What to Do When You Can’t Help Your Son with His Math Homework

I was really good at sixth grade math…when I was in sixth grade. Now every time my son has a question about his math homework, I stare at it intently and can’t figure out what I am looking at. I’m not joking. It might as well be written in ancient Sumerian. I have no clue what any of it means. I end up googling the equations and spending an hour on each problem. It’s extremely pathetic. I consider myself to be a pretty intelligent person. I have three beautiful college degrees, but I can’t do sixth grade math. What scares me is that his homework is just going to get harder and harder. If I can’t do sixth grade math, I am positive that I probably also can no longer understand how to do Trigonometry or Calculus. (Ok, I know I can’t do Trigonometry or Calculus because, honestly I didn’t understand those in High School.) So how am I going to keep my kid from failing out of school because he doesn’t have enough math credits and living under a bridge.

My plan is simple. Get him a math tutor!

So the question is do I use a local tutor or an online tutor? I looked into both and compared the pros and cons. The price is very similar for both a local tutor and an online tutor. I have several options for hiring a local tutor, I could hire a student in his class, a student who took the class last year, the teaching assistant, or the teacher. Hiring a local tutor would benefit us because they would be extremely familiar with his specific course work and understand exactly what his teacher will expect him to know on tests. On the other hand, hiring a local tutor will mean that someone in the community will know that he needs tutoring. My son already has a learning disability and he hates admitting that he needs help. I am afraid that he would be embarrassed if I got him a local tutor. Another problem with hiring a local tutor, is that my son already has a very busy schedule. He is involved in football, the chess team, plays an instrument, and participates in drama. If we hired a local tutor, he would need to find lesson times that fit into the tutor’s schedule and it might interfere with his other activities.



My other option is to use an online tutor service. Mathwiztutors is an example of a good online math tutor service. This service matches qualified math tutors with students based on requirements that the student specifies. These math tutors may not be as familiar with the specific class as a local tutor is, but they are extremely experienced and should be able to help teach my son how to do his homework. If I find that a certain tutor isn’t a good fit, the service will just match him up with a new tutor. Using an online service like Mathwiztutors will give my son privacy. No one in his class or at his school will need to know that he is using a tutor. An online tutor is also more flexible than a local schedule. He can work out a lesson schedule that works around his busy schedule. The online tutors have more availability than a traditional local tutor.

I think an online math tutor will work out best for my son. To be honest, I am just really happy that my son has both options available, since I can’t read ancient Sumerian…or do sixth grade math.


(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links)



Tiffany O’Connor is a mom to two amazing, energetic, and fearless boys. She is married to her high school sweet heart and has three college degrees. Her hobbies include watching TV shows about zombies, hiding in her hot tub with a bottle of champagne, and writing all about her misadventures parenting in a “man cave” at #Lifewithboys.

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