Depending who you ask, the word “tutoring” could mean a multitude of things. For some, it’s a quick bit of homework help. For others, it’s an every-other-day support system and confidence booster. If you’re just getting started with tutoring, it’s tough to figure out which approach is best. So, how long should a tutoring session last, and how many sessions should you schedule?
It’s no wonder why this is one of our most frequently asked questions! To put it plainly, it depends. Every student is different and has different needs. For those with a greater attention span, you can get away with longer sessions. Longer is not always better though, and some students get more value out of shorter sessions.
When kids are younger, they tend to get distracted more easily. Asking them to sit down for any period of time feels like a lot, so shorter sessions suit them better. Conversely, older students can usually handle working for longer periods of time.
A tutoring session should be no shorter than 45 minutes. Less than that isn’t enough time for students to gain new information and internalize it. This is especially true if tutoring is only happening once a week. If your student can’t stay focused for more than 45 minutes, consider having tutoring sessions twice per week.
As your child gets older, you can stretch the tutoring sessions to get more accomplished in a day. This is great if you have a busy schedule because you can have one fully dedicated tutoring day each week. It’s not unheard of to have a three-hour tutoring session, but two hours is usually a good upper limit. Extending it too long can sometimes do more harm than good.
For a general guideline, we’ve created an age-based chart to help you get started.
|Grade Level||Session Length||Sessions Per Week|
|K to 5||45 minutes to 1 hour||1 to 2|
|6 to 9||1 to 1.5 hours||1 to 3|
|10 to 12||1 to 2 hours||1 to 3|
Traditional Schooling vs Homeschooling
The nature of tutoring will vary depending on whether or not your child is attending brick-and-mortar school. Make sure you take this into account when scheduling your tutoring sessions.
Students attending traditional school can greatly benefit from the extra support a tutor provides. A one-hour session once per week is a solid start, but you might want to supplement that with an additional session for best results.
If you’re homeschooling your child, especially if they’re in high school, you’ll want to provide more tutoring time. Consider scheduling at least two sessions per week, both of them anywhere from one to two hours each. This will ensure that your student receives the assistance they need.
Tutors can function as teachers, so you can ask them to teach your child’s curriculum. Make sure you allocate enough time to accomplish the goals you would like your tutor to achieve. To simulate a school environment, you can experiment with longer sessions divided by short breaks to improve engagement. Two-hour or even three-hour sessions work well in this case.
Choose a Productive Time of Day
It’s important to determine how long a tutoring session should last, but you want to make sure the session is during a productive time of day. Conducting a session too late could lead to your child fatiguing and losing interest. If the session is too early, they might not be fully awake yet.
Tutoring sessions immediately after school tend to be quite effective. The child will not have settled into the away-from-school mindset just yet, leading to higher levels of focus.
If you’re homeschooling, sessions in the late morning and early afternoon can maximize your child’s accomplishments. These are peak hours for productivity, giving your student a head-start on success.
Ask Your Child How Long Should a Tutoring Session Last
Ultimately, your child is the one receiving the tutoring, so they should have a say in the matter. Check in with them to see what they would like, and use that information to plan accordingly. Also, try different times of day to see what works best for them.
Consult Your Tutor
Your tutor will get to know your child quite well, and they’ll be able to provide useful information about your child’s habits. Ask for progress reports to see if anything can be adjusted. They’ll let you know if they’re spending too much time trying to keep a lid on things during a long session or if they often wish for more time during shorter ones. Communication is key!
We Can Help You Decide How Long a Tutoring Session Should Last
We know tutoring is a big commitment with a ton of variables, so we’re here to support you. Tutoring…With a Twist* will create a specialized plan that works for you. We’ll guide you through every step of the way and come up with a perfect tutoring schedule for your child. If you’re ready to get started, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to hear from you!
If you want to keep the kids busy in between tutoring sessions, try some of our favourite education resources.
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*Services provided by With a Twist Education Ltd.