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Online tutoring for your kids vs. in-person: pros & cons

The pros and cons of hiring an in-person tutor vs. online tutoring. How to decide which is right for your child.

If you've decided your child needs an online tutor, it can be confusing to know whether to use a traditional in-person tutor or to find an expert tutor online. To help you decide, we've put together this handy guide to the benefits and potential drawbacks of each type of tutoring. 

Online and in-person tutors share many of the same benefits

Before we unpack the positives and potential drawbacks of each type of tutoring, it's important to say that both online and in-person tutoring offer many of the same key benefits of tutoring in general. 

Both types of tutoring can help explain tricky concepts, increase your child's confidence by stretching and challenging their minds, accelerate their progress, and much more. At the end of the day, choosing between in-person and online tutoring is a personal decision that depends on your child's own unique needs and preferences.

Benefits of having an in-person tutor

Here are some of the unique benefits of choosing an in-person tutor.

Face-to-face interaction 

Of course, the main difference between online and in-person tutoring is the face-to-face interaction that your kids get with an in-person tutor. This physical interaction can benefit some kids, especially when the tutoring focuses on practical, hands-on skills.

However, technology has developed significantly over the past few years, which means that nearly everything that is possible for a tutor to do in person can also be replicated virtually.

Online tutors are skilled at leveraging a range of virtual tools and in the art of teaching online. Outschool offers their educators access to unique training and resources to help them develop their skills and share new tools, best practices, and ideas to ensure your child receives a top-class tutoring session from the comfort of their home. 

Communication with the tutor

Some parents may find that communicating with the tutor and receiving feedback on how their child is progressing is easier with in-person tutoring, as the parent sees the tutor at the start and end of each session, 

However, if you use an online tutor from Outschoool, parents can message tutors at any time, even before you sign up. This means you can message tutors to gauge their fit for your child’s learning needs, and then once they have started tutoring, you can receive regular updates about your child's sessions and their progress, as well as receive the tutor's expert advice on how to further support your child’s learning at home. 

Potential drawbacks of using an in-person tutor 

However, in-person tutoring also has its drawbacks, including:

Limited flexibility

Depending on the tutor you choose, you may also have to travel to their location or provide a suitable workspace in your home, both of which can add additional stress and hassle to the tutoring process. 

Limited choice

With in-person tutoring, your choice of tutors is constrained by your physical location. This location restriction means you may find it more difficult to find the "perfect" tutor for your child or that you have a far more limited choice of tutors compared to online tutoring. This may mean you end up using a tutor who may not have the exact experience, qualifications, or skills needed to really help your child. 

Plus, when searching for an in-person tutor, it can sometimes be challenging to find out how good they actually are or to find reviews that show the honest views of other parents. 

Higher cost

Due to travel expenses and other associated costs, in-person tutoring is often much more expensive than virtual tutoring, with sessions typically costing $40-$80 an hour. For instance, the cost of an in-person math tutor can vary based on your location, the time of year, and even the type of math instruction needed.

Benefits of online tutoring

Online tutoring has many benefits, including the following:

Wider choice of expert tutors

When you choose online tutoring for your kids, your choice of tutor is not constrained by your physical location because you can access tutors from across the country. You'll be able to select from a much wider selection of tutors than you can if you choose in-person tutoring, meaning you can easily find a tutor who specializes in the specific area your child needs help in.

For example, by arranging your online tutoring through Outschool, you get to choose from a database of thousands of experienced Outschool tutors. Whether you’re looking for tutoring for 3rd-grade math, 7th-grade physics, or high school SAT prep, you'll be able to find the perfect tutor for your child on Outschool

Convenience 

One of the major perks of online tutoring is that it can be arranged to work with your family's hectic schedule.

So, if you need to squeeze tutoring in before school, after school but before sports practice, or on the weekends, you're likely to find an online tutor who’s available and can offer your child the support and guidance they need. Plus, you don't need to worry about travel time, fuel costs, or tidying the house! 

Lower cost

Online tutoring usually costs less than in-person tutoring. Online tutors don’t have to cover their travel time, fuel costs, and other time or financial issues associated with meeting in person, so instead of only being able to tutor three children or families in an evening, they may be able to fit in five, and they then pass these savings on to you. 

For example, one-on-one online tutoring from Outschool typically costs between $20-$35 per session, making experienced online tutors for your child more affordable than most in-person options.

Plus, if you homeschool and you’re eligible for an ESA account, you can typically use this account to fund your online tutoring and classes on Outschool. 

Guaranteed Quality

By choosing an online tutor through Outschool, you know you’re selecting from an experienced pool of tutors approved by Outschool. In addition to running background checks and verifying the educator's identity, Outschool screens educators' content to ensure that they provide high-quality learning experiences in line with today’s curriculum in an inclusive environment right for all learners. 

Outschool proactively vets its educators and has a dedicated Trust and Safety team to help create a protected environment for your child. You can also see reviews and ratings for every Outschool tutor, so you can easily find the honest opinions of other parents, helping you choose the perfect tutor for your child. Plus, all Outschool sessions are backed by a Happiness Guarantee, and you can reach out to your tutor or Outschool's amazing support team at any time. 

Potential drawbacks of online tutoring 

While online tutoring has many positives, some parents have concerns about online tutoring, including:

More screen time

Some people may be concerned that as kids are spending increasing amounts of time on digital devices, more screen time in the form of online tutoring isn't ideal.

However, there is a big difference between general 'entertainment' screen time and purposeful online learning with the guidance of an expert tutor, and many parents find their kids are engaged and eager to take part in their exciting online learning adventures simply because it is online and '‘allowed" screen time! 

Distractibility

Some parents also worry that their kids will get easily distracted during online tutoring. But, educators who tutor online are experts in ensuring that this isn't an issue and that your kids are enthralled in their learning throughout their session. 

Should I choose an online or in-person tutor for my kids?

As we have seen above, both types of tutoring have their benefits and potential drawbacks, but many parents and kids find that online tutoring offers many of the same benefits as in-person tutoring, with added convenience, cheaper cost, and a wider choice of tutors. 

See why real parents love using Outschool for online tutoring. Getting started is easy. Find the perfect online tutor and see it for yourself.

Tim HandleyTim is an experienced educator and author who has written over 70 textbooks, workbooks and guides to help support teaching and learning. When he's not writing, he loves spending time at the coast or getting lost in a good book.

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