Frequently Asked Questions

Scroll through the FAQs, or use the question links below to jump right to your area of interest.

Getting Started

What is the TEAM concept in Tidewater Tutors?
Is there a cost for our home interview?
Do you charge a fee for my child’s initial assessment?

Tutoring Logistics

Why does Tidewater Tutors insist that the tutoring be done in-home, or at a neutral location such as the local library?
Will my child have the same tutor at each tutoring session?
Why does the Tidewater Tutors tutor begin with my child’s homework?
What is the recommended time period/frequency for sessions?
How does Tidewater Tutors determine a schedule for tutoring sessions?
Why does Tidewater Tutors want to involve the student’s teacher?


I’m interested in support for home-schooling. Can you help?

Our Tutors

How are tutors qualified for the tutoring position?
Are all tutors certified teachers?

Test Preparation

I need help preparing for the SAT/ACT. Can Tidewater Tutors help?
I’m taking the ASVAB for military enlistment. Can you help?

Tutor A Team

What cities does Tidewater Tutors serve?
Is Tidewater Tutors a franchise operation?



Why should I choose Tidewater Tutors?


Q : What is the “team” concept in Tidewater Tutors?

A : Years of educational experience with students of all ages have convinced us that it takes a team approach to really make tutoring effective, efficient and successful. Properly implemented, this is the most cost effective and responsive way to handle a difficult learning problem.

Each Tidewater Tutors (one for every student) is made up of the following members:

1. the student
2. the parent or grandparent
3. the tutor

Q : Is there a cost for our home interview?

A : No. We firmly believe that, in order to make recommendation as to a particular tutor, we must meet the student and see the surroundings in which the student will be tutored. For tutoring to be successful, it is critical for the tutor and student to be compatible in personality and demeanor, and we work hard to find a common denominator between the parties. This common ground can be sports, hobbies, or other student activities; we want the student and tutor to become good friends!

As for the surrounding, we believe that successful tutoring requires a quiet environment, and the fewer interruptions the better. Most homes can accommodate this and if not possible then we recommend a local library.

Q : Do you charge a fee for my child’s initial testing/assessment?

A : We do not require any initial tests or assessments on students. After many years in this business, we find these tests are unnecessary. Tutoring franchises use them primarily as a source of income for the company, and the assessments rarely provide any information that is not already available from the school – or our primary source . . . the students’ parents or grandparents! Tidewater Tutors does not have any additional fees or charges in addition to our regular hourly tutoring costs.

Q : Why does Tidewater Tutors insist that the tutoring be done in-home, or in a neutral location such as a library?

A : There are many reasons for this strategy. Each has been determined after many, many discussions with tutors, parents, and students who have experienced different kinds of tutoring approaches. Here is what we’ve learned:

Remote locations are not convenient for most families.

Working in groups of two, three, or four students can be non-productive. Teachers and parents report that one student in the group may receive a large percentage of the tutor’s attention. Others my find the material being covered is not relevant and experience a “wandering mind.” One-on-one tutoring ensures the student has the tutor’s full attention and receives only the material needed.

We know that having the parent in attendance or nearby allows that team member to keep up-to-date on what is happening and the progress that is being made.

The Tidewater Tutors tutor’s job is to concentrate 100% on one student. Tutoring one student at a time gives the tutor the ability to have direct eye contact during the tutoring.

Q : Will my child have the same tutor at each tutoring session?

A : Yes, your student would have the same tutor at each tutoring session. In the event there is a prolonged illness, we will replace the tutor until the original tutor is able to return.

Q : Why does the Tidewater Tutors approach begin with the student’s current homework assignments in each session?

A : Starting at the homework assignment is critical. The homework is a point of pressure, stress, and worry for students. This starting point allows the student to go to school the next day with completed homework and an understanding of the current subject matter. With this starting point, the student is more likely to look forward to the next tutoring session knowing they will be prepared for school the next day. A series of “homework victories” will be a great confidence builder for the student. Once the homework is completed, the balance of the tutoring period is applied to understanding past work and, more importantly, what is coming in the future.

Q : What is the recommend time period and frequency for tutoring sessions?

A : This is determined at the initial interview session with the parents and student. The length of each session is recommended to be no less than one full hour and for students in middle and high school the session can be one and a half hours. Session frequency is recommended to be no less than two times per week and three times during critical or especially difficult times. Once the student is “up to speed,” the tutor and parent can decide to reduce the frequency to once per week.

Q : Can we have you tutor only one hour per week?

A : Yes, we tutor many students once per week. However, this is not recommended if the student is way behind in his/her studies. We have many parents that elect to start the tutoring in August to prepare the student for “those tough classes” and this really works and as a result many times we tutor only once per week to make sure the student stays on track and therefore the weekly session is a review and prepare for the week ahead.

Q : How does Tidewater Tutors determine a schedule for the tutoring sessions?

A : We work this out with the parents and students based on their schedules and that of the tutor. We like to have a schedule set for one month at a time, and we are aware of school events. When a session is cancelled, we attempt to reschedule within that week if possible so the students do not miss important test preparation and fall behind on homework.

Q : Why does Tidewater Tutors want to involve the student’s teacher?

A : The student’s teacher is critical to the student’s success. Teachers are as interested in the student’s success as the parent and student. By keeping the teacher up-to-date on the team’s progress, and/or problems that occur in the classroom or home-tutoring sessions, the teacher can better help address the needs of the student. Teachers want their students to succeed!

Q : I’m interested in support for home-schooling. Can you help?

A : Yes, we do this on a regular basis and are aware of the different curricula that are available. We can supply any assistance that is required for parents to home school their student.

Q : What is the cost for in-home tutoring?

A : The cost is on an hourly basis starting at $45/hour. There is no travel or other “add on” costs added.

Q : What kind of contract/commitment is required?

A : We do not have contracts with our clients. You are asked to pay only for what tutoring has been completed. We do not believe that contracts are necessary (they only impose anxiety on the parent), and we want the parents to feel they can discontinue the tutoring at any time. We stand on the quality of our one-on-one team approach. We only ask for a deposit to cover one month and will return any of that not used.

Q : How are the tutors paid for their service?

A : Tidewater Tutors tutors are contracted by our company and paid by us weekly and on a performance basis. The parent and/or the student does not get involved in payments to the tutor.

Q : How are tutors qualified for the tutoring position?

A : This is a critical part of the team approach. Each tutor, whether a credentialed teacher or professional in the business world, is carefully selected via a variety of requirements including but not limited to the following:

Academic backgrounds are checked to ensure that the tutor is well qualified.

Teaching characteristics and personality are cataloged to make sure the tutor and student will mesh for

Tutors come from your area to help ensure a fresh, ready-to-work arrival at your home or meeting place.

Before selecting a tutor, we discuss your needs and other factors that may help us to provide the best
possible tutor.

Each tutor undergoes a criminal background check by the Virginia State Police, generally through the
school system.

Q : Are all tutors certified school teachers?

A : 95% of our tutors are licensed/certified and either active or retired from the public or private school systems. However, we also find qualified professionals in other fields that are held to the same requirements as our teachers. For example, a high school student may be paired with an engineer for math or science. We even have professionals for music and art. Our commitment to excellence is to partner the student with the best possible tutor to bring about academic success.

Q : I need help preparing for the SAT/ACT. Can Tidewater Tutors help?

A : Yes, we have been very successful working with students prior to their taking these tests. Our Tidewater Tutors experts teach test-taking skills unique to the SAT/ACT. They will help the student become familiar with the format of the test and how each section is scored, then explore every type of question presented on the tests. We offer personal, one-on-one opportunities to practice strategies that will help make the most of the test preparation time.

Based on past experiences, we recommend that the tutoring be done on either Saturdays or Sundays and in no less than 2 hours at a sitting. We also recommend that the tutoring be done about 6-8 weeks prior to the actual test. We like to first interview the student in the home prior to the tutoring, at no charge to you.

Q : I’m taking the ASVAB for military enlistment. Can you help?

A : Yes, we have had great success working with the adult student that has to qualify for military training. We have tutored many men and women for this test with excellent results. This tutoring is the best way to prepare a person for refreshing their knowledge in math, English comprehension, word knowledge and other subjects that may have suffered with time away from school.

Before we begin this tutoring, we meet with the individual and discuss the upcoming test to attempt to find the areas of weakness and then come up with a schedule of tutoring sessions that will best prepare him or her for the ASVAB test. We do not charge for this initial interview, and it is generally done at the home.

Q : What cities does Tidewater Tutors serve?

A : We proudly service the seven cities Chesapeake, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, and Norfolk. Check back often for city expansions. Call if you have a special request in a particular city and we can try to accommodate you!

Q : Is Tidewater Tutors a franchise operation?

A : No. Tidewater Tutors is locally owned and managed by Shayla Spencer a Licensed Virginia teacher of Chesapeake, Virginia, with strong ties and relationships in the Hampton Roads community. No royalties are paid and no franchise fees are passed on to the student.

Q : Why should I choose Tidewater Tutors?

A : We feel that being successful in the tutoring service requires a passion for student success. In addition, all of our associates and our Advisory Board bring many, many years of educational and professional experience, expertise, and talents to the “team” that is fighting for your student’s success. Combine that with our very affordable fee structure, flexibility, dedication, and local knowledge and you have the best tutoring service available anywhere!

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