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High Tech Help for Your Child and their Homework

Many of us remember when our kids were young and helping them with their homework was fun, but that pleasure can turn to pain once they enter middle school or high school.

Even if you took the same courses they are now struggling with -- algebra, American literature, physics, chemistry and Spanish, to name a few -- those days can suddenly seem like a very long time ago. In fact, according to the May 2005 MSI-ACI Homework Study, more than two-thirds of parents experience frustration when helping their children with homework, citing the main problems as a lack of knowledge, a lack of resources and a lack of time.

Hiring a tutor is an option, but that can get very expensive. One helpful tool is Microsoft Student with Encarta 2008, an all-in-one software suite that helps students write research papers, solve difficult math and science problems, and learn foreign languages.

"Microsoft Student helps young scholars be more productive with their homework," says Dave Brooks, product manager for Microsoft Student at Microsoft Corp. "Instead of just giving kids the answers, it shows them how to find those answers themselves. And it gives parents a resource they can use when they're too busy -- or simply unprepared -- to help their kids with their homework."

A mother in Minneapolis recently purchased the software to help her 14-year-old son, with his math and Spanish studies. "Things have changed so much since I was in college," she says. "Even with the advanced math I took, the methodologies are different, so I couldn't help my son the way I wanted to. This tool helps him help himself and makes everything much more visual."

Mackinnon explained that instead of just giving Ian the solution, the software solves math problems step by step, just like Ian would in class. And a graphing calculator with 2-D and 3-D capabilities gives him a more visually engaging learning experience. Microsoft Student also includes a foreign language help section, covering French, German, Italian and Spanish.

According to the Homework Study, 84 percent of kids use a PC to do their homework, but 61 percent of parents say their kids don't always find what they need on the Web. Even when they do find information, it's hard to tell whether it's accurate. Microsoft Student includes a premium version of the Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia, giving students an easy way to find information they can trust for reports or research papers.

Microsoft Student with Encarta 2008 is available on amazon.  This is the cheapest place I have found it!

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