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Online Math Tutoring

Updated on October 28, 2010

Importance of math today

In today’s world, mathematical prowess is more important than at any other time in history. In a computer age, the same skills that allow you to be successful in the math classroom, allow you to be a success with computers and related technology. Mathematics and technology skills are finding their way into everything from engineering to business and the medical field. It’s not surprising that both employers and university boards are putting a premium on attracting candidates with these skills.

But what if your child struggles in math? What steps can you take to help them work towards success. First, resist the temptation to play the blame game. Unless you have a good reason to feel your child is neglecting their studies or to believe that the teacher has created a hostile learning environment, it won’t be helpful to go on the attack. You’ll just alienate your child or their teacher or both. Instead, take stock of what resources are available to address the situation.

Time for teacher check in

It will help to check in with the teacher to see if they can help you discover what kinds of problems your child is struggling with. They might have suggestions on how your child can study better or alert you to some changes your child could make to their in-class routine that you don’t even know about. Ask the teacher if the school offers peer tutoring or a before or after school extra needs program. Sometimes, local college students need volunteer hours and will K-12 students at no charge.

I can't stress enough how important it is to talk with your child about why you want to to see them get the extra help they need. I have seen plenty of occasions where students think that "tutors are for dumb kids," and you need to spend some time dispelling these myths before you go forward. If you're child isn't on board, no plan you devise is going to be truly successful.

If you and your child do decide they need another level of support, there are a variety of professional tutoring options available. Most cities will have a variety of professional freelance tutors. If you prefer a “brand name,” Kaplan, Sylvan, and Kumon all offer math tutoring and are in most mid-sized and larger cities. These options can be pricey, however.

Online tutoring

Online tutoring is another great possibility if you are looking for extensive tutoring while trying to keep costs down. Oftentimes, you can purchase a month of online tutoring for the cost of an hour of individual tutoring. These kinds of programs are often "on demand," meaning your child can log in any time of day or night to get the extra help they need at your convenience. T

If you decide to go the online route, be sure to do your homework first. The best online math tutoring programs can vary wildly in their name recognition and methods. Some are well know such as Kaplan, but other less well known programs can be good too. Some are video based while others are chat and virtual whiteboard based. Some include live video, while others utilize prerecorded video The service you choose will be based on your child's unique needs.

Realistic expectations

Whatever option you choose, the key factor is usually time. Almost all kids are capable of learning math, and learning it at a high level. The more time your child spends working with their tutor on math, the more you will see the improvement. Keep your expectations realistic. It takes a while for a tutoring program to really work. It’s not realistic to expect a “C” to become an “A” in a matter of days. Give your son or daughter at least 2 or 3 tests or quizzes to see that improvement. You should start to see results in a few weeks. If you don’t, you may need to reevaluate with your tutor to see if a different approach can be tried or if you need to try something altogether different.

To summarize, if things get difficult for your son or daughter in math, you shouldn't allow yourself to get discouraged. There are many tutoring options out there to help your child improve their grade. Talk to the teacher, seek out assistance, but above all, stay positive. You and your child will be rewarded not only with better math grades but with the opportunities for a brighter future that comes with those grades.

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