Help your child overcome his or her struggles in math with these easy-to-access, free online resources.
t It is not uncommon for students to seek out extra help when struggling with various areas of math. Perhaps the concept doesn’t make sense, the solving method is still hazy or the way the material is presented just isn’t registering. Maybe your child needs more practice problems (Disclosure: This is a free resource offered by Varsity Tutors.), or maybe one problem in particular has him stumped. The internet can be a powerful resource when these issues arise, and it is useful to have a favorite site to visit where you know you’ll get help that is accurate, understandable and easy to access.
t This resource is excellent if you’re looking for an alternative explanation of the material because your child found it unclear in class or didn’t understand the wording in the textbook. It discusses concepts with the student in mind by using straightforward language, focusing on dependable techniques and giving warnings about common trick questions. It walks through example problems step by step, working through both simple and complex examples.
t This is an extensive collection of video tutorials and example problems. Again, this website can be helpful if your child is struggling with a specific concept or needs information presented differently from how it was presented in school. The video format enables your child to watch an expert work through the problem, explaining it as he goes. This is especially helpful if the language in the textbook isn’t especially approachable.
t Is your child feeling uneasy about a topic? Would your child feel more secure and confident if he or she had additional practice problems to attempt? Perhaps your child has already exhausted the unreasonably small number of questions in the textbook. Kuta Software has premade worksheets on hundreds of topics, and they’re arranged so they’re simple to search.
t This is an online graphing calculator, which is invaluable if your child does not have a handheld one, doesn’t understand how to use it or just wants to take advantage of the other features on this website. Not only will Wolfram Alpha solve complex equations, but it can rewrite them in various forms and display a visual representation (e.g., a graph) of problems. It’s especially helpful for understanding features of graphs, such as translations, amplitude and period and difficult functions like tangent, high-order polynomials and exponentials.
t This resource generates answers to user-entered problems. Type in a question and it responds with an answer. Now, your child may think, “Wow! I never have to do homework again!” — but that is not the purpose of this website. The majority of math teachers will not accept homework if the student doesn’t show the steps taken to get to the answers. Your child also will not be able to utilize this website during a test, so she needs to be able to apply the effort required to understand the work it takes to arrive at these answers. One way your child can effectively use this website is by checking her answers with it. If your child is experiencing a great deal of trouble with one problem, she can find the answer and work backwards from it. Furthermore, students can use this website to make up their own problems if they need further practice or wish to know “what happens if…”
tCarolyn Rahaman is a professional SSAT tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from the University of Chicago and a Master’s degree in learning sciences from Northwestern University.