Army Family Survives Pre-Calculus with

Joe BarronWorking with the U.S. Military has led our team to some exotic locations (Hawaii!), but most importantly as we travel to events across the country we always meet amazing people. One of these inspiring individuals is Patty Barron, the Director of Family Programs for the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). Patty’s energy and enthusiasm for supporting military families is legendary. It’s no surprise that she has a great family, including a son who regularly uses Patty and her son Joe squeezed us into their packed schedule to share some thoughts about online tutoring, Eagle Scouts and what it means to be a military family.  Besides your role at AUSA, what is your connection to military families?

Patty:  My husband (Col. (R) Michael Barron) recently retired after spending 30 years in the Army. In some ways I grew up in a military family because I was just 22 years old when I got married and my husband’s first assignment was in Germany. We had our first child there and we learned quickly to depend on ourselves and our friends. We didn’t have family close by, but our military friends were there for us. I love how diverse the military is, and yet we share many of the same values, including pride of our country and of our families and the importance of education.  So Joe, you are growing up in a military family. How does that affect your school life?

Joe:  I’m in 11th grade and I’ve moved five times.

Patty:  My older children moved eight times! They went to four elementary schools, two middle schools and three high schools. That’s a lot of change. When you move so much you can’t request your teachers and you don’t know the lay of the land.  Joe, how have you handled all of the moves?  

Joe:  I make sure to be really active and join a lot of after-school events to meet people and make friends. I’m not a great runner, but I joined the cross country team. I’m also part of the stage crew for school plays and I’m working on becoming an Eagle Scout.

Patty:  I have to interrupt and brag a little about his Eagle Scout project. He just finished a 64-foot bridge to connect the Wounded Warrior Trail to the wildlife refuge to help extend the hiking experience. He was actually very sick that weekend. We had him in the Emergency Room on Friday and on Sunday he was out building a bridge!  That’s worth bragging about! Joe, we know when you’re not building bridges, you’re getting ready for the SATs or finishing homework for your tough schedule of Honors English, German, Pre-Calculus and AP Biology and History classes. Why did you start using

Joe: My mom told me about, and for the first two months I didn’t think I needed it. Then during my final math exam I decided to get online and work with a tutor to study. I had the tutors help me with all the problems I got wrong during the year. I got an A on that final. Now I use pretty regularly for help with pre-calculus, and I work with English tutors to proof my papers and help with grammatical mistakes.  What do you like best about online tutoring?

Joe:  The tutors help show me the process to use and break down the problems. I like having one-to-one time to ask direct questions. No matter where I am, I can just get online and get help. I also like connecting to tutors on the iPad.

Patty:  My older kids were very bright, but they were at the mercy of what I and their father could help them with, which is mostly writing. Neither of us was great at math. would have really helped my older children.  We are always impressed with how military children seem to handle themselves and excel at school. Do you think there is something about being in a military family that supports this?

Joe:  All military kids are proud of their parents. We are so proud of our family and we never want to let them down. We want to make them proud.

Patty:  You have to be very well educated to move up in the military and our kids see that. We really value our families and a great education.  What advice would you give to parents and students who may be struggling a bit with school?

Patty:  I learned a lot from the experience of raising my two older children (now 29 and 27 years old). Parents need to know that their kids will be just fine. If they don’t go to Harvard, that is okay. You need to know your children and what they can do and really push them to be their best. I have a nursing degree and a master’s degree in counseling, and I always gave my children one mental health day a quarter. Just to give them time to sleep or catch up on homework or whatever they needed.

Joe:  Talk to your teachers and let them know you are trying. They will help you. It’s good to figure out the best way you learn. For me, working with a tutor online is the best way for me to get help.

Patty: I just want to add that it’s an enormous benefit for students to have access to to get help. I really love the program!

If you’d like to learn more about for U.S. Military Families go to .



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