In-person vs Online tutoring, how do they compare?

I provide both in-person and online tutoring sessions to my students. I personally love the variety of it, and I enjoy the challenge of providing both services. They both provide a perfect situation for my students because I create lessons that are exciting, fun, and challenging. Let me paint a picture for you as I share some of the things that I do with my students.

I have in-person sessions where I travel to the homes of my clients. In preparation of these home visits, I create activities that are focused on the goals of each of my clients. This is similar to what I used to do in my classroom. For example, when my students were studying fractions, I would take time to outline the skills my students needed have in order to meet the goal of the unit. I do the same thing when I am working with my clients. If they need to improve on their multiplication skills, I will typically do a review of addition to make sure they understand that skill. I may take a portion of 2 lessons reviewing this. Then I will introduce the idea of multiplication by using repeated counting skills. I will use graphic organizers and manipulatives to help them practice grouping and counting. I will then incorporate games that allow my clients to practice their math facts. Eventually we will lead this double-digit by single-digit numbers where I teach them how to multiply larger numbers. This all takes time, but as we work through this, I ensure that my clients know the steps and have a solid understanding of the concept of multiplication. These steps are same steps that I take when working online.

I spend time making board games as well and looking for board games that we can play as we practice our math facts. I find this lessens the stress and keeps the meetings fun. The child is still practicing their math facts, but we are also incorporating some strategizing as we go. One of the things I recommend for families is that you use a gameboard that you already have at home. Then pull out the flashcards that you already own and use them as question cards to move forward on the gameboard. This is a great way to use somethings you already have on hand, and it is an easy way to make practicing something that is dull, a lot of fun!

There are times that I bring worksheets and we use some of the problems for practice, but we will rarely do all of the problems. I want to be sure the kids understand the problems we are practicing, and I certainly don’t want them to feel like they are in school. I want them to feel supported and continue to have fun while they are learning.

I don’t use any video or digital lessons when I meet in person. It is easier for me to explain things in person using a whiteboard or a manipulative when I am sitting right next to a student.

All of this requires preparation and planning, but I do the same amount of preparing when I plan for a digital lesson.

My planning goes the same way, but I have to really get creative when I am doing an online lesson. This requires me to research or create things that my students can manipulate just like we are in person. I use Google Meet because it talks nicely with my whiteboard (Google jamboard), it works well with Google Slides and Google doc, gmail, and Google’s calendar. I can quickly and efficiently access my materials in the meeting without having to download things to share my screen.


I think the hardest thing to do is to get this information into a whiteboard that is easy for both me and my student to use. What I will typically do is create a Google slide with the image I want to cast into the background of the whiteboard, then I will import that image after taking a screenshot of it. If it is embedded into the background, then it cannot move around. Then I will create any manipulatives that need to be on the screen. For example, I might need counters. Within the jamboard, I will create a circle, add color, and then duplicate it as many times as I need to for the activity we are doing. Or, I might need a protractor, so I will find an image with a transparent background, I will add it as an image onto the screen so it can be moved around. All of this takes quite a bit of time and planning to make sure my whiteboard is ready for each of my students.

Google Meet Session

I also use a Google Classroom for each of my students or classes. I can add a Google Meet link inside of the classroom and my kids can join after I invite them for the lesson. Then I can share my whiteboard, slides, etc.

I would estimate that it takes me about an hour of planning for each hour of teachings. Then it takes me about 10 minutes after the lesson to write my notes and get my invoicing done. That is the same for both in-person and online clients.

So, in order to teach an in-person client my total time is 1 hour of planning, 1 hour of teaching, 10 minutes of office work, and then total travel time to and from which is about 40 minutes round trip. I only charge my clients $50 for an hour of instructional service, but as you can see, it is closer to 2 + hours.

When you are considering if you want in-person or online tutoring, I think you can be assured that you are getting the same thing! I love the challenge of teaching. I love the kids, and I have been so blessed with wonderful, supportive parents.

For more information about Tutoring with Sheryl, be sure to visit

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Published by Tutoring with Sheryl

I have 32 years of experience teaching in public schools in Nebraska. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincon. I hold a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane University. I have 2 Google for Education Certifications. I have been tutoring online for 1 year. I have worked with countless students of all ages to support their education. I also support teachers with planning and management in their classrooms.

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