Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Q. What are some ways to supplement a child’s math education outside of the regular classroom?

Afterschooling. That’s a parent-led, informal, spontaneous form of outside enrichment that can make a real difference for those kids who are out ahead, or lagging behind. It’s probably best to keep your child’s teacher and school out of it: the idea is a fresh, new approach, supplementation, and enrichment.

Summer is a great time to start because your child’s schedule is likely to be more relaxed.

Tutoring is the most obvious form of afterschooling, though it costs money and can be very hard to work into a child’s schedule if sports and extracurricular activities are also on the docket and important to your child. Big after-school helpers include
www.kumon.com and www.sylvanlearningcenters.com You can ask around, perhaps at a private school known to have excellent students, because teachers there are often looking for moonlighting income. The Yellow Pages are always a good source, too.

There are online services available, many free of charge. Students in need of remedial help and practice could try
www.amath.com or Japanese Math Challenge on the very fun and worthwhile David Goodman website, www.dabanasa.com/dave/math

You could find an online tutor from www.tutor.com or download online tutorials from www.a1tutor.com/tut_math.html

Mentoring is another approach. Ask at the middle school or high school, whichever is one level up, or a local college, for a personable, good student looking to make a little extra cash. The mentor could meet with your child once or twice a week and help with math homework, talk about math in everyday life, maybe shoot hoops and share dreams a little . . . just be a friend and encourager.

But most of all and best of all, as you live life with your child, talk about math and “do math” together. Measure your vegetable garden. Compute gas mileage. Double a recipe. Figure a batting average. Comparison shop. Figure price per ounce.

Your goal: teach your child how math and life are intertwined. That’ll make it really . . . add up.

Homework: Saxon Math offers afterschooling and homeschooling curricula. You can find out more and order a placement test from


CALL FOR QUESTIONS: Please send your questions about any facet of K-12 education to Go Big Ed via
swilliams1@cox.net, and thanks!

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