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Math to the Rescue!

by We Inspire Futures Team

Most often when you ask students about their favourite school subjects, math isn’t something you’ll typically hear. Why is that? Math is used in almost everything we do, yet it is one of the most feared and struggled with subjects in school. Extra help is often recommended for struggling students but finding a qualified yet affordable mentor is not so easy. Math tutoring has an infinite list of benefits but in today’s expensive world, it is not an option for most.

 Fortunately, Homework Help provides FREE online math resources available 24/7 and FREE 1:1 live tutoring with an Ontario Certified Teacher 5 days a week: Sunday-Thursdays 5:30pm-9:30pm ET.

Homework Help is funded by the Ontario Government and administered by TVO’s Independent Learning Centre. The program offers FREE online tutoring to Grade 7 to 10 students in 60 English public school boards in Ontario. In addition, the website has a collection of over 250 videos, tutorials and pre-recorded presentations available to students online at any time.  Students can access all of this and more by creating a free account. Students can register at homeworkhelp.ilc.org using their Ontario Education Number and their date of birth.

 This online math haven allows students to get help after school hours, when teachers or parents are unavailable to help. It also acts as a great resource for teachers, as they can incorporate the lessons available online and helpful tools into their classroom. We sat down with Isha Seth, the Client Relations & Outreach Officer for Homework Help and chatted about this fantastic educational resource. 

How does Homework Help encourage collaboration?

We encourage each tutoring session to be approached as a collaboration – with the tutor providing leading questions and the student working through various strategies and approaches to the topic.  Not only can students engage with a tutor, they can watch other student’s and learn from their strategies, approaches and successes.  At any time a student observer can tag a session to their own digital locker for future learning.

What are success stories you have had from your project?

We’ve received some great success stories from students, parents and teachers! We have received testimonials from our students crediting Homework Help with the increase in their marks, confidence and for their improved understanding. One user had asked over 150 questions in our Ask A Tutor chat and reported a 30% jump in their marks over the school year. We’ve also received feedback from parents who express gratitude for the extra help we provide their children. For parents, it’s difficult to remember some of the math concepts their children are exploring now since many of them learned the same material ages ago. Imagine the amount of stress having to teach your child something you don’t remember! Homework Help provides comfort to parents by providing the math help their children need. All of our tutors are Ontario Certified Teachers, so they are familiar with the curriculum and the employ differentiated instruction to help every student reach their math potential.

How do you encourage problem solving conversations on the site?

Every homework question is an opportunity for a math conversation!  Tutors encourage students to explore a question in a format that makes sense to them.   The student and tutor are able to converse through the chat or try different approaches on the whiteboard sharing ideas and experiences that culminate in a rich learning experience for each student.

Reading is an important factor in mathematics instruction. How does your site improve literacy of students while solving math problems?

Our tutors don’t shy away from using numerical terminology and stretching our students’ understanding of mathematical terms and the context being described in their questions.  Our Glossary is accessible from within the chat, enabling students to look up terms they are unfamiliar with and take ownership of their own understanding.  Often the majority of a session will be spent interpreting and working with the wording of a question, and then the math begins!

How do you train your tutors?

All of our Homework Help tutors are Ontario Certified Teachers. Every tutor is trained to use the chatroom to engage and empower students to tackle their math homework.  Practices used in the classroom are brought into the chat room to ensure the consistency of instruction.

What are other sites or services do you offer?

Homework Help is administered by TVO’s Independent Learning Center (ILC). The ILC offers a wide variety of online distance education courses , GED testing programs and  also offers Ask A Teacher, another free online chat for grade 11 and 12 students for math, english and science!  All of these great services can be found on www.ilc.org.

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  • http://merlenemath.com/ math tutorials

    yeah definitely right that when we talk about favorite subject math is not often chosen as favorite subject because of its level of difficulty , but if math tutorials are often said and teach children will be able to learn more , but math must be learn in a fun and exciting way so that children are comfortable while learning from it :)

    • Janet Lee

      I completely agree! The way we perceive a subject area often dictates how we excel at it. As a child, I was taught that math was for boys and reading was for girls. I remember giving up trying to succeed at math because that wasn’t what girl were supposed to do well. If math was taught to me in a fun way with high expectations, then my success would have been different in elementary school. I am so happy for how far we have come!

  • http://classof1.com/homework-help Homework Help

    That’s a really wonderful effort, that could be a big boost to the learning capability of the students. Kudos to the Ontario government for backing this project.

  • http://neilfinney.blogspot.com neil

    With so many conversations with parents (of intermediate students) focused on how they struggle to support their child at home with the math content at school – this sounds like a great support to access. The math HAS changed so much in the past 10-20 years – now there can be a place to receive help at home with the math – and possibly even facilitate conversations between parent and child about the content (collaboration!). What a great learning opportunity. Thanks for the share!

  • http://adunsiger.com Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca)

    I love the sound of Homework Help. It’s great that students can get support in a subject that they need it in. I know that over the years when teaching math, I have really emphasized the importance of manipulatives and communication in solving math problems. In the past, many extra help options for math still focused primarily on drill and kill type problems. How are manipulatives used with Homework Help? How can students move beyond just getting the right answer to also focusing on explaining their thinking? I would love to hear more.


  • http://www.mathsandsciencetutor.co.uk Maths Tutor

    It is very effective post for learning math.I want to thanks to Poster for this kind of post.