Studying 2.0: Homework apps, websites for parents to help your kid through the school year

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. - Alyse Buckalew, an 8th-grade teacher at Pine View Middle School in Pasco County, is a dream for kids and parents… Especially when it comes to homework, which has become a hot, and controversial issue, lately.

“Your homework is going to be things like, ‘I couldn’t finish this in class. Can I take it home?’”, she says to incoming student Haley Hodges, who’s been overloaded with homework since 4th grade.

Buckalew’s modern view also sounds good to Haley’s mother, Jenny, a librarian who has to scramble to help all three of her kids – who are in 6th, 7th and 8th – with their homework.

As more and more school districts consider banning homework (including Manatee County), teachers are also tweaking old-fashioned notions of take-home assignments.

Buckalew is against busy work – or homework for homework’s sake. She also believes parents -- while remaining invested in their children’s education -- should stop helping them do their homework around 3rd grade.

Jenny Hodges agrees… But the current reality is that she has to pick her spots to survive. Her suggestion to other homework-stressed parents: Lock in with teachers about what to focus on. “If I have a teacher that does not communicate with me,” she says, “I’m on the phone with the principal.”

As for parents pulling their hair out with new math and other tricky assignments, these resources should be helpful:

  • MATH.COM, which will help/show how to solve problems 
  • SCHOLASTIC.COM, a good resource for dealing with homework stress 
  • PARENTING.COM, 9 apps to help parents not pull their hair out 
  • PHOTOMATH.NET, scan a math problem for an instant result 
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