5 Advantages of Online Tutoring vs. In-person Tutoring

A question I sometimes get when I am first contacted by parents of struggling readers  is “do you offer in-person tutoring?” I say, “Yes I do”, but let’s first do the FREE assessment online and go from there. 

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Struggling with Reading

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Why do the assessment online?

There are many advantages to doing tutoring online. Doing the assessment online helps you, the parent, see how easy, convenient, and efficient online tutoring is.  You also get to observe how your child does online with the tutor. Does your child connect with the tutor? Do they manage the technology easily? If so, then here are 5 advantages of online tutoring over in-person to consider.

Child doing online tutoring from home.
There are many advantages of online tutoring at home.

1. Online tutoring saves you time

The most obvious advantage of online tutoring is you don’t have to drive anywhere! Your child just logs on to their computer right when the lesson starts and they get to do the learning from the comfort of their own home. This saves you a lot of time. Time that you could be using to do all the millions of things that busy parents need to do every day. Not only are you saving time by not driving, but you get to stay at home and get your tasks done while your child is online.

2. Online tutoring is in a comfortable environment

Another advantage of online tutoring is that it takes place in the comfort of your child’s home. Your child might be feeling reluctant about tutoring. They are already feeling frustrated by being behind at school. And now they have to give up their precious free time when they could be playing with a friend or just relaxing. Being at home lessens this anxiety because home is very comforting for your child. At home they can:

  • get up and move when they need to or lie down; 
  • easily take a quick break and go to the bathroom; 
  • eat a little snack; 
  • and even change their clothes.

3. Online tutoring means less stress

Kids have so many after-school activities. And even though ballet, gymnastics, soccer, brownies, boy scouts, etc. are fun for your child, it is also stressful to have to rush somewhere to arrive on time after a busy day at school. Kids need downtime and not be rushed off to too many after-school activities. Online tutoring means just hanging out at home and relaxing until it is time to log on.

Online tutoring means less stress for you too. Not only is driving stressful, but it is also stressful to nag your child and make them hurry up to get into the car. But reminding them or helping them log on to the computer is not very stressful. Most kids love to go on the computer.

4. Online tutoring allows observation

Another advantage is that you can keep an eye on your child while they are tutoring online at home. You can observe them to see how they are doing. Tutoring should be done in a quiet place like their bedroom or an office, but you can easily pop your head in to check on them or listen outside the door.

You can also observe the tutor to make sure you are happy with what you are paying for. If the tutoring is in person, they will be in a private room somewhere with the door shut and you won’t be able to observe the tutoring.  

Online tutoring can be done from anywhere.
With online tutoring, find a tutor anywhere in the world. Tutor while you travel.

5. Online tutoring is not constrained by location 

Not being limited by location is a huge advantage. You can select your tutor based on their specialty, their qualifications, and how you and your child connect to them and not just their proximity to you. With online tutoring, you can hire a tutor from anywhere in the world.

Another advantage of not being tied to location is you can go on a trip and your child does not have to miss their tutoring session. Bring your laptop or iPad with you and you are ready for tutoring. Just make sure to keep track of any different time zones.

But….what about too much screen time?

You might be thinking online tutoring will be too much screen time.  And they were just online all last year for distance learning. It’s too much and they need a real human next to them. 

These are valid concerns

The best part about tutoring is that it is a one-on-one connection. It is a direct teaching and learning exchange between two people. This connection can be established and felt in person or online through a video call. The connection happens when two human beings connect with each other.

It doesn’t really matter if it is online or in person. In fact, online has the advantage that you don’t have to wear a mask. You can actually see each other’s facial expressions and smiles. This is so nice! Not to mention that when I teach phonological awareness and phonics, I need the student to be able to see my mouth and tongue position and I need to be able to see theirs. The mask also muffles sounds.

As far as screentime goes, tutoring is only an hour or two a week. And like it or not, the screen has become part of our lives. The screen and computer are tools we use for pretty much everything. Even in person, some or much of the tutoring involves looking at the computer. In-person is not really that much different than online tutoring. When I do in-person, I bring my laptop, my mouse, and my XP-Pen.  These are the same tools I use when I am tutoring online.

But don’t they focus better in person?

Not necessarily.  Your child often focuses better on the computer at home than they do in person where there are more new things to look at and they are in an uncomfortable environment. They focus even better if they put headphones on. Focus will also improve if the child is engaged in what they are doing. Your child will be engaged both online and in-person when the tutor has planned a lesson based on their needs and interests.

Online tutoring is one-on-one learning.
Tutoring online or in-person is one-on-one learning.

Well, I still want in-person tutoring

If all those advantages still don’t convince you to try online tutoring, then I do offer in-person tutoring for people who live near me. I tutor in person on Saturdays at the public library. The library is a nice place to do tutoring. The parent can either hang out in the library for an hour or do an errand in town. I can only offer in person on Saturdays because the library is not open on Sundays and I am booked online during the week.

Disadvantage of in-person tutoring

A disadvantage to in-person tutoring on Saturdays is that kids often do not want to do tutoring on Saturdays. They think Saturdays should not be for doing more school. And lots of unexpected events come up on Saturdays and then you have to reschedule.  However, once again, you can benefit from the advantages of online tutoring by rescheduling to an online session either on Sunday or during the week depending on availability.  

One nice compromise that some parents are doing for their young children is doing 2 30-minute sessions during the week. One online and the other in person at the library on Saturdays. This is nice because 30 minutes can be better for the younger children.  However, a trip out of your house for just 30 minutes might be too much stress. So once again, online is more convenient.

In conclusion

I hope I have convinced you that the advantages of online tutoring outweigh those of in-person.  If you need more convincing, listen to what these parents of some of my students have to say about it:

“We love online tutoring with Justine because it’s not only very convenient in terms of time-saving –  not having to drive, it’s also really fun for our son. Now that most of his learning is in person, online sessions seem special. He sees his parents on zoom calls, and this makes him feel like he has important work meetings too. The live instruction coupled with game/presentation interactive format keeps him focused and interested.”

Yulia Goldshtrakh

“Having experienced a year+ of online learning, our daughter was feeling a deep sense of zoom fatigue and frankly needed a break from the screen…and being a very social kiddo we felt it important to establish a relationship with a tutor “in real life” vs only connecting via a screen (can be harder to feel there’s a real accountability relationship there).

But generally speaking, it’s a huge bonus that Justine has online tutoring as an option as it greatly enhances the access to tutoring — saving racing across town or trying to fit it in with other activities lowers the anxiety levels and means you can move from one things to the next without having to add in that pesky travel time). Online tutoring also moved a lot of teaching tools online which can be helpful for making the tutoring time feel more fun (our daughter loves “playing’ on a computer). A final advantage we see to online tutoring is that it can be done in the kids “safe space” at home. “

Amy LeBold

What do you think?

Tell me the advantages of online tutoring you have discovered in the comments below. Thanks!

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