I have a confession to make. I STINK at math. I mean really, REALLY stink. Sure I can add, subtract, multiply and divide (unless we’re talking fractions!) but beyond that I am hopeless. So when each of my kids reached Jr. High and beyond I was pretty much useless helping them with their math homework. Fortunately with tutors and extra help from teachers, we’ve muddled through. This year, though, we started something new and it has turned out to be a godsend for my youngest son Sten who is going to be a sophomore this fall. It’s called Skype.
Before Skype became our “homework helper,” the only thing I’d used it for was the occasional group conference call or chatting with my husband when he was out of the country on business. While those are two great ways to utilize Skype, being able to keep Sten in touch with my math-wiz daughter Britta for math tutoring has proven the best use yet!
Not only does Skype math tutoring help improve grades… I think it even strengthens family relationships. I can’t tell you the number of times I hear Sten, Britta, and Britta’s husband Neil (the other math wiz in the family) laughing and teasing each other via the Skype interface. Which, since our computer is in the middle of the kitchen, inevitably draws the rest of us in and we all end up enjoying some “family bonding time.” :-)
But back to the serious stuff… math. You might think that you have to be “tech-savvy” to participate in Skype tutoring, but it’s actually pretty low-tech. All you need (besides a computer – although Skype is also available on several devices including: computers, mobile phones, tablets, and gaming systems like XBOX) is a webcam, an Internet connection, and good old-fashioned paper and pencil.
HOW WE SKYPE:
Sten shows the problem to Britta via the camera on the monitor of our computer….
Britta writes it down…
…and they work it out together.
Of course there is the usual sibling harassing and joking thrown in, but in the end they figure it out and even have some fun doing it.
If that’s not a great way to study math… I don’t know what is! And the fact that it takes the pressure off of me has nothing to do with it! (Well, maybe a little.) :-)
Thank you Britta… and thank you Skype! Future generations of educated human beings & math-challenged parents everywhere, owe you a debt of gratitude!
This year, Skype will also be at the BlogHer ’14 conference (which I am leaving for on Wednesday!) They will be powering the conversations between bloggers as they explore topics they are passionate about. Attendees will be invited to submit a pledge to live more passionately at the Skype airstream and will be able to follow along using the #PayWithPassion hashtag. You can share your pledge and follow along at home too!
For additional information and updates, download Skype and add SkypeBlogHer as a contact. To get involved with Skype’s advocacy program, check out SkypeMoments.com, and connect with @Skype and @SkypeMoments on Twitter, and with Skype on Facebook.