There’s plenty of information about how stupid worksheets are. They are myopic and linear and they promote competition (what page are you on?) and rigid thinking (did I get the right answer?).
That said, some kids love worksheets. My youngest son, for example. Here’s what else he likes:
- Predictable moments
- Pleasing people
- Getting right answers
This means that math worksheets are great for him.
The problem is that he’s great at them and I’m not. I’m not great at them because I am terrible at math and I am terrible at sitting through worksheets.
So I started investigating the world of tutoring. Here’s what I found:
Most expensive: My Learning Springboard. The range of tutoring they provide is incredible. You don’t even have to know what sort of math tutoring you want, because the Learning Concierge service will meet with you and your child and assess which enrichment programs are best for your child’s development.
Most ambitious: Tutor.com. They’re owned by the same company as Match.com and they bring the same algorithmic-based genius to tutoring. The good news is that it’s not expensive. The bad news is that it’s a big operation, and parents are used to having one, trusted source for tutoring.
Most intimate: Scott Palat runs Tutorfi.com. You can take one look at the site and you know it doesn’t have the money behind it that the other two sites do. But Scott’s site is the equivalent of a small, intimate, hands-on tutoring service that is competing with the big chains. Scott has contacted me like, I don’t know, 50 times, and each time he has been so genuine and nice that I can’t help liking him.
It turns out that my husband really likes doing math with my son. Given the range of things my husband can do with my son to make him happy—Scooby Doo Pop N Race, Minecraft, shoe shopping—my husband would pick math worksheets any day. So they do that together, and they like it.
But now I can see that sometimes tutoring is a good supplement to homeschool. As long as it’s what the kid wants.