Math…the subject that seems to stump parents and students everywhere. Figuring out how to help your child with math can be frustrating, especially with the difference in math standards taught now as opposed to our school years.
However, despite the bad reputation math has, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be a mathematician to effectively help your child with their homework. With a little bit of guidance, you can effectively help reinforce the concepts your child learns during the school day and set them up for future success.
We’ve compiled a list of tips that will make helping your child with math a much less stress-inducing event. Keep reading to find out why students often struggle with math and how to help your child with math.
Why Do Students Struggle With Math?
Before we talk about how you can help your child with math, let’s first go over some of the common reasons why students struggle with math.
1. Math Anxiety
A lot of stress and struggles around math come from students’ anxiety about math. Whether it’s worrying about not understanding the concepts, falling behind in class, or not being able to handle the class’s workload, many students find math to be an anxiety-inducing subject.
The problem is that our brains are powerful things, and the way we talk to ourselves matters. In other words, if a student is worried about struggling with math, they’ll likely end up struggling with math. If this is the case for your child, it may be best to figure out how to reduce their math anxiety before tackling their homework.
2. Teaching Methods
Another common reason students struggle with math is that they may not like or understand their teacher’s explanations. Let’s say an Algebra student is learning how to solve systems of equations and their teacher only covers one of the three methods that can be used to solve these problems. If they don’t understand that method, they’ll likely think they can’t understand the topic altogether. However, one of the other two methods for solving systems of equations might make much more sense to them.
Every brain works differently, so unfortunately, some students are bound to not mesh well with every teaching style and learning method. If this is something your child struggles with, they’ll likely need to be introduced to methods of solving problems and understanding material. (This is where our second tip will come in handy!)
3. Difficulties Understanding
Finally, some students will simply find math more difficult than others. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning, and math is certainly a challenging subject for many.
The good news is that even if math doesn’t come naturally to your child, that certainly doesn’t mean that they can’t do well in math class. The not-so-good news is that most students quickly develop a defeatist attitude if they don’t easily understand math concepts. In this case, one of the most important steps in helping them improve with math will be helping them change their negative mindset around math.
Tips to Help Your Child With Math
Now that we’ve gone over some of the common reasons why students struggle with math, let’s look at some tips for how to help your child with math.
1. Re-Familiarize Yourself With the Math
Re-familiarizing yourself with the concepts your child is learning will undoubtedly make it easier for you to help them. It also takes away some of your own stress you may have about helping your child with math. Afterall, if a kid sees someone else stressed, they’re bound to reflect some of that anxiety. With that said, we understand that math isn’t always a favorite subject and re-learning concepts can take time.
To help with that disconnect, Piqosity offers math courses for fifth grade, Pre-Calculus, and everything in between. While these courses were designed for students, they also serve as a wonderful tool for parents to freshen up skills they may not have touched in decades.
2. Learn Together
Another way to avoid homework help becoming an unnecessarily stressful situation is by approaching it as an opportunity to learn together. For example, if you don’t remember all the triangle congruence proofs from ninth-grade Geometry (because, honestly, who does?), take the time to re-learn them with your child.
Remember the systems of equations example we mentioned before? In a situation like that where your child would benefit from being introduced to new learning methods, you have the opportunity to find and learn those methods together—a process that should be much more fun than stressful. Finding new math strategies and working through problems together can be just as helpful to a student struggling with math, if not more, as it’d be if you were magically able to explain any math problem in the world to your kid.
3. Make it Fun!
Engagement is key in learning anything. Since many students are not fans of math, it’s important to figure out ways to make the learning process fun. Luckily, in today’s modern world, there are countless math games, programs, and activities designed to keep your child engaged while learning math. Utilizing these resources can be a great way to supplement your child’s understanding of the concepts they learn in math class.
4. Use Positive Reinforcement
Our brains are wired to seek positive reinforcement. Therefore, the quickest way to nurture a love (or, more realistically, a like) of math in your child is to reward them for the time and effort they spend learning.
Whether it’s a new toy for an improved grade in math class, ice cream after a math test, or simply reminding them that they’re doing a good job, acknowledging their efforts will go a long way in helping your child with math.
5. Get Outside Help
At some point, you may decide that you aren’t equipped to help your child with their math homework. Rather than continuously working on something that is causing stress for everyone involved, using an outside resource can be beneficial.
If this is the case for you, we urge you to check out our math courses. Piqosity is designed to be adaptable to every student’s need, whether that be catching up, staying on track, or getting ahead in math class.
Find Both Math Remediation and Enrichment with Piqosity!
If you’re struggling with how to help your child with math, just know you aren’t alone. This subject is a sore spot for many people for a variety of reasons, but it’s important for your child’s academic growth and mental health that you support their math improvement journey. By following the tips we’ve included in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to help the next time your child asks for homework help!
If you’re looking for outside math help for your child, Piqosity is here for you! Along with our SAT and ACT test prep courses, each packed with test-specific math practice, we also offer full-length online Math courses—each course includes dozens of concept lessons, personalized practice software, and practice tests with step-by-step answer explanations.
Math courses from Piqosity:
The best part? You can try out all of Piqosity’s features with our free community account, which features a free mini diagnostic exam to evaluate your current math skills. When you’re ready to upgrade, Piqosity’s year-long accounts start at only $89. Plus, get a 10% off coupon just by signing up for our mailing list!