Homework Helpers

Many parents worry about not knowing the mathematics their children are studying. One way to provide help with math homework is really quite easy: ask questions. Simple, generic questions can help your child gradually make sense of mathematics, build confidence, encourage mathematical thinking and communication. When given the opportunity to talk about mathematics, children are often able to remember what they learned in class and see the solution themselves. A good question can open up your child's thinking about the problem at hand. 
Here are some useful questions for parents to try. Remember that listening to your child's answers and providing calm responses are as important as the questions you pose. 

When your child isn’t sure how to begin a problem, ask:

Can you tell me what you know now? What facts do you have? 
What do you need to fins out? Can you estimate the answer? 
How might you begin? What can you try first? 
Can you make a drawing or picture to get started?

While your child is working on the problem, ask: 
How can you organize your information? Will a list or table help? 
What would happen if...? Show me what you did that did not work. 
Can you explain the strategy you are using to solve this? Why did you...?
What could you do next? Do you see any patterns? 

When your child finds the answer, ask: 
Does that answer make sense? Why do you think that? 
How did you get your answer? Do you think it is right? Tell me more. 
Convince me that your solution makes sense. Explain it in a different way. 

 
The Internet is also a great resource.
Here are three web sites that offer homework assistance in mathematics: 


Bigchalk.com:
www.bigchalk.com

The Math Forum’s Ask Dr. Math: mathforum.org/dr.math

Tutor.com: www.tutor.com