News from Mathnasium of Westbank
Five Tips to Improve Your Child's Performance in Their Math Class
Nov 10, 2020
Elementary, middle and high school students throughout the Westbank are well into the new 2020 – 2021 school year.
Whether they are navigating in-person (brick and mortar) or online distance learning (digital academy), if your student is struggling with a class or subject area, don’t be discouraged. It’s not too late to adjust and improve their performance.
At Mathnasium of Westbank, we share five strategies and tactics with our families that can help change the direction of a student’s math learning. While these tips are based on our learning center’s focus on math classes and math homework, they hold true for any subject.
Acknowledge it’s OK to Ask for Help
Some students and parents are uncomfortable with the idea of seeking academic assistance and tutoring. Many students at Mathnasium of Westbank acknowledge the main hurdle they overcame in starting their math learning experience was simply admitting it’s OK to ask for help. Often, they had done well in the past, and in their minds, needing a tutor is seen as a weakness. Admitting that you can benefit from help and then taking the appropriate steps to get that assistance is a sign of great strength in a student (and adult).
Consistency vs. Intensity
Twice a year you visit a dentist for your teeth cleaning, x-rays, etc. That’s intense. After the visit, your teeth are shiny and clean. However, what if you never brushed your teeth between visits? Intensity is not enough. Whether it’s sports, playing an instrument or Math, consistent practice leads to long-term success. Students actively learning (practicing) math develop the foundational skills and problem-solving ability to find success in math class. Whether it’s working with a math instructor or tutor at Mathnasium of Westbank, meeting with your teacher at school, or during independent study time -- practice, practice, practice. If you want to be a great athlete – football player, gymnast, swimmer – you don’t just roll up and say “I am here!” It requires effort, practice, work outs, etc. Math is no different.
Avoid Short Cuts
Often, students suffer from poor grades because they do well on the math homework assignment but then struggle on tests. There is a chance it’s related to the student getting through the homework with outside resources (i.e. – online answer keys) and as a result they don’t truly understand what they are learning and are unable to apply the concepts on their math tests. If your child is studying a foreign language and simply uses Google Translate to get through their homework, what would you expect them to achieve on their tests? If a student doesn’t understand something, instead of taking short cuts, it’s beneficial to ask questions. Ask math teachers. Ask math tutors.
Identify Where Struggles are Rooted
Before a plan of action can be developed, it’s necessary to pinpoint what is impacting a student’s performance. Is the decline or slow start a sudden change vs. last year’s performance? Are certain subjects or segments of a class always troublesome? In the case of math challenges, it is likely today’s challenges can be traced back to earlier concepts that were not mastered or have been forgotten, even if the student passed the test with a good grade at the time. Simply focusing on tonight’s homework and tomorrow’s test doesn’t allow a student to get to the heart of their issues for long-term success.
In the face of a lower than expected start to the school year, it’s natural for a student (and parents) to become frustrated, disappointed, or even defeated. Do not give up. An important step in improving the situation is to stay positive. Negativity can only exacerbate the situation. With hard work, and the right learning plan, you can achieve success.
While the start of the school year may not have gone as hoped, it’s never too late to improve the situation. In fact, many times students who employee techniques to improve their learning in one subject see it carryover into improvements in other subjects as well.