Does this scenario sound familiar? Your child comes and asks for help with a math assignment, only for you to look at it and think “I do not remember how to do this AT ALL!!” If so, you’re certainly not alone.
So, where do you go for some quick information on how to do something…YOUTUBE!!! But have you also found that sometimes you hit the jackpot with math help on YouTube, and sometimes it is a complete waste of time? Here are 5 quick tips to help you wade through the useless stuff and get to what you need faster.
Tip #1: Search using the specific wording found in the instructions (or the topic) you are working on. Also, add in what level of math your child is studying. For example, let’s say your child is in an Algebra 1 class, and the instructions on a worksheet say, “Factor the following trinomials by grouping.” Here is what I would type into the search bar: algebra 1 factor trinomials by grouping. This will pull up the videos at the algebra 1 level, as opposed to pulling up videos with examples that are at a higher level. Here is another example: let’s say your child is studying transversals in geometry but just doesn’t understand the concept at all. I would suggest you type in geometry transversals explained.
Tip #2: Don’t be fooled by high tech or overly produced videos. While some of these are fine, I personally look for videos done by actual classroom teachers. These tend to be a little more low-tech, but higher quality teaching. These folks are usually in front of a white board or writing by hand on a sheet of paper. Also, the presenters might be a little older (maybe in their 30’s or older). Most of the time, these are the best explanations. No fluff. Just solid explanations.
Tip #3: When you find a video that looks promising, look at the example problem they are working and make sure it looks similar to the types of problems that you need help with. If it looks quite different, abandon ship and find another video.
Tip #4: Find videos that are 3-6 minutes in length. This is not an exact figure. But, I’ve found that videos under 3 minutes tend to not show enough detail, and videos over 6 minutes probably contain more information than you want.
Tip #5: Try typing the exact problem you need help with directly into the search bar (if possible). Many problems used in high school math tend to be repeated (because they work out nicely for students). So, there is a chance the exact problem you need help with has been specifically worked on YouTube. Disclaimer: I am not advocating for cheating. If a student is required to work a math problem and turn it in as their own work, then it is obviously best to not look for the exact problem worked out.
These are the tips I personally use when I need to look up a math concept I have forgotten, or even when I need to help one of my own children with a subject I’m not overly familiar with. Hopefully, these will help you too.
P.S. If you haven't downloaded our free parent's guide for planning high school math, you can get it here!
P.S.S. We also have a free calculator guide! You can get a copy here.