Trying to be Patient

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At the start of every school year, before the first homework assignment comes home, most parents give themselves the following pep talk.

“This year will be different. This year I will be patient. This year I will listen when my 4th, 5th, 6th… grader explains to me how his/her homework is ‘supposed to be done.’ And, most of all, I will not say how dumb it is do ‘this’ problem ‘that’ way and I will not get frustrated trying to learn new math as an adult.”

For me, this advice lasted until last week.

Given that my son is in 6th grade, I think making it a good four weeks into the school year shows promise. The problem that finally made me snap was some type of convoluted matrix, averaging thing that really has little to no practical use in the real world. But for my son, who for the first time is getting letter grades, it was very important. When I got frustrated, he got anxious, and the whole scene quickly spiraled into me yelling, him huffing and very little productive work getting done. Twenty minutes later, after I figured out how to do the problem, it was too late. He no longer wanted to engage and I lost my teaching moment.

Lesson learned.

Here are some tips for keeping a cool head:

  1. Go to a quiet place to quickly review the material and understand it in a way that you can explain it to your child.
  2. Remember, things that seem obvious to you, might not be obvious to your child. Make sure you slow down even if your child’s response is, “well that’s obvious, mom!”
  3. Don’t tell your child that you think the problem is dumb. It’s tempting, but this will only lead to resentment and frustration from both of you.
  4. If you don’t understand something, see if your child can explain it to you. They’ll feel great, teaching is a great way to learn a concept, and hopefully you will learn something too!
  5. Still need help? E-mail the problem to

Do you have any other tips for parents? Especially those who are trying to be patient?  Let us know what works (or doesn’t) for you!





A Day in the Life of a Parent

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5 AM Works Out.

6 AM Gets ready for for the day.

6:30 AM Leaves half a cup of coffee on counter.

7 AM Eats breakfast with kids. Cleans up spilled cereal while kids remind you that accidents happen!

7:15 AM Forgets where you left the cup of coffee.

7:30 AM Gets everyone else ready (feeds dog and changes another diaper).

7:45 AM Pours another cup of coffee and spills it on pants; forgets laptop; breaks up fight in backseat on drive to work without bumping the car in front of you.

8 AM Feels like screaming it has already been a full day!

Noon Lunch break zones out and looks at Linked In; sets goals that may or may not be achievable.

1 PM Attempts to clean out 3,000 emails from inbox.

2 PM Manages to drink an entire cup of coffee without losing it. Success!

3:30 PM Picks up kids from school. Tunes out screams coming from back seat while navigating the stop and go traffic.

4:30 PM Rushes out the door for 20 minute commute to soccer practice, for kid to cry, “I’m too tired to play.” Sits with child on sideline and watches other kids chase the soccer ball around the field just in case he changes his mind.

5:30 PM Gives in to the demands for extra screen time. Feels guilty.

6:30 PM Eats cold pizza and starts nightly routine. Asks, “didn’t I give them a bath last night?”

7 PM Pours a glass of wine and leaves it sitting on counter.

7:30 PM Helps kids with homework but doesn’t understand it. All parties become highly frustrated.

8 PM Throws hands up and says ask the teacher tomorrow! AGH!

We know how hard the daily routine can be. At least Homework Unlocked is here to help! We can’t rewind the entire day, but let’s go back to 7:30…

7:30 PM Helps kids with homework but doesn’t understand it. Goes to and learns how to explain homework to kid.

8 PM No longer feels guilty about screen time.

9 PM Finally enjoys that glass of wine! Passes out in bed.

Welcome to Homework Unlocked

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Did you know that most parents struggle to help their kids with homework?

We know that you want to help, but, let’s face it, it’s been a long time since we learned how to find factors-the first of many examples. For all of you who want to help but need a little refresher, welcome to Homework Unlocked.

Homework Unlocked isn’t trying to replace the teacher. In fact, we’re not necessarily here for the kids. We’re here for parents. We hope that you watch the videos and that they refresh your memory, as well as equip you with some of the new methods and vocabulary being used in schools today.

We’ve read the newspaper articles about how the Common Core uses a lot of different, seemingly unintelligible and very complicated methods to teach math today. So different and complicated, that it is resulting in parents, students, and even teachers giving up in frustration.

Let Homework Unlocked explain these new methods to you. That way, the next time your child asks you how to add using a number line, you will be able to know what he or she is talking about, AND be able to help.

Watch our videos (they are short, we promise), send us your questions, and help our children have a successful year at school, together.