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Posted By

Rhonda Cratty

Online tutoring can be a convenient and educational option for your child.



For parents seeking academic help outside of the classroom, tutoring becomes a viable option. With the aid of Internet options, today's tutoring profession has seen a tremendous evolution. But many parents wrestle with the question: is an online option right for my child's learning and my family's needs?

Through their work in the online tutoring industry, Joan Rooney, vice president of instruction for Tutor.com and Mathew Biju, founder and CEO of Growing Stars, Inc., can offer some insight into their industry, but only you can determine if it's the right choice for your family.

  1. Flexible Schedules
    With online tutoring, learning can happen anytime. This flexibility also gives access to answers when questions come up -- there's no waiting until a scheduled day and time for problem solving. 

    Rooney, who manages a community of more than 2,500 online tutors delivering more than one million tutoring sessions each year, says, "Unlike traditional tutoring that requires yet another appointment on over-crowded calendars, online tutoring works around your child's busy schedule. If your daughter has soccer every week night and doesn't do homework until 7:30 p.m., an online tutor can be available then for help with that tough math assignment or when she's studying for a chemistry exam." Additionally, there's more time spent learning and less time driving -- on both sides of the computer.

    "Children and parents save a considerable amount of commuting time," Biju says. "Since tutors do not have to commute, they can be more flexible with timings and needs of the students."

  2. Personalized Approaches
    The variety of teaching aids online helps understanding for all learning styles. Instant-messenger, text chat, Skype, shared whiteboards, shared files, graphing tools and the ability for differentiated instruction are only a few of these tools.

    "Just like face-to-face tutoring, online tutors are able to customize their approach to your child and their learning style," Rooney says. "And rather than needing to schedule a full hour or more for each session, online tutoring like Tutor.com allows students to log in for shorter, more frequent sessions. This keeps students fully engaged and on-task during an entire session."
  3. Affordable, High-Quality Instruction
    "Parents can get highly qualified tutors at affordable prices," Biju says. For example, a comparison of online tutoring options shows a range from $15 to $35 an hour. Comparatively, depending on where you live, personal certified tutors can cost between $25 and $150 per hour. Some sites also offer discounts, like 10, one-hour sessions for $100.

  4. Empowering Techniques
    The perceived anonymity of online learning creates a safety net for even the shyest student to ask questions and explain what they need to understand within the comfort of their home.

    Rooney says, "Students who use online tutoring develop their questioning skills and become more interested and engaged in their own learning. Teachers report students who use online tutoring ask more questions in class."

    Additionally, online tutoring allows kids to utilize different technologies, a skill that's becoming increasingly important in our world. Kids "enjoy using the technology they love [computer, tablet and phone] to connect to someone for help that is completely focused on them and their problem," she shares.

  5. Various Subjects
    You may be able to balance your budget and proofread your emails, but how long has it been since you've had to solve a trigonometric equation or find the indirect object of a sentence?

    "Most parents spend a great deal of time and energy finding a math or science or reading tutor for their child, but not all three," Rooney says. "Online tutoring allows families to buy one package and give their child access to expert tutors in several subjects." 

  6. Expert Assistance
    Online tutors hold a wealth of knowledge, experience and academic degrees. Online, you'll find academic tutors, college-readiness tutors, career tutors, homework tutors and even librarians. When parents bring experts who are passionate about the subjects for which they teach to their child's tutoring sessions, they show their children there's more to learning than just passing tests and memorizing information. Having someone who is truly excited about what they're teaching will help your children become passionate about learning.

Online tutoring is a natural result of technological advancements and educational needs. We embrace online learning in public schools, universities and even within business. Students of all ages have been logging into classes and working through course materials via web chats as well as collaborating with other students. Online learning is a powerful tool and one that parents should consider if their child needs help in a myriad of subjects.

Rhonda Cratty is a teacher, instructional coach and writer. Her work can be found here.

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