Learning to read or succeeding in a test is not easy for everyone. It’s not infrequent for children to have difficulties in school. This is stressful for the teachers, but of course for the parents as well.

  • Does this apply to you?
  • Does your child have difficulty understanding the subject matter?
  • Is doing their homework a constant struggle?

What are the solutions?

More and more parents are turning towards tutoring services and homework helpers. From elementary school to A-Levels, private tutors can help turn around a struggling student.

Learning how to do revision, to improve and delve into the subject matter: these are the goals of any individualized tutoring classes.

But among the various options - home tutoring, online tutoring, tutoring apps - there are a few that stand out to help students having difficulties without spending too much money and allowing your child to progress.

Whether free math tutoring, remedial science and engineering or help with chemistry homework - it’s up to you to find the formula that works best for your child.

The Actors of Free Online Tutoring

Before clicking on the first ad you see, take some time to reflect and consider the various options available to find the best educational support for your child.

While browsing the Internet, you will stumble upon a number of solutions for those who don’t want to spend a fortune on after-school tutoring. There are several websites set up to help students improve their numeracy or better understand biology.

They have the advantage of being accessible any time, any place, so you are not dependent on the timetables of volunteer homework helpers or home tutors. It also makes it easier for parents to study with their children.

Find educational support resources for your child.

Some aspects of tutoring stay the same.
Tutoring is an old concept that has evolved into the 21st century. Photo credit: Gandalf's Gallery on VisualHunt.com

Sites for primary school children

Some sites are geared more towards primary school. They offer games and quizzes to improve reading skills and basic math skills.

The quizzes are often fairly short so as not to tax children’s concentration too much and to keep learning fun.

Sites include:

  • CrickWeb
  • Khan Academy has tutorials in various subjects for all grade levels.
  • IXL specialises in Maths and English for all ages.

Sites for GCSE and A-Level Tutoring

Again, Khan Academy offers information as videos for all levels. But there are other sites with free online tutorials and exam revision to help students studying towards a GCSE or A-Levels. For example:

  • Snap Revise offers a series of videos on most subjects offered at GSCE and A-Level. They give a concise review of the important information, letting you hear it all again, and offer supplemental questions on the individual segments. You have to sign up, but it’s free.
  • BBC Bitesize is tailored to the UK education system everywhere. You can get in-depth overviews and supplemental instruction on every subject covered at every level of the curriculum in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This online classroom offers written revision texts as well as summaries, videos and tests to make sure you understood everything.

Private tutoring through tutoring sites

Internet sites are useful, but can’t answer questions or tailor their second language lessons to each individual student and their learning habits.

A solution is to check out private tutors.

Private tutors and online homework helpers have the advantage of offering one-to-one classes that can be individually crafted to keep your child motivated and explain concepts in several different ways in case he or she has trouble grasping them the first time. It helps children develop their study skills and learning strategies. It’s a true advantage for students with learning difficulties.

Here on Superprof, you can find a tutor near you who can come to your home and work with your child personally.

However, they aren’t volunteers. You can compare prices and find the tutor with the best deal - if you go for online writing lessons through Skype, for example, as they are generally cheaper. But you will still have to pay.

But even if you are short of money, you can make use of the free features of various tutoring apps, such as Q&A messaging, forums or some other form of learning community, to get answers to specific questions.

Free Tutoring and Educational Support Associations

Another option for those without a lot of money is tutoring associations for low-income families and various educational support programs at school and elsewhere.

Sometimes, parents are unable to work with their children - either because they don’t have the education, or because their jobs don’t leave them the time - and can’t help them with their homework every day.

Fortunately, there are volunteer associations dedicated to giving these children a chance. The homework helper doesn’t get paid - they are often retired teachers or academics working in the field who want to give back to the community by volunteering.

After-school tutoring and library homework help sessions

Some schools offer an after-school tutoring program or homework sessions in-school, either with their own personnel or working with a tutoring association (see below.)

Another place that offers homework help - often in homework sessions or study groups at a set time each day - are local libraries. They also serve as a resource centre for things such as ebooks or audiobooks on each subject. Check your local Council website for library locations and schools offering homework sessions to see if you can find a tutoring centre near you.

Looking for a private teacher, click here.

Libraries offer free homework help sessions.
Many libraries offer tutoring programs, making resources such as computers and documentation available to low-income children. Photo credit: City of Seattle Community Tech on Visual Hunt

Nationwide tutoring programs

There are various associations and foundations dedicated to providing tutoring for children with learning difficulties or from underprivileged households. These are generally school programs who work with specific schools rather than from tutoring centres, giving on-the-spot help in classrooms and offering one-on-one or small-group learning sessions after school to foster academic success. Some also offer to mentor children seeking to pursue an academic career, offering advice and career exploration, help with applications and encouragement.

Some of them are:

  • TutorFair
  • The Access Project
  • Action Tutoring

How Useful are Tutoring Apps for Extra School Support?

It’s a fair question.

Just as there are numerous learning websites, a number of apps have been developed to help children progress in various school subjects while having fun.

It’s important to realise that smartphones are a common tool for today’s youth. They access them daily and, indeed, some teachers integrate apps and other smartphone tools into their classes.

So why not turn to smartphone apps to help your child in school?

Many of the apps are quite affordable, being either:

  • Entirely free
  • Free for a certain amount of levels or without certain features
  • Cost under £5.00 for unlimited use

They have the advantage of speaking a language children respond to and capturing their attention with games and fun graphics.

Tutoring apps make learning fun.
Education apps can help children master difficult concepts. Photo credit: flickingerbrad on VisualHunt.com

Check for those that have been developed not just by programmers and graphic designers, but with teachers as well. That way, you will have something user-friendly, with an engaging design that will also cover material relevant to your child’s classes, whether reading and writing, math and science.

With such an incentive to learn, it’s obvious that apps are capable of helping children learn and improve their grades.

However, they cannot replace lessons with a live person who can answer questions, see where your child’s weaknesses are and tailor their lessons to their individual needs. But they do offer courses accessible anywhere, anytime, with games and quizzes that will make learning fun.

There are education apps for every level.

Free Tutoring Resources: An Alternative to Private Tutors?

Though educational websites and apps can definitely help your child improve their grades, are they enough for a student experiencing huge learning difficulties?

One of the most important aspects of free tutoring, whether in live online classes, through revision websites or learning game apps, is that you have to organise yourself (or your child) properly.

It’s important that parents follow what the child is doing, can track their progress and give them encouragement.

Additionally, children are not often capable of imposing a learning rhythm on themselves. But it is proven that tutoring apps are only effective if they are used regularly and the child keeps at it.

It’s important to find the right app - one that is adapted to the student and their needs - and set certain times aside, several times a week, to play and learn where the parent is available to answer questions and help with the exercises.

The logical question, of course, is whether a physical tutor is even necessary for real progress to be made.

It is.

Deciding whether or not to get a private tutor is much more critical than it may appear at first.

Tutors can focus on the children's strenghts.
One-on-one tutoring is still the most effective way to help children with learning difficulties. Photo credit: US Department of Education on Visualhunt

Independent learning requires an amazing amount of discipline and autonomy. Having a teacher at hand is useful not just for motivation and to encourage certain learning habits, but also to give you feedback on your learning curve and to answer questions if need be. A teacher will guide their students depending on their needs and learning style and explain things in a different way if they don’t understand immediately. An app or website will present things in a certain way and not all children will respond to it.

This doesn’t mean that websites and apps are useless. But they should be seen as a complementary tool to help stimulate the student and motivate them to learn trigonometry or geometry outside of any private tutoring lessons they might need.

In short, free online tutoring - in writing, math/reading games; on YouTube, for engineering courses and quizzes or calculus 1 revision sheets are useful for students needing to bring up their grade a little, but who generally don’t have trouble learning.

But if a specific subject - or all - is truly proving problematic for your child, choose one-on-one tutoring, whether a paid certified teacher through websites such as Superprof or a free volunteer-based program. The games and quizzes can still play a part in the learning process by motivating your child, but the real progress will be with their teacher.

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