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Saving money on math education for son

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    Saving money on math education for son

    Here's a random finance related question out there -
    As a finance / frugal person myself - I see math education as a pretty big deal for my kids. So I am spending some extra resources to make sure my eldest do well in his Algebra class. I figure that a good math education is the foundation of all things financial. And having a good grasp of basic arithmetic and numeracy is probably the best life long gift I can get for him.

    So lo and behold, my inquiries has been disappointing. An algebra tutor costs anything from $30-$50 an hour. After a year of this - I don't think I will have my $$$ for their college tuition.

    Just to throw it out there, ideas as to how to save money on additional math education for the kids? I am looking at some options:
    1. I tutor him myself, after a full day, spend an hour with him
    2. I ask his teacher for any free after-school resources for algebra
    3. I use an online algebra site like Khan Academy and StudyPug Algebra - this is a variant of (1), but I think it's probably less demanding for me.
    4. Try to haggle with the Algebra tutor for a bulk rate? Prepay maybe?

    Anyways, open to any other money saving advice

    I fail to see what doing well in algebra has to do with your kid managing personal financial stuff well in life. Arithmetic, yes, but not algebra.

    Was your kid having trouble with Algebra? If so, was it bad enough that a private tutor is warranted or is it something you can realistically help with? When my daughter was struggling with Physics, I tutored her through it.

    I'm a little confused by your comment that if you get a tutor, you won't have money for college. Let's say you can find someone in the middle of your range for $40/hour. Knock off school breaks and family vacations and maybe you have the tutor for 46 weeks of the year. That only comes to $1,840. Is that really enough to make or break your college plans?

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.


      Algebra is one of the things I tutor. To be honest, if your child is motivated and able to concentrate on an oral and visual presentation, then I think Khan Academy is excellent. And it's free. It tends to follow the topics schools cover and if the order is different than at the school, then the topics are easy to find on Khan. Why not have you kid review Khan Academy for the grade/topics he had this past school year? That way he can find out if he is able to understand Khan and work with it.

      If your kid is gets frustrated with math and has lost confidence, then someone working one on one with him can make a huge difference. For some kids, I think delaying algebra by a year can make a difference in mental readiness. But if the kid really needs help now, get or give the help now; don't wait for next school year.

      After school tutoring varies. At some schools it is very minimal help by someone who might know only some of the topics. At other schools it is as good as one-on-one with the same teachers who are in the classroom and are prepared to go right to the bulls-eye of the student's problems. Meeting with the classroom teachers also avoids the problem of slightly different terminology one teacher may use as compared to another. That may seem small, but if a student is struggling, it is just one more hurdle to hear "1 over x" instead of "the reciprocal of x". But, yes, ask what the school can offer.
      "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

      "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass


        Thanks, everyone. Yah, I was being somewhat facetious with regard to the cost of the algebra tutoring and relative to university tuition - it's mostly that I was taken aback at the cost.

        I am definitely going to take a route of some sort of online algebra support + significant parental support.

        But I think while basic arithmetic is important for financial well-being - a solid grasp of more advanced math concepts (if algebra is considered advanced) prepare you for more advanced financial discussions. Stuff like statistical relevance, correlation of assets in a portfolio, the relevance of long-term compound growth.etc. etc.

        But one thing about strong financial well-being is mental math, I think we are not thinking enough about the ability to do math on the 'street' so to speak.


          Some people who are really good at math still have a disconnect when it comes to personal finance and money. Sometimes I think it could be a personality thing.