As a teacher, I often get asked by parents, "what can I do to help support my child's learning at home?" It's a really important question, because a really great education depends on a strong partnership between the two most important influences in a child's life: her home and her school. I love being asked this question, because it shows me that I have the privilege of dealing with a family that is really invested in supporting their child's education.
That's not to say that I always recommend anything more than, "keep on doing what you're doing!" The truth is, most of my students are achieving well, and their families are supporting them in all the right ways - reading with them, supervising (but not doing) any assigned homework, encouraging and supporting them.
But from time-to-time there are mitigating factors, and a child would benefit from some additional support outside regular class time. In these cases, if it happens that Mom and Dad are not teachers, they may wish to reach out for some professional support. Private tutors (often either teachers or university students) are available in most communities. There are also a number of commercial tutoring services available if you're able and prepared to commit to weekly classes and rather steep tuition fees. For some families, this works well.
But for some families, neither of these options is viable. In these cases, an online tutoring service might be a good choice. There are a few different options available, some specializing in one subject area, some offering a broader range of options. One benefit of online learning support is that it is asynchronous - your child can work when it's convenient for your family, instead of you having to rearrange your life in order to get junior to his tutoring appointment. It's also self-paced, meaning your child will be able to work at a speed and level suited to her particular learning needs. Another major benefit is the price - many online tutoring services offer a full courseload for the price of just one or two sessions with a live tutor!
It's important to note however that along with these benefits come several challenges. Without a regular date and time for tutoring, you will need to be sure you stay on top of your child's progress. You may also find that your child (depending on age, reading level and other factors like attentiveness) needs adult support even while working at a self-paced online tutoring program. That isn't to say that this might not be a great option for you and your child, but it is important for you to consider both the pros and cons of this increasingly popular option.
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This post is sponsored by Essential Skills Advantage. All experiences and opinions are my own.