Crying at the kitchen table.
Papers sprawled everywhere.
Way pass our bedtimes.
No, it's not tax season.
It's me trying to help my tween with her homework.
Well, that used to be me.
I have my limits and knew that this wasn't healthy for either of us. I recalled the long nights with College Boy when he was her age and knew that I didn't have the brain power to go through the same thing again.
Before you shake your head in pity, have you looked at a tween's homework these days? Stuff like standard algorithms, lattice multiplication, and other common core newbies are making plenty of parents scratch their heads.
A study by the website theguardian.com, found that moms and dads can do more harm than good because their teaching methods may be different than the way the child is learning at school. Things change, so as parents, we can't expect new math to always remain the new way as we learned it.
So, before you pull yet another strand of hair from your head in disgust or throw your hands up in disgust, take a look at my suggestions on how to get your child homework help when you just don't understand it enough to be able to effectively help them:
Find a tutor. I know that this is an expensive route to go but if you can afford it, I highly recommend it. Tutors can be retired teachers, high school students, your friend that's a math whiz. Definitely do your research first because you want to make sure that the tutor and your child "click". A Google search can yield results as well as your local newspapers or magazines (yes, you can still find print mags). Check at your child's school for recommendations. We are fortunate enough to have an afterschool program that also offers tutoring services. It took us two tries, but we have finally landed on the right one. How do I know it's the right one? The first one we tried looked good on the outside but soon after I realized that Tween Girl had way too much free time and TV watching. Yes, she would complete her homework before I picked her up but I also noticed that she and the staff didn't quite gel together. There were also way more boys than girls there and I did not like those numbers. Nothing on their part, the relationship just never formed. This year, she is enrolled in a different program where I can actually see a difference in her school work. There is a nice ratio of boys and girls, the staff cares and Tween Girl has formed a great relationship with the staff.
Get help from the teacher. Many teachers want to be the first point of contact for problems such as these. Sometimes, though, parents get embarrassed because they don't understand their 4th graders homework. They aren't quite sure how the teacher may respond, probably gather in the teacher's lounge and talk about them, who knows! Seriously though, parents should follow whatever method of communication the teacher has set up. Either call, email or set up a conference to discuss the homework issues. Parents, loose the embarrassment, your child needs help.
Online resources. I wish that in my day, I could have just jumped on the internet and have instant homework help. Ok, so this did actually exist in my day, geez, I'm only 41! Didn't exist for me, we didn't have a computer when I was growing up. Anyway, again, a Google search can yield many results. My go-to online resource is Pinterest. There are many boards/groups that are started by real teachers, some are based on grade levels. Teachers will post actual content they are going over in class or teaching method recommendations. I created a Pinterest Board specifically for school stuff and here's a board that we used quite a bit last year, 3rd grade gridiron.
Another online resource is YouTube. Youtube is not just for learning how to apply mascara like a boss! We have only used it for math problems, spend any amount of time with me and you will know that math and I don't get along. The good thing with YouTube is that you can pause, stop and rewind.
There you go...breathe a sigh of relief! No need for you to enroll in school in order to help your child with homework. And trust me, you are not alone. Education Week presented an article regarding this very subject. No parent should feel powerless when it comes to helping their child succeed academically.
Me, we're locking in our tutor until after Tween Girl graduates from college!
Have you ever completed your kid's homework yourself? C'mon, tell the truth!