What you’ll find when you send your kids off to school is that every child grows, develops, and learns at a different rate. As a result, one child may have zero problems picking up mathematics while another struggles from the get-go. And as a parent, it is your duty to make sure that kids grasp the subjects they’re studying so that they can excel in school. In fact, it’s imperative that they don’t get behind since it could affect their academic progress for years to come. So if you have kids that need help learning math, here are a few helpful tips to keep them on track.
- Take time for study. While you can certainly rely on teachers to instruct your kids in math, keep in mind that they’re delivering information to a classroom packed with 20-30 kids (or more, in some cases), so it’s all too easy for one child to slip through the cracks. The point is that you need to do your bit at home to reinforce lessons taught in school and help with concepts and calculations your kids are struggling with. Paying attention to the progress of each child by taking the time to sit and study with them can make a world of difference when it comes to their grades and their math comprehension.
- Use props. One of the best ways to illustrate numeric concepts that kids are having trouble with is to utilize props. Small items like marbles, Legos, paper clips, Q-tips, or anything else you happen to have in bulk around the house should work fine. What you may want to avoid is using food like candy since it’s all too tempting to give food rewards when your child gets correct answers.
- Reading. You might not necessarily see the correlation between reading and math, but the truth is that kids who excel in language and reading comprehension tend to do better in every subject. And while basic addition and subtraction may not require a good grasp of language, reading and comprehension skills will make a world of difference when kids get to word problems and higher mathematics. So spend plenty of time reading with your kids if you want them to succeed in every subject, math included.
- Practice, practice, practice. It’s a good idea to use flash cards as a way to see how your kids are doing with math and help them to practice the concepts and equations they’re struggling with. But your practice should also include writing numbers. Math problems can easily get messed up when a child’s handwriting is sloppy. So use lined paper, graph paper, or even tracing (write numbers neatly and have kids trace over them) to improve your child’s penmanship where numeric symbols are concerned.
- Tutoring. If you’re no math whiz yourself and you’re struggling to help your children learn this essential subject, you might want to consider shelling out the money to get a math tutor to help your kids. You can find them at facilities like Mathnasium or hire them independently (many teachers at school offer after-school tutoring sessions and plenty of college students provide the same service for less). Or you can ask at the school office to see if free tutoring services are available.