Is your child falling behind in classes? Do they need just a little extra help to catch up to the rest of the class? If your child’s school is lacking in resources, you may be considering tutoring for your child. But is it better to have your student tutored through a company, such as Sylvan or Kumon, or is it better to hire a freelance tutor? I have personally tutored freelance and for a company, and have many years of experience in doing both, so I wish to share with you the pros and cons of both.
Pros of Using a Tutoring Company
There are various pros to using a well-known or local tutoring company. These include:
Higher Hiring Standards. Many tutoring companies have strict requirements, such as requiring that a tutor have a two-year degree or 48 semester units of college completed, and yet others require a four-year degree.
Standardization. Tutoring companies pride themselves on creating personalized lesson plans, but they do this through constant testing of your child, from the time they enter the program until they leave, just to see where your child is. They even use this information to alter a lesson plan as they see fit. They also have experience with many kinds of students, and so they know their methods are proven to work.
Work Around Your Schedule. Tutoring companies have business hours specifically designed to accommodate families. These hours can extend from right out of school until late evening, and in some cases, companies even offer online tutoring. This makes it much more likely that there will be a tutor available when convenient for you.
Cons of Using a Tutoring Company
However, there can be cons to using tutoring companies. These include:
High Cost. Tutoring companies are businesses that have a lot of overhead costs – rent for the office, bills for the office, cost of materials, and hiring and training multiple tutors, for example. These costs end up being passed on to the consumer. However, you can usually apply for private student loans.
Lack of Attention Paid to Student. Some tutoring companies actually do tutor one-on-one. However, there are many out there who tutor up to three students at a time, which may not be the individualization that you thought you were paying for.
Lack of Choice in Tutor. If a tutor is truly troublesome for your child, you can request another tutor. However, part of being able to accommodate your schedule means having your child have whatever tutor is available. If you show up early one day in the week, but late another, your child might not be able to have the same tutor.
Pros of Using Freelance Tutors
Freelance tutors, which can range from students still in school to individuals with credentials who tutor in their free time, also have pros. These include:
Lower Cost. Freelance tutors, unlike businesses, do not have high overheads to cover. They also can take family situations into account – if you’re strapped for cash, they may be able to offer a lower rate. If you have more than one student you need tutored, they can even offer a “family rate”.
Attention Paid to a Student. Most freelance tutors, unless you absolutely insist, will not tutor more than one child at a time. Even if you have multiple students at home that need help, they will often request that you have back to back sessions or alternate days for each student so that they can concentrate on each student’s personal needs.
Choice of Tutor. You can interview many tutors, and pick one that is right for your child, and the overall needs of your family. You can afford to be picky with finding the right freelance tutor.
Cons of Using Freelance Tutors
However, freelance tutors can also have cons. These include:
Lower Standards. Many freelance tutors are cost effective because they’re still students themselves. There are some higher qualified individuals willing to work for less, but they can be harder to come by.
Work Around Their Schedule. Many freelance tutors are students, or have other jobs. This can limit their availability, and can lead to you shuffling things around to work with their schedule instead of your own.
Lack of Standardization. Freelance tutors, such as students, may not have had that much experience with a wide variety of students, and they don’t issue tests for progress. This means that they are unaware of things such as methods, and they have no personal way to gauge the progress of your child.
Company or Freelance?
There are pros and cons to using either a tutoring company or a freelance tutor. To find the one that’s best for you, you have to take these all into consideration. Is it worth the higher cost to have a company work around your schedule? Can you handle having a student tutor your child if it means your child gets one-on-one attention? Ultimately, you have to use these pros and cons to decide what is best for your child and if it works for your family.
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