Your child is struggling at school and you’ve decided to find them a tutor. But where do you start? How much does it cost? Do you have to choose face-to-face lessons or can you get tutoring help online?
If you’re a parent or carer struggling with these questions, hopefully this article will help. Because in this current economic climate of rising costs, parents and carers need to make every dollar count! So, let’s break it down…
Face to Face Tutoring
You can expect to pay anywhere from about $25 per hour to $200 per hour, depending on the qualifications and experience of the tutor, and the difficulty of the subject. For example, basic primary school tutoring in English or Maths can be done by a university student for around $25 an hour. But if your child is in high school and they need tutoring in Chemistry, you’d want a tutor with some experience in the classroom so you could expect to pay $50 to $60 an hour.
Online tutoring costs are similar for one-to-one lessons. However, if you can find a company that offers small group tutoring, then the costs can be as little as $10 per one hour session, depending on how many students are in the class. Small group tutoring has it’s benefits because students can help each other; they can do group problem-solving activities for example and there’s also the social aspect too – a great option if your child doesn’t mind working with and talking to others.
Which is better – face to face or online tutoring?
That’s a difficult question to answer because it really depends on the student requiring tutoring – how old they are, what subject they’re doing and its complexity level, how much time they need, what your budget is. At the end of the day, each mode has its benefits and disadvantages.
Face to Face Tutoring
Face to face tutoring requires a tutor to travel and this may add extra costs. In these days of COVID, parents may feel concerned about face to face sessions. You can also lose 5 minutes either side of a lesson as the tutor gets to know the student and what they want to do in a session, followed by a quick review at the end. So 60 minute sessions can easily become 45-50 minutes, meaning a $50 session is actually costing you $55. If you’re going through an agency, it’s important to remember that up to two-thirds of the hourly rate actually goes to the company! So, for a session that costs you $75, only $25 goes to the tutor. For tutors, this is an unfair recompense for the amount of work they often put in – even outside the session.
For online tutoring, students have to be fairly gregarious or at least be willing to ask questions of the tutor and be comfortable with a camera and a microphone. Online sessions can be difficult if your child has a learning or behavioural disability, because the visual and auditory cues needed to manage behaviour and participation are sometimes difficult to pick up online. Online sessions work best with a parent or carer supporting the student’s learning at their end. One of the benefits of online learning is that they can be fun and interactive and this may suit some students’ learning styles better, For example, the gamification of online lessons brings an element of fun and competition to a lesson. Gamification means testing knowledge or navigating coursework using game-like activities, such as flip cards, drag and drop cards, timed quizzes, countdown quizzes and more. Rather than just using a textbook, students get content from a range of sources. For example, the tutor might deliver the content in a PowerPoint with lots of pictures and an embedded video. Then the student might have to engage with this content by answering questions, doing a quick multi-choice quiz, clicking a box to reveal the answer. However, unless your tutor is a whiz with tech and concepts of learning design, they will probably just get the students to work with a textbook they might already have or do some exercises in a notebook – writing or maths, for example. Online learning really only works with prepared content specific to online learning! Preparation of materials adds to the cost for tutors, so most don’t actually prepare their own materials – they rely on the materials students are using from school.
There is another way for students to learn online that doesn’t require a tutor, that can be achieved without textbooks and that offers a way for students to broaden their knowledge, solidify concepts and improve their grades – self-directed, or autonomous online learning. That’s what we offer at Voyager School – a pedagogically proven way for students to work online, at their own pace, using videos, interactive activities and online quizzes. The videos provide the content and that ‘human touch’, the activities are built into the video, and the quizzes are done online to test a student’s knowledge at the end of a lesson or a course. It’s inexpensive – starting from $29 per month for Humanities subjects, up to $59 a month for All Subjects. If you have more than one child, there’s no need to purchase a plan for each student – they just access their lesson through the one family login. The courses on our site can be used in a multitude of ways – as homework, as extension courses, as revision for subjects already being done at school, for exam preparation, or even just for the fun of learning! And because our courses are aligned to the Australian curriculum, you can guarantee that they will be relevant for your child.
At the end of the day, tutoring is a personal choice – whether you choose face to face or online, every student is different – it’s about what suits you and your child. Hopefully this article has given you some information about available options so you can make tutoring work for your child and your budget!