STEM Homework Help for 25 Years

Homework seems to have become the "H-word" for parents in households around the country, especially now that their kids have started another school year.

A blogging mom reported that at a back-to-school night her child's teachers put "so much homework pressure on us parents our heads were spinning."

She asked her son's teacher, "What do you mean by December the kids should know how to automatically add 16 plus 17 in their heads? I still carry the 1 in my head. Are there new math tricks? How do we help teach them? I don't know any tricks."

Her final words: "Bring on the wine. I'm going to need it."

I can't argue that a good Cabernet can be a satisfying antidote to homework nightmares, especially math and science problems. However, instead of reaching for the bottle, why not reach for the phone and call the experts at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Homework Hotline? At this top-ranked undergraduate engineering school, which I lead, I can attest: those hotline tutors know their math and science; and they are a quick phone call, email, or online chat away from turning all those "Huhs?" into "Ahas!"

Now celebrating its 25th year, Homework Hotline has helped students, predominantly in middle and high school, understand their math and science homework. And "understand" is the key word. Rather than simply giving students answers, these collegiate student tutors, who are no strangers to tough math and science problems, help their younger compadres truly understand the questions, arrive at the answers themselves, and prepare to tackle similar questions on their own.

This free community service has conducted more than a half million tutoring sessions through calls, texts, and online chats with students from Indiana and nearly every other U.S. state. Tutors have been trained to work with students in grades 6-12, are certified by the National Tutoring Association, and have access to Indiana-adopted math and science textbooks, many of which are used in classrooms across the country. We use the latest technology to ensure our service's virtual presence is strong, and that it meets the changing needs of students and online learning communities.

Homework Hotline's educational model has been replicated at several other colleges and universities in the country. The University of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Harvey Mudd College in the Claremont, Calif, area, and some of the branch campuses of Penn State University are using Rose-Hulman's homework hotline in their communities.

We certainly hope these partnerships will continue to pave the way for other Homework Hotline programs throughout America because there will always be parents looking for a lifeline to help turn those "Huhs?" into "Ahas!" After 25 successful years, Rose-Hulman's hotline is here to stay.

So now, relax and pass the wine.

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