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Algebra for parents

Mom and Dad head back to class to help kids with homework
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57 - (196x + 198) equals -196x-141....

It's not gibberish — it's algebra.

You may not remember how to solve for x or y — or even why it matters.  Helping your kids out with math homework may sound about as appealing as going back to class.

But throughout the country, that's exactly what some parents are doing.

“The parents need to know what's going on we have new technology, we have new techniques we have different expectations,” says school administrator Fran Pitelli.

“Last time I took algebra was 32 years ago, so I figured I'd get my brain to wake up a little bit,” says parent Keith Merrill on why he went back.

In Baltimore County, Maryland, the three-day course starts off tentatively.

According to teacher, Nina Riggs, the class was very quiet on the first day.

‘It was kind of funny because most of them are older than me so but there was still that teacher-student block.  They were even afraid to move, like ‘oh okay, Miss Riggs, and that kind of thing.”

But parents find motivation in their fear of the future.

“I thought it wouldn’t hurt me to get a refresher course to be able to help him when he has difficulties,” says Debbie Blunt who has a son in the 9th grade.

Another parent, Michelle Wynder, says she went back to class as a proactive measure to help her son with math problems.

But some things haven't changed.  As parent John Oler points out, the small desks and chairs are sure to bring back memories.

Though some things have changed.

"I saw one parent text messaging on his cell phone it really was hard for me to say ‘I need to take your cell phone,’” says Miss Riggs.

The kids just have one request: Don’t embarrass them.

Mom and Dad are making the grade, just like their kids.

“They’re no different” in the classroom, admits Miss. Riggs.  “They still puff up a little bit when I say ‘hey you did a great job.  They’re no different.”