Tutoring & Supplemental Education: The Pros and Cons

Tutoring & Supplemental Education: The Pros and Cons
We look at the pros and cons of personal tutors, learning centers and other types of supplemental education.

Many children struggle with school. Sometimes these problems are caused by a lack of interest, while other times they may be created by learning challenges that your child faces. If your child is having difficulty in school, this does not mean the child cannot ultimately succeed. There are many ways to help your child overcome academic hurdles. In fact, one of the solutions to overcoming academic problems is to have your child work with a tutor.

However, before you hire a private tutor, or sign your child up at the local learning center, you should first confirm whether your child truly needs the one-on-one attention the tutor provides.

How do I know if my child needs a tutor?

First, before you even hire a tutor or visit a learning center, you should determine whether or not your child needs a tutor. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are your child’s grades slipping?
  • Is your child obtaining great grades, but not feeling challenged at school?
  • Is your child displaying low self-esteem, or thinking negatively about himself or herself in regards to school performance?
  • Does your child’s teacher think he or she may need a tutor, or sends notes home indicting he or she may need help with his or her homework?
  • Does a college your child wants to attend require high scores on tests to be accepted?

If the answer to any of these questions is, “yes,” these are signs that a one-to-one tutor may be useful to help your child to enjoy learning. A tutor may also be especially helpful if your child is gearing up for a standardized exam. The tutor can aid with preparation and also boost your child’s confidence.

If you decide a tutor can help your child, you need to decide whether you want a private tutor or a program at a learning center. Like all aspects of life, there are pros and cons to each of your tutoring options.

Pros of Private Tutors

Your first tutoring option is to hire a private tutor. There are several advantages of having a private tutor. First of all, you choose a tutor that has the experience, teaching style, and personality that compliments the learning needs of your child. Secondly, private tutors can be scheduled based on when you want them, as opposed to when a learning center is open.

A private tutor also comes to your home, instead of you having to transport your child to and from a learning center. Finally, your child gets quality one-on-one interactions with their tutor. This allows your child to develop a mentor-protégé relationship with their tutor that usually results in improve comprehension and retention of information covered during the tutoring sessions.

This video looks at private tutoring from the perspective of a professional educational consulting firm.

Disadvantages Surrounding Private Tutors

On the other hand, while there are several advantages of having a private tutor, there are also several cons that you need to understand before you hire one. The first con of a private tutor is the cost. Private tutors can run anywhere from $20 to $100+ an hour, depending on the type of tutor and the quality of the tutor. In addition to paying an hourly rate, you may also have to pay for travel expenses.

The second con of hiring a private tutor is that you are responsible for conducting background research on the tutor. You have to check his or her references and make sure that the qualifications are accurate. This can be a time-consuming endeavor and, to be honest, a little nerve-wracking. After all, we want our child to be safe above anything else, and knowing it is entirely in our hands can be a little overwhelming. Still, most private tutors are entirely reliable, and you should not have a problem with this at all.

However, if you feel a private tutor may not be for you, there is another option: Learning Centers.

Pros and Cons of Learning Centers

Your second tutoring option is to take your child to a learning center. Learning centers provide several advantages. First of all, they hire tutors, and thus, they conduct extensive background checks and verify the tutors’ credentials. Another advantage of going to a learning center is that you will have an easier time finding a tutor that has the experience, training, and skills needed to handle the challenges of teaching students with learning disabilities – or help your gifted student excel or prepare for college. In short, learning centers have a wide “selection” of tutors available, and you should be able to find one that suits your child’s needs perfectly.

While learning centers have their own advantages, they also have their own drawbacks. One of the biggest drawbacks to using a learning center (as opposed to hiring a private tutor) is that you have to schedule appointments based on their hours of operation. In today’s busy, hyper-scheduled world, actually getting to a learning center by a specific time may be a more daunting task than initially thought.

This video offers a look at the Kaplan approach to learning.

The second obstacle to using a learning center is that you take your child to the location. Unlike the private tutor who comes to you, you have to visit the learning center.

A Third Option

If neither a private tutor nor a learning center works for you, there is another option: online tutoring. In recent years, this has become a very popular resource. Most online tutoring sites are powered by state-of-the-art technology and staffed by expert, background-verified tutors. This gives you the flexibility, freedom, and quality you need, as online tutors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With online tutors, you never need an appointment and there are no time limits on sessions.

Of course, you are required to pay (usually by credit card), for most online tutor sites, so research which one is the best for your child before you make any commitments.


Finding the right tutor is not easy to do. There are many aspects to consider before making a choice. Before you select a tutor for yourself or your child gather as much information as you can about both private tutors and learning centers first.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @publicschoolreview

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