Online Tutoring Services—Explained
The pressure on students to succeed academically has never been greater. Especially—but not limited to—students in elite private high schools, where the requirements to get into college include not only straight A’s, but also a plethora of extracurricular activities. In fact, studies show that approximately 50% of students are functioning under chronic stress and even reporting higher stress levels than adults.
As parents, that can be hard to handle. On the one hand, we want our kids to do great academically and get into the colleges of their choice. On the other hand, we don’t want them to crumble under the pressure and, at best, be stressed out all the time, or at worst, resort to drugs or alcohol for relief.
One way to relieve stress and anxiety is to take positive action. If our kids are worried about their grades, telling them that they’re smart is not enough. Not only is it not enough, they probably won’t believe you (“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Dad!). Because telling them that they’re smart won’t erase the real worry they have in their hearts, and it definitely won’t change their 75 test score to a 95.
However, if we can help them acknowledge their worries and take positive steps toward helping themselves—now that is empowering!
Empowering Our Children Through Tutoring
As many of us are working parents, we don’t exactly have the time (or training) to help our kids study. And even if we did have the time (and training) to help them, most teenagers probably wouldn’t jump at the chance to have mom sit down and teach them geometry. (“Mom, you don’t know what you’re talking about!”)
Hiring a tutor, on the other hand, can give our kids the tools they need to do better in school. Which can alleviate some of their stress and show them that when they put their minds to it, they can succeed at anything.
Online Tutoring Services: Cost Consideration
Private tutoring, as any parent knows, is not something that comes cheap. But the investment can be worth it, both in the terms of the confidence it gives your child, and in terms of potential stress-relief. Once kids see that they’re doing well in school, the anxiety and fear of not doing well will slowly start to dissipate.
There are a lot of great online tutoring services available today; some of them are pricier than others, and some have different specialties. One way to figure out which one to choose is to ask your child which area they would like help in.
Many of the top online tutoring services offer tutoring in standard high school subjects, including math, language arts, writing, sciences, and even test prep for PSATs and SATs. There are some services, like Kaplan and The Princeton Review, whose main focus is on SATs and other college entrance exams. These are reputable brands with proven rates of success. However, these are also much more expensive than, say, geometry tutoring or any other standard subject tutoring.
Sites like Chegg, Tutor.com, Wyzant, Growing Stars, Sylvan Learning, Club Z!, and Tutapoint offer tutoring in a variety of subjects, including SATs, and tend to be on the less expensive end of the spectrum when compared to specialty sites like Kaplan and The Princeton Review.
Better Grade Guarantees
While price will certainly be a factor in helping you decide which online tutoring service to choose, guarantees are another factor that can push you toward one tutoring service over another.
Sylvan Learning, Club Z!, The Princeton Review, and Kaplan offer various forms of guarantees; some even offer a refund if your child doesn’t see a certain level of improvement. This is something to consider when deciding which online tutoring service to choose.
Online Versus In-person
Many online tutoring websites also offer in-person tutoring. There are advantages to both types, but the kind you choose will ultimately depend on your child’s personality and preferences.
With online tutoring, your child doesn’t need to leave the house, ask you for a ride, or even get dressed—he or she can literally study in their pajamas. Online tutoring also allows the option for later night tutoring sessions, which are not as practical when you’re scheduling in-person meetings.
On the other hand, in-person tutoring can be easier for kids with ADHD or learning difficulties. It’s easier to concentrate if there is a real, live person in front of you as opposed to watching someone on a screen (someone who is not as interesting as YouTube or TV).
In-person tutoring can also give kids an extra level of motivation. Sometimes, it can be hard to feel motivated if you’re in your pajamas. But if you have to get dressed, go out, and talk to someone, it can give you that extra oomph you need to be invested.
If you and your child decide that in-person tutoring is preferable, make sure to look at a service that offers it, such as Sylvan Learning, Club Z!, Wyzant, or Kaplan.
A Commitment From Your Child
Online tutoring, as we mentioned, is not cheap. While many services available do offer competitive pricing (hundreds of dollars as opposed to thousands!), it is still a significant monetary investment on the part of parents. So if you decide this is something you’re willing to invest in, make sure that your child is on board. Because tutoring isn’t some magic potion that suddenly gives your kid better grades just by signing up; grade improvement only happens if your child commits to do the work.
If your child is on board, get ready to see some tangible grade improvements, and perhaps even a less-stressed kid who can actually enjoy his high school experience as opposed to being bogged down with worries. When this happens, both parents and kids can feel good about their decision to get online tutoring.