Navigating the world of supplemental math-learning services can be overwhelming. With so many different options available, each promising to deliver the best results, it can be difficult to evaluate them relative to one another and determine which one will work best for your family.

The first step in evaluating your options, is to understand the broad categories of services that are out there, what their main pros & cons are, and how the benefits they provide can be quite different, and more (or less) suited to you depending one your needs.


1. Traditional Afterschool Programs

Examples include Mathnasium, Kumon, and Russian School of Mathematics.

Pros Cons
• Offers a fixed weekly schedule that helps children develop a routine • Expensive, typically costing more than $200/month
• Limited 1:1 coaching

Ideal for families who prioritize getting their children out of the house and into a routine, don't mind driving to a physical location, and are comfortable with long learning sessions of an hour or more.


2. Traditional In-Person Tutoring

Examples include freelance tutors and tutoring agencies.

Pros Cons
• Offers a fixed weekly schedule that helps children develop a routine
• Provides dedicated 1:1 coaching
• Expensive, typically costing more than $250/month (and even more if the tutor comes to your home)
• Quality of tutoring can vary significantly

Ideal for families who prioritize having a dedicated adult supervising their children while they work, don't mind driving to a physical location, or are willing to pay a premium for in-home tutoring.


3. Online Tutoring

Examples include freelance tutors and tutoring agencies.

Pros Cons
• Offers a fixed weekly schedule that helps children develop a routine
• Provides dedicated 1:1 coaching
• Expensive, typically costing more than $200/month
• Quality of tutoring can vary significantly

Ideal for families who prioritize having a dedicated adult supervising their children while they work but want to avoid having to drive their kids around after work.


4. Online Math-Content Resources

Examples include Khan Academy, OpenUp Resources, IXL, and Brilliant.

Pros Cons
• Lower price point, with some options being free
• Self-directed learning modules
• No individualized instruction
• Require an adult (parent or teacher) to manage the overall learning of the child

Ideal for families that are simply looking for the digital equivalent of textbooks and worksheets, where the child is already strong in math and capable of taking their learning into their own hands, or where one or more parents have both the time and skill needed to manage their child's learning in math.


5. Hybrid Programs

Examples include Elephant Learning, Cuemath, and Thinkster.

Pros Cons
• Combines learning software and human instruction
• Learning plans personalized to each student
• Limited 1:1 coaching
• More expensive than online math-content resources

Ideal for families who want their children to get ahead in math, see the benefits of learning software, but still want human instructors involved.


6. Online Math Games

Examples include Prodigy, Math Playground, and Hooda Math.

Pros Cons
• Interactive and engaging for children
• Some games are free
• Limited learning content
• No coaching provided
• Contributes to dopamine-burnout

Ideal for families struggling to get their child to do math, and have exhausted all other available options.


7. Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Examples include Grokkoli.

Pros Cons
• Dedicated 1:1 instruction whenever needed
• Manages a child's learning end-to-end
• More affordable than traditional tutoring options
• New technology that that hasn't had the time to fully mature

Ideal for families that want their kids to get ahead in math, but are too busy to be super-hands-on with their kid's learning.


In summary

There's a wide variety of products and services out there to help kids learn math. These range from expensive to free, from taking full-charge of kid's math-learning, to acting more as a self-serve resource where parents remain highly active in managing their kid's learning. We hope this guide helped you get a better sense of which type of service may be best suited to your family.