With the advent of the new math methodology, learning math was no longer in most parent’s homework help skill set. Essentially, most parents found they had to learn math all over again before they could help their kids! Unless your parent is young enough to have learned algebra using the new math methods, you’re well advised to find an algebra tutor who is skilled in the new way of working algebra problems. Your math teacher can provide help on concepts, but if you need extensive help, ask your teacher to give you some leads on a good algebra tutor. Your tutor will likely be a former student who’s a whiz with algebra and can quickly get you up to speed.
Sure, your parents want to help, but I can tell you from personal experience, everyone’s better off with an algebra tutor of the current school of thought.
I’m a Mom who knew algebra inside and out, but I knew nothing about the new math. My daughter needed help with her algebra class, so I eagerly set about to teach her. I looked through her math book and saw that I still remembered how to solve these algebra problems. I also noticed that her algebra textbook used twice as many steps as were necessary to solve the problem. I thought that surely this was the source of her confusion. Cut out these unnecessary steps and it would be as clear as glass. I got to spend additional time with my daughter, as her personal algebra tutor. How wrong I was!
After spending many hours over the semester showing her these shortcuts and explaining the logic, she came to me one day and said, “Mom, I know you want to help me, but actually I’m more confused than ever! You get the answers right, but in class I can’t do it their way!” My poor little sweetie had been reluctant to hurt my feelings. I was clueless that this was the effect of my teaching efforts. Instead of helping, I’d only made things worse.
I made an appointment to speak with her math teacher and see what could be done to provide some real help. This teacher was very generous with his time and more than willing to go the extra mile with any of his students to get them on track. He offered to serve as her algebra tutor, indicating that he also knew other former students who would be happy to help. We set up a schedule of after class algebra sessions.
Although it was already well into the semester, with a qualified algebra tutor, she ended up with an A! It’s easy to see the moral of this story. If you need help, find a tutor who knows their new math stuff and you’ll succeed.