On my way to the vet’s this morning I happened upon the John Tesh Intelligence for Your Life Radio show just as he was discussing how to help kids with their homework. John offered the following tips for parents (find the full transcript here):
- First, talk to the teacher about a tutoring session for you. Teachers say that most parents are too embarrassed to admit they can’t do 7th grade math, or worse, 4th grade vocabulary words. Some teachers can provide CD tutorials, or give you access to websites for the curriculum they use in class. They might even point you to textbook websites, which have special sections designed to help parents help their kids.
- Another homework tip: Plug math problems into Google. You’ll probably find a website that’ll give you the answer, and tell you how to get it.
- You can also find instructions, practice problems, and refresher videos on websites like A Better Answer, TeacherTube, and KhanAcademy.org.
- And you can buy used copies of most teacher’s edition textbooks on Amazon. Teacher’s editions provide the answers, and show you how to explain it to your child. And it’s not cheating, as long as you don’t just feed your kids the answers.
I thought John’s ideas were simple and effective but they get me thinking: wouldn’t these tips be even better as the basis for a library program? The first month of school the librarian could work with teachers to find out what they will be teaching and when this year (something we should be doing anyway), find out what textbooks they are using, ask what other resources they recommend and put together an information night for parents.
The information night could debrief parents on what their kids will be learning and when and show them what resources are available to help them help their kids. Before the information night the librarian could identify teachers willing to provide tutoring sessions and even arrange for them to be available at the event. The librarian could create a resources cheat sheet to hand out to parents that also lists teachers willing to tutor and their preferred contact information and/or create a parents’ resources section on the library webpage.
If the budget allows maybe the library could obtain teacher editions of the textbooks being used in classes and make them available for parents to check out. Perhaps if a teacher has several parents that request tutoring sessions the library could be used as a meeting space for those sessions? Maybe the event could even be held quarterly to keep parents up to date on what their children (and they) will be working on each marking period?
What do you think of the librarian running a homework help event and/or program? What other ways do you provide parents with assistance in understanding and helping their children’s schoolwork?
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you tomorrow.