'Homework Hotline' Tutors Answer Call for Help with Math and Science

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Homework Hotline

Providing 'Aha Moments': The Homework Hotline has 35 to 40 Rose-Hulman students available five nights each week to conduct phone, chat, or online tutoring sessions.

Ringing in a new school year, Rose-Hulman's Homework Hotline is celebrating its 25th year of helping middle- and high-school students understand their math and science homework.

The free community service has conducted more than a half milliontutoring sessions through calls, texts, and online chats with students in every Indiana county and nearly every U.S. state. Its focus remains on assisting Indiana students in grades 6-12; however, it accepts calls from students of any grade and any locale. Eighty percent of the calls involve math homework-from simple multiplication tables to more complicated Advanced Placement calculus questions.

Rose-Hulman tutors are available Sunday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (ET) at 877-ASK-ROSE (877-275-7673) or www.askrose.org.

"Hearing the excitement in a student's voice when he or she realizes an understanding of the math or science concept-what tutors call that 'Aha Moment'-is what makes working for the Homework Hotline worth it," says Angela Hanson, a senior mathematics major who supervises the 35 to 40 tutors that are available each night. "Too many students say that they dislike math or science because it doesn't make sense. Once they gain confidence in the subject, much of the frustration melts away, and they can start to have a little fun with their homework and not feel so stressed."

Adding to the stress for students are distractions during homework time. Below, Homework Hotline tutors look at three of the most common distractions and offer suggestions for developing successful study routines:

Homework Hotline Logo

Social Media: The lure of social media is one of the more challenging temptations for students to overcome when doing homework. Popular content-control software such as Cold Turkey will block access to selected websites during homework time. Thus, the distraction from social media is kept well in hand, and students are better able to concentrate on their studies.
Texting: Parental involvement in making a student's cell phones off limits during traditional homework hours is an excellent idea because studies show texting while doing homework results in a weaker grasp of subject matter, reduced memory of homework lessons, increased time to complete assignments, and acceleration of brain fatigue.

Noisy/Distracting Surroundings: Parents should help facilitate their student in finding a calm, quiet study place for completing homework. Sometimes the chatter among family members or their questions and invitations to join family conversations can break a student's concentration. "When kids call us, sometimes we can hear people in the background," advises supervisor-tutor Sarah Walker, a senior electrical engineering major. "Their mom is trying to talk to them or ask what they want for dinner, or maybe the dog is barking. It's really distracting to them most likely, because it's distracting to me."

Homework Hotline Director Susan Smith adds, "Helping to reduce homework distractions is not always easy for students or parents. If parents and students are willing to commit to a few simple practices, more productive study time is possible for any pupil to achieve."

The Homework Hotline is funded by Rose-Hulman and Lilly Endowment Inc.