Libraries provide help with homework " even algebra
Janine Abby Rose
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
It was a Sunday afternoon at 3:47 p.m. when my worst fears came true. I was curled up in my favorite easy chair, sipping pear-flavored white tea, and enjoying a delightful novel. The crockpot was simmering on the counter, and the aroma of pot roast, potatoes and carrots was filling the house with promises of an exceptional dinner soon to be enjoyed. All was well with the world. My older daughter was at work and my younger daughter was finishing up her weekend homework assignment at the dining room table.
Then it happened. The question I had been dreading:
“Mom? How much do you remember about algebraic word problems?”
My heart sank. For grammar, poetry interpretation (Shakespeare, even) or any other social science, I am indispensable. But say the phrase “algebraic word problems” and my heart runs cold. Fear, cold sweats, heart palpitations, and I am instantly 13 years old again, looking up into the disapproving and frustrated eyes of Miss Wood. Not some of my best school memories.
I swallowed, took a deep breath, and walked over to the table to see if I could be of some service to my daughter. One look at the jumble of numbers, letters, parentheses and other odd symbols and I sighed. I smiled my very best “Yes, I can help you” smile, walked over to the computer, opened our Internet browser and typed in http://www.garfieldlibraries.org. I looked at my daughter and she smiled back, took out her library card and met me at the computer. We had been at this place before. We said in unison: “Hello, Live Homework Help!”
Live Homework Help is a service provided by the Garfield Libraries to connect students with tutors seven days a week between the hours of 4 and 9 p.m. These tutors are often teachers from all over the country who provide coaching in an instant-messaging style, with an Internet browser and white board to help explain problems. These professional tutors ask questions to help the student figure out a solution to any homework problem.
My daughter clicked on the “Databases and Learning Tools” button on the library home page, then clicked on the “homework help is here!” box to the right of the database listing. She used her library card number to login. She answered a few questions like what subject and what grade she was in, and she was connected with a tutor in a matter of minutes. She instant messaged the tutor and wrote the problem on the whiteboard. The tutor asked three questions, and the light bulb of understanding turned on over my daughter’s head. She remembered how to solve the problem, and the help session was over in 10 minutes, start to finish. She finished the rest of her homework easily, and I was the hero! I didn’t know how to answer her question, but I did know how to find someone who could.
My heartbeat returned to normal, and I silently thanked the library system for providing this great service. We have used live Homework Help six or seven times, and I am sure we will use it again. Your student can access the live homework help tutor from home or from the library Internet access computers. There are even Spanish speaking tutors available to help.
Just remember http://www.garfieldlibraries. org for your “Hello Live Homework Help!” solution.
Janine Abby Rose is assistant director of public services for the Garfield County Public Library District.
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