Huntington, Sylvan or Other Tutor Help

Updated on September 21, 2011
T.B. asks from Minneapolis, MN
10 answers

I am at my wits end with my son who is a sophomore in high school. His reading skills have always been below par - not low enough to need special help at school, but low enough that he's now struggling in school because he can't read and comprehend large amounts of history, science, etc. I try to help him and he's uncooperative. I looked into Sylvan many years ago but decided against it when the cost was more than the mortgage on our house. Now I am wondering if I should look at outside help. Part of his problem is his lack of desire to learn. I'm not ready to let him fail when high school grades are so important. But I can't battle him anymore either. HELP! Does anyone have experience with Huntington, Sylvan or a really good program that will either focus on his reading or teach him test taking skills?

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answers from Minneapolis on


I actually tutor junior high and high school students, but mainly in organizational skills and projects.

I was also a student with learning differences and struggled with comprehension as a child. One of the exceptional programs that my parent's enrolled me in is called Lindamood Bell. It is a highly credited and awarded program. They actually have a location here in Minneapolis. Visit It is not an inexpensive program, but it truly works wonders!

Good luck!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I second what others have written about looking more into a possible learning disability with reading or with a vision issue. And, if you request another evaluation, the district can again retest him and determine if something is being missed. Also, if your son doesn't quite qualify, the district can override the test results and put your son into specialized classes that might be better suited to him. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi T.,

I've been a special education teacher for four years, and am now at home taking care of my son. I think it would be wise to request an assessment of your son to see if he has a learning disability. This will allow him to access invaluable resources for the rest of his high school career, and will also allow him to access resources that colleges provide to students with diagnosed disabilities. A parent can request an assessment at any time, and a request from a parent is rarely refused. This assessment will not automatically place your son in special education, it will be used as a guide to see if he qualifies and will provide great information for you guys to know the exact areas with which your child struggles and what can be done about it - this information will be shared with you whether or not he qualifies.

If you are reluctant to have your son assessed, which I understand many parents are, it is never too late to look for extra help. The biggest barrier to tutoring that you will find, however, will be your son. If he doesn't want to improve his reading, he is going to resist the tutor and will not be able to learn as well. If you can sit him down to discuss his difficulties, and hear from him that he wants to become a better reader, this could be the first step toward accessing extra help. I have been tutoring students struggling with reading for 6 years, and the students that don't want to be there don't learn as well as those who want to become stronger readers.

Your son's definitely old enough to talk to about this issue. Ask questions about what is hard for him, and why school might be frustrating. And don't be afraid to ask a teacher or a trusted member of the school staff about referring your child for assessment.

Best of luck, and please send me a message if you have any questions about this process,
Amy K.



answers from Minneapolis on

I think the first step is to find out from him why he does not care about his grades, why he does not want to learn, and what does he feel would help him get the best grades he can get. He is at that age where I think it is time for him to start making some very adult choices, and your job is to ask the questions and listen very carefully at what he is telling you. Sometimes having to read between the lines. Find out what he likes about school. Find out what he is good at. Maybe he just does not see the point of learning about american history, and so does not concentrate while reading this. Does he do well in Math? Are there other classes that he does enjoy reading about, like health or english or ? My ten year old excels in Math and Reading, and when he chooses the books he wants to read he could tell you cover to cover anything about it, but when it is an assigned book that just does not spark his interest he kind of skims the pages and half reads it and then really does not get the whole point of the book, and probably could not tell you much of anything about it. I would also talk to the teacher at your sons school who seems to be the most involved with him. Get their take, and ask them what they think the best options are.
Find out all the facts and then really decide does my child have a learning disability or is it an attitude and lack of interest problem? You are a great mom to really care what is going on at school with your child. There are a lot of parents who should be more like you.


answers from Minneapolis on

As far as tutoring help, have you considered a local high school? Usually, AP and IB students need to log in so much tutor time and it might help that they are close to his age (and it would be free). Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I also have a 10th grader. He doesn't have any trouble with reading, but I did have him take a class that was offered this past summer at North Hennepin Community College. It was called "Speed Reading, Comprehension, and Study Skills". He doesn't like to spend alot of time reading, but it seems to me that he is applying some of the skills he learned this summer to his schoolwork.
You should be able to get some help by going
This program is put on by the University of St.Thomas and was affordable for a single Mom of 2 boys.
Good Luck!!! M.



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with others making sure that there isn't a learning disability, first. However, not every struggle in school is related to a learning disability. I think you're right to also look into tutoring, which may be all that's needed.

We are blessed in the Twin Cities to have an abundance of colleges and universities in the area. They are full of resources that you may be able to take advantage of - and it would certainly be better to have a college student tutoring than a high school student. He or she may be able to provide your son inspiration to get to college and beyond. Many teaching programs require tutoring at some level during an academic career. I am a graduate student in the Department of Education and Human Development at the University of MN - we get emails often about families that need tutors. I would highly recommend contacting the education department of several of the colleges and universities to see what they can offer, even if it is just to send out an email inviting interested parties to email you.

I've had a student attend Huntington, and it works, but I didn't see enough improvement as a teacher to warrant the family stretching their budget the way that it did. They ended up switching to resources that the public school could provide and are now very happy and their child (11th grader now) is doing very well.

I wish you a lot of luck -



answers from Minneapolis on

Has he been tested for Dyslexia or other issues?




answers from Atlanta on

For effective, convenient and affordable instruction using the Lindamood-Bell® programs, consider R..



answers from Minneapolis on

Have you considered getting him tested for learning disabilities? There are some subtle way that they opperate, so that it just makes things harder for the child but go unnoticed for years. If you know exactly what's wrong, then you can get help that's focused on the actual problem and isn't a frustrating waste of time.

I had alot of trouble with school because of an undiagnosed processing disorder and ADHD. I fought with my mother for years, and was uncooperative becuase i felt like she didnt understand me and what she was dong wasn't helping me. I barely graduated from high school. When I was diagnosed later, it was a relief, and I got help that fixed what was wrong instead of just frustrating me and making me feel like there was something bad or wrong with me. And now, I'm a grad student with a 3.9 GPA!

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