Some tutors charge $60 per hour or more. But you can find experienced tutors who charge much less. And with more tutoring options moving online, you can skip the huge fees without ever leaving your couch.
Below are eight free or low-cost tutoring programs — and details about them that may be especially helpful for students who learn and think differently.
Before you dive in, check with your child’s school to see if it offers free tutoring. Do you live near a college or university? Call their education or psychology department to see if they offer free tutoring for kids. Your child’s school and nearby colleges may also have lists of local groups or people who do free or low-cost tutoring.
1. Children’s Dyslexia Centers
How it works: Kids with dyslexia in grades 1–12 get free one-on-one tutoring twice a week. Tutors are trained in the science of reading. There are more than 40 Children’s Dyslexia Centers in 13 states. The centers are funded by the Scottish Rite, Northern Jurisdiction of Freemasonry.
Keep in mind: Kids must be formally tested for dyslexia before you contact these centers.
2. Club Z Tutoring
How it works: This one costs more than the other groups on this list. But Club Z is one of the few tutoring sites advertising that it helps students with ADHD and learning differences. There are more than 400 locations, so chances are good you can sign up for in-home or online tutoring. (In-person may not be an option during COVID-19.)
Cost: $39 per hour in-person or online
Keep in mind: Some tutors have more experience than others in helping kids with ADHD and learning differences.
How it works: All the tutors at GoPeer are students at top colleges. They know that no two people learn the same way and that most students benefit from learning things in more than one way. GoPeer’s online tutors use a virtual whiteboard and other tools to tailor one-on-one instruction based on a learner’s strengths and needs.
Cost: $20 per hour. You can also apply for free tutoring from volunteer tutors.
Keep in mind: The $20 per hour is on top of a monthly fee. You can pay the monthly fee as you go, at a rate of $25 per month. Or pay for a year all at once at a rate that averages out to $12.50 per month.
4. Learn to Be
How it works: This nonprofit offers free, one-on-one, online tutoring to underserved students. The tutors at Learn to Be are volunteers who are background checked. Students tend to have one or two tutoring sessions a week.
Keep in mind: Applicants are accepted based on financial need. The application includes questions about household income and free or reduced-price lunch.
5. Power Hour at the Boys and Girls Club of America
How it works: This afterschool program helps kids and teens with homework. In some locations, the Power Hour program includes one-on-one tutoring. Tutors and volunteers are trained to identify and help students with ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning differences.
Cost: Free to Boys and Girls Club members. Membership fees are different for different clubs. Some charge $5 a year. Some charge $50 a year. Financial assistance is available.
Keep in mind: Not all clubs offer tutoring as part of the Power Hour program.
6. Varsity Tutors
How it works: Online options include one-on-one tutoring and interactive group classes. You can search Varsity Tutors for tutors certified in subjects, like phonics and executive functioning, that may be especially helpful for your child.
Cost: Large classes are free. Some small group classes cost more than others. For example, a phonics class costs $15 an hour. An Orton–Gillingham (OG) reading class costs $37 an hour or more. (That’s pretty steep, but a one-on-one session with a certified reading specialist is likely to cost a lot more online or in-person.)
Keep in mind: Tutoring prices aren’t listed on the site. You need to call or fill out a form to get that information.
How it works: Some YMCA locations offer a lot of academic support. For example, some North Carolina chapters offer Y Learning. The YMCA of Central New York has an Academic Support Program. In both places, certified teachers provide homework help and group instruction in core subjects like language arts and math.
Cost: Some academic-support programs are free to all kids. Some charge a fee to non-members. Some YMCA locations also offer private tutoring for a fee.
Keep in mind: Not all YMCA locations offer these kinds of academic support.
8. Your local library
How it works: Many public libraries offer free homework help. They partner with sites like Tutor.com to give free one-on-one help from a live, online tutor. You’ll need your library card and an internet connection. Some libraries also offer free one-on-one tutoring in person.
Keep in mind: Some libraries don’t offer online tutoring. And some offer it, but it’s hard to find on their website. Call your local library to ask for help.
Get more information on tutoring for kids who learn and think differently:
- Learn about different kinds of tutoring. Not all tutors have the same level of training or provide the same level of support for students.
- Get a list of questions to ask to help you find the right tutor for your child. If your child isn’t making progress, it may be time to look for a different tutor.
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About the author
Ben Samuel Shapiro “Give in to the treatment. Stop fighting it. It never helps to say it just gets better or this is just a crappy phase in your life.”
Trynia Kaufman, MS is the senior manager of editorial research at Understood. She is a former educator and presents nationwide at education conferences.