’s a very honest answer, but notice that the answer is positive, focusing on the solution rather than dwelling on the problem.
4. How long will it take for me to see results?
Great question, and of course, how visible the results are depends on the student and the situation, but here are some good rules of thumb.
If your student is already at or above grade level, you’ll see results very quickly. Because your student will be moving out ahead of the class, the progress is very visible and the student both notices it and celebrates the change right away.
If your student is behind, the learning takes place just as quickly, but there is more ground to cover, so you will want to focus on the various stages of results as they come.
The first stage is typically just a few weeks in, as the student begins to recognize that he or she is learning much more quickly than ever before. The student may come home and speak quite happily about it, others may be quiet, afraid to “jinx” this new “good luck” that they’re having. At the same time, because we are working very closely with the student, we’ll be able to identify changes that are happening, and we’ll bring those to light for both you and your student.
The next stage comes when the student begins to function much more independently on homework and daily reading assignments. Parents are often amazed when their child actually picks up a book to read for fun, or when they come home and the homework is a 20 minute process instead of a 3 hour ordeal. This is a nice stage, because the whole family begins to benefit.
Finally, as we get the student on up higher and higher, fully to grade level, we hear back from parents that the teacher at school has noticed, that the standardized testing at school is showing strong scores, and that the student is now confident and motivated. From here, the student may even want to continue in the program and achieve levels well above grade level!
5. School, and especially classrooms, really intimidate my child. Can you accommodate my child’s needs? How do you help children to feel at ease?
This one is too easy - just come by and visit us! We can describe it to you, but you’ll really see when you walk in. Parents tell us it’s like walking into their own house. We’re informal deliberately, by design. Kids learn best when they feel safe, and our warm, comfortable, family environment fits perfectly. Also, there are no distractions, and no other students watching because we always work purely One-On-One. So with no pressure, comfortable surroundings, and a very positive atmosphere, students feel right at home even on their first day. Just ask the parents and kids in the waiting room how they feel when you visit us. You’ll like what you hear!
6. We’ve tried having a tutor come to the house, but the minute we stopped tutoring, the grades dropped again. Do we have to keep going through this? Are you different?
That’s an excellent question, and you've clearly been taking steps to help your child. We're sorry to hear about the frustrating circumstances.
The truth is you don’t have to keep going through it. Parents come to us because we know how to bring about lasting success. We understand that the key to generating real results is to directly address the real cause.
Consider this analogy:
Let’s say your child were to break his leg. You’d rush him to the doctor for treatment. What if the doctor said, “Here are some powerful pain killers. Just give him these and we’ll skip the cast and those bothersome x-rays.”
What’s wrong with that picture?
Well, here’s what’s wrong – the symptoms are being treated, not the cause. Treating symptoms is only meant to be a temporary solution. In fact, the situation can become worse if only the symptoms are treated and the underlying cause is allowed to fester. Because you love your child, you would never settle for some sloppy, halfway measure that left your child’s physical development impaired. Academic development is just as important.
So how are we different?
Let’s look at what happens in a typical student’s life. If a student is in 6th grade, but his reading and math skills are functioning below level, then he will struggle. If he gets help only with his homework, but not with his underlying skills, then over time the situation may become worse and the results can be devastating - low self-esteem, frustration, lack of motivation, and a continual need for assistance for years on end.
If that same student, instead, is tutored in the exact skills that he needs to become stronger, if we increase not just his learning, but his ability to learn, then soon he will begin to do his homework on his own, without the need or desire for outside help. He will see his own success as proof that he is intelligent and competent. Frustration will vanish, his self-esteem and motivation will soar, and we see a life wonderfully changed for the better. This is not a fairy tale ending, this is the result we expect.
It’s a very different result. To sum up:
No, you shouldn’t have to keep going through that.
7. My teenager thinks it’s “un-cool” to see a tutor, and I’m afraid he might be stubborn about the center’s instruction. How do the teachers overcome this obstacle?
It may be hard to believe, but that’s seldom an obstacle. That’s not to say that parents aren’t cautious about it happening. Jeanette, a mom of a junior high boy and high school girl, was wary. “I’m not sure I can drag them in here, they weren’t too excited when I told them about it.” A few weeks later, she gave us a call. “I want you to know my kids are calling and harassing me at work about tutoring,” she said. “But it’s not at all like I was thinking. They start calling me at 5:00, telling me not to be late tonight because they want to be on time for tutoring. They love going. I can’t believe it!” Then she said something that really touched our hearts. “Thanks for making me feel like a good mom.” She had been dreading what she thought would be a daily battle. When they thanked her for the help, she didn’t have to be the bad guy. She had been feeling guilty, watching them both struggle, and she felt relieved and happy, like a successful mom again.
8. Should my child bring in homework from school?
Talk with the director about optimizing your child’s learning. We are always willing to help with homework, and because we work purely One-On-One with every student, we can easily do so. The only concern is that if the homework is placed at a level much higher than your student is currently functioning, it will not prove useful in bringing up your student’s skills. Since improving those skills is crucial for long-term success, we don’t want to neglect instruction in the area where your child will benefit most.
That being said, if there’s an evening where you get home from work, feeling exhausted, and just don’t want to go through the process that night, send it on in. We’ll take care of it during the lesson, and the amount of stress that it will save you both may be one of the benefits you enjoy most about your child’s program.
9. Will my child have additional homework?
That is completely optional, but rest assured that we won’t send your child home with a giant packet of homework for you to teach them. It’s our job to know how to effectively teach your student without piling work on your shoulders. A very small amount, for review only, may be assigned, but in any case 99% of the learning will take place here during the lessons.
10. Everything One-on-One has to offer sounds great, but my child really needs special help - nothing else has worked. How effective can I expect this program to be?
Well, after we’ve had a chance to go through the initial assessment process, we’ll be able to give you a more specific answer, but let’s look at some case histories, and hopefully that will help right away.
Case 1: Jared, 10 year old boy, came in unable to read but could recognize a few letters. His mother called after she had received a “diagnosis” that due to specific learning disorders he would never learn to read or write. Six months later, we had him reading at 3rd grade level and writing paragraphs.
Case 2: Marisela, 13 year old girl, came in failing algebra; her effective functioning level in math was early third grade. She informed us and her mother that this would not work, it was a nice idea, but there was no way. Imagine her mom’s surprise when Marisela came home one day and told her, “Mom, you know how you always want me to raise my hand in class? Well, I do that now!” Her mom said she was glad that Marisela was no longer embarrassed to ask questions. “No mom, I don’t ask questions. I give answers, and they’re always right! People are starting to notice.”
Case 3: Brittany, 9 year old girl, reading at beginning 1st grade level. Had asked her mom not to tell her grandmother that she needed tutoring, did not want grandma to be disappointed in her. After 3 months of instruction, she could tell she was improving rapidly, and one day asked if they could drive straight to grandma’s house so she could show off how well she could read.
Whatever your situation may be, remember that we’ve worked with thousands of students, we’ve encountered circumstances like yours before, and we’ll know what to do. In the event that your situation should be one where we cannot help, we’ll be the first ones to let you know (before you begin instruction) so that you can channel your time and resources in the right direction.
11. Thankfully, my child is at grade level in all her subjects. We’re interested in continuing to challenge our child academically. Do you offer accelerated programs?
Yes! In fact, this is a best case scenario, because the student is not behind, but will always benefit from improved skills.
Art, a young man in 8th grade, came in with all A’s and B’s, but he wanted to improve further. As his skills leapt ahead, his homework dropped down from a few hours a night (he was very conscientious, and spent the time willingly) to just ½ hour. As the time dropped, his grades went up to straight A’s, and he joined a soccer league, something he’d never had time for previously. His learning improved, and his life improved.
Rene, a calculus student, already had an A when we met him. He felt unsure of the material, however, and wanted to really understand what he was doing. While his grade couldn't go up (starting with an A is nice!), his confidence and comprehension of the subject matter showed powerful growth.
While the two examples above pertain to mathematics, students will come in to increase their vocabulary, their reading comprehension, and their writing skills as well.
12. I really want to help my child, but I’m concerned about the budget. How much will all this cost?
You’re in for a pleasant surprise. Many parents have concerns before we meet, but they’re happy to find that our rates are actually lower than national tutoring companies that put students in groups of 3 or more! We always work with your child directly One-On-One, keeping the quality as high as possible and the tuition as low as possible. For exact prices and current specials, please contact the center nearest you. We'll be happy to help.
There are several convenient and affordable ways to move ahead with your child’s program, so you can select whichever option is most comfortable for your family. One very popular choice is convenient financing through SLM Financial. They are the largest educational financing institution in the nation, and we work together to make the whole process quick and easy for you.
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