Math is not an easy subject to fully understand. Math has historically created problems for students of every age group, spanning from kids in elementary school to students attending college and university. When your child is struggling with math, it can be very disheartening as a parent, because if you don't understand what your child is learning, you can't provide them with the help they need. It is important to address any concerns your child may be experiencing with math. Here are three possible explanations for why your child is struggling:
Math classrooms are set up so that students are introduced to a math concept and are then given two or three classes to practice and ask questions. The teacher then moves on to the next topic, but he or she will use terms and ideologies from previous classes to provide a broader context. If a student doesn't understand a math term or concept that was taught from the previous classes, they may not understand the upcoming lessons. Unfortunately, this can contribute to math anxiety and a general sense of bewilderment.
One thing that you as a parent can do is ask your child to explain their homework to you. If your child seems to lack a basic understanding of their math homework, keep a close eye on them and reach out for supplemental help if you deem it necessary.
Memorizing terms and concepts is handy, but memorization alone will not benefit students trying to learn math. When students memorize, they are merely understanding the function of a math term or concept, but not how & why that concept is important. A child learning how to solve algebraic equations may know that 'BEDMAS' stands for brackets, exponents, division, multiplication, addition and subtraction, but may find themselves perplexed when it comes to using this in their problem-solving.
Math requires you to think critically, and although memorization can help build the foundation for understanding, it cannot be the only way that your child learns. If you feel your child is memorizing instead of learning, try to take their math lesson and connect it with real-life examples.
If your child is like most, they are not necessarily excited to come home and do 30 minutes - one hour of homework. Instead, your child would rather watch TV, play video games, or go outside and play with their friends. While kids should be allowed to be kids, it is essential to focus on their math skills each night, at least a half an hour a night if they are struggling. The common argument that we hear from students about nightly math practice is that if they get stuck, they won't have anyone to help them out. Remind your child that even if they get stuck or confused, they can ask their teacher the following day for clarity and revisions.