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New website to help Hall parents assist kids with math homework
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Hall County parents who are unsure how to help their children with math homework will soon have a tool to make it easier.

The school system is preparing a website called “Big Ideas,” which will clarify the expectations of students at every grade level.

“We have been talking for several months about, ‘How can we help parents help our students?’” said Eloise Barron, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. “While we talk a lot about Common Core standards and work that goes home, it’s not always a comfort zone for parents to work with their students on that homework.”

The site will allow parents to select a subject and grade level. For each subject, parents can see the three biggest expectations from their child.

“This is about identifying the big foundational concepts for each grade level,” said Brittany Peevy, professional learning specialist for Hall County Schools. “... These make up the thread that take a student through the entire school year.”

For example, Peevy said third-grade mathematics fundamentals include multiplication and division, fractions and area.

Parents will be able to select a link on the Big Ideas site that gives specific examples of each expectation.

“If you click on ‘understanding multiplication and division,’ one of the foundational concepts in grade three, it gives things your third-grader should be able to do,” Peevy said. “... So they should be able to multiply and divide within 100, understand division and solve word problems involving multiplication and division.”

Peevy said the site can be used by parents who know their child is struggling in a certain area or by parents who want to see exactly how their child is doing in a subject.

The site will include a short, five-question readiness quiz students can take at home with their parents. The quiz allows parents to see for themselves what material is difficult for their child to understand.

Peevy said the site will also have videos for parents and students. The videos are all relatively short but fun, simple visual tools to help children outside the classroom.

“The goal is really to bridge that gap,” Peevy said. “We know parents are frustrated, and this will hopefully lower that frustration level.”

Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield said the changes to math standards across the state didn’t change what children need to know in mathematics, but raised the expectation of what students can do with their knowledge.

For example, this means students previously needed to know what “2 times 2” equaled. Today, they need to be able to solve a word problem using “2 times 2.”

“One of the things I have seen in my 27 years in education is a great frustration on the part of a parent, who says when it comes to these problem-solving activities, ‘This isn’t what I did when I was in third-grade mathematics,’” Schofield said.

The site will launch in the summer, according to Kevin Bales, director of middle and secondary education, and will be mobile-friendly. It will cover kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics, though Bales said the system will eventually add other subject areas including English language arts, science and social studies. According to Schofield, all parents need to help their children succeed are additional resources and clarity.

“We think that will be a great comfort to our parents, many of whom were never into the problem-solving standards of Common Core Georgia Performance Standards,” Schofield said.

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