Posted in Online Tutoring, Resources, Tips for Parents, Tips for Students

The Best Online Tutoring Services Of 2018

Like many services and industries, tutoring is moving more online as people become more comfortable and familiar with digital communication and are able to appreciate the accessibility and selection of online tutoring.  One result of this is that the online tutoring industry has exploded, to the point where the sheer proliferation of services can be overwhelming.

That’s why I’m so glad that our friends at Reviews.com have created a guide to the best online tutoring services of 2018.  They have thoroughly researched the top platforms and written up a detailed report with their findings, but that’s just the start.  Their report goes on to explain what students should know before enrolling in online tutoring, the best practices for ensuring a positive tutoring experience, and much more.  The whole thing is chock full of incredibly valuable information and actionable tips for students and their families who are seeking help through online tutoring, and the best part is, it’s absolutely FREE!

Check it out here: The Best Online Tutoring Services Of 2018

Posted in Homeschooling, Resources

Where To Find Great Homeschooling Services

One reason parents often feel intimidated by the idea of homeschooling is that they think they have to go it alone and don’t know where to start. The reality is that homeschooling is an exploding industry, and there is a huge variety of products, services, and organizations dedicated to meeting the diverse needs of the homeschooling community. Whether you are brand new to homeschooling or have years of experience, whether you want to be more hands-on or hands-off, there are people and resources that can help you find your niche.

One such list of resources is compiled by the microtutoring site Studypool. In addition to their primary mission of helping to link up struggling students with tutors ready to help them on-demand, they’ve done a fantastic job of pulling together a wide variety of accredited homeschooling programs complete with location and enrollment requirements: https://www.studypool.com/guide/home-schooling-services

All kids, including yours, learn much more from inspiring examples than they do from lectures, and that’s why it’s important that you show them the importance of living life on your own terms. That’s why I always tell parents, if homeschooling is your dream, go for it!

Posted in Online Tutoring, Tips for Parents

What If I’ve Never Tried Online Tutoring Before?

I often still hear from people who have never tried online tutoring before and aren’t sure if it will work for them or their children. When they go to look for tutoring, they have the image in mind of sitting down at a table with the tutor. Given this expectation, the idea of sitting by yourself in front of your computer to receive tutoring may seem off-putting. However, I haven’t found that meeting with students in person allows me to provide any better service than meeting online does. In fact, just the opposite is the case; in my experience, online tutoring, by providing access to the learning tools of the PC and Internet, works better than in-person tutoring, convenience factor aside. And, one of the great things about online tutoring is that it’s easy to try out just a bit to see if it works for you, so you don’t have to take anybody’s word for it but your own.

Chances are your kids already use Skype to video chat with friends and relatives, and if they do they’ll probably take naturally to online tutoring. For those “noobs” still curious about how online tutoring works, here’s a link to a video demonstration.

Posted in Online Tutoring

My Secret Strategy For Making A 32 On The ACT – Without Test Prep!

In this blog post I will reveal the secret strategy that I used to make a 32 on the ACT and go to college for free, without any test prep. Are you ready? Here it is:

Learn what is taught in school as you go along.

Let me explain. Students and their parents spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on test prep materials, services, and software each year, but the ACT (as well as the SAT) is designed to measure academic achievement in high school. This means that there’s nothing on the test that is not covered by the standard curriculum that all students are required to take. Test prep is only a review, and can’t prepare a student to perform well starting from scratch. The time to begin preparing for the ACT is not a month or even six months before taking the test, but the first day of freshman year, by having a passion for learning, a personal motivation for what you are doing, and by getting help along the way. Learning is fueled by relevance, and without having a sense of purpose and drive, cramming facts and figures is like trying to fill a bottomless bucket.

As an online tutor and academic coach, I help students not only learn the most effective ways to use their talents, but also get in touch with their own sense of passion, motivation, and burning sense of curiosity. If you build a house with a strong foundation, you won’t need to do last-minute repairs. Contact me today to find out how I can help your son or daughter unleash their inner academic rock star.

Posted in Online Tutoring

Why Tutoring Is Important For Smart Kids

One of the reasons many people don’t hire a tutor until the last minute is because of the social stigma, similar to that associated with psychological therapy or counseling, that if you need help you must be “weak” or “stupid”. However, this stigma is both wrong and incorrect.

It is wrong because there should be no shame associated with getting help if you need it; this doesn’t make you less of a person or less worthy in any way. It is incorrect because kids don’t struggle in school because they are “stupid”, they struggle because school doesn’t work for them.

A tutor is a specialist, either in a particular academic area, or in providing one-on-one instruction, or both. One-size-fits-all public education is calibrated for the masses, designed to be workable for the “average student”. The problem is, average students don’t exist! Just like the average height of people in a room can be 5’6”, even though nobody in that room is actually 5’6” tall, the average student is an abstraction. Each student is an individual and benefits best from individual attention. It is no secret that any student can benefit from individual attention, this is just something that public education is inherently unable to provide.

Furthermore, the more gifted or talented a student is, the more they are able to benefit from working with a specialist. A student with a particularly strong aptitude or passion for a given subject will benefit most from the help of a specialist to help them fully reach their true potential, something an “average” education will never provide.

A cafeteria-style education fills minds the way a cafeteria fills bellies, but it can’t meet the needs of exceptional students to follow their passions and unlock their full potential. That’s why, in a public education setting, the smartest kids are really the ones that need help the most.

Posted in Online Tutoring

Another Advantage Of Online Tutoring

A few weeks ago I woke up one morning and felt a cold starting to come on. The symptoms were mild and didn’t keep me from functioning, but I knew that I would be contagious if I was in the same room with somebody.

I had a tutoring appointment that morning, but fortunately it was on online appointment. It occurred to me then, that if I had been tutoring in person, I would have had to make a choice between either cancelling the appointment, or taking a chance on making my client sick. I was glad I didn’t have to make that choice! I was able to continue with my schedule as planned, with no interruption, and I realized that this was an advantage of online tutoring I hadn’t thought of before.

So there you have it, yet another advantage of online tutoring – no transmission of cold or flu bugs!

Posted in Tips for Parents

Can Parents Tutor Their Own Kids?

This question recently came up in correspondence with a parent, and I answered it as follows:

“Hi Dane,

I want to ask your opinion. I have a twelve year old son who is taking seventh grade algebra. He’s doing alright (he has a B), and like any kid goes through periods of understanding and then not quite understanding certain chapters. Often when we work together he understands better. But one thing I don’t understand is that sometimes he gets frustrated, and when I try harder to explain he gets defensive and shuts down. I hate those moments, and feel like I should back off when it happens, but then I also realize that he does need help to guide him through the lesson. So I try to push, which only makes things more difficult, and he just quits trying. I think he would benefit from having a tutor who could meet with him once every week or so to guide him and to help maintain his level of confidence. I want him to love and enjoy math in general and I think he wants that also. Please let me know what you think.

Regards,

Jerry”

“Hi Jerry,

It is good to hear from you, and I appreciate you asking for my opinion. I honor and respect the fact that you are making the effort to help your son understand and appreciate math, not just by encouraging him but by actually getting your hands messy and working alongside him. This is something that not many parents have the desire, let alone the ability, to do.

I feel this may seem rather blunt, but the sincerity of your question calls for nothing less than a completely authentic response. In my experience it is very difficult for most parents to be a tutor for their kids, even if they are willing and able. The reason is that virtually all parent-child relationships build up a significant amount of emotional charge over the years that gets in the way of effective learning. It is almost inevitable that the tutoring experience becomes just another battleground in the ongoing power struggle between parent and child, and devolves into a battle of wills. I do not believe that this is an innate and unavoidable aspect of parent-child relationships, but it is virtually universal within the cultural milieu which we inhabit. I have witnessed this not only in tutoring but also in martial arts (another of my passions) and in other areas where well-intentioned parents try to take on the role of a mentor for their child.

So the experience you describe in trying to tutor your son is understandable to me. Children want to establish their autonomy from their parents, and often resist being cast into roles where they feel inferior, regardless of their actual level of competence. At the same time parents can’t help but come from a place of authority, regardless of the benevolence of their intentions. The good news is that hiring a tutor can resolve this stalemate by satisfying both the parent’s need for reassurance and the child’s need for guidance, allowing both of you to focus on the areas of your relationship that are mutually rewarding.

I invite you to take a look at my website to learn more about my services. I have written many articles on my blog, and I think this one in particular might interest you: ‘When Should You Hire A Tutor?’ If you’d like to work with me then please get in touch and I will be happy to help your son.

Regards

Dane”