Choosing the best tutoring service

Exploring tutoring options for children – pros and cons

Choosing the best tutoring option for a child can be a difficult decision. Cost, schedule, curriculum and a good instructor-child relationship must all be considered. Once a parent has decided that tutoring is a good idea, they must decide on what tutoring format suits the family and child.

The options are: tutoring centres, private tutors, free school and community tutoring programs and online tutoring. Which type of tutoring is best? There is no universal answer since different family and child circumstances call for different types of tutoring.

Free School or Community Tutoring Programs

If finances are an issue, a parent should begin by asking the school and community centre if free tutoring services are available. In some cases, the sessions will be done in group format by a high school student. Other times, sessions are private and the instructors are fabulous retired teachers. It is somewhat like a lottery; some areas have great free services available and others don’t.

Hiring a Private Tutor

Private one-on-one tutors vary greatly in regards to pricing and quality. Always begin by asking teachers or other parents for recommendations. The good tutors will be well-known in the educational field.

This option provides the greatest flexibility, since price, time, location and goals are all negotiable. Specify the tutoring goals at the first meeting. Are the sessions for homework help or will the focus be on acquiring a particular academic skill?

The cost of a private tutor depends on the level of education and experience of the instructor, as well as one’s geographical location.

Tutoring Centres

Franchise tutoring centres in large urban centres are another tutoring option. This option is good for students who are very sensitive about needing help, since they will encounter many children at the centre.

Tutoring centres have a pool of screened tutors so if there is a poor instructor-child match, a switch can easily be made. There is often an assessment fee and rates are generally around $40/hr. Check out all the policies regarding payment when absent and signing a contract for duration of services.

Online Tutoring Services

Many sites are free but require registration. Parents should always monitor the online tutoring sites. Some of the best online services are run by the child’s school or school board. Otherwise, it is buyer beware. The sites that are not free often require a registration fee and the hourly rate runs from $10 to $100 per hour.

Online tutoring is best for students who are quite independent and able to learn from basic instructions printed on a computer screen. Online tutoring is generally not beneficial to tactile learners. The best use of an online tutor service is for the occasional homework question. Free online Math tutoring sites are popular with high school students.

Finding the right tutor and tutoring option can take some time and effort. The best place to start is by asking teachers and parents. Always have the student try a few sessions before making a long term commitment. A good tutor-child relationship can lead to long-term academic success.


Linda Wongkee is an online and print author. She writes about

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