It’s late in the evening, you are making dinner, the phone is ringing, probably those telemarketers again, the kids are doing their homework and the dog wants some attention. Then comes the that long drawn out, “Moooommm.”
Algebra. With a deep sigh, you head over to the table look over the problem. It looks like Greek to you. It has been over 10 years since you have had to even look at this stuff.
Not to worry. There are resources for parents to help their children academically.
“Most textbook companies have tutorials online, if parents have computers or the Internet,” says Patricia White, the fourth-grade Gifted And Talented Education teacher at Vinewood Elementary School. “Teacher Tube has some great help videos. There are some great websites out there that help students.”
“Motivating children and expectations truly starts at a young age. Parents have to value school work and support their children,” she said. “Asking the teacher about the assignments and ways to help your individual student helps too. It’s not a bother. Check their grades online daily or weekly to make sure the student is turning in their homework and how they are doing on it,”
Tammy Naylor, a teacher at Bear Creek high School, echoes those sentiments.
“The Spanish department has an online site that serves as a companion with the textbooks. For math, we use www.classzone.com for extra help with algebra,” she said.
“Check (the student’s) grades. Make sure they are turning in their work,” says Naylor. “Parents think that with a high school freshman they can start to lay off a little bit. But parents need to stay on them. There are now more social distractions.”
“If they say they don’t have homework in the first three weeks of school, they are fibbing. Ask what they did today in class. Ask to see their notes from class. If they are not taking notes — something is wrong. They should be using the academic vocabulary, even if the parent doesn’t necessarily understands it,” she said.
As a parent, communicate with the instructors, send them emails or stop by after school. Most teachers are willing to stay after school and help a struggling student if they know they are trying.
Both teachers say to check with your own school to see what tutoring is available but also highly recommend the public library. The Lodi Public Library offers tutoring for up to eighth grade in the Homework Help Center for free Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Galt Library offers live online homework help, a writing lab where you can submit your work and receive feedback and also live foreign language homework help. You just need a library card.
Lodi mother and substitute teacher, Leona Marrone, says being available to your child as they are doing their homework helps her and her daughter, Bella, 9.
“I am still really involved with Bella’s homework. Even though she is more independent, I sit down with her and make sure she understands the work in front of her. I think it is important to check in with the teacher, even if it is once a month, to she how they are doing. You can even email the instructors now. Parents expect that the teacher will contact you if the student is doing poorly or there are changes in the work. But they have so many students and other things to deal with, that your child and a bad grade may not be the most important at that moment. The parents need to take the extra step,” she said.
Contact reporter Jennifer M. Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org.