When it comes to making sure that your child is getting the core concepts that they need for critical thinking, nothing beats a tutor. A general approach can be wasteful on time, but with a proper assessment that targets areas your child specifically needs, you can really make some amazing changes in your child’s skill and their desire to learn.
Unfortunately, the internet is jam-packed with providers for this, so to help you with your choices we’ve narrowed-down a range of some of the best afterschool tutoring services.
We’ve got a little something for everyone here, whether you want something specifically focused on one subject, a provider that includes a physical location with activities such as summer camps, or simply need a little more ‘oomf’ to add to your home curriculum without a lot of gimmicks that you don’t want or need.
Without further ado, let’s take a look!
Do Online Tutoring Services Really Make a Difference?
In this day and age, homeschooling and afterschool tutoring has some truly amazing advantages that we simply didn’t have a handful of years ago. Aside from online testing, virtual classes, and activities, you can also obtain face-to-face tutorials from a real human being if that’s what you want and there are even camps and events available through some of the larger franchises.
As these online tutorial options incorporate standardized testing, they are definitely useful and relevant as a way to help get your child up to speed in the areas where they simply do not feel confident. This also allows your child to learn at their own pace, with your helpful encouragement and praise helping to motivate them, so that they get the education they need in exactly the areas where they need it.
Do they make a difference? You BET they do – but you want to choose your provider carefully with your child’s specific needs in mind. That said, let’s look at those tutoring services so that you can see what sounds the most appealing and practical for you and your child.
Math and Reading for kindergarten through 8th grade
A relative newcomer to the online tutorial offerings market, Mastery Genius forgoes a lot of the gimmicky ‘bells and whistles’ for a polished version of the time and tested approach that boils down to:
- Customize a curriculum
- Report progress and repeat
That’s a fairly simplified assessment of what they do, so let’s look at the actual delivery system which Mastery Genius employs.
On signing up to Mastery Genius, the first interaction comes in the form of NWEA MAP testing. NWEA MAP is short for Northwest Evaluation Association Measure of academic progress and this is a standard that has been used in 49 foreign countries, 50 U.S. states, and 3100 districts.
While the MAP testing standard covers a wide variety of subjects, Mastery Genius specialized in Math and Reading tutorials, and so only the NWEA MAP standards for these will be used. The test takes about an hour, and once this is done both the parent and the child will have an accurate assessment of strong points and areas where a little more study could be used.
Mastery Genius then uses this information to customize a curriculum for your child that uses software called Pathblazer, which provides video tutorials, as well as exercises designed to get your child up to speed.
Rather than simply throwing questions at them over and over, Pathblazer is designed to initially offer hints, which are slowly reduced, and it tailors the exercises so that as your child learns new skills from the areas they are having trouble in, they will be given a chance to use them.
It’s simple, but quite effective – by tailoring the course to only cover what is needed, your child doesn’t have to spend time rehashing information that they already know by heart, and while you can run the NWEA MAP testing as often as you like, it’s recommended only to do so every 30 to 60 days.
On a practical level, it’s a time investment of at least 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week in order to get the best results and if you don’t like Pathblazer, then be sure to check with Mastery Genius about alternative options – they’re actually quite flexible and if needed, experts are even available for live one-on-one sessions with your child.
While it lacks a lot of bells and whistles of some of the more established corporate franchise offerings, Mastery Genius is one of the few options out there that simply provides you with what you NEED – a focused and customized curriculum that is development-driven and not trying to sell you a summer camp. For homeschooling parents who like to take an active role in educating their child, that’s just about a perfect fit, but if you DO want those camps then it might not be a perfect fit.
Mastery Genius is quite competitively priced, with $30 a month getting you unlimited adaptive assignments and customized curriculum, with reporting options as part of the package. Additionally, you won’t be required to sign up for a lengthy commitment – you can pay for a month or two and if that’s all your child needs, and if you want one-on-one tutorials, you’ve got the option for that. Easy-peasy and not complicated at all!
Math and Reading for kindergarten through 12th grade
In 1922, a Japanese math teacher by the name od Toru Kumon discovered that his son was struggling with math, and so he developed a curriculum to help with this. Mr. Kumon did this by developing a sequence of worksheets that worked out so well, he was soon hearing from his neighbors who wanted some help for their own kids.
Fast-forward about 50 years, and the core concepts are mostly the same – a paced journey to academic excellence on stepstones made of worksheets – although these days the Kumon method also includes a curriculum for reading, as well.
While certainly an effective method, we should note that technically this is less of a tutorial program, and more of a structured curriculum. Kids that are using Kumon will be using worksheets, which amount to a series of hundreds of small assignments, and some additional shoring-up of skills will be accomplished by adding ‘speed drill’ exercises into the mix.
The speed drills may or may not be part of your child’s experience – like all programs, an initial assessment is performed to help to create a more focused curriculum – but what you definitely can expect is a LOT of work. It’s an aggressive approach, but sometimes that’s what you need.
The worksheets get more difficult in increments, but this is by design – by making each one just a little harder, it encourages better learning absorption, and concepts that are linked with come together for the child on their own. Feedback is also given from a live instructor, who will help to provide useful tips and feedback.
It is a slow process, but has been well-received, but there is a substantial time investment involved, with Kumon instructors from their Virtual classes recommending at least 6 to 12 months in the program for solid results.
Costs may vary, but on average the Kumon program will around $150 per month, with costs ranges falling being between $90 and $180. There is also a 15$ fee for starting materials, as well as a $50 registration fee, and this also allows access to local Kumon centers.
Extensive, but includes K-12 Reading, Writing, Math, study skills, and more. Tutoring is also available for college test prep, STEM, and seasonal camp functions are also available
Sylvan Learning center has been around since 1979 and you’ve probably heard of them, so what do they do? Well, this corporate learning franchise has more than 750 schools located worldwide, and the idea behind it is that your child make take advantage of these schools – locally or remotely – or simply utilize their proprietary curriculum of online exercises and tasks. Camps are also offered, as well, should the online curriculum require a little bit of human interaction to be more effective.
In order to assess your child, Sylvan has their own proprietary testing method called the ‘Sylvan Assessment’ that is used to grade your child and to determine which areas they might need the most help in. From there, the actual structure of the program is going to depend on which options you have selected.
From an online-only perspective, it’s basically going to be their specially developed courses, which are by default structured around local curriculum standards of your state. Tutors are available, which rates varying upon their experience and location, and college level preparation may also be purchased if your education needs span beyond the kindergarten to 12th grade level.
They also offer STEM courses for subjects such as robotics science and coding, if that’s a little more in lines of what you are looking for.
Sylvan is a little vague on their pricing and rather than laying it out, they request that you contact them for a accurate quote, but they do have a lot of positive feedback. That said, we do know that tutoring is available at an average of $48 dollars per hour, with a working range of $40-$120 per hour depending on the instructor, their ratings, and experience levels.
Academic coaching is available for around $290 per month, while camps and advanced classes are $299 and up. College test prep starts at around $1199, although 30 hour courses are available for up to $4500, and STEM programs such as coding or robotics will set you back about $99 per hour, on average.
Math for kindergarten to 12th grade
Since 2002, Mathnasium has been offering a focused, customized curriculum for students at kindergarten through 12th grade levels. They have over 1000 centers throughout the Unites States, although online options are also available to provide a simulated one-on-one experience, as-needed.
So, how is this delivered? Let’s take a look!
Online offerings are basically tailored to create an in-school experience, with one-on-one feedback and encouragement to help capture and keep your child’s attention. Everything starts off with Mathnasium’s proprietary assessment method, which is basically designed to not only gauge their level of expertise, but also to see if part of the problem is skipping questions is more a matter of being daunted by mathematics in-general or the actual questions themselves.
From this testing, a curriculum is customized that may be done through physical locations or through online virtual classroom or one-on-one tutorials, depending on your needs and your budget.
Pricing for Mathnasium generally runs around $200-300 pr month and there is a one-time $19 registration fee. Usually, their base program package is tailored to include 3 visits per week but you’ll want to check the packages you are considering – rollover is not always available should the set curriculum need to be changed.
On the bright side, should your child wish to visit the center more than 3 times per week, this is included in the pricing, which offers a nice middle-ground in comparison when compared with Sylvan’s hourly model. As this course is ALL about math, this may also appeal to some parents who are particularly worried about their child’s performance in mathematics.
Math and English/Language arts for preschool through 11th grade
Eye Level offers an individualized approach that aims to inspire your child towards critical thinking and self-directed learning. While some of the standard ‘memorization through repetition’ is present, Eye Level is more focused on building confidence and individual learning drive, by the means of phsycial classes or through their online or homeschool geared offerings.
Physical classes are available through over 156 locations in the United States, as well as centers located in 20 countries where Eye Level has gained popularity. Starting off, an assessment is performed, with ‘assess but don’t assume’ in mind – meaning that grade level isn’t taken into account, only the child’s individual skills in the areas tested.
This allows for creating a customized curriculum that includes homework and regular testing in order to assess your child’s progress.
Pricing will vary based on what options you select, however, example ranges can include packages for $190 up to $370 per month that can cover math or language arts either separately or together. With the online options, materials are integrated into the online platform and an online instructor is assigned to your child for one-on-one academic coaching. They do have a good range of offerings, so for a more accurate price assessment it’s best to visit them directly for a quote.
Some Closing Words on After School Tutoring Services
In today’s article we’ve reviewed 5 of the best tutoring services available and there’s actually quite a fine array of offerings. Depending on your needs, you can get by-the-hour tutorials, custom software-driven adaptive curriculums, and even shore things up with the occasional summer camp if you want something a little less online-centric.
Be sure to take advantage of the informational links that we’ve provided today if you would like to learn more about these top-notch options and don’t be afraid to ask questions – any tutoring service worth their salt is going to be more than happy to get them answered for you and the services that we’ve reviewed today are among the best available.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started taking control of your child’s education now – it’s the foundation they’ll be building on for the rest of their lives!