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Getting Ready for School: Line Up Homework Help in Advance

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Getting Ready for School:
Line Up Homework Help in Advance

For some students, homework is a necessary evil. For others, homework is a way to hone classroom skills and move themselves to the head of the class.

At some point in nearly every student’s life, a little homework help can spell the difference between a quick boost to understanding or a slow drift along the sidelines of a classroom. With the latest advances in technology, today’s students have a variety of choices in homework help — from live help with online tutors to in-person tutoring in schools, libraries or other types of study centers.

With a new school year on the horizon, the final days of summer are the perfect time to gather information and line up homework help to ensure a successful education experience for every student in your family.

Online Homework Help

These days, most public libraries offer a variety of free online homework help to library card holders. In northern Virginia, for example, one county library system provides a link to for free online tutoring in math, science, English and social studies for K-12 students, beginning college students and adult learners. The instruction is offered Sundays through Thursdays, from 3 p.m. until midnight, in both English and Spanish. Additional study materials — worksheets, tutorials, study guides and more — are available with 24/7 access for studies in English, math, science, social studies, standardized tests (for all 50 states and the District of Columbia) and standardized test prep for college-level placement exams. Library patrons can access the homework help from the library or from a home computer.

Some web sites offer online homework help focused on a specific subject area. provides assistance in middle school math, pre-algebra, geometry, algebra 2, trigonometry, pre-calculus, college algebra, calculus — and even science. The site’s resources include step-by-step answers to the odd-numbered questions in more than 300 of the most frequently used school texts, live math help around the clock, math videos, practice tests, math lessons, graphing calculators, games, activities and workbooks. Some schools offer free access to this subscription web site; parents can buy subscriptions to various portions of the materials at varying prices.

School and Community Tutors

Most schools can provide a list of teachers who are willing to tutor students. Generally, the teachers cannot tutor the students in their class, but they are permitted to tutor any other child in the school. The teacher-tutors are paid a standard hourly rate by a student’s parents. Ask your child’s teacher or a school administrator for information about the school’s tutor program.

In many areas, high school students volunteer to work as tutors, either as part of a community service requirement for graduation or as a non-credit voluntary activity to help out in the school community. Your child’s teacher will be able to direct you to the best way to get in touch with these volunteers.

Some community centers and other community programs offer various types of face-to-face tutoring. In addition, some after-school programs provide tutoring options. Ask about tutoring options at these locations — and ask your friends for their preferred community tutoring centers.

Corporate Tutors

National companies such as Kaplan Tutoring and Sylvan Learning provide an array of tutoring and homework help options.

Kaplan Tutoring provides an online program, as well as private tutoring and small group tutoring for students in grades K-8. The Kaplan program is designed to help students in the subject areas of math, reading, writing and algebra. The company also has tutoring centers in California, Illinois, New York and the Washington, D.C. area — and plans the launch of additional centers in the near future.

Sylvan Learning provides online, in-home and in-center tutoring for students in PreK through high school. The program includes homework help for students in elementary school (grades 4-5), middle or junior high school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). The Sylvan program also covers math, reading, writing, study skills and college prep. There are more than 1,100 Sylvan Learning Centers located in the United States, Canada and abroad.

The Options

As you look for the best homework help option for your child, think about his or her learning style, as well as his or her comfort zone. Some students learn best through seeing (visual learners), some students learn best by listening (auditory learners) and some prefer a hands-on approach (kinesthetic or tactile learners). Some students are most comfortable learning online; working with a computer is second nature to them. Other learners are more comfortable with the personal interaction that can only occur when a tutor is in the same room with a student. These considerations — and others like them — will help you find the perfect homework help match for your child.

— Kathie Felix
Kathie Felix writes about education for a variety of national news media outlets.

Homework Helpers: The links

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