You come home and your homework includes problems like…
Solve for x:
f(x) = 3(x – 13)
Or, your child comes to you and asks you to help him understand a problem like this.
What do you do?
You could take a moment to puzzle out when math started to include letters rather than just numbers. Or, you could seek out one of the many free math resources online.
The following sites are helpful (and free) resources for understanding algebra.
Purplemath is a great resource in learning the various topics in algebra. It has numerous lessons, links, and tips, making it a great addition to a text book.
Purplemath’s lessons section goes in depth into the how’s and what’s of algebraic math. The lessons on Purplemath are detailed and provide a great number of examples. In addition, the lessons are divided by subject and by level of difficulty, making it easy to find the topic you need.
In addition, Purplemath has areas devoted to Site Reviews/Links, Homework Guidelines, and Study Skills. These areas help the student of all ages in strengthening areas related to math (and learning in general).
Algebra.Help, like Purplemath, also has a lessons section. However, the level of detail is not as great as Purplemath’s lessons. Also, the topics on Algebra.Help are not as broad and well-defined as Purplemath.
Algebra.Help does have two sections that are helpful to students of algebra: a calculator section and a worksheet section. The calculator section provides different online calculators that you can use to help you solve complicated algebra problems. This can be particularly helpful if you’re unsure of how to simply or solve a difficult equation. When combined with the worksheets section, Algebra.Help provides a great addition to the lessons provided on Purplemath.
In addition to the two pages listed above, there are also free tutoring services available online. Purplemath’s site review section goes into some of these services. One such page that is noteworthy is Mathnerds.
Mathnerds provided free online tutoring. Here’s generally how it works:
-You sign up for a Mathnerds account.
-You ask a question and posted it under a specific category.
-Your question is assigned by Mathnerds to a volunteer tutor in that category.
-Your tutor provides assistance to your question in a forum-like manner.
According to Mathnerds, 97% of all questions are answered within 16 hours. In addition, Mathnerds won’t give you answers to homework problems, but rather, will help guide you to resources to help you, or will provide you with hints to help you get the answer.
Of course, if you’re in an algebra class already, your teacher is probably your best resource. As good as these sites can be, they cannot provide you with real-time question-and-answer assistance. They are good, however, for those that would like to reinforce their existing learning or that are particularly good at self-learning.