- Rod Gustafson
Advertising usually gets a bad rap in our society -- and sometimes rightly so.
It seems there is nowhere you can go where you aren't subjected to a marketing
message of some type.
However, it's also important to recognize remember the positive role
advertising plays. It often pays for the delivery of information and services
that would not otherwise be available, or that would cost us more if we had to
pay from our own pocket.
Web sites (like my own site at ParentPreviews.com) also use the same business
premise, and one has been brought to my attention that has a particularly
valuable offering to any parent who has wondered if tutoring might help their
child achieve better grades at school.
began delivering tutoring services over the Internet a few years ago. Founded
by Douglas J. Golden, a retired attorney, and his brother Steve, the concept
(like most great business ideas) is deceptively simple:
Golden's daughter was in need of tutoring assistance a few years back and, like
many of us, he paid the fees to a traditional "brick and mortar" tutoring
service in his neighborhood and was pleased to see her performance improve.
But, as he went through the weekly ritual of returning worksheets and having
new assignments provided to her, he recognized that effective tutoring could be
done through a systematic process, as long as a parent was willing to provide
just a few minutes per day assisting their child.
Some time later, with the Internet reaching out to virtually every home in the
nation, these brothers came up with a (ahem...) "Golden" idea -- develop a web
site that would assess student's abilities in math and language skills and
then, based on an evaluation of a preliminary test, provide them with the
exercises they required to improve in deficient areas. Even better, make it
affordable enough so every family could access the help.
Opening the web site in early 2004, the services were well received at the
nominal fee of $15 per month. In fact, they had enough visitors to the site
that they recognized they could achieve their ultimate goal and supply the
materials to visitors at no cost and support the effort through advertising.
Retooling the entire idea, they reopened the "new" MindSpringing.com in May of
2008 and are already seeing a huge number of visitors from the United States,
Canada and many other parts of the world.
They are also getting visits, according to Golden, from "hundreds and hundreds
of schools and boards of education... even hospitals." The latter, Golden
presumes, is from parents of children who are missing school due to illness and
needing to maintain their study skills.
And Golden notes that all of this has been achieved with very little
From a user's perspective the MindSprinting.com site provides a very
professional approach. Registration can be done on a child's behalf by a
parent, or children can register themselves. There is also an option for
teachers to register an entire class. And, in case you were curious as I was,
you can also register as an adult and discover if you could still pass high
school math. (No comment from this author...)
A "dashboard" is what you will see every time you log in. It keeps track of any
students you are working with, charts their progress and offers assistance. It
makes it easy for a parent to keep tabs on the progress of more than one child.
From this you can access virtually everything you require including a selection
of custom reports.
Another nice feature is the "fast tracking" ability. This allows you to jump
around in the curriculum if you feel your child is able to progress more
quickly. Or, you can go back and revisit previous lessons and concepts.
Finally, most of us parents are looking for ways to have children do something
that doesn't involve sitting at the computer (or video game, or television,
or...). Thankfully, after you take the initial test to assess your needs, the
skill building sessions can be output from your computer's printer, allowing a
child to work anywhere and not require a computer.
Obviously, when it comes to motivating a child to learn, nothing can replace a
dedicated teacher along with a helpful parent -- a fact Golden brought up
repeatedly during our interview. But parents especially usually need some extra
provide parents, who may be rusty with their own skills, with the materials
they need to give their kids that extra boost. Considering the price, it's
definitely worth a click.
Headquartered in Miami, FL, MINDsprinting offers tailored, directed,
worksheet programs for FREE from