Homework Help is a free, online math tutoring resource available to all Ontario public school students in grades 7, 8, 9 and 10. Students register for the service with their Ontario Education Number.
The site provides guided and independent learning support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Certified teachers are available for one-on-one sessions through the ‘Ask a Tutor’ chat rooms, Sunday through Thursday, from 5:30 to 9:30pm EST, during the school year (starting the third week of September through June).
Since Homework Help began in 2007, tutors on the site have answered over 1 million student questions, with almost 200,000 answered just this year alone. And 87 percent of students say, after working with Homework Help tutors, they now understand their homework.
The goal is to help your child truly understand the math concepts, not just get the answer for the homework.
“We focus each interaction around understanding and comprehension,” says Mandy Mabee, Homework Help project manager and Ontario teacher. “Students are engaged in the process and we use their individual skill sets to tackle each problem. Students will learn how to find the answer; it will not be given to them.”
While students’ teachers are available to help with questions during the school day, after school when kids struggle they could really use the help, Mabee says.
Another key area of the site is the Listen and Learn section, where students can listen to 20 different math lessons, on everything from exponents to trapezoids.
The Interactive Tutorialssection offers short animated lessons allowing students to review content they’ve covered in school or to learn something new. The tutorials also provide activities for students to test their skills.
Students can also look through more than 300 videos of student chat sessions with tutors in the Best Sessions area, allowing them to benefit from the questions other students have already asked.
Online safety is paramount at Homework Help.
- Students can only chat with teachers, not with other students
- All tutors are Ontario Certified Teachers in good standing with clean police checks
- All interactions are visible
- All tutor sessions are recorded and viewed regularly
- Homework Help is completely anonymous and no personal information should be shared in the chat rooms
One Simcoe County District School Board teacher, who has directed her students to use Homework Help since it began, says almost every student who has accessed the site has benefited.“My favourite story was a girl who came into my Grade 8 class three years ago with an IEP (Individual Education Plan) Grade 6 math level,” the teacher says. “She wanted to do Grade 8 work and we made a deal that if she used (Homework Help) we would look sideways at her IEP and see how she went. By mid-year she was doing the same assessments as the class. In Grade 9 she passed with 68 percent in the applied (stream).”
The "Ask A Tutor" chat is the best part of the site, according to one Grade 9 student who left her feedback for Homework Help. “The teachers are always so helpful, patient and positive,” she says. “I’ve yet to get stuck on a math problem that the 'Ask a Tutor' chat has not helped me to understand. I especially like the audio feature that lets me listen to what the tutor is saying rather than having to read it. It makes understanding a lot easier.”
Homework Help is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education and administered by TVO's Independent Learning Centre (ILC). The site began in 2007 as a pilot project with a goal of creating an after-school math site with a tutoring chat function. Positive feedback from students, guardians and teachers has prompted expansion of the program each year. Click here to find out more about registering as a student or as a guest user (without access to tutors).