When you find out your child is struggling at school, your first reaction is to help them yourself. But sometimes, parent and child clash and that homework help becomes a battle of wills.
So where do you turn to for help? And how do you find free homework help? Here are a few ideas:
Start with your child’s teacher. Have a conversation with your child’s teacher about your child’s struggle with homework. Ask the teacher what things you could do at home with your child to help facilitate his or her learning. Ask if there are any alternative methods for learning the material. Most teachers appreciate parents who ask questions and want to help their kids at home. And good teachers usually have a variety of tricks up their sleeve to help kids who struggle with learning certain materials.
Explore what is available at your child’s school. Some schools do have after-school homework help programs that are available at no-cost to your child. Other schools may organize study groups. Many schools have a variety of subscriptions to programs (like reading, science, spelling and math) that can be accessed online from home. A lot of these programs offer fun education games and exercises for kids. If you think that your child’s challenges with homework are part of a larger learning disability, there are services at your child’s school that can help them.
Visit the website for your child’s textbook. Many textbook publishers offer supplemental materials on their websites for students. You may find additional practice worksheets, online games, quizzes and more.
Look for homework help in the community. Many local YMCA chapters, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other youth groups offer free tutoring to kids after school. Check to see what options are available in your community.
Check with your public library. Libraries are a wonderful source of information and resources for learners at every age level. Some libraries have free tutoring programs. Others offer access to free online tutoring services. In addition, the library may have a variety of supplemental resources to make it easier for your child to understand difficult material.
Watch a little YouTube. A simple YouTube search for “elementary math help” pulls up a variety of videos showing how to solve elementary math problems. Look for videos that are not marked as advertising, have a lot of views, and that get a lot of positive reviews. And be sure to watch any YouTube before you show them to your child to make sure the information is appropriate for your child.
Ask family and friends for homework help. Chances are good that someone you know has the skills to explain a tough topic to your child, so be sure to ask around. Sometimes a child learns better from someone who isn’t Mom or Dad. And don’t forget that you can connect your child with a distant friend or relative using Skype or Google Hangouts. Your friends and family may also have some advice for different approaches to helping with homework that you may not have tried with your child.
Get organized. Sometimes a child’s biggest struggle with homework is just keeping on top of what is due and when. Get your child a calendar or planner where they can keep track of assignments (Lots of businesses and sometimes even schools give these out for free at the beginning of the year) Make sure you have a designated homework spot with all the supplies your child will need to get the work done.
Consider your child’s learning style. Some kids learn better by hearing things. Others need to visualize. And some need hands-on projects. Figure out how your child learns best and adapt your homework time to meet that style.
Sometimes help is worth paying for. If you’ve tried all of the free options, and your child still doesn’t seem to be making any progress, it may be time to hire a professional tutor. Be sure to ask for rates and visit requirements (some tutoring services require 1-2 weekly appointments). If you select a qualifying facility, the tutoring expense may be eligible for education tax credits.
The bottom line: Don’t wait. Don’t let your child lose most of a school year to a “wait and see” attitude. Education is a lot like building blocks: You’ve got to have a good foundation. So start finding homework help for your child today!