Last Updated on August 31, 2021 by Thinkster
As parents, we all want our children to succeed academically.
Not only does academic success help them reach their life and career goals, but it gives them self-confidence. It helps them feel good about themselves and what they’re capable of.
Of course, the way our children achieve success matters a great deal. If a child is receiving straight As, but their classes aren’t challenging them, that doesn’t set them up for success later on-it actually does the opposite.
Or if a student is struggling in a subject, and the parents are so worried about his grades that they swoop in every time he comes up against a difficult concept, he may achieve what looks like success. He may learn to guess accurately enough to do well, but he will not have that deep understanding of how the concept works. More importantly, he won’t have learned how to truly master a new skill. And that’s something that matters far beyond the walls of a classroom.
This is an important question when it comes to mathematics, because for whatever reason, many children tend to struggle with math. Whether it’s the basic addition they learn in first grade, or linear algebra to prepare for college, math skills are critical for academic success, as well as for succeeding on standardized tests like the SAT and ACT.
This is where math tutors come in. When your student is having trouble, whether that shows up as poor grades, homework resistance, or increased anxiety about school, the right math tutor or math coach can be invaluable.
Whether an online math tutor or in person, math tutors can be an amazing resource for your child because they give your child one-on-one, focused instruction.
Unlike your child’s math teacher, who naturally has to guide her whole class through math concepts, a math tutor can spend time working exclusively on any math concept that your child needs help with.
Does your daughter have a strong grasp of geometry, but struggle with algebra? A math tutor can build on that understanding of geometry to help her learn algebraic concepts. Or maybe your son is having trouble with basic division of elementary math. A math tutor can step in and make sure he develops a solid grasp on that concept, so that it doesn’t interfere with building his math skills later on. Even helping with high school math like calculus isn’t outside the realm of tutoring.
Since there are different types of math tutors and math tutoring programs, how do you know which one is right for your child and any math problem he is experiencing?
Online tutoring programs have the obvious advantage of being accessible any time, anywhere, as long as you’ve got a phone, iPad, or computer and a wireless connection.
Your student can log on after school or after dinner, go through the math problems and learning sessions they need to complete, and receive their results right away. Their tutoring experience is tailored to them. If the program is AI-based, it will adapt to your child’s progress and adjust the math problems as needed – that’s more than you can say for any in-person math course with multiple attendees.
If the online tutoring program also includes virtual sessions with a human math tutor, which is what Thinkster does, that will give your child even greater support. Your child works through their math worksheets, which are developed specifically for them by the tutor and the AI program.
The tutor then checks the worksheets, noting any areas or math topics where there’s a gap in learning.
The tutor then works closely with your student in a virtual lesson to help them understand exactly where they’re having trouble, and master those specific concepts.
While in-person tutoring is largely unrealistic currently due to COVID-19, in typical times, in-person tutoring can be highly effective.
For one thing, having that in-person connection can be extremely helpful for students who have trouble paying attention or who need an extra boost to stay focused on what they’re learning.
In addition, an in-person tutor can usually come to your home, making the sessions easy on both your child and you.
However, in-person sessions must, of course, be scheduled or rescheduled if something comes up. If you also are using an online tutoring program, then your child is able to continue working on their own should they need to miss a week or multiple sessions with their tutor. These sessions are not dependent on coordinating schedules with an expert math tutor. The math tutor comes to you.
Private tutoring can be of great help for students who have problems completing their homework-especially since this is one area, in particular, where parents can easily run out of steam – especially now – working and running an ad hoc school from their dining room table. By the time it comes to homework – parents are worn out.
If a student is consistently not completing their homework, or not receiving positive feedback on their homework, the tutor can take a look at the student’s work and help identify areas of concern. This could lead to a better grade overall, especially when the student is finally able to grasp difficult concepts.
For some students, the biggest issue is time management. Maybe they’re waiting until too late in the day to begin, and feeling rushed or too tired to pay attention. Maybe they are feeling harried, trying to fit in math between activities. Even stress could have an effect, making smaller tasks seem daunting and some concepts difficult to master.
For others, they struggle with the actual concepts being covered in homework. Maybe they need additional help learning fractions, or learning long division, or learning linear algebra or precalculus.
Then again, for older students, maybe the biggest concern is being prepared for a standardized test. Math tutors can make sure your student is ready for the SAT or ACT.
If you speak with your child’s math teacher about your child’s tutoring, the teacher can potentially offer additional guidance as to where he or she sees your student struggling. He or she may even communicate with your tutor to give your child as great a chance of success as possible.
Tutors can also help your child prepare for a test or a quiz by going over math problems that are like the ones that will be tested. They can also slowly introduce new concepts so that your child is prepared when those concepts are covered in math class.
When your child is feeling prepared – he is feeling confident. A confident child can help himself overcome challenges in any situation, not just math class.
Before your child’s tutoring session, you should make sure that your student is ready to learn. That means that they’ve had a snack if they need one, they’ve had some time to decompress from school or activities they may attend, and that they’re mentally prepared for their tutoring session.
If they have homework they need to go over, they should have that readily accessible. The same is true of any textbook or notes they may need. If there’s a test they’re preparing for, they should know the date and the concepts that will be covered on the test.
Of course, parental involvement is also key to having a successful tutoring relationship! You should make sure that you’re aware of any specific issues your child is having, as well as dates of tests or quizzes, and their current homework situation. What is the homework load? What are the expectations for completion? For your child showing his work? This is true whether or not you’re using an online tutoring program or an in-person tutor.
By staying involved and getting frequent debriefs from your child’s tutor on how they’re doing and progressing, you’ll be able to make the most out of the tutoring relationship. Of course it may be easier for these debriefs with an online tutoring set up because you’ll face the same challenges meeting with the tutor as your child, matching schedules can be difficult.
While a good relationship with your math tutor will require involvement and guidance on your part, you should also expect that your tutor will be the one directing your child’s overall learning.
Prior to the first session, you should expect to fill out an online questionnaire or complete a getting-to-know you session with your child’s tutor.
They’ll want to know what your child is struggling with, whether they’ve had a tutor before, what their grades are like, and how they’re feeling about math. Is it a struggle to get them to complete their homework? Do they feel discouraged about their progress? Or, on the other hand, are they enthusiastic about math, but just need some extra help?
But tutoring isn’t just for those students that are falling behind. On a different end of the spectrum, some students get private tutoring because they’re mastering concepts faster than their teachers are able to keep up with. The demands on today’s teachers are high. Teachers are faced with increasing numbers of students in the classroom which, in turn, forces them to stay at pace with the group. But what if your child has the capability to far exceed those limitations? Maybe they need a guide who can keep them challenged by learning advanced math concepts and prepare for an Ivy League education. Having a tutor can help your child unlock their future.
A good tutor will also be able to help guide their tutee through study skills, whether that tutor is a college student majoring in math or a math teacher. Your tutor should ask about your child’s study habits, as well as organization and time management skills, in addition to the subject matter they’re struggling with.
In general, the guidance you get from your instructor should be close to the guidance your child receives via classroom instruction, but naturally much more tailored to them and their specific educational needs. Much more one-on-one time and attention.
You might be wondering whether online math tutoring can possibly be as effective for your child as in-person math tutoring.
That’s a fair question—and the answer is, yes! Online tutoring can actually be even more effective than in-person tutoring for some of the reasons listed above. But of course, it depends on what kind of online tutoring you are able to obtain for your child.
In Thinkster’s math app, your child connects with an amazing elite math tutor conveniently and easily online. This tutor is determined to provide an impactful learning experience every day of the week. At Thinkster, we’ve already vetted the most experienced, gifted tutors. You see, it’s not just about being brilliant at mathematics, you have to be able to communicate and teach students.
How is your child matched with a tutor? Do they always work with one tutor? And, who is this math tutor?!
These are all examples of things parents share that help our advisors match a family to a tutor! Your child works with one dedicated math tutor.
And this tutor does it all! Your child will get the full benefit of private tutoring but at your convenience.
They customize the learning plan, review and grade assignments daily, modify the learning plan based on your child’s assignments and test performance, conduct 1:1 tutoring sessions…
Yeah, your child’s math tutor does a LOT! They’re involved in your child’s learning plan every day of the week!
Plus, working with only one tutor has massive benefits too. Your child’s math tutor develops a relationship with your child. This helps your child develop respect for their tutor and take greater accountability for their work.
A highly qualified, elite, and certified math teacher is something that you want in a math tutor.
Unfortunately, it’s not something that all math learning centers can necessarily guarantee.
Other learning centers may have a few qualified instructors on hand, but the supporting instructors might be high school or college students. Do they have the tutors who have not only the mathematical capability but the passion, know-how, and experience to teach your child? Are they good enough?
Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable having a certified teacher constantly helping your child? Now that’s getting your money’s worth.
This way, the person that works with your child is extremely familiar with the strategies, methods, and concepts that your child learns at school.
Experience with the curriculum and teaching go a long way! Our Thinkster Math tutors are all experienced math teachers. This means that they are very familiar with the strategies and topics taught at school. A Thinkster tutor is ready to help your child understand the math curriculum to the fullest!
When it comes to what your child is learning, you need to make sure that a math learning program checks off the following boxes:
Finding a math learning program that does all three is extremely important! So, how does Thinkster do it?
Our world-class curriculum builds strong logical reasoning and conceptual thinking skills. Whether it’s in academics, the professional world, or in daily life situations, your child needs to have strong thinking skills.
We start introducing word problems in our first-grade math curriculum so that kids begin developing these incredibly important analytical, critical thinking, and logical reasoning skills. (Which not all math learning programs actually guarantee to cover with their curricula).
This is because we want to help kids become incredibly strong thinkers so that they have all the skills needed for future successes! (Like getting into Harvard or any Ivy League School.) Critical thinking skills will help your student far beyond any academic need. Critical thinking skills are crucial life skills.
To get your child there, your child’s math tutor personalizes and tailors the learning plan. Frequent assessments (see number 7 for more) allow your child’s math tutor to modify the learning plan based on your child’s performance and progress.
And the Thinkster Math tutor can align the learning plan with school work too!
This allows your child to get math help with relevant school concepts. The flexibility to align with school topics is not typically offered at all math learning centers.
Finding the right math tutor for your child means considering a lot of different factors. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can select a few online programs to explore, or a few tutoring candidates to interview, either in person or virtually.
The good thing about choosing an online program like Thinkster is you get the benefits of both an online, AI-driven system, and a human tutor. You also don’t have to worry about interviewing tutors until you find the right one-Thinkster’s system matches you with the right tutor based on your child’s needs, preferences, and learning style!
Here’s what a few Thinkster parents had to say about their children’s tutors:
“Thinkster Math has been an excellent addition to my children’s education. Everyone is professional, prompt and genuinely cares about students getting the most of their experience. Our tutor Erica is wonderful – she customizes her approach and assignments based on my kids’ two personalities. She’s a great motivator, but also holds them accountable. I would highly recommend Thinkster Math.” – Liz F., Park City, UT
“We have found the program incredibly beneficial for our two children. Both have been able to move forward considerably within their cohort under Caroline’s tutelage. Caroline is a very good tutor. She has a great rapport with the kids and is always very positive. The kids trust her to assist them. She is very responsive to any messages I send via Skype and I appreciate all her efforts.” – Elissa T., NSW, Australia
“Fantastic. Having regular Skype calls with the tutor works really well. We are able to discuss what is being learnt at school and she puts in appropriate worksheets for further practice. Feedback and marking is very quick and queries resolved very quickly.” -Jacqueline S., London, England
“This has been a great program for my son. He has gone from a D to a B and he is still improving. He is much more willing to do problems on the iPad than on paper, and the live coaching has helped him in the areas where he is struggling. I highly recommend Thinkster Math!” – Chad D., Carson City, NV