Math Homework Problems? Consider the Pros and Cons of Online Tutoring, Math Tutors, and Math Centers

Feb 23, 2018 | Southlake

Math Homework Problems?


Consider the Pros and Cons of Online Tutoring, Math Tutors, and Math Centers

Every night Bridget dreaded asking her son, Michael, about his math homework.  Michael usually stomped off and returned with a crumpled worksheet and slammed it on the table.  Bridget watched as Michael struggled. He kept his head down, muttered, and got more and more agitated. Often simple problems would be wrong and he didn’t even notice. Bridget later learned he was showing classic warning signs of math struggles.

When Bridget tried to help, he complained that she wasn’t doing it right and that she just didn’t understand.

He was right. She didn’t understand. She knew how she would do the problems and get the right answers. She just didn’t understand some of the tasks Michael was being asked to do.


She wondered:

·        Why does he have to explain his thinking and show his work?

·        Why does he make so many simple mistakes?

·        What was wrong with her way of solving problems?

·        What’s the deal with all the “tools” he is supposed to use, like number lines, arrays, diagrams and boxes? Tools should make things easier, not more confusing.


Negative Mood

Michael’s math homework time disrupted the whole family. Michael and Bridget fought more about math homework than any other subject. Plus, she was neglecting reading to her daughter because she was busy cajoling Michael. She went to Michael’s teacher for help.

Michael’s teacher explained how Common Core has changed math instruction. She pointed Bridget to some online resources including, the Common Core website article “Key Shifts in Mathematics”.


The articles explained how math instruction has undergone a major paradigm shift recently.  Bridget was armed with more knowledge, but homework time was still dreadful. She needed to quickly put an end to the homework wars.


She vowed to get him the help he needed to get him back on track and stop the tears and

arguments. She decided to learn about online tutoring, math tutors and math centers, like Mathnasium of Southlake.  She wrote down the pros and cons of each option.

Benefits of Online Tutoring

  •                It can be done in your home using technology.
  •                You can chose the online tutor based on factors other than geography. This is great for people living in rural areas.
  •                It is often the cheapest option.
  •                You can sometimes record or download parts of the lesson.
  •                It may be one-on-one.
  •                Some have flexible schedules.
  •                Goes at the pace of the child.
  •                May give updates about progress.

Cons of Online Tutoring

  •                You may waste valuable time and money because your child simply doesn’t pay attention. Many kids get distracted at home with siblings, television, cell phones, or just about anything.
  •                Children don’t build the same rapport with online tutors that they do with face-to-face instructors. This affects their motivation and level of participation.
  •                You have to buy computer accessories to communicate effectively online.
  •                Technological glitches may disrupt a tutoring session.
  •                The internet has a lot of tutoring scams. It is definitely a “buyer beware” mentality.
  •                Hiring a good online tutor takes a lot of time and effort. It’s not unusual to go through several ineffective tutors before finding a good one.
  •                Online tutors often only work on homework and don’t address learning gaps.
  •                Online tutors don’t use a well-structured curriculum.
  •                The parent still has to supervise the tutoring session.
  •                Most do not give an assessment to find gaps in the student’s learning.
  •                Many families don’t follow through with the tutoring.

Benefits of Private Math Tutors

  •                Some of them come to your home.
  •                It is one-on-one and face-to-face.
  •                Children might build a rapport with the private tutors and may ask more questions.
  •                Goes at the pace of the child.
  •                May give detailed updates about progress.

Cons of Private Math Tutors

  •                Hiring a good tutor takes a lot of time and effort. It’s not unusual to go through several ineffective tutors before finding a good one.
  •                They rarely use a well-structured curriculum.
  •                They are often the most expensive option.
  •                Many kids get distracted at home.
  •                Some children become dependent on their tutor and don’t attempt their math homework without the tutor being there.
  •                Most do not give an assessment.
  •                They rarely have flexible schedules.
  •                You must be ready to make a financial and time commitment.

Benefits of a Math Center like Mathnasium of Southlake

  •                We have a well-structured curriculum. Mathnasium helps with school homework as well.
  •                Goes at the pace of the child.
  •                It is face-to-face with individual instruction.
  •                We use different learning styles to work with a child’s strengths.
  •                Students have time to work independently and get quick feedback. They learn resiliency without overwhelming frustration.
  •                The center director finds the best tutors and trains them. The parents just choose the center with the curriculum and philosophy that matches their child’s needs. Mathnasium focuses on number sense, numerical fluency, and assists with completing homework. Children build a rapport with the instructors and are engaged in math 97% of the time (everyone needs a stretch break sometimes).
  •                Mathnasium gives a thorough assessment to find gaps in mathematical understanding.
  •                We give frequent detailed updates about progress.
  •                Some have flexible schedules. Mathnasiusm of Southlake is open Monday through Thursday, and Saturdays.
  •                Parents do not have to supervise the instruction. They are encouraged to go workout, run an errand, or relax.
  •                Personalized tutoring is often available.

Cons of some Math Centers

  •                Some centers gives extra homework. Many families find the extra homework tedious and cumbersome. Mathnasium students do not get extra homework.
  •                Parents must evaluate a child’s readiness to go to a math center.
  •                Mathnasium works with children in second grade and up.
  •                You must find a center that specializes in your child’s needs.
  •                Mathnasiusm only focuses on math instruction, math homework, and test prep related to math.
  •                You must be ready to make a financial and time commitment to improving math.


Bridget took Michael to Mathnasiusm of Southlake. The director gave him a thorough assessment and the knowledgeable instructors helped him with math homework and understanding math at a deeper level.  Bridget doesn’t dread asking Michael about math homework anymore. He has even started to show her some different ways to do multiplication. Most of all, Bridget loves seeing Michael smile again.


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