By Lynn Ball
Now that school season is back in full swing, classwork, homework, organization, stress and anxiety are pressing for time and attention. There are a couple of options for families to help their students succeed.
Parents can help support students in many ways. Helping students understand concepts and helping students with their homework are two options for families. We can also provide a quiet space and time to work. Parents who share positive messages about school, math, and homework face less hurdles than parents who share negative messages. Asking questions deeper than “How was your day?” can also help. Ask your students deeper, more open ended questions like “Tell me one thing you learned today?” or “Can you explain this to me?”
Older siblings, cousins, aunts or uncles are often a great resource for students. Older siblings have faced the same problems, assignments, and sometimes the same instructors. Older siblings or cousins who have been through school more recently than a parent can often share a different perspective than a parent. They also have a different peer to peer relationship to build upon.
Private tutoring can be expensive. However, private tutors are able to focus on your child’s specific needs. This targeted instruction can really help your student meet his/her educational goals. Many teachers also offer free before or after school tutoring. Some school districts can pay teachers to work extra hours to tutor students and help with homework. Ask your child’s teacher if this is an option for your school.
Local High School Students
Local high schools are another forgotten resource for tutors. Call or go into your local high school and ask for to meeting with the chair of the department your child needs help. The department chair will be able to recommend students who would be available and make good tutors.
Sacramento Public Library
The Sacramento Public Library offers two free options. Ten local libraries offer weekly tutoring options. Local libraries that offer in person school support include Arden, Elk Grove, Galt, North Highlands-Antelope, Rancho Cordova, South Gate, North Laguna, and North and South Natomas. Libraries also offer free wifi and a quiet, clean study environment. Check out http://www.saclibrary.org/Services/Homework-Coaches/ or call 916-264-2700 to check dates and times and for more information.
Khan Academy is a free online resource library of videos that supports learners of all ages. The video modules are appropriately paced for self guided learning. Students and families can search for videos based on a specific topic of interest or study. With thousands of videos to choose from, Khas Academy has a video content that will support your learner. Check out https://www.khanacademy.org/ for more information.
More and more apps and web-based online supports systems are popping up everyday. Some apps provide quick answers. Some of these applications can be used for cheating so proceed with caution.
PhotoMath: Struggling with a math problem? Take a picture of it, send it to PhotoMath, and PhotoMath will solve it and provide step by step instructions on how to solve it. How cool is that?
iHomework: This organization tool helps students keep track of all of his or her assignments. As assignments, deadlines and personal commitments build up, an organizational tool like ihomework can be invaluable.
Google Translate: Besides offering support in over 100 languages, Google Translate can offer support in different ways. After writing an essay, a student can upload their essay to Google Translate and the app will read the essay aloud, allowing your student to hear their essay and find mistakes or errors.
Easy Spelling Aid +: Is a homework helper for younger students. This app helps students with spelling, reading comprehension, and vocabulary. Using the app’s voice recognition technology, students can speak words into the app and the app will display correct spelling and punctuation. This app also provides dyslexia support and many different languages.
Socratic: Socratic offers help to older students who may need support in almost all academic areas including: Science, Chemistry, History, English, Economics, and different Math classes. This app is free and available for IOS and in the Google Play Store.
Lynn Ball is a parent, teacher and consultant based in Northern California. His facebook page, Mathematical Number Talks (www.facebook.com/numbertalksconsultant) provides professional development, research, and tools for students, parents, and educators.