MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – A new website is taking the world by storm.
Military dependents in grades kindergarten through 12th grade and service members enrolled in community colleges are logging onto Tutor.com to get some extra help from professional tutors so they can excel in their studies.
“This is a worldwide program, and tutors are available 24 hours a day,” said Julie Fulton, the school liaison officer for kindergarten through 12th grade education, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “As long as you have internet and can access Tutor.com/military, you can use it.”
Although this interactive tutoring service is available to anyone, the Department of Defense funds the program for active-duty service members and their dependents. The program is also available for one year to dependents of service members who have recently retired.
“It normally costs about $59 for a two-hour session,” said Fulton. “[Military] kids can use it an unlimited number of sessions a month, so it’s a really huge financial resource for our families.”
This past fall, school liaison officers at MCB Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River worked with administrative personnel at Tutor.com to provide identification numbers of eligible students; officials at Tutor.com then registered them in bulk. Military dependents who are not yet registered and attend off-base, local county schools can begin their registration process on Tutor.com, and then contact their respective base libraries to request a password and complete the registration process.
Once students have logged on with their respective usernames and passwords, they select their grade level and subject matter, and they can indicate how much help they need. Students then enter a virtual classroom where they chat live with their tutors, use the paintbrush tool to illustrate problems and customize their avatars. Tutors also teach students how to find and identify educational, authoritative websites, as well as how to navigate through them.
Fulton said tutors not only help students with specific problems, but also use the Socratic method.
“If the child says, ‘I don’t know how to do this problem,’ the tutors will give them a similar problem, then ask them questions that will lead them to the answer,” said Fulton. “This helps the child understand the concept rather than just finish the homework.”
Fulton said parents are encouraged to log on with their children so they can monitor their questions and progress. She added Tutor.com was a very safe program and that exchanging names and other personal information is forbidden.
Anyone who wants to become a tutor may apply. Eligible applicants go through background checks and must pass exams to show their subject matter expertise and which specific grade levels they may teach. Only then do they become certified tutors. Fulton said tutors are in high demand since anyone in the world, at any given time, can access the website.
Tayler Snipes, a senior at Lejeune High School, has been using Tutor.com since the beginning of the school year. She said news about the website spread quickly among LHS’ student body because students would post blogs on Facebook about using the service. Snipes, who is also the president of the executive board of the Student Government Association, logs on during the day and after school to get help with her math homework.
“I think [Tutor.com] is fantastic,” said Snipes. “I am in (advanced placement) calculus, and every problem has its own problem-solving method. I went on there and the tutor showed me two different ways to do the problem. In fact, she not only showed me the answer, but why the answer was what it was. She showed me on the graph, calculator and algebraically.”
Snipes said the online tutors are very patient, and she has seen a drastic improvement in her academic performance.
“Tutor.com really saved my grade,” said Snipes.
Martha Harville, the information specialist at LHS, said Tutor.com was a good resource for high school students who participate in extra-curricular activities and those who stay up late working on homework. She said even though students work through the internet, Tutor.com’s human interaction plays a key role in students’ success.
“This is the ‘24/7’ information age, and when they don’t have a teacher to go to or if the school is closed, Tutor.com is there,” said Harville. “When they log onto Tutor.com, they are dealing with a person, which is different than going on Google and just clicking a link.”
Fulton said Tutor.com was also very convenient for military personnel and dependents because of the transient, ever-changing lifestyle.
“Especially for our Marine Corps families, when we have such a high deployment tempo, we are dealing with a lot of single-parent households. Mom is cooking, taking care of the baby, working late, and the kids don’t always have access to an adult who can help them with their homework,” said Fulton. “This generation of children is just so comfortable with technology and computers that it makes sense for them to use a computer whenever they have a problem. So, they go to Tutor.com and it’s just a natural resource for them.”
For more information about Tutor.com, visit Tutor.com/military, or contact your local base library to register.