Product Review: WeTutor

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Several weeks ago, I was contacted by the folks at WeTutor about reviewing their new, online tutoring service. I was immediately intrigued by the idea of a tutoring session which could take place from the comfort of my own home at my convenience. And, seeing as how I have a child who makes me want to pull my grammar-loving, word-smithing hair out when I give her a writing assignment, I jumped at the opportunity.

I’m glad I did!

WeTutor brings together certified teachers from all over the country for private, one-on-one, online tutoring in real time. Some of the most obvious benefits that I’ve observed while using WeTutor are:

  • Fewer limitations. Families aren’t limited to teachers who live nearby. You can search the database of qualified tutors and find someone who meets your student’s specific needs.
  • No commute, a benefit that saves gas and time.
  • Less disruption. Homeschooling families can appreciate the value of not having to pull all the kids away from their schoolwork in order to take one child to tutoring. Because the tutoring is online, the rest of the family can carry on with other things during tutoring time.
  • Flexibility. With an entire database of qualified tutors from which to choose, you can connect with a tutor whose availability best matches your family’s needs.

How Does Online Tutoring Work?

First, you select a tutor by browsing by grade level, subject, or keyword. Each tutor has a profile, listing their qualifications, their rating (think: eBay), their typical availability, their rates and their contact information. You can email or call potential tutors and ask any questions that you may have about the tutoring sessions, the tutor’s philosophies — anything that you might typically ask when interviewing a potential, in-person tutor.

Once, you have selected your tutor and arranged a tutoring session, you’ll meet together in the “Virtual Classroom.” The classroom features separate windows for the student and tutor, an instant messaging screen and a virtual white board. While this is all that is required for a tutoring session, I highly recommend a microphone headset. Even a webcam is optional. Being able to talk with (and even see) your tutor is like sitting across the table in person with her, since the sessions are in real time.

The virtual white board is awesome! Both student and teacher can each see what is being typed or drawn on the white board. For example, during our first session, our tutor typed a letter to Brianna, reading aloud as she typed, and Brianna was able to write back. Our subsequent lessons have included everything from brain storming topic ideas to putting together a paragraph on the virtual white board.

I’m sure that many homeschooling families may be wondering about tutoring with a teacher from a traditional school setting — if stereotypes or prejudices might come into play. I’m sure that this is a distinct possibility, just as it would be with any tutoring service, but it hasn’t been the case with the tutor with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working. She has been very professional, encouraging, and enagaging, and I’m already seeing an increase in Brianna’s confidence level. I’ve also picked up several tips that I can use in our homeschool. With the large database and the ability to talk personally with potential tutors, it should be easy to find someone whose personality and teaching styles mesh with that of your family.

I only noticed a couple of things that could be potential drawbacks to WeTutor. First, for us there was a learning curve involved in the first session or two for both student and teacher, as far as the technology is concerned. However, I imagine that this will become less and less a factor as the teachers themselves become more familiar with how everything works. WeTutor is only about six months old, so many of the tutors are still familiarizing themselves with the technology.

The other is that the flexibility may give a sense of less commitment. Because there isn’t a physical meeting planned, it can be tempting to reschedule. This has happened with both us and our tutor a couple of times. Of course, that isn’t necessarily a complete negative because conflicts do arise and it’s nice to know that if something does come up neither you nor your tutor have wasted a lot of time and gas money to get to a meeting that has to be rescheduled.

Do you have additional questions about WeTutor? Good! Because I’ll be doing a follow-up interview with the creator of WeTutor, Frank Marvin soon. Leave your questions in the comments.

Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. Wow! The idea of this excites me more than you could possibly know. I would love to have Ruby and Locksley tutored. I'll go browse their site immediately. 🙂

  2. That sounds like a really great resource. My only question would be do the tutors go through a background check? The internet can be a dangerous portal into a child's home/life.

  3. Hi. This is John from Wetutor.

    Thanks Kris for the great post.

    Cheryl, we verify the identify of all tutors and confirm that they are active teachers at a U.S. school. In addition, tutors cannot initiate contacting any student (parents are required to do that), and we do not share any student information with a tutor other than the student's anonymous ID.

  4. I wanna know how WeTutor keeps up with different educational/academic levels? Do they do it like homeschoolers do? 🙂

    roseinthemorning [at] gmail [dot] com

  5. Great, thanks for the answers. Knowing that they are active teachers calms my fears being that you are supposed to have a background check in order to teach 🙂

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