My daughter is already under water in eighth-grade algebra. She says that algebra is the toughest course that she has ever taken. Unfortunately, I simply don't have the skills to help her, as I just squeaked by in algebra in high school. What can be done to turn things around? -- Severely Challenged in Math


You and your daughter need to talk to the algebra teacher immediately. The teacher should have a good idea if your child can handle algebra with the help available at the school, by a tutor or at a learning center. If it appears likely that your daughter is going to struggle and not gain the solid mastery of algebra that she needs for future math courses, find out if it is possible for her to drop algebra and enroll in a pre-algebra class now or at the end of the first semester.

We thought that you might be interested in the results of a national survey from Kelton Research and Sylvan Learning that shows parents fear equations just as much as their kids. Furthermore, more than 70 percent of the surveyed parents believe that helping their kids with algebra is harder than teaching them to drive a car.