Whether your child is struggling in a particular subject or you want to address learning gaps from COVID-19 or another life event that’s caused them to miss school, hiring a tutor can be hugely beneficial. Tutoring provides valuable one-on-one time for your child, and regular sessions also give your child an opportunity to work through homework assignments, stay organized, learn how to plan ahead, and prep for tests.
Overall, there are three primary types of tutoring available:
- Online tutoring
- Private tutors
- Corporate tutoring centers
When considering hiring a tutor for your child, it can feel overwhelming trying to evaluate your options and budget for the fees. If these challenges resonate with you, here are some tips to help you plan and budget for your child’s tutoring expenses.
Determine Your Budget
Before you can develop a budget for tutoring services, you need to take a look at your monthly income and expenses. Ask yourself how much money can be set aside for tutoring services. If money is tight, you may need to find areas where you can cut to make room for tutoring costs.
This might mean cutting back on the number of times you eat out or eliminating any extras you spend money on. If making cuts aren’t an option for you, look into other options for tutoring like free services provided by schools, churches, and other community organizations.
Sometimes parents may qualify for free tutoring under the No Child Left Behind Act, which provides free tutoring for low-income families that attend a Title school. There are even online learning options like Khan Academy, which provide free videos that help students with different concepts.
Overall, there are a number of tutoring options available. With a little legwork, you are sure to find an option that fits your budget and your student’s needs.
Consider Your Options
Along with professional tutors, corporate tutoring services, and online tutoring, some parents are turning to college students who are majoring in education for the tutoring assistance they need. For example, Abbie St. Clair, a sophomore early childhood education major at Ohio University, worked with a number of families to provide a combination of childcare and educational assistance during the 2020-2021 school year.
Because many of the school districts in her area were providing a hybrid model to education—meaning they are only in a school building twice a week—St. Clair offered drop-in services for a core group of families.
For $13 to $15 per hour, she stopped in to check on kids, make lunch, help them with homework, keep them on task, and tutor them in areas where they were struggling. St. Clair says students sometimes are more productive with a tutor because they can quickly become frustrated working with a parent.
“Sometimes a child is more willing to do work or read with someone they are not familiar with rather than their parents,” she says. “Plus, parents do not always have time to help their children with schoolwork, especially if they are working. What I do allows their children to not only get help with schoolwork but allows parents to feel relieved that their children are being checked on, that they ate lunch, and that they are ready for the day.”
Remember that when you are budgeting for a tutor, you are hiring a professional that may rely on this income. So it’s important to be realistic about the kind of help that you can get for your child.
If you have $150 a month to spend on tutoring and you think that your child needs about 2 to 3 hours of help per week or 12 hours per month, that means that you have an average of $12.50 per hour to spend on tutoring.
Most private tutors or corporate tutoring centers charge much more than that. Consequently, getting a private tutor may not be an option unless you utilize a private tutor once a month and supplement the rest of the time with online tutoring, free tutoring options, homework help options, and tutoring from your child’s teacher.
Ask for Assistance
As you begin to research your tutoring options, be sure you talk to your child’s teacher. Many times, teachers can not only provide you with suggestions for tutoring services but also information about free options for support.
For instance, some teachers offer help through study groups or office hours where students who are struggling can get help. Teachers also can provide suggestions on where to get additional help at no cost.
“Ideally, every teacher is indicating how to contact them,” says Kirk. “Our school is using a hybrid model for education, so we have office hours on Wednesdays with a link where kids can click in and ask questions or get assistance.”
Kirk says libraries or churches are also good resources for kids who need help with their courses and recommends looking into that in your area to see if it’s available. “In our community, the library had a homework help center available to students. It is a good place for kids to go and work with an adult on their homework,” she says.
She says her school also offers the WISE program, which stands for Winning Interventions for Student Excellence, that offers direct intervention and tutoring from an academic coach on a regular basis.