Though you may be lucky enough to have some peace and quiet from 8am to 3pm now that school is back in session, you’ll soon also face the problem of the homework your kids will bring home. So what do you do when you need to sit down with your child and you cannot remember how compound possession or polynomial long division works? And if you don’t know the answers, where can you go to find them?
Elizabeth Marymee, a longtime home tutor for the Orange Unified School District has been in and out of many a textbook over the years, and is certified to teach grades 6-12: opening the door for a broad range of situations and questions to be answered. She notes, first and foremost, that parental involvement is key.
“Just this week I realized I’d been asking my son how school was, and would get ‘good, fine,’ or something. When I discovered that he hadn’t turned in an assignment, I dug further. We figured out why it had happened, and strategized how he could do better next time. There is a tender balance. You have to give instruction, check for follow through and good habits, but step back to let them accomplish and feel proud of what they can do.”
The Center Director for Mathnasium in Fountain Valley, Kip Fisher, agrees, adding, “One thing a parent can do is consider that if his or her child is struggling in math, it may be because he or she did not learn something they should have learned to prepare for the concept which is now a struggle.”
How do you help your child stay on track as the school year settles into a routine? Mrs. Marymee recommends you create a checklist; have the kids write down their homework every day; have them do their homework in front of you. That way, you are accessible for questions and they are completing work as you watch.
But this still begs the question of how, without having taken elementary or high school grammar in what seems like eons, you can answer your child’s questions with confidence. Ms. Breault, an 11th grade English teacher at Magnolia High School encourages you to “stay in touch with your child’s teachers, especially to ask for resources that you and your child can use to develop your understanding of a subject. Many cities offer free homework help in the form of peer tutoring, public library programs, or Boys and Girls clubs in the area.” By plugging in to an outside resource, you may be offering your child the best possible option, while simultaneously saving yourself from re-learning complex polynomials, calculus, or rereading A Tale of Two Cities.
Mathnasium is one such place: offering a wide array of educational resources in what Ms. Breault would call a “distraction free, consistent routine.” And when your child starts making progress? Mr. Fisher suggests establishing “a long-term relationship with that tutor or learning center. That way, your child always has a trusted resource he or she can count on in times of need.” M