By Tracey Dowdy
Sooner or later, it happens to every parent. One day you’re helping your child learn their multiplication tables, the next, you’re elbow-deep in quadratic equations and sinking fast. Don’t get me started on the sorcery involved in Common Core math. Do I look like Professor McGonagall?
When that day comes, don’t despair. If an in-person tutor isn’t an option, these websites and apps can act as an online tutor, so your child doesn’t fall behind or figure out just how much smarter they are than you – at least not yet. Keep in mind that some of these options will solve the equation for them, so watch for cheating to ensure your child is learning, not just having the site do their homework for them.
Khan Academy will always be at the top of my list. It’s a free website and educational app that includes thousands of educational videos aimed at self-paced instruction, so if your child doesn’t get it the first time around, there’s no pressure to push ahead. The site offers tutorials from early learning through college-level courses with an almost unlimited library of practice exercises, organized by topic, providing students with instant feedback through a personal dashboard that tracks their progress. Most videos are short, and content is both user friendly and engaging.
MathPapa – Algebra Calculator walks students through algebra problems step-by-step. The free version functions as a calculator: Students simply enter their algebra equations, including variables, and watch as the solution is worked through. The paid version includes algebra lessons and additional resources. The site does all the work, so you may want to monitor homework assignments to prevent cheating. The paid version is $9.99 /monthly or $59.98 a year.
Course Hero allows students to ask a tutor questions by submitting a photo of a problem or describing via text. A subscription is required, but a selection of downloads and questions are given for free. The site is peer-supported (content submitted by other students), giving users access to notes and materials for a range of courses — primarily for upper-level high school and college. Course Hero offers a Basic Membership for free with online tutors access at an a la carte price. Premier members may unlock up to 30 documents and/or User Questions and access all Textbook Solutions and Explanations in Course Hero’s library and receive up to 40 Questions. Paid plans start at $9.95 a month.
yHomework is designed for students and teachers. Enter the math problem and, in one click, get a complete step-by-step solution, including explanations and the answer, in all methods of solving. Content covers multiple levels and topics, including basic math and arithmetic through pre-algebra, algebra 1, trigonometry, and pre-calculus. Students who struggle with multistep equations and reverse numbers or make minor calculation errors will benefit from the detailed explanations. Again, keep in mind that yHomework will solve students’ equations, so keep an eye out for cheating on homework assignments.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.