I can remember doing math homework at the kitchen table when I was in middle school and then high school. Mom usually tried to help, but was the first to admit that her math skills were deficient once you got past basic math. Algebra and geometry were beyond her; in fact, she told me once that she mostly sat and drew still life portraits during geometry in school.
Mom has gone back to school and selected a business program which requires four math classes. I spend at least an hour each week on the phone doing algebra homework with her, usually Sunday evening. And my sister often does the same. Mom is very diligent — she does the work, then calls us and gives us the problems and her answers, asking us to double check. Sometimes she’s got it right; sometimes not. But she REALLY doesn’t get some basic concepts, or the ideas about isolating variables or what slope actually is. It worries me, because her methodology for solving some of the problems is to just start plugging in numbers and seeing if they work…sometimes this works, but it won’t always, and it is going to become a problem if/when she moves on to the next class. And converting decimals to fractions is like a foreign country.
Our biggest problem on Sunday was converting an equation from the format of y = mx + b to Ax + By = C. I think she was near tears at the end of that one, and while I could give her the answer, I couldn’t explain to her in a way that made sense how to get to that answer.
Is this what parents feel like when they are helping their children with homework?