Is your child's Common Core homework just too hard?



8 resources to help you help your child


It is a great bonding experience for parents to be able to sit down with their kids and help them with their homework. But what if the parents don't understand it? Many parents have complained that "the Common Core way" is just too hard.

Common Core is a set of academic standards for math and English language arts/literacy. The learning goals outline what a student should be able to do at the end of each grade.

READ MORE: Get an "A" in homework helping

The "old way" vs the "new way"
When Erika Beeck's son Zachary was in the second grade, she tried to help him with, what she thought was, simple math homework. She knew how to do math "the old way," but Zachary had to follow the "Common Core way" of solving problems. "I can help him by getting him extra help, I can help by getting him a tutor, but I cannot help him with his math homework."  

Samantha Johnson, who lives in Highland Mills with her 11-year-old stepson, a sixth grader at Monroe- Woodbury Middle School in Central Valley, shares Beeck's frustration. "My stepson tells me the answer is correct, but the work isn't according to Common Core. It makes me seem incapable of helping my child."

Ask for help
Are you as frustrated as these moms? Adam B. Panzer, director of math & science in the Wappingers Central School District says there are several tools and resources for parents to help bring them up to speed.

Panzer insists, "I can't stress that the most important thing you can do is to reach out to your child's teachers or request a parent/teacher conference. They can tell you where your child is struggling and show you in the textbook how to do the problems."

Your school district might also offer programs to help parents learn about Common Core. For example, both the Wappingers School District and the Valley Central School District offer Parent University workshops for parents on a variety of topics.


One Dutchess County mom says she reads her children's completed classwork so that she can see how they work through the problems on their own. Then, she can follow the same methods when helping with homework.

Be tech-savvy
There are many resources on the internet that can help you to understand your child's homework. Panzer recommends looking at YouTube tutorials. This way, you can hear someone explain it instead of just reading on your own. The Common Core website, CoreStandards.org/What-Parents-Should-Know, also provides resources for parents. There are also homework apps and homework help websites.

Engage NY (EngageNY.org) is a great, mom-approved online resource. Lessons are broken down by grade level and topic. There are even free modules for English and math that parents can download and print.

EMBARC Online (Embarc.online) was originally created for teachers but is now used by parents and math students across the nation. There are videos included for every lesson and helpful homework solutions. There are also practice questions for those who need reinforcement of daily lessons with helpful tips for if you get stuck.

Another user-friendly online resource that parents can turn to is eMathInstruction. On their website (eMathInstruction.com), they have free eTextbooks, workbooks and videos that aid in instruction and reinforcement of difficult lessons. This resource focuses on upper level math, starting with practice for Algebra I.

Hudson Valley Parent has a series online for those who have questions on math and English topics. Go to HVParent.com/Common-Core-At-Home for easy-to-follow instructions from local teachers.

Don't give up
When it gets really stressful, some parents just give up. "Do not give up," says Panzer. "My point-of-view is less about the parents helping and more about getting your child the support they need.

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