High School Algebra Crisis
My son is a junior in high school and is having a lot of difficulty with Algebra 2. His teacher moves very quickly and even though he has stayed after school several times for help, he still cannot quite grasp it. I've checked the internet for Algebra 2 help, and there is a video available, but it's over $100.00. Does anyone know of a website for free help on Algebra 2 or have other suggestions?
At my daughter's school, the guidance office will arrange peer counseling for students in any subject. In our area, those that are paid get about $10 an hour for personal one-on-one tutoring. The pay-off over a video is that the tutor has usually just taken the course themselves and sometimes had the same teacher. They can spot the problem the student is having and use their notes and book to help.
Another alternative at our local schools are the Civic Responsibilities classes. These students are required to do volunteer work in the community. Some of them do tutoring to their peers.
University Student Tutors
If you live close to a college or university see if a math student could tutor your son. Many times they are reasonable and know what they are talking about. Also, see if a nearby library has a copy of the Algebra program you can check out. Hope this helps. I personally struggled with algebra all through high school and college so I know where he is coming from.
When I was in high school, our school had a peer tutoring program through the local chapter of the National Honor Society (no cost to students). Melanie might want to check with the guidance office about this -- and if one doesn't exist, start one. She probably isn't the only parent trying to find help for a child. Volunteer students can leave a list of classes they "excel" in and available times with the guidance office, and students in need of help can check with a counselor to arrange an introduction with a peer tutor. We had a contract, too, that we signed, agreeing to simple things like advance notice if the session needed to be cancelled, how long and how often we agreed to meet, and where we'd meet. Another option is to check with the local community college -- many times there are postings there for low-cost tutoring ($5-7 hour).
There is a free online resource called Purple Math. They offer free math help and have a listing of other sources along with a short review of each.
Advice from a Math Teacher
I am a certified math teacher, but I am not teaching right now while I complete my master's degree in counseling. I have several comments for the parent. First, buying the video is not the answer. I have previewed many of these for my school system. They are helpful for advanced students who can work independently, but they are not usually helpful to a student who is struggling. Also, I have not found many that are worth the high cost.
Second, the best solution is to set up a parent-teacher conference with the son present. This will let the teacher know how much he is struggling and that you as a parent want to help. Also, this will give the parent information about the student's behavior in class. If the student is paying attention and asking questions in class, the parent will find that out also. Third, tutoring is available at reasonable costs. At some schools, Mu Alpha Theta, a math honor society, offers free tutoring by their members. Also, some education colleges require that the education majors tutor a specific number of hours at a lab on campus. The service is usually offered at a low rate.
Another way is to barter services. For example, I knew a student who did minor car repairs in exchange for tutoring services. Also, use any resources you have for tutors such as a church member, a neighbor, a relative, or a family friend. Most people are willing to help someone they know for little or no fee. Fourth, always get help early. Algebra skills build and you can't skip understanding a lesson and be able to continue. It is very common for students to wait until final exams in Dec. to decide that they need help to earn an A or a B to pass the class. In the past, I have done a few of these cram sessions for children of friends or relatives, but they are rarely successful. A semester of work can not be taught in a night or two.
I think the http://www.algebra-online.com/ would be very useful for Algebra help. There is a message board for kids to ask questions (and adults / teachers to respond), as well as free tutoring by e-mail with volunteer teachers.
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