How It Started

I started Recycle Your Homework in January 2008 as a senior in high school when I found out that my parents would have trouble paying for the college I wanted to attend. Instead of deciding that I could not afford it, I decided to ask myself how I could afford it. I have never been a straight A student and I have always avoided AP classes. With only an average GPA and adequate SAT scores, it didn't look like I would be receiving many merit-based scholarships. Student loans seemed too risky, and a conventional job would not bring in enough money; I wanted to do something that would pay for my college education as well as give back to the community.

Thinking back through my last few years in school I realized that there was a major fundamental problem with homework: it is there to provide some extra practice for a student and to reinforce a concept. If a student does not understand a concept, then they still must complete the homework for the associated homework grade. Doing so simply causes the student to perfect his/her mistakes. We only have so much time in our lives; why spend hours every day searching for hard to find answers and obscure facts?

The purpose of Recycle Your Homework is to provide a simple, anonymous, and safe way for students to exchange work from their weak subjects for work from their strong subjects. This not only saves time but also allows students to use homework for its original purpose: to provide practice. How can practice benefit a student if he/she does not understand the underlying concept? By only answering questions from their strong subjects, students are able to get the practice they need in their strong subjects while getting the help they need in their weak subjects.

Recycle Your Homework enables students to “exchange” their homework by allowing a student to ask their question only after answering the question of another student. If the question is too hard, the user is allowed to ask for another question until they find one that they can comfortably answer. If a question is found to be or inappropriate/spam, a user can simply click a button to report it, and is then presented with another question. Once a user has answered a question, they will be allowed to ask their own. When another student answers the question, the student whose question has been answered will receive an email containing an answer. If the answer is unsatisfactory or if the answer is inappropriate/spam, the user may click a link provided in the email that will report the answer and return the question to the database of questions to be answered.

This is great, but how do students’ questions get answered completely by other students? Won't there be questions that no one can answer? Answer for Cancer is the solution. Answer for Cancer is a section of Recycle Your Homework that allows anyone to answer student's questions. Teachers, professors, parents, college students, and high school students – all are welcome to participate. When a question has been attempted a certain number of times, it is sent to the Answer for Cancer section and made available for anyone to answer. All of the money generated from the banner advertisements in this section will be donated to several charities that benefit cancer research.

Andrew Wittman
Founder, CEO
Recycle Your Homework, LLC

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