Tutors for K - 5th Grade

Parent Q&A

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  • Tutor for very stubborn kid

    (11 replies)

    Hello Parents,

    We need a math and writing tutor for our very bright but very stubborn fourth grader. They are currently attending their small private school via zoom. They have no interest in school and turn in the bare minimum of what is required. This was evident pre pandemic but it's gotten worse. Whenever my partner and I try to intervene we are met with tons of attitude, yelling, and argumentative behavior. We've tried incentives like rewards for completed assignments. We've tried discipline ie taking away screen time, canceling zoom dates with friends. Nothing works. We feel that our child might respond better to someone outside the family. 

    We have had a great experience using Classroom Matters for tutoring. My son loves his tutor and they help him with whatever subject he needs help with and with organization and study skills.   Classroom Matters

    Your child may have a learning disability that has not been identified. This happened with our son when he was quite young. No matter what we did, he remained unchanged. It was not until we had him assessed that we realized that he had reached capacity and COULDN't do more no matter whether we took things away or rewarded him. Think of it as a child who needs glasses, but you don't realize it and you demand that they read, but they can't see or tire very quickly because their site is not 100%. It doesn't mean you don't have a smart child or one that you worry won't be successful in life. It might just mean that something else is going on and you need to discover what it is in order to help him. Just a thought...

    Hi! I would recommend a company called Classroom Matters! They tutor all subjects k-12 with a more holistic and emotion-based approach and I know they offer online and POD learning. I have heard excellent things about their tutors and they even have an Enrichment program for math and foreign language. My daughter hasn't started school yet but I am definitely looking to them for when she does!

    Our bright and stubborn 5th grader is working with Ali Mansour at Firecracker Math.  I learned that me trying to teach my child math is really just a losing battle (and adversely impacts our relationship too).  Last spring, my kiddo was about 1 year behind in math. They had a weekly session with Ali during the summer, and now they are at or even slightly above grade level.  Ali is very kind, patient and super supportive.  He has been amazing!  

    We loved our tutor, Linda. She was extremely patient with my daughter who did not like math. We went to her North Berkeley house before COVID then went to virtual.

    510 900-2430

    This sounds really challenging, and it sounds like you've tried several approaches already without the result you were looking for, and need some new ideas. I think you are on the right path with a tutor to get the parent-child dynamic out of play. You might consider an educational therapist as a level up from a tutor (but usually a bit more expensive), as such a person should be able to address feelings around learning as well as just the learning (I know there are some at Strategies for Learning). Additionally, could your teacher be more of a resource than currently, for supporting your student? I also wonder, if this was happening before the pandemic, is it possible there is a learning challenge of some kind that is making your child shy away from school? It is rare that children truly have "no interest" but when things feel "too hard" anybody will shy away from it - certainly, if you tried to teach me calculus in French, I wouldn't participate in it either. The other day I overheard my perfectionistic kindergartener tell his teacher blatantly that when he answers her question he's just going to "joke around" - not as a disrespectful thing, but I think he was trying to distract from his anxiety that he didn't know the answer. He wanted an out to be able to say "tricked you, I actually knew the right answer." 

    It doesn't sound like a tutor would change them having no interest in school and only wanting to do the bare minimum - you don't say it's that they are not meeting grade level standards, which is when you would need a tutor. I would request a meeting with their teacher to lay out the problems you're seeing at home, and get their participation in a solution plan. You might need the teacher's assistance in your positive motivation program.

    Our daughter from age 11 has been working with an excellent Learning Specialist for the past 3 years, Mike L. Miller. She had struggled with math and dealt with slower processing, information retention and anxiety. Initially we were looking for someone to support her outside of school with math concepts and completion of assignments each week. Mike came to us highly recommended by the Education Therapist at my daughter's middle school, who literally referred to him as a "math whisperer". At the time, our daughter had an easy time relating to her peers but interacting with adults was more challenging. Mike was able to establish a great working relationship with her right away with his kind and genuine manner. He is highly intuitive and able to relate well to kids and teens by getting on their level and not talking down to them. My daughter is now a freshman in high school in Oakland and Mike has not only helped her with math but also a variety of other subjects, most recently with English and writing (one of his self-proclaimed passions). We give Mike our highest recommendation. He's not only helped our daughter with her academics but more importantly with gaining confidence in herself and learning. Mike has become an invaluable support system for our family. mikecanhelp.net

    Hi There,

    I have had great experience working with Bay Area Tutoring Collective (https://bayareatutoring.weebly.com/) . They are a group of mostly women Uc Berkeley students who are committed to respectful, intelligent tutoring. My son ahs worked with one of their tutors years ago and I have referred friends and clients who worked with other tutors and have been very pleased. 


    I have a 6th grader with a Developmental Learning Specialist, Mike L. Miller  who came strongly recommended from my son’s new school.  He is a lifesaver.  My son—who has anxiety, dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, math issues and is weary of school (because he was treated as stupid from a former teacher) is doing extremely well now.  He really likes working with Mike.  Mike takes the time to understand who my son is in order to help him learn and get excited about it.   Mike is also a true professional and is always prepared.  There have been quite a few things to untangle and Mike is truly on top of it.  I get monthly updates via gmail and Mike is always available to answer any questions.  If he is concerned about something, he schedules a phone call.  Mike is a true educator:  He loves getting kids excited about learning, he is a great “detective”, he is a good listener, he is compassionate, he is fun, and he is creative.  Mike also always thinks in terms of my sons best interests.  I have the highest regard for him.    Mike L. Miller, mikecanhelp.net, (415)264-0227

    We have been working with Laura Head. https://headsuplearning.co/about/who-we-are/ She is patient, kind, warm and engaging. She's a virtual tutor as she is located in NY, but she is very effective. She also teaches French. Just within 2 months, my 8 year old daughter is able to sing in French and already has developed a foundation to be able to read in French. 

  • Online Tutor for 5th Grader

    (2 replies)


    I'm wondering where to find an experienced elementary school tutor who can do tutoring online during the school year, to supplement/help with assignments from my son's main 5th grade teacher (at a public school in Oakland). I suspect there may be a number of educators looking for extra work, but I don't know how or where to connect with them. Does anyone have ideas or recommendations?


    [Moderator note] There are more than 200 tutors who subscribe to BPN, and you can find them here in the Tutor/Teacher listing: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/tutors  

    I think our tutor would be a perfect fit, and I know he has more availability now that school is out. He's a local teacher and tutored our 10 year old son in math (Berkeley Public School), in person at our home until March, and we are continuing this summer via zoom. He's really supportive, and my son actually looks forward to their meetings - which was a fantastic change from my his previous negative attitude toward math (because he was embarrassed that it wasn't just coming to him easily). I don't want to share his personal info this broadly, but would be happy to pass it along to anyone who is interested - just message me!

    SWING Education has credentialed teachers who are available to tutor all ages. Their teachers are great. swing education.com

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Need tutor for 10-year-old who has never liked school

April 2016

I have a bright, extremely energetic (running toward the 'spirited' end of the spectrum) 10 year old girl. Although she likes to learn things, she has never liked school. She has been in 3 different schools so far, and she always ends up feeling bored or restless (or bored AND restless) and her math and spelling have fallen pretty far behind. She reads well, so I don't *think* she has dyslexia, but though she does well on her spelling lists, and her teacher goes over punctuation in class, she has a hard time applying these things to her writing (she loves writing, by the way). Her teacher says she's engaged and performing in school, she has friends, and yet we frequently struggle in the morning with periods of 'I hate school, I don't want to go' and she's still pretty far behind in match. This all makes me feel so sad. Her teacher is very nice, a great teacher, and I don't think they clash much, but when they do, this is definitely a contributing factor.

Her father told me that she expressed interest in tutoring to him, but I don't see much in the way of recommendations in the archives, and the recs that are there are old.

We're not made of money, so cost may be a consideration, although we are also going to ask the grandparents for help.

So, given what I've described, any recommendations for wonderful tutors, or tutoring centers that you think could help my daughter love school? Thanks, BPN parents! Sad Mom

My 9-year-old started tutoring last fall with Katrina Martin katrinadreamer.com, for similar reasons to what you describe. We do 1 hour per week, and it has made a big difference in both attitude as well as academic performance. Best of luck to you. I believe in your daughter! anon

If your child is bored and restless in school and also doing poorly, it could be ADHD. I suggest getting her outside into green spaces before school begins. Here is some info on how this helps. http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/9348.html

She might like school better if she were in a better frame of mind before she goes in. Even walking to school might help. I think it is so sad many kids get bused passed their neighborhood school. Instead of starting the day with a walk, they start their day exposed to diesel exhaust. Not good!

I doubt that a tutor is worth it to help with spelling or writing.To learn the spelling words, she just have to write them over and over. So it is more a matter of discipline that anything. And for writing, studies have shown that receiving a corrected essay a week or even a day later is of little help. Immediate corrections have much more impact. So, if you can get the grandparents to work with her more than once a week, that could help. They could do a writing game. Everybody writes a paragraph, everybody compliments and criticizes each other's writing. I guess a tutor could do this too. But learning to write is much like learning anything else, you need to practice every day to get better. So a once a week tutor with not have that much of an impact. Anon

Seeking tutor for 4th grade girl

Sept 2014

seeking a tutor in elmwood area for 4th grade girl who has challenges with writing/verbal skills and common core math conceptualization. determined mom

I highly recommend Loryn Hudson. She is a educational therapist. She was recommended to us by my sons school. Loryn started tutoring my son at the end of 4th grade. In just a few months he has made tremendous progress. She is calm, patient, positive and makes learning fun. My son really enjoys working with her. She also helps a couple other kids in my son's school. Her home office is right off Joaquin Miller in Oakland hills. Her email is lorynw [at] yahoo.com Good luck, very satisfied parent

Private tutor wanted in Contra Costa County

July 2014

Can anyone recommend an experienced private tutor in Contra Costa County (Pleasant Hill/Walnut Creek/Lafayette/Martinez area)? My daughter's tutor retired this past spring and we've been unable to find a replacement. She is entering 5th grade in the fall and specifically needs help with math. We would like to begin immediately and continue into the fall. Parent in Martinez

Hi We have been using Club Z Sophie Zhu. She comes to your house and meets with you and your daughter and then matches you with a tutor just for you. They are currently working with my daughters and it has been fantastic.You can reach Sophie at 925-478-4469 or SophieClubZ [at] gmail.com My wife and I have been very happy and so have my daughters. Good luck, Lafayette Dad

Summer Tutor for a 5th Grader

June 2013

My 5th grade daughter needs a tutor specifically for Reading. She needs to become a good comprehensive reader who knows and understands what she has read. I do not have the patience to deal with all the drama that goes along with tutoring your own child. If you know of a FABULOUS Tutor who will be available during the summer to tutor my entering 6th grader, I would truly appreciate the recommendation. This could definitely turn into an ongoing gig during the school Year as well if they are a good match. Thank You in Advance! Mama about ready to pull my hair out!

I would like to recommend Peggy Connell. I found Peggy while researching the BPN archives, and we could not be happier. Peggy is patient and compassionate, and she relates so well to kids, she really knows how to communicate with them on their level. My daughter is currently in the 5th grade, and has improved her reading skills thanks to Peggy's warm and non-stressful approach. We recommended a friend to Peggy as well, and the mom says her 'spirited' child has never responded so well to a teacher. Peggy has a Masters Degree in Educational Therapy, she is located in Berkeley, and you can email her at: peggyjconnell [at] yahoo.com anon

Sept 2011

I'm a very happy parent who would like to highly recommend Berkeley tutor Peggy Connell (510-644-1010). Peggy has worked with my son from 3rd grade to the present--he's now in 6th grade--helping him with organizational skills, study strategies, writing strategies, and more. In that time he has gone from being very behind in language arts to scoring in the advanced category on his 5th grade STAR test--with particular success in writing strategies. Peggy is kind, endlessly patient, and highly creative and resourceful in finding the approaches that work best for each individual child. My son is seeing her this year to further develop his organizational capabilities in order to meet the new challenges presented by middle school--and we are thrilled to have her support with this transition. -Valerie

June 2011

my family has worked with a tutor named Rachael Berger for a year. She is an English teacher and also provides private in-home tutoring. She has been a ton of helping our kindergartener with reading; support with phonics and lots of word sorts. She is patient and kind and my daughter loves her! Her number is 510-418-6495. I know she works with kids of all ages. Madeleine

Tutor for a 1st grader

Aug 2010

Hello, We would like to hire a tutor for our older son who will be starting 1st grade next week. He did really good in kindergarten, but we aren't native English speaker and we want him to have the high quality support during this year. Any recommendations and/or share experiences will be greatly appriciated. We expect someone with valuable experience. G.

I highly recommend Richard Sugerman http://www.richardsugerman.com/ as a tutor for your 1st grader. He is patient and kind and has 30 years of experience teaching kids. Contact me directly for more information, if you like.

May 05 2010

If you need a tutor for your child, I know the perfect person. Last summer Katie O'Toole tutored my son in Math, specifically in place value, subtraction with borrowing, addition with regrouping, and multiplication. She lives in the Glenview neighborhood of Oakland and is looking to tutor over the summer. She was a 3rd grade teacher for four years and will be completing her first year teaching first grade this June. She can tutor students,grades K-5, in the subjects of writing, grammar, phonics, reading, and/or math. She has access to different manipulatives and supplemental materials that can be useful for struggling students or students who just need review.

She has excellent references. . . I am one of them!

If you are interested, please contact her at kot5ee [at] hotmail.com. Best regards, Alison Long time BPNer and Mom to two elementary aged boys.

2004 - 2009 Recommendations

After school tutor for 8-year-old

Sept 2008

looking for a college student/high school senior, to help my 8 year old son 1-2 afternoons a week with home work. There are no learning difficulties. Location would be at our home near College and Ashby. Please e-mail if you are interested or have referrals.

Our beloved teacher that has been with our daughter for the last 4 years (coincidence and luck) has begun after school tutoring and I can't recommend her enough. Marissa Berman is a highly regarded 2/3 teacher at North Oakland Community Charter School. She is Berkeley and Columbia educated, extremely bright, thoughtful, caring and creative. When she mentioned that she was going to do tutoring I immediately thought how lucky anyone would be to have her of all people as a tutor. She can be reached at mberman [at] noccs.org eurydice

April 2008

We are looking for a math and writing tutor experienced with tutoring kids at the elementary and middle school levels. Our son is a 5th grader. Will enter Middle School in Fall of 2008. Weekday afternoons and weekends work best. Kim

I recommend Abby Skrivan. She's a teacher at Albany Middle School and very popular writing tutor. She may be reached @ skrivan at hotmail.com. Good luck! cv

I highly recommend Kristen Hawkinson, M.Ed. I don't know if she is taking new students this late in the year but your son would be in a good position for the fall if you got in touch with her now. Kristen is exceptional! Her contact information is 510-526-8701, kristenhawkinson at comcast.net Nancy

I know of an excellent therapeutic learning specialist. She was the director of Linda Mood-Bell for a decade, is currently a middle school teacher and sees private clients over the summer. She connects well with children, has a strength based approach and most important, my kids enjoyed learning with her. She understands the interplay of mood and learning challenges, makes her time with kids fun, interactive and encouraging. She is very engaging, energetic and positive. She has also helped me with parenting tips. Her name is Angela and you can leave a message on her home machine at 510 530-9571. She is available to meet with your child in her Oakland home, or in your home. She is well worth the money you will spend to help your child's education. relieved parent

Fun math & English tutor for 7 yr girl

June 2007


I am looking for a really fun and good math tudor for my 7 yr old, who is going into 3rd grade and needs just a little head start. I am also looking for a good spelling and writing tutor for her, as she has been in spanish immersion and needs some English work. I pay competitive rates. It would be in afternoon or evenings after camp. Carol

I would like to recommend my daughter's tutor, Alicia Ramirez. She is an OUSD teacher -- young, fun, and engaging. My daughter loves her sessions with her. Plus, Alicia is a fluent Spanish speaker too. We've been with Alicia for almost about four months and my 6yo daughter has excelled with her individualized teaching methods. Contact her at alicia_ramirez[at]gmail.com Paz