What is online tutoring and how does it work?

We’re entering an uncertain time, where the normal things that children do - go to school, play outside with friends and family outings, are all coming to a halt. While for many students, it’s already meant the end of school - some for the year, some for good, school is still continuing for many others.

Now more than ever, it’s going to be important that your children find focus when it comes to learning and school work - something which can be difficult being out of the classroom setting.

We’re lucky to live in an age where online learning is possible, allowing students to learn remotely, wherever they are. Some direct tutoring is a fantastic option for parents who are still working, even at home, making sure that everyone gets the help and attention they need.

But how do online tutoring sessions work? Can they be a useful substitute for in-person tutoring? And how can students get the most out of them? Read on to find out more about how online tutoring sessions to help your child get through this difficult period. 

What are online tutoring sessions?

Online tutoring sessions are private sessions that allow students personal tutoring in several subjects, including maths, the sciences and English. Tutoring spans several age ranges, including 11+, Key Stage 3, GCSE and A-Level students. 

There are different types of tutoring sessions available, helping to tackle specific subject areas, or the entire course from beginning to end. They can help to provide clarity around a specific topic, as well as help with exam preparations as the time gets nearer. Having an expert teacher provide personal tuition can make a big difference to learning, making things more interesting for your child in the process.

A virtual tutoring session provides tutoring sessions remotely. Sessions are private, and can be run using different applications and tech, including Skype, Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams and others. Online tutoring provides a simple and easy way to receive regular instruction, or an intensive course of sessions which can provide an extra boost pre-exams, or when a student needs help with a particular topic.

Many people are turning to online tutoring sessions now to help ensure their child continues to receive a quality education, keeping that important connection to teachers and a subject that can provide stability during this uncertain time.

Are online tutoring lessons a good substitute for in-person tutoring?

Not all parents are born teachers. During this time, where homeschooling is very unprecedented, it’s normal to feel out of your depth. While you can help with homework and different tasks, the contact your child has with a teacher is important for their development, as well as helping them stay in a routine. Whether chosen as an extra, or as part of your child’s learning while at home, online tutoring lessons will be a great replacement for in-person tutoring.

Online tutoring lessons have a number of benefits. They can save time as there’s no travel involved, and they allow a student to be tutored in the comfort of their own home, under the watchful eye of parents. Being able to learn in the home will make a child feel more confident and comfortable, and can help create some great ways of learning. Some of the key benefits of online tutoring include:

  • Low-cost private tutoring for your child
  • Cover topics in-depth to provide tailored learning from 11+ through to A-Levels.
  • Flexible time slots provide tutoring after school hours as well as on weekends.
  • Simple to use technology will make sessions easy to get started.
  • Qualified, experienced teachers who are experts in their subject area will give your child the instruction they need.
  • Works great alongside other learning methods.
  • Can help your child excel in their exams to ensure a bright future.


Right now, many children have no choice but to do their learning online. But while kids have to work at home, so are their parents. Trying to juggle work and homeschooling the children can be difficult, which makes online tutoring lessons a great way to ensure that your kids stay educated, while you get the chance to carry on with your work too.

Video tutoring provides the same kind of interaction that you’d get from in-person tutoring. Thanks to screen sharing, it’s possible to see resources and workspaces, allowing for easier feedback and faster progress. 

Online tutoring provides flexibility, meaning a student can book a session at a time that suits them, making it easier to fit tutoring around the rest of the school day. There is also a lot of weekend availability, allowing you to choose a time that best suits your family’s schedule.

Making online tutoring session a success

There are several things that can be done to make online tutoring sessions a success. Some key tips include:

Discuss requirements and expectations

Having an upfront discussion with your tutor is a good way to outline each other’s requirements, agree on what needs to be learned and more. It also helps to have that initial meeting to make sure that both you and your child are happy with your selected tutor.

Work in a distraction-free environment

A tutoring session requires your concentration, something which can be difficult when there’s a lot of distractions in the house. A quiet space is necessary, with no TV, no music and nobody else running around. 

An effective workspace should include a desk and a supportive chair, which can help boost concentration and focus.

Create a set routine

Establishing a routine is important at this time, helping your child to develop some sense of normality. A routine can help make sure that days aren’t spent on the sofa watching TV or playing games, helping to prioritise education. 

A solid routine can include a mix of study time, as well as leisure activities - which are also important. Online tutoring sessions can form a part of this routine, helping to make sure they become an accepted part of your child’s new routine.

Stay close to your router

A solid internet connection is essential for ensuring a successful online tutoring session. Make sure your router is located near where your child will be working. You can also use a signal booster to help create a stronger signal.

Meanwhile, try to limit the number of people in the house using the internet connection at the same time. If everyone is connected during your child’s session, there’s a danger they could experience buffering, poor quality audio and more.

Check your audio connection in advance

Being able to see and hear a tutor is important for getting the most out of an online tutoring session. If the audio isn’t clear on either end, it can make things difficult to understand, and focus will be lost quickly. 

Test the audio connection in advance to make sure everything’s order. Using earphones with a built-in microphone can help make sound crisper, as well as blocking out the background noise - ideal in a busy household.

Carry out the necessary checks in advance

As well as testing the audio, you should try out your chosen platform in advance. You should check that the features require everything you need, such as screen sharing or collaborative working. Some video apps provide mobile compatibility as well, allowing photos of paper/work to be shared while maintaining the connection.

Take notes 

While it’s important to focus on what’s being said during the session, taking notes is also important. This can help remember what was taught later on, and is useful for revision too. It’s not easy to remember everything that’s said during a tutoring session, so taking notes can help serve as a prompt, and could be converted into notecards at a later stage.

Ask questions

One on one time with a tutor provides a more in-depth session than what takes place in a classroom. It’s the ideal time to ask questions about different topics, as well as clarify information. Writing down questions to ask at the end of the session can make sure your child gets a better understanding of what’s being taught, and also helps the tutor understand what your child has learned, and what needs more work.

Refresh the topic afterwards

Taking an interest in what your child is learning can help them take more of an interest too. After each session, you should go over what was learnt with your child to improve retention and to help educate yourself too. This can make it easier for you to help with homework, as well as keep track of your child’s progress.

Test learning through regular assessments

Assessments and tests are a good way of establishing what your child is confident with, and where they’re struggling. Your tutor will be able to provide some assessments, and you can create your own too. Your child’s needs can change over time, so a test now and then of what they’ve learned can help you see where improvement is needed, or when they can move onto a different topic.

Further advice for getting the most out of online tutoring

Signing up for online tutoring sessions is a good way to help your child excel in their studies and get the one-on-one attention they might need to go far. There are all kinds of programmes available, from single sessions to regular sessions that can help your child work through a specific topic, or the entire curriculum.

Assessing your child’s needs is something that can be done through their school, as well as the tutor. There are online assessments 11+, as well as different outlines for Key Stage 3, GCSE and A-Level that can help ensure a tailored experience. 

At this time, when children can feel displaced or unable to focus on their schoolwork, some tutoring can be very beneficial. Discuss the benefits with your child, who might be happy to receive some more detailed instruction, helping them feel as though they’re back in the classroom. 

Online tutoring can work alongside other schooling methods to produce great results. It’s cost-effective, practical and will help give your child the boost they need. While GCSEs and A-Levels have been cancelled for this year, for pupils currently in Years 10 and 12, it’s important that they feel supported and able to carry on with work towards their exams ready for next year. 

Review your child’s progress regularly and check in with them after each session. It’s important that you take an interest to help keep them interested, and ensure that you’re happy with how they’re progressing.

If you have any questions or queries about your child’s online tutoring sessions, your tutor will be more than happy to answer them.

Sign up for online tutoring today

Ready to give online tutoring a try? Think Smart Academy is a leader in providing specialist tutoring for children studying for 11 Plus, KS3, GCSEs and A-Levels, covering a variety of key topics to help your child go far. Providing sessions 7 days a week, it’s possible to fit tutoring in with your family’s routine, helping your kids to get the extra help they need with school. 

Think Smart Academy was born out of more than 10 years of teaching experience, and we provide expert tuition that helps ensure exam success and help your child grow in confidence, even with the trickiest of subject areas. Sessions are flexible and can be both short-term and long-term to meet your child’s specific needs.

Online tutoring is an excellent way to boost your child’s learning. Providing excellent value for money, these sessions can help you feel more at ease with your child learning at home, and help make sure that they get the help they need to soar through their exams. 

If you’re ready to book some online tutoring with our Slough-based tutors, contact Think Smart Academy today. You can Contact Us via Whatsapp or our online contact form, or you can call us now on 01753 531 818.

Help give your child a bright future by booking some online tutoring sessions today.


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