Sylvan Learning Center costs between $40–$100 per hour class in each subject. Prices are competitive with after-hour activities and tutoring in your area. STEM programs start at around $99/hour.
Berry Fowler founded Sylvan Learning in 1979 in Portland, Oregon, as an educational center for children of all ages and grade levels. A year later, he began franchising the business, and by 1986, he had set up corporate learning centers in major cities across the US. Sylvan is currently in every US state and in Canada, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. It offers small group learning, in-home tutoring, computerized training, and online learning.
With rates ranging from $40–$100 per hour class in each subject, prices are competitive with after-hour activities and tutoring in your area. STEM programs start at around $99/hour.
Sylvan Learning Center in Minneapolis, MN, prices:
Payment is based on a retainer concept, whereby you pay a fee in advance of classes given. If you pay for a few months up front in one payment, you get a discount. Be sure to ask in advance about refunds if your child becomes ill or you face difficult circumstances, and make sure their response is included in the contract before you sign it.
Sylvan Learning Center in Homewood, IL, say, “Our tutoring sessions cost between $39 and $45 per hour. We have a number of different payment options to help parents fit tutoring into their budgets. The hourly rate covers all materials and supplies, time with a certified teacher, progress monitoring, our Sylvan motivational system, communication with the student's classroom teacher, a parent portal for reviewing daily lessons and any further testing.”
SylvanSync™ teaching system is “a proven approach to mastering new skills, we focus on tracking one skill at a time in order to ensure retention and mastery via interaction and engagement. Using iPads®, our lessons capture students’ attention and maximize results.” — Sylvan Learning
One of the biggest issues a parent faces when trying to figure out how to improve a child’s learning is how to free up time after a full day of work and every other task that must be taken care of before bed. There’s simply no time available to sit with children and go over their homework or explain fractions or help with reading comprehension.
Sylvan tutors make all the difference, in that by going to the center or having a tutor teach your children online, you children can get the help they need. While it’s not usually one-on-one unless you are signed up to the personal tutoring program, classes are usually no larger than 3–4 children—much more attention than in a class of 20–25 peers.
Each child takes an initial skills test to assess strengths and weaknesses and a customized learning plan is put together from Sylvan’s library of lesson plans and worksheets to bring those weaknesses up to grade level or higher. Where most children start to feel overwhelmed is when they haven’t grasped earlier concepts that lay the groundwork for the harder problems. Sylvan recognizes which concepts must be learned first before moving on to more difficult ideas.
When at the learning center, children work on the worksheets or they can go through their homework and ask the tutor for help understanding the concepts.
Children can often feel overwhelmed when they don’t understand something and the work in class keeps getting more and more difficult. They are slowly getting left behind and wonder if they are stupid and not as good as the rest of their peers, when in reality they may have a different learning style or they never learned basic phonics or counting skills. Having a tutor available to teach them basics until they’re certain they understand them can give the children the confidence to keep learning new things and move forward, until they are once again at the grade level of their peers.
Some children have never learned how to study in a distraction-free zone with a teacher’s focus on just 1–4 students. With Sylvan, they learn how to study and how to do everything one step at a time rather than give up before they even start. Teachers are able to gently encourage and model ways to learn without tears and frustrated anger. One aspect of the program kids love is the motivational rewards they earn as they move forward.
As children learn more vocabulary and learn how to examine a text and understand the points being made, they can read faster and do English comprehension and writing homework faster too. Reading retention also improves.
Sylvan’s teaching programs cover kindergarten through twelfth grade because they want to provide help at every level of a child’s learning. They match the learning goals of the public-school system for math, language arts, and science at all grade levels; give homework support to elementary and middle school students; and offer ACT and SAT test prep courses. They also offer educational games to help students between sessions: Students can download apps and play educational games to increase their academic skills all week long.
“Results were shown that students who attended the Sylvan Learning Center improved their grades, as well as, their foundational and fundamental skills.” — DePuy, Jessica, "The Effect that Using a Tutor or Learning Center has on Student's Grades" (2007). Mathematical and Computing Sciences Masters. Paper 81.
Different centers appear to adopt different models. Make sure teachers teach the grades they have experience teaching. Do thorough research on the center you are considering to make sure the director is hiring and assigning teachers and students wisely. Ask other parents if their children have the same teacher(s) every week and that they are well suited to teaching from their wealth of experience and knowledge. To read about other parents’ experiences, read the recent and helpful reviews here.
Flexible scheduling – Many Sylvan teachers are available after school, in the evenings, and on the weekend, so you can set up a schedule that suits you. You also have online tutoring options.
Progress reports - Teachers give progress reports regularly, either in person or via the center’s director.
Online access – Parents and students have 24/7 access to their programs and reports.
Because you will be paying by the hour for great results, and possibly going out of your way to drive to and from the center every week, it’s best to do a lot of research first to make sure the center has already made a visible difference in other students’ lives.
For instance, Robyn Bard of the Sylvan Learning Center in Palm Harbor, FL, is “a veteran math teacher who tutors elementary age children, ages 7-12. She has been teaching statistics to high school levels, college students and professionals.”
Sylvan Learning Center in Homewood, IL, say, “We have a staff of over 20 tutors who specialized in many different areas. Over 1/2 of us have our Master’s Degree in Education.”
One father said of Sylvan Learning Center in Woburn, MA, “My son’s SAT score went up 100 points! It was last minute but I contacted Sylvan to prep my son 3 weeks before the test.”
Of Sylvan Learning Manteca in CA, a mother said, “Thanks Sylvan for giving my son confidence in his learning and helping him to improve his grades on his report card.”
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