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My child's school has been offering after school tutoring for kids going in person, but she’s still virtual and wasn't even told that this was an option. Now her teacher is asking me why she hasn't signed up for it. She could use the tutoring, but what if she has to go in person to receive it? What are my options?

Miffed in Missouri

A photo of Whitney.

Whitney Henderson

Whitney Henderson is EdNavigator's Chief Program Officer. She brings more than a decade of experience as an award-winning teacher, school leader, and instructional expert.

Dear Miffed:

It’s frustrating that you weren’t notified about the after school tutoring option. Regardless of your child’s mode of learning right now, you should be given clear information about what kind of support is available so you can make an informed decision about what you want to take advantage of. But anyway, here we are. It sounds like—according to the teacher—tutoring is available to your child as a remote learner. So given that, here are a few thoughts:

Is virtual tutoring a possibility? Even if school isn’t officially offering remote tutoring, could they arrange for your child to do a Zoom call with the tutor instead of sitting across from them? It’s worth asking, because it’s possible that this would be an easy fix.

If tutoring is only possible in person, you have the right to get your questions answered so you feel comfortable. We’re still in a pandemic, and your school is offering virtual learning for a reason—so families do not have to send their children into school buildings if they aren’t comfortable doing so. If in-person tutoring is the only option and you think your child would benefit from the extra support, is there information you could acquire that would help you feel better about her going into the building? For example, what’s the tutoring setting like? Could they meet in a room where it won’t be crowded with students, or in a large space with good airflow? (A library or cafeteria, for example, or a classroom with windows open? Or even on the playground?) Can the tutor sit distanced from your child? Will they wear a mask? These are all fair questions to ask school before you sign up. You could also consider getting your child a more highly effective mask, or doubling their masks so they have more protection. (We’ve got some good mask suggestions here.)

If you’re not comfortable sending your child into the building for tutoring, consider outside-of-school virtual options. Unfortunately, private tutoring can be expensive, but there are some free or affordable options out there. Check out UPchieve and CovEd, two organizations that offer free virtual tutoring. GoPeer connects college students to K-12 students for tutoring at around $20 per hour, but the organization offers two free hours per family.

Finally, check out non-tutoring resources, too. If your child needs a little extra support in certain academic areas but it isn’t urgent enough to require a tutor, there are lots of great options out there for giving them extra practice. We love Khan Academy, BrainPOP, and IXL Education. For virtual classes, check out Reconstruction, online learning with a focus on Black communities, culture, and history.