When parents contact us at Mathnasium of Parker, they often tell us about a problem their child is having with math.

Most of what parents talk about are actually symptoms of an underlying problem. Symptoms of math difficulties are easier to detect than root causes. In fact, figuring out the root cause is often half the journey to solving the problems.

Consider this, when we go to the doctor it is often to complain of a symptom. We might say “I have small itchy bumps on my hands.” We don’t usually say, “I have contact dermatitis from a new soap.” We take our car to the mechanic saying “It’s making a funny sound,” not “I need a new timing belt.” It is up to the doctor or the mechanic to figure out what is causing the problem.

At Mathnasium of Parker, we use the symptoms to help us figure out the root cause. Just like in an illness, certain math symptoms point to different problems. Most children have more than one symptom. This “math symptom checker” will give you an idea of possible root causes for different symptoms. However, the best way to figure out what the problem is a full, diagnostic math assessment. Our assessment tool is only available at a Mathnasium center.

**7 Common Math Symptoms**

1) Student is struggling to keep up in math class.

2) Student says “I hate math.”

3) Student says “I am not good at math.”

4) Student says “Math is boring.”

5) Student is not getting adequate math grades.

6) Student gets frustrated doing math homework and parents are not able to help.

7) Student makes a lot of mistakes in math.

**Symptom # 1: Student is struggling to keep up in math class.**

Struggling to keep up in math class often stems from one, or a combination, of the following** root causes**:

· Student has a math gap.

· Student has a learning disability, such as dyscalculia or dyslexia.

· Student needs more time to practice skills.

· Student does not understand the concepts.

· Student does not pay attention in math class.

· Student does not ask questions in math class.

· Student does not hear or see the instruction well. Many children who have a hard time hearing or seeing are not even aware that they are missing key pieces of information. This is especially true of younger students. If you find that your child has missed instruction from a hearing or sight problem they will almost certainly have a math gap.

**Symptom # 2: Student says “I hate math.”**

Hating math often stems from one, or a combination, of the following **root causes**:

· Instructional methodology has too much focus on speed and/or rote memorization and not enough time spent on creative problem solving.

· Student feels insecure about math skills.

· The student doesn’t relate to, or feel inspired by, their math teacher.

· The student is not in the math class that matches their learning pace. Some children prefer an accelerated pace and some need a slower pace.

· The student has not gotten enough positive feedback in math.

**Symptom #3: Student says “I am not good at math.”**

Feeling insecure in math often stems from one, or a combination, of the following **root causes**:

· Adults, such as parents and teachers, make similar statements around the student or have expressed similar sentiments. This is especially true of girls and minorities who often don’t have enough positive role models in math fields. We highly recommend our students see the movie “Hidden Figures” to see the inspirational stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine G Johnson.

· Student doesn’t realize that it takes a lot of work to succeed in math. Some kids have to work harder than others, but study skills are a better predictor of success than innate ability.

· Student feels unmotivated in math.

· Student needs to improve math skills.

· Student needs more frequent feedback than the teacher is able to provide in a big classroom.

**Symptom #4: Student says “Math is boring.”**

Students thinking math is boring often stems from one, or a combination, of the following **root causes**:

· Student does not hear or see the instruction well. If your child is missing part of the instruction, getting engaged in the class is difficult and potentially embarrassing.

· The student is a math class that is too advanced or not advanced enough. Wouldn’t your brain wander if you had to read the book for preschoolers, *Red Fish, Blue Fish, One Fish, Two Fish?* Conversely, would your brain wander if you had to read *Finnegan’s Wake? *(a book English majors say is the hardest novel to read.) Math that is either too hard or too easy is boring, or disengaging, too.

· Instructional methodology does not fit the child’s natural strengths. Some kids need to talk through what they are learning while others need to use concrete materials they can touch and move. Not every teacher uses those teaching strategies.

**Symptom #5 Student is not getting adequate math grades.**

Poor math grades often stem from one, or a combination, of the following **root causes:**

· Student lacks study skills.

· Student does not turn in assignments and/or misses tests.

· Student does not pay attention in math class.

· Student does not put forth enough effort.

· Student does not understand the material.

· Student has started algebra or geometry that requires a different type of thinking than arithmetic.

· Student is in the wrong math class for his or her level of mastery. This goes in both directions. Some students’ grades improve when they are placed in a more accelerated math class. Some students’ grades improve when they are placed in a lower math class. Proper assessment is key to figuring out if your child is in the appropriate math class.

**Symptom #6 Student gets frustrated doing math homework and parents are not able to help.**

Getting frustrated with homework often stems from one, or a combination, of the following **root causes**:

· Student lacks study skills.

· Student does not understand the material.

· Student feels unmotivated in math.

· The student doesn’t have the resources needed at home to do the homework.

· The environment where the child is trying to do homework is too distracting to concentrate.

**Symptom #7 Student makes a lot of mistakes in math.**

Making lots of mistakes often stems from one, or a combination, of the following **root causes**:

· Student does not understand the material.

· Student needs to develop habits to increase accuracy.

As you can see root problems often have overlapping symptoms. Just like a cough could signal the common cold, flu or asthma, a child frustrated with math homework could also signal several causes. Our systematic approach and our assessment tools helps us diagnose the root cause. Using our proprietary curriculum and our personal approach we work to fix the root cause and treat the symptoms.

Come find out what makes Mathnasium of Parker special. Call today 303-840-1184 and ask to speak with us.

*Side note:** Some parents who call us say their children are doing well in math and they are looking for math enrichment. If you are looking for math enrichment, please read **Give Your Child the Joy of Success in Math **or **Math Skills Your Child will Need as an Adult**.*

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