Math Mistakes are Not Created Equally

Oct 10, 2018 | Kendall

It can be a frustrating situation when you see your child struggling with their schoolwork, especially math.  It can be continually frustrating when you see their grades begin to suffer because of these “careless mistakes” they continue making.  As a parent, what can you do to help your child overcome their struggles?

The first step is identifying the underlying reason for their math mistakes.  We can group math errors into three categories:

1)  Careless  (is your child rushing through their work and/or not paying attention?)

2)  Computational  (is your child incorrectly solving basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems?)

3)  Conceptual  (is your child not understanding the topic being taught?)

To help your child with Careless or Computational errors, encourage them to slow down and organize their work step-by-step.  This is the first step in improving their accuracy and reducing these kinds of errors, especially with larger numbers.

Word problems require careful observation and interpretation.  Have them slowly read through the problem and circle key facts.  This process of actively circling or underlining essential pieces of information will help inform a student’s critical thinking and will help reduce the likelihood of them missing key information.

Conceptual errors are a completely different kind of mistake.  These are not simply “careless mistakes” but rather “clueless guesses.”  They are indicative of a lack of the necessary prerequisite knowledge to successfully solve the problem.  

We need to begin by identifying where the foundational gaps exist.  Filling in these holes is crucial to the process of reducing conceptual errors and strengthening the mathematical thinking skills that are needed not just for the present moment but for Algebra and beyond.

It is tough for a classroom to go back and re-teach missing skills in your child’s foundation when the pace of the curriculum continues to move forward.  If you find yourself or your child in this situation, try seeking the help of a math professional who can diagnose and fill in your child’s specific foundational gaps.

If you’d like help with this process, give us a call at (305) 489-9381.  We have an exceptional team of Math Instructors who have been highly successful in helping kids get better at math!