How parents can help their children with math homework

Fall classes begin today and Monday at Union County and New Albany schools, and with school comes homework.

Parents may want to help, but teaching methods have changed several times over the years so the older generation cannot count on a child’s having the same learning experience they did.

One New Albany math teacher and coach, Robert Garrett, has offered some suggestions to help parents cope with contemporary school study and teaching methods.

“In my experience, most parents want to help their children with math homework and often feel frustrated or confused,” he said. “Students often tell parents ‘that is not how the teacher taught us.’”

“Parents often say one of two things; either ‘I haven’t done this since I was in school,’ or ‘we didn’t do this when I was in school.’”

No matter what the frustrations of the parent or the child, Garrett says there are two solutions to make the nightly homework battle more of a harmonious educational learning experience.

“First, parents need to know what the child’s homework is on a nightly basis,” Garrett said. “Most children either tell their parents that they have no homework, or they already did their homework at school.”

Now, thanks to twitter.com parents can check behind their children to see what homework the teacher has assigned on a daily basis. In fact, at New Albany High School teachers tweet their homework out on a daily basis. “This is so valuable for the students and the parents. Absent students can remain informed of what they missed and parents can check on what homework their student has,” Garrett said. This allows parents to verify and check their child’s assignments.

“The next innovation that every parent and student should know about is khanacademy.org,” he said. “This is the most powerful, innovative, and free educational tool I have ever seen. Often sales people from other companies present similar technology that is very expensive and not nearly as powerful as what khanacademy.org offers for free.”

Khanacademy.org is an instructional website that allows children to learn many subjects, particularly math, for free.

With their moto “Completely Free, Forever,” khanacademy.org starts with Kindergarten mathematics instruction and works students all the way through calculus in short easy to understand videos.

“What makes this site so powerful is that after watching the video it gives students practice problems on the topic they just learned and will not let them move on till they master the current topic,” he said.

“A child could learn their entire math course at their own pace in their room alone. If a parent were to watch the khanacademy.org video corresponding to that day’s instruction, then work the problems, they could easily teach their child what they learned,” Garrett said. “This makes parent involvement in math instruction easy and fun.”

The website and videos work on any device with Internet connectivity.

“At New Albany High School, our teachers in the math department tweet the homework every day,” Garrett said. “This year the math department will tweet on a daily basis the video from khanacademy.org that corresponds to that day’s classroom instruction. I encourage parents and students to utilize this technology on a daily basis as well. With the added rigor of the Common Core State Standards, khanacademy.org and twitter can help students to not only survive but also thrive.”

Khan Academy was started by New Orleans native and educator Salman Khan, who holds multiple degrees from M. I.T. It began as simple notes to help tutor a cousin but after more and friends asked about the mini-tutorials he decided to put them on the internet. His mini-tutorials, all free, now include math, history, physics, chemistry, medicine, finance, biology, astronomy, computer science, economics and a few other fields.

If you are interested in a khanacademy account for free, visit their website at www.khanacademy.org and follow the on-screen instructions to create an account.

If you are interested in a twitter account for free, visit www.twitter.com and follow the on-screen instructions to create an account.

Math department twitter accounts:

@garrettmath @spannellmath @speckmath @slaglemath @poundersmath

  • Susan Jones

    PLease know that lots of math teachers have put instructional videos of much higher quality than Khan Academy’s online, on Youtube and other places. He has done a great job of touting himself and his videos are great if you need to go back and review a procedure, but for a first-time learner of something it can be frustrating. FOr instance, the videos for figuring out areas are all about rectangles (and his drawings don’t match in size with numbers)… but the exercises include asking about triangles. The instruction is almost entirely procedural; he doesn’t address misconceptions and …. oh, and he tells us at one point that “two plus itself” is the same as two times one…
    Again, a great model in the potential for online education… but like most innovators, has its wrinkles to iron out.

  • Greyson McGrail

    Homework Unlocked is also completely free and geared towards parents. It provides short videos, audio podcasts and visual cheat sheets to help parents help their kids with their homework. It doesn’t replace the teacher, it empowers the parent! Pretty cool. Check it out http://www.homeworkunlocked.com or email for more info info@homeworkunlocked.com