If you’re a parent, you may wonder how providing a child with tutoring can help. You should be asking questions like:
- What benefits does tutoring really offer?
- How does tutoring improve a child’s life?
- Is tutoring really necessary?
- Is tutoring worth the money?
These are important questions that parents should be asking.
The easy answer is NO, generally speaking, tutoring is not productive or worth the money. There are bad, over-priced tutors that are just looking for money. Most are just modern teachers doing modern things, as if more of a bad thing makes it good. Most modern tutoring is a complete waste of time and money.
In the Classical Liberal Arts Academy, we’re not talking about modern tutoring. We’re talking about ME, a Catholic classicist with 25 years of study and teaching experience, working with students one-one (or in small groups). This is nothing like modern tutoring.
One of my former students, who is now an attorney in Charlotte, said this:
“Mr. Michael changes your life. He gives you spiritual guidance, forces you to use your mind and think, challenges you in every aspect of your life, and by the time he is finished with you, you’re able to think clearly and wisely. His ability to connect with you on any subject is phenomenal. Any subject, any time, any place, he is well prepared to teach and guide you. Most importantly he has made me a better person. I can’t say that about any teacher I’ve ever had in my life. He has dedicated his whole entire life to God’s work, and is a spitting image of what Jesus wants us to be. I don’t think many people can say they know somebody like that. Mr. Michael changed my life.”
Another student, who went on to study at Princeton said:
“I value most our discussions of Plato and Aristotle, as they seemed to come up in almost every liberal arts class I took. Above all, they helped me learn to think, which Princeton definitely continued to do.”
Another, who became a professional athlete, said:
“Mr. Michael’s teaching has provided me a firm base of learning in Logic and Rhetoric…I use his teachings everyday and the overall background that he provided me with has helped me defend Christianity.”
I can provide many more testimonies like these, but it’s clear that classical Catholic tutoring is definitely helpful for students.
What, exactly, makes it helpful? Let’s consider a few benefits I considert to be most important:
1. Tutoring Ensures that Students are Learning
First, one of the greatest problems in education is cheating. Students can easily cheat their way through lessons–copying answers on assignments, looking at “cheat sheets” on tests, telling parents work was done that really wasn’t, and so on. When education depends on written work, it is easy to cheat and when children can cheat, they usually will. Over time, the effects of cheating can be very great, and children can be robbed of a good education.
Tutoring removes this trouble. An expert tutor can look into a students eyes and simply discuss the lesson content. A tutor can ask probing questions that a student can only know if he is studying. A tutor can explain concepts to a student and make sure he understands them. A tutor can drill a student and make sure that definitions and rules are known perfectly. A tutor can make sure students are really learning the lessons their parents want them to learn.
2. Tutoring Makes Learning More Pleasant
When we study English Composition, we learn that in modern schools, many students dislike writing classes. They dislike writing classes because speaking is more enjoyable than writing. Yet, most schools (and homeschools) make students carry out most of their activities in writing, which is not pleasant. It is not necessarily their studies that they dislike, but the manner in which their studies are conducted.
Aristotle said that we can know that man knows a subject when he is able to teach it–not when he is able to follow a teacher’s manual or carry out scripted lesson plans. Many people employed as teachers don’t know their subjects and this requires them to manage students in a way that makes learning unpleasant. These teachers rely on written assignments that they can correct with answer keys and work through on their own time. They re-use these same lessons year after year and don’t allow students to ask questions that require knowledge they don’t have.
An expert tutor doesn’t need to teach like this. An expert tutor is not dependent on teacher manuals or answer keys, and is able to teach without scripted lessons. He can speak comfortably with his students and answer whatever questions they have–questions that interest them. Most importantly, he can adapt lessons to individual students and use illustrations and examples they appreciate, which they will be eager to speak about. This–and this can only be done by an expert tutor–radically improves learning and makes studies pleasant to the student.
3. Tutoring Improves a Family’s Quality of Life
God intends for human beings to live in community and He distributes different gifts to different men. Mom and Dad aren’t given ever gift their children need to thrive in all areas of life. God intends for members of society to work together and share their gifts, and when they do so, the quality of life becomes what God intends it to be.
When a couple has a child, they aren’t suddenly free to spend the next 18 years of their lives as full-time teachers. They need to attend to their own necessary work and if they don’t provide help for their children’s studies, their children will suffer for it. Teaching is not necessarily the parents’ primary vocation in life, but it is an expert tutor’s full-time vocation–and an expert tutor is good at it. Worse, when parents try to manage their children’s education, it often doesn’t go well and the family’s quality of life declines. The costs needed to try and fix a student’s education are far greater than the costs needed to get it right the first time and no parents whose children succeed under an expert tutor will ever say, “We spent too much on his tutor.” Tutoring improves a family’s quality of life by allowing parents to take care of their own life’s work (which also increases their income) and by giving parents the satisfaction of seeing their children do well in studies. It also improves relationships between parents and students by taking the stress of education out from their relationship.
“It must be understood that, because man is by nature a social animal, needing many things to live which he cannot get for himself if alone, he naturally is a part of a group that furnishes him help to live well.”St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle’s Ethics
4. Tutoring Helps Promote LEARNED/Religious Vocations
St. Aloysius Gonzaga is the patron saint of youths, having been a holy youth himself. He was born into a busy Catholic family engaged in many worldly pursuits. How did such a boy make such progress in learning and religion? Well, he was tutored by St. Robert Bellarmine, who taught him the Catholic faith. Tutoring helps.
Parents are responsible for the physical care of their children and this care often prevents them from caring for their children’s intellectual and spiritual needs as a detached third person can. An excellent tutor separates himself from worldly business for the sake of intellectual and spiritual pursuits, and provides a model for a child to imitate in such matters. An expert tutor has intellectual and spiritual gifts that enable him to challenge and inspire students to higher things. An expert tutor gives students an living and present example of intellectual and religious vocations that parents may not be able to.
We can go on listing many benefits that an expert tutor brings to students and parents, but I believe that these four are the most important. An expert tutor can provide parents with peace of mind, knowing that their children are learning the lessons they want them to learn. An expert tutor can make learning pleasant and personal, and conduct lessons by speaking rather than written assignments. An expert tutor can greatly increase a family’s quality of life, and improve the relationships between parents and their children. An expert tutor can help cultivate intellectual growth and religious vocations among children. These are great benefits received by families who make use of expert Catholic tutors.
The Classical Liberal Arts Academy offers you these benefits. To arrange tutoring for your children, please contact us for a free tutoring session. Then, when you’ve seen the difference, you can make tutoring a regular part of your children’s education, and your family’s culture.
God bless your studies,
Mr. William C. Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy