My 12-year-old son got a D- in math.
I wanted to help him, but algebra and I don’t get along. We haven’t spoken for years.
I can’t afford a math tutor, so I was relieved to discover the on Alcosta Boulevard offers a free Senior Scholar tutoring program for elementary through junior high students.
You fill out an application, have the teacher explain what areas the child needs help with, and they match you with a tutor.
In the car on the way to his first tutoring session, my son asked, “It’s free? Is this welfare or something?”
“No. It’s not welfare. Give it a chance.”
He slunk in his seat, eyes looking out the window.
“You are so not cool, Mom,” he told me.
“I’m aware of that,” I said. “But if it helps you, what does it matter if I’ve paid or not?”
I didn’t tell him it was at the Senior Center for fear he’d jump out of the car, but the sign outside the center is pretty big and hard to miss. “A Senior Center, mom? Really? Is this a joke?”
“This is to help you, Drew,” I said, parking. “Math is one subject you don’t want to fall behind in — you might never catch up.”
“I don’t need help. I’m doing fine. I just had one bad test.”
My son then got out of the car and slammed the door shut.
My son’s tutor is a delightful middle-aged Indian woman. On the phone a week before, she shared that she doesn’t have to work and enjoys volunteering. Thank goodness.
As a math-impaired single mom struggling to make ends meet, I couldn’t be more grateful for the help.
We sat on a leather couch in a nice, comfortable lobby, waiting for our tutor to arrive.
Two elderly gentlemen speaking what sounded like Russia played a game of checkers next to us, as I picked up a copy of Redbook Magazine and my son grabbed a Sports Illustrated from under a coffee table.
Our tutor arrived, dressed in a beautiful sari and introduced herself to my son.
He didn’t smile, barely shook her hand and off they went for an hour to a study room. She helped him go over his homework and prepare for the next day’s quiz.
When they came out, she explained the same thing many of my son’s teachers have told me. “Your son knows the work. He just rushes and makes mistakes because he’s going too fast.”
In the car, I asked my son, “Did she help you?”
“I dunno. Those two Russians in the lobby freaked me out. You think they’re spies?”
As we drove home, I explained to my son that the Cold War is over and the chances of spies coming to the San Ramon Senior Center to plot a takeover of our country seems somewhat remote.
“Exactly. San Ramon is in the middle of nowhere. That makes it the perfect place,” my son said. “No one would suspect it.”
The good news? My son got a B- on his quiz the next day.
Two thumbs up for San Ramon Senior Center’s free tutoring program.
To sign up your child (or volunteer), contact Teri Mountford at 925-973-3271.