By tpm | October 14, 2010
So you (or your child) are experiencing some struggles in your math class this year. Don’t panic. You are not alone, and it doesn’t mean you’re not a great student. Every year in the classes I teach, I see some very bright students experience struggles in their math classes. A lot of times it’s a transition issue. Going from algebra to geometry can be tough. Making the move into an advanced placement class like AP Calculus or AP Statistics is a big change. Other transitions could be moving from middle school to high school or high school to college.
One of the big mistakes I see is students who are afraid to ask their parents or teachers how they can get the extra math help they need. If you’ve never needed to ask for help before, please don’t let pride or ego get in the way now. There is no shame in working with someone who can answer your questions. Parents, if your child is afraid to bring the issue up, you might need to be the one to do it. They will thank you later.
One of the best things about online tutoring is that you can find help for virtually any kind of math class you might need help in, and you can do the tutoring where and when it’s convenient for you. Local tutors are great if you can find the right situation. However, sometimes it is difficult to find a tutor that meets your needs, especially when you are looking for a math tutor because it’s so specialized.
With an online tutor, you can find help for just about any area of math you might need, from pre-algebra to AP Statistics. This tends to take the form of video math tutoring. There are DVD video math tutors, but most times, it is a video streaming product. Some services are individualized while others are pre-recorded services on demand. The costs vary from one online tutoring service to the next, but keep in mind, face to face tutoring is going to start around $30 an hour for an inexperienced tutor to well over $100 an hour for an experienced tutor. Depending on the service you choose, online tutoring should be quite a bit cheaper than that.
It doesn’t matter what kind of tutoring you’re talking about, peer, face to face, or online–it’s important for parents and students to have realistic expectations. Online tutoring will make a noticeable difference for virtually every student that needs extra math help, but it won’t happen over night.
As a math teacher, I’ve seen it many times. A student goes in for a week or two of tutoring, and expects their grade to go from a D on the last test to an A on the current one. Often, I can see they are starting to understand because they are making “better mistakes.” By better mistakes, I mean before tutoring started the student’s mistakes showed a complete lack of understanding and a couple of weeks later, the mistakes are still there but are more because the concepts just aren’t quite all connected yet.
You will see the results, but it’s going to take time. It’s not realistic to expect a change from a D to an A in just a couple of weeks. Usually, I see students start to show significant improvement somewhere between the second and fourth quiz/test after tutoring begins. The improvement might also start small before it snowballs into more success.
Online Math Tutoring Services
When I first wrote about online math tutoring, I had several services in mind. Since then, I’ve become aware of Virtual Nerd. The new Virtual Nerd website goes well beyond any of the other services I previously recommended, so I’ve deleted those references. I suggest you head over to the Virtual Nerd website to see what they have to offer. You may also want to check out my Virtual Nerd review.
An alternative is to use a DVD tutor. While it’s not exactly the same as an online math tutoring service like Virtual Nerd, some people prefer to be able to watch the tutoring videos on a standard TV. If that is your cup of tea, you should look at Math Tutor DVD. This DVD series covers just about everything from middle school math through advanced college courses. It even includes science classes and calculator classes. I also have up a Math Tutor DVD review, so check it out.