To help with homework, Columbia parents go back to school

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | 7:23 p.m. CDT; updated 7:12 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Russell Boulevard Elementary School students and some of their parents took university-style classes at "Russell University," a PTA fundraiser on Tuesday evening. The courses were designed to help introduce parents to resources for helping their children with homework.

COLUMBIA — Parents went back to the classroom on Tuesday, not to finish a degree, but to learn better ways to assist with their children's homework.

Each year, Russell Boulevard Elementary School holds Russell University, a fundraiser that offers university-style classes to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. This year, for the first time, free courses were offered for parents.

“We try to better the program every year,” said Rebecca Jones, member of Russell’s PTA. “And this year we decided, why not offer classes to parents as well?”

At “Homework Help at Home,” Principal Ed Schumacher encouraged parents to try online math games with their children. The resources are accessible through the district's website and the Daniel Boone Regional Library's website.

"Instead of saying 'let's play a game,' have them show you these resources they used at school," he said. “I get calls all the time from parents who feel their kid isn’t getting enough homework, or needs help with their homework."

Russell parent Kristin Herron said she came in order to learn about different resources that are available.

Although 10 parents were signed up for the course, only five showed up.

The hallways of the school, in contrast, were filled with students making their way to Russell University classes.

“It was not a great time for parents getting off of work,” Schumacher said. “But we don’t have any problem getting kids to sign up.”

Other courses that were available to parents included “Your Family’s Financial Health Checkup,” “How to Stay Young” and “Become a Social Butterfly”. 

“We took a gamble on what parents might like to know,” Schumacher said. “The next step is to survey the group and figure out what they want.”

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