News: Free online tutoring offered at Tutor.com for Military Families
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Many students can encounter roadblocks in their homework, and have no one to ask for help until the next school day begins. Eligible military-affiliated students can receive instant help from an online tutor at military.tutor.com.
Established in 1998, Tutor.com hosts 5,000 tutoring sessions daily. Of the students who use Tutor.com, 90 percent have improved one grade level, and 60 percent have improved two grade levels, according to Maureen Haney, a program manager at Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families. Haney visited Marine Corps Base Hawaii, March 25, 2014, to share information about the service.
In 2009, a Marine Corps librarian purchased the online tutoring service for patrons at the installation library. From there, interest grew within the branch, and soon, the Army, Navy and Air Force followed suit, eventually establishing Tutor.com for Military Families, offering free service to eligible students.
“Tutor.com is highly recommended by the base Education Center,” said Craig Lockwood, the education services officer at the Education Center. “We constantly encourage our families to take advantage of it. It provides the kind of one-on-one academic tutoring for which a civilian can easily pay $40 to 50 per hour. It’s an amazing resource.”
Approximately 3,000 subject matter experts are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the exception of certain holidays. Every tutor is prescreened and supervised as they help clients. Haney added that about 10 percent of the tutors even have military ties.
Eligible military patrons can set up an account online and receive free tutoring at Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families. Though the Department of Defense currently sponsors much of the free tutoring, eligibility varies with each branch, and is based on available funding. With regard to the Corps, inactive/part-time Marine Corps reservists, their dependents, as well as the dependent children of active-duty Marines, deployed Marine reservists, wounded warriors and surviving children of deceased Marines are eligible. All active-duty sailors, Navy reservists, inactive/part-time Coast Guard reservists and the dependents of all three are eligible. The dependent children of Navy wounded warriors and survivors of deceased sailors are also eligible. Visit military.tutor.com and click on the branch for more eligibility details.
“Tutor.com is a great resource for military children,” Haney said. “When they move around a lot they’re in different school systems with different curriculums, so they often are faced (with) challenges of different coursework. From year to year things may change. Tutor.com is like a safety net. It’s a constant in their lives. They can use Tutor.com no matter where they are in the world or where they are going so that would be the biggest benefit for military students.”
Students chat anonymously with a tutor via online messaging. For subjects that require visual aids, like Math, students and tutors can draw on a special digital whiteboard. Students can also take advantage of various other features. They can leave unfinished problems in a virtual locker, save chats and illustrations for future review, and save “favorite” tutors to their account.
“From personal experience, during an online, live tutoring session, the tutored is always anonymous to tutor,” said Thaiha Vo-Le, an education services specialist at the Education Center. “I had the option to upload any document for immediate review and ask direct questions in a chat box. Tutors must pass subject-matter tests in order to tutor in particular subjects. The anonymous tutor assigned to me said she was able to tutor in English, Spanish and math. She provides tutoring from kindergarten up to (graduate) level education. Logging on was very simple and reaching a tutor was only a few clicks away.”
Vo-Le added that through Tutor.com, students have access to various resources including practice worksheets, lessons and videos.
According to Haney, there is also a smartphone application available for the website. Students can access a tutor through their smartphone, and send photos of their homework, using the app.
For more information about eligibility, the website’s features and creating an account, visit military.tutor.com.