Is online math tutoring right for your child?

online math tutoring pros and cons

Tutoring industry, both face-to-face and online is growing rapidly all over the world. Tutoring market has topped $102 billion in 2019.

In Canada, according to a number of surveys conducted over the past few years, every third family pays for a tutor.

Tutoring has become rather affordable. Especially with the rapid growth of online tutoring services.

Math tutoring is in demand in Canada.

Canadian math PISA scores have been declining every year since 2003. For a few consecutive years students in a number of provinces were showing not so great results on standardized math tests.

In addition, immigration levels are high. Families come from the countries where school math education is offered at a more intense rate compared to that in Canada. As a result, immigrant students often feel bored at school when placed in the age appropriate grade.

These and other factors force parents to seek additional supports and challenges for their children. Online math tutoring is one of such opportunities. 

 

There is a number of platforms and programs that offer online math tutoring.

A simple Google Search produces a multitude of results.

Depending on the expectations, families can decide whether they just need to sign up for a series of short sessions going over student’s homework. Or request longer sessions (1-2 hours at a time) focusing on a number of concepts and providing extra challenges.

Some websites, like this one, offer a combination of prerecorded video lessons,  downloadable practice notes, worksheets and online private tutoring. The benefit of such combination is that students can watch video lessons at their own pace and whenever they want, complete practice and also get live online math tutoring sessions only on the concepts that they are truly struggling with or want more challenge on. This helps families save money and provides students with a targeted, effective support.

How to choose the right tutor?

Positive reviews and testimonials (including those on social media and forums) are a good indication of whether a particular tutor or a group of tutors offer quality online tutoring service.

It is also great when a tutor has a rather extensive tutoring/teaching experience and is able to adjust to the needs of a particular student. Before setting up the initial session it is important to ask about tutor’s prior experience, resources and instructional methods used.

Now, here is a list of pros and cons of online math tutoring.

Pros

1. Saves time. No need to commute

2. Convenient times for tutoring

3. Opportunity for additional assistive resources and interactive tools

4. Usually cheaper than face-to-face

5. Could be individual or group

Cons

1. Requires access to technology and software

2. Easier to get distracted

3. Little opportunities for actual hands-on learning

Does online math tutoring guarantee results?

Just like with any other type of tutoring service, the success depends on a number of factors. First of all, both the tutor and the student need to be motivated to achieve better results, improve and/or outperform student’s current level of knowledge and understanding. Most students respond well to tutoring and are able to focus and work for an hour or so at a time. However, what happens after also matters. Student’s learning does not end after one hour of tutoring. Additional practice is required to master the concepts. If the student doesn’t put in much effort outside of the tutoring hour, the investment in the online math tutor may not be worth it for the family.

In most cases, though, tutoring does help to not only achieve better academic results, but to also give a student a sense of how to better organize their work and how to study (which is often not that obvious to school aged children).

In general, online math tutoring is an affordable way of getting extra support, provided a student has access to video conferencing technology. Thanks to modern software, online learning can be interactive and a variety of strategies can be used to help the student achieve great results.

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