Comparisons of tutoring options

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Learning Centers vs. Private Tutor

Jan 2005

My son has embarked on the voyage through reading and math and has reached stormy seas. We are considering a private tutor or a learning center such as SCORE in Alameda, which seems to have a long term track record, at least according to their literature. We have looked at BPN site and we would like to get some current opinions, experiences, and recommendations. thks. parent on a quest

Based on our experience of tutoring and learning centers, I would highly recommend a learning center. Our son had two years of tutoring before his learning style was evaluated and we learned that 1.) he's very bright and 2.) he's dyslexic. Neither of his well-intentioned tutors, both educators associated with highly regarded public and private schools, had a clue about the extent of our son's learning challenges. I don't mean to suggest your son has the same learning differences, however, your son can only benefit from the formal testing a learning center such as Lindamood-bell,(our 7 y.o. thanked us for sending him there!). LMB, Reading Revolution, and like programs evaluate the child's learning styles so they can customize a program for the child. I do not know anything about SCORE. Safe and successful voyage to you! anonymous

Comparing various tutor centers


I think I have researched all of the places you asked about. We have been to Sylvan (for a year of study skills) and are currently enrolled in Kumon for math.

I have three boys and used Sylvan and Kumon for my oldest. Sylvan was a waste of money! I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. At least the Study Skills part. Kumon is really great for rote math skills. They don't Teach the kids how to do the problems which is really hard for some problems, but once they learn how to do the problems it's really great. It's a very slow process and you just have to except that. There is no way to speed it up. Considering how Berkeley schools don't really have time to teach all of the math the kids will need, Kumon is perfect plus the kids feel a huge sense of confidence and accomplishment while they are doing Kumon.

For my twins, we researched Score!, The Tutoring Center, The Active Reading Clinic and private tutoring. They are all about the same price and Score! was the only one that really different. Score! and Sylvan are alike both in price and the commitment they expect from parents. (6 months to a year) Score will offer a guarantee only when you sign up for a certain length of time. They have two programs, both use their own materials (so if it's homework help you need they won't be useful)

One is computers -- the kids come in twice a week and spend 50 mins on the computer answering questions. Only good for kids that are self sufficient and self-motivated. I think that was about $125 a month. Their other program is one-on-one (really 3-1) and they come in twice a week and work with the kids using their material. I was not able to see this material up close but saw some kids using a wire bound book. . . this is about $280 a month or some thing like that. (no charge for eval if you sign up first, if you insist on eval, they charge.

Of the more traditional tutoring centers, we looked at the Active Reading Clinic, The Tutoring Center and private tutoring The Active Reading clinic we were unable to get an appointment soon enough, although from our phone conversations, they appear to work the same as the tutoring center except they use more hands on tools to encourage reading. They were $58 an hour, they recommended 2 times a week. $65 for eval

The Tutoring Center: They just told me what was wrong, and they showed me some of the tools they would use, but when pressed for an objective or plan they could/would not give me one (for that matter, none of the other places I went would except the one I chose!). They were $35 an hour. $35 for eval

I went with a private place called Just right reading. My reason was because of all the places I went she was the most complete. She gave each of the twins an hour evaluation and then a few days later came back and explained each of the twins' area of weakness and showed us her plan. Her rate is $45 per hour. $50 for eval

I hope this helps you, if not and you would like more information, please feel free to e-mail me any questions. By the way, I got all these names and numbers from the phone book. Each of the places charged for an evaluation, so if you go to a lot of places, be prepared to spend a lot of money. Good luck!