We love talking with parents and students about our unique learning centers and have compiled this list answers to common questions we receive. If you have a question about anything that’s not covered here or would like to talk in greater detail about these or any other questions please feel free to contact us here.
Does Hometown Learning Centers employ a unique approach?
Yes, we focus on two important issues. One is the tutoring method, and the other is the convenience and flexibility of our approach.
What is the tutoring Hometown Learning Centers method?
The approach that we employ has several distinct elements, each designed to increase the likelihood that your child improves his scholastic achievement as much as possible. We start with an assessment process specifically intended to help us focus where it’s needed most, yet leverage areas where the student is already proficient. We then create a specific learning plan, which we call a Learning Path.SM This Learning Path ensures that we sequence and cover every area that needs attention. Unlike other providers, we then spend time in every tutoring session to address and assist current homework challenges.
How is the Hometown Learning Centers tutoring accomplished?
At Hometown Learning Centers, we encourage the use of open tutoring. What this means is that your child will be seated at a table that can accommodate up to three other similarly situated students. The tutor is therefore able to focus his attention and instruction on one student at a time, and yet give the child some space and time to work on problems and worksheets without the annoying presence of a tutor looking over his shoulder and making matters worse by upping the anxiety that constant oversight often produces.
How long is a typical Hometown Learning Centers tutoring session?
Length of session is a very important aspect of successful tutoring. Younger students may find it difficult to focus for more than 30 minutes, while older students should be able to stay focused for up to an hour. Learning math for example, may be thought of as a process similar to learning to play the piano. Frequent sessions of limited duration are more effective for long term learning than long sessions, especially when the student is in a formative phase. When effectiveness wanes, learning progress stalls, students experience frustration, and the accompanying negative experience reinforces a defeatist attitude. So to sum it up, frequent but shorter sessions are much more efficient than occasional but longer sessions.
Can I arrange for private, one-on-one tutoring through Hometown Learning Centers?
Yes. We know that for some children, one-on-one tutoring is needed at times and we are able to provide that approach when it is required. Inquire with our Center Director as to availability, pricing and other conditions associated with this type of tutoring.
Can I be seated with and work with my child during tutoring sessions?
Generally, the answer to that question is no. The best approach is for you to support and work with your child between tutoring sessions, not during a tutoring session. Tutoring is best accomplished when the child and the tutor develop a professional relationship, especially when the child can demonstrate responsible interactions. We operate in a transparent manner and, if they wish, parents are welcome to remain at the center in our comfortable reception areas and take advantage of our free WiFi connection during the time that their child receives tutoring. Alternatively, many parents take advantage of the opportunity to multi-task and shop at nearby stores while we work with their child.
Who are the Hometown Learning Centers tutors?
Our tutors are people with a passion for helping others. Most have recently graduated from college and are working on graduate level studies. Others are upper level classmen at a local university, and still others are current or retired teachers. Importantly, all of our tutors are thoroughly vetted. We conduct a rigorous hiring process that includes confirmation of academic achievements, personal interviews, criminal background checks and competency testing in the associated subject area. Our process ensures that we hire the best, and only 15% of the candidates that apply for a position with us, meet our industry setting standards. Once hired, our tutors are certified by the National Academic Council & Tutor Accreditation Board.
How do you evaluate the competency of the Hometown Learning Centers tutors?
We employ a multi-step process to carefully evaluate all tutor candidates. First, we screen all applicants to ensure that they meet our standards for academic accomplishments. We interview all candidates in person to help us evaluate their interpersonal skills. We conduct thorough background checks to eliminate any candidates that might have a prior criminal history, and finally we require all candidates to complete and pass our tutor competency test. This test focuses not just on getting the answer right, but also on the specifics of approach and procedures as required by state specific Standards of Learning (SOL). Unlike other organizations that may merely rely on a tutor’s self assessment, we thoroughly vet all of our candidates. This rigorous screening process enables us to hire only the best tutors for your child. Only 1 in 10 tutor applicants measure up to Hometown Learning Center standards.
How often can I bring my child in for tutoring?
Most parents enter into agreements that permit unlimited weekly visits. Some weeks it may be convenient for you to bring your child to our center only once, while other weeks it may be possible for you to bring him or her 2, 3 or even 4 times. We impose no limit on the number of times you bring your child.
Do I need to make tutoring appointments?
No. We are an open tutoring organization and we schedule tutors to be available during the anticipated busiest times of day. As a Hometown Learning Centers customer, you are free to bring your child to our center as often as you like. We understand that you have busy and complex lives, and scheduling would be a big headache. We also know that what works this week might not work next week. We also know that things change from month to month, week to week and from day to day. The flexibility afforded by having no fixed schedules, combined with the convenient location of our centers, provides an unmatched resource for you to help you help your child.
What about technology and online tutoring?
Every child is unique. It is quite difficult for online or software programs to customize their offering to fit the needs of each student. And think of it like this: As an adult, you see technology as a vast resource that has helped you find answers to complex problems. But, look at technology through the eyes of your child. They experience it as gaming, texting, talking and unfortunately even engaging in activities that are potentially harmful and dangerous. No wonder that even though smart phone use by students is now close to 90%, academic progress and competency has been in a decline for over a decade. Technology works when the student WANTS to learn, but frankly it may be unrealistic to expect a child to view a device that to him or her is mostly entertainment, to be capable of delivering real learning. Some things are just coached better by a human: Piano. Golf. Flying. Mathematics.
It is true that technology is being used increasingly in many schools. But most of that technology comes with limits on access to certain content, and comes with monitoring software so that teachers and others can constantly monitor the use of the technology. Are you prepared to exercise just as much oversight in order to ensure distraction-free technology use? Most parents are not in a position to provide this oversight, and therefore we see at-home technology as discretionary, but not essential in helping us help your child.
I have seen advertisements for tutors who will come to my house. Isn’t that a good option?
Well, consider this: Do you really know who that person is that you are inviting into your house? Are you prepared to perform a criminal background check on him or her? And while that tutor might know math (or he or she might be dated), knowing math and being able to effectively tutor your child are two different skills. And finally, there is little actual convenience in this approach. Yes, the tutor may come to you, but while this tutoring takes place, it is unlikely that you will feel comfortable enough to leave the house and run an errand, take another child to a sports practice, or to even pick up a few groceries for the evening meal. You, too, are chained to the house while the tutor is there, so maybe you can do another load of laundry, but that is about it. And, if you need to cancel a session for any reason, your child probably misses an entire week because the tutor may not be able to “swing by” tomorrow instead.
What does Hometown Learning Centers tutoring cost?
If a parent takes advantage of the flexibility of our programs and ensures that the child receives at least two sessions a week, then the cost is significantly less than having a tutor come to your house. In this case the cost per tutoring session is generally less than $30 per session for grade school students and less than $40 for high school students. In addition to tutoring costs, we also impose a fee for conducting an initial assessment and registration of your child. These one time costs vary between $100 and $200.
Where is Hometown Learning Centers located?
Each of our centers are conveniently located in high volume shopping centers. The parking lots are well lit and other nearby businesses include banks, grocery stores, restaurants, department stores, hobby stores, telephone stores, automotive repair shops, baby clothing stores, etc. The Winchester Center is located, for example, in the Apple Blossom Corners Shopping Center, where all of the above stores are located, or are located in adjacent shopping plazas.
Do you require a six month contract?
No we do not. We offer flexible plans ranging from month to month plans up to six month plans. We are able to offer substantial economic incentives to those who choose to agree to longer term tutoring plans.
How do you bill for your services?
At the inception of your agreement with us, we process the fees and first month’s tutoring tuition to your credit or debit card. Thereafter, we automatically charge your card for subsequent monthly tuition. You will receive an email notification each time your card has been charged for continuing tutoring services. There is no monthly invoice that you need to keep track of. We process these monthly transactions until you advise us that you no longer need our services.