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News from Mathnasium of La Jolla

The Power of Math Bashing

Nov 1, 2017

Research shows that the seemingly benign statements about math (“I never liked this stuff,” “This never made any sense to me”) rub off on our children and do lasting harm.


In a 2015 study, math-anxious parents who frequently helped their elementary schoolers with homework saw their kids learn significantly less math by the end of the school year than kids whose parents didn’t express an aversion to math. The kids of math-averse parents also reported more math anxiety than kids of parents who were not math-averse.


You are your child’s hero and when they see you don’t like something, they can easily jump on the bandwagon (most recent case in point is the newsworthy situation of NFL players refusing to stand for the national anthem. The next day a peewee football team refused to as well! Without getting political, I don’t know about you, but there has to be a direct correlation to the heroes behavior and the nine year olds who emulate their attitudes. I doubt they truly understand the many levels of freedom of speech, societal tensions, or patriotism).


Teach your child to be resourceful and ask for help! Not ask for the answer, that never helps anyone, but ask for help. “I understand this part, but here is where I get lost.” I raised a kid who would sit at the kitchen table and snap the pencils in half and fling them across the room instead of asking for help. It just made homework time miserable. Model that for your child too, “I am not sure how to cook this so I am going to use the cookbook to teach me how.”


Take the pressure off of your kids by making math real, rather than a worksheet!  Count things as you see them, measure and bake dessert, or play a family game that sneaks in math, like Yahtzee. Look for symmetry in architecture, patterns in landscaping, or count coins from your purse.