“Mom, can you help me with my homework?”

Adult students put their heads together to master algebra

Josh Clark, a twenty-something returning adult student, is determined to master algebra. It’s been a year-and-a-half since he was last in a classroom. His goal is to complete an associate degree and algebra has been the challenging subject. This fall, he’s facing the challenge and taking an algebra course at the University of Wisconsin-Richland.

He’s tackling algebra with the help of his classmate and study buddy Sharon Miller, who is old enough to be his mom. 

That’s because she IS his mom. Miller’s aim is to complete the bachelor’s degree she started 20-some years ago. For her, algebra was the challenge, as well. Another benefit, she said, is that “algebra keeps the dendriods healthy.” 

When she decided to take the algebra challenge, Josh decided to join her. 

The mother/son students from rural Richland Center say that they feel welcome and accepted by their younger classmates and that there are other adult students in the class, too. Do the other students know about their relationship? “Some do,” Miller said. “They think it’s kind of cool. Overall, it’s a good experience, enriching.” She says that learning algebra together is fun and “learning it with Josh is sort of a bonding experience.”

He laughs. “It’s an experience,” he said. A major benefit is that they can study together and encourage each other. Would they recommend learning algebra together to other parent/child pairs? “It depends on the situation,” he said. “It’s not for everyone. We’re doing okay.” With the relationship part, that is. 

The algebra? 

“It’s not as hard as you think,” he said. At the same time his mom said, “It’s harder than you think.” They laugh and head to algebra class. 

Find out more about algebra, other subject and opportunities for returning adult students on the website.


Dorothy Thompson
(608) 647-6186, Extension 231