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Tutor vs. Homework Helper

This is an issue that comes up a lot as a tutor. What exactly is the difference between a tutor and a homework helper? In short, plenty.

1. A homework helper is there to ensure that a student gets a good grade on their homework. When a tutor is helping with homework, the tutor is there to make sure the student understands the homework.

2. Using a homework helper, you will see an improvement in the student's homework grades but not quiz/exam grades (which may actually drop), whereas a tutor will see an overall improvement, including tests.

3. A homework helper has nothing to do if the student has no homework, whereas a tutor still has plenty to do since learning is not reliant on homework.

4. A homework helper will often do the work for the student, whereas a tutor will rarely, if ever, do the work for the student.

5. A homework helper uses statements to tell about the subject, whereas a tutor will ask questions so that the student learns about the material.

6. A homework helper answers questions at their own level of knowledge, whereas a tutor will explain concepts in ways the student can understand.

There are many more differences, but they all come from one root reason: A homework helper works for good grades. A tutor works for understanding.


I totally agree... There are a lot of students out there that really only want homework help. When I get those students I have to tell them frankly that that's not what I do and they need to find someone else.
@ Jennifer: I am glad it helped to clarify the differences :) @ Michael: I agree with you as well, to an extent. When a student or family wants homework help, I try to explain the difference. Most of the time, they can tell the difference and realize that they actually prefer the tutor. Actually, I think I have only turned down one student who truly did just want the homework helper.
Great post, Brian, and you provide some good talking points for explaining the differences to parents and students.


Brian S.

Certified, Full-Time Tutor of Most Subjects

3500+ hours