What’s the difference between a tutor and a homework helper tutor?

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Parents often have questions about the difference between a tutor and a homework helper tutor. The biggest difference is the tutor assesses your child’s current ability and works to teach the concepts that your child struggles with the most. Often times these concepts are not from the current grade level, rather concepts that were not learned in previous grades and are the building blocks of the current concepts. This is especially true when it comes to math concepts since math builds on previous learning. If your child didn’t learn a concept very well in third grade, he or she might be struggling in fourth grade, but it’s really the third grade concept that needs to be retaught. A homework helper tutor, on the other hand, does not do an initial assessment and does not reteach concepts. A homework helper simply helps your child with the current day’s homework, prompting him or her to complete it and keeping him or her on task. This type of tutor might give a little background knowledge in order to help with the homework, but this person is not going to reteach concepts from year’s past that were not learned by your child. A homework helper tutor will get your child through the homework, but your child will most likely not really learn what he or she needs to learn in order to be successful in years to come. Refer to the chart below for more comparisons.

Tutor                                                  Homework Helper

Assesses current academic level and identifies needs Works on nightly homework
Identifies goals for tutoring Works on current concepts
Plans lessons based on child’s needs No planning involved
Teaches lessons based on child’s needs No teaching involved
Reteaches concepts that your child might not have learned No reteaching of concepts
Certified teacher with teaching experience College student
Cost $50-75 per session Cost $15-30 per session


If your child is struggling with homework, it would be a good idea to identify the reason or hire a tutor to do an initial assessment to identify the reason for the struggle. If it is determined that your child just doesn’t like doing homework and needs prompting to complete it, then a homework helper is the way to go. However, if it is determined that your child is really struggling with concepts, it would be more beneficial to hire a professional tutor.


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