Mathematics is a complex subject, and though most parents recognize the value of their children learning math, some parents struggle to support their children in learning a subject they are unfamiliar with themselves.
Having a child struggling with their math course material is not uncommon, and many parents worldwide experience this challenge and may feel overwhelmed or under equipped to help.
So how can parents help their children with their math learning?
Below you will find a number of ways that parents can help their children with their math learning and understanding of course material.
1. Partner with the school and your child’s teacher
Given that math is a cumulative subject, it is crucial for students to have an understanding of the basics to be able to progress further. To help your child with their math learning, parents can consider meeting with their child's school and math teacher.
You can ask your child’s teacher questions about your child's relationship with the subject, like how they are performing alongside their peers, how the child views math, how do they feel about it, how often do they participate in class, how the child has been progressing with assignments, how often do they ask for help, and many more.
Through this conversation, you may be able to determine whether your child is having trouble with math and the best way to go about supporting them. Research shows a correlation between parental engagement in education and improved academic performance, so it’s critical parents communicate openly with their child’s teacher to ensure they are meeting learning goals.
Consider taking tips from the teacher and helping your child focus on the basics before helping them solve the bigger problems. You can learn more about how Concordia teachers approach math teaching here.
2. Review your child’s math homework
Take the time to sit with your child to see that they have completed their math homework and assignments on time and then take the time to review the contents together before they submit it to their teacher.
Once your child receives their corrected assignments or homework back from the teacher, review the comments and results together with your child to see where they performed well and where they missed the mark.
At this point, it is especially important to remind parents that you should not complete the homework or assignment for your child. The idea is to assist your child in learning how to get to the right answer and equipping them to become independent with future assignments rather than making them dependent on you.
3. Online resources for extra math problems
Parents can choose from a variety of online resources to help their child practice and improve their math skills. Some popular websites we recommend include:
1. Khan Academy:
This website offers a range of interactive videos followed by practice exercises that your child can choose from to learn at a pace they are comfortable with. You will find activities from various difficulty levels for your child to complete on their own.
2. Learn Zillion:
This website offers users a video-based concept that teaches math lessons in brief snippets. You can use the search bar to find a concept, browse through the list of videos and find one that can teach you the relevant math ideas and techniques.
This website offers numerous lessons, interactive games, and brainteasers that can not only support your child with their math homework but also boost their math learning.
4. Help your child see the significance of math in their everyday life
We all use math every day in a variety of ways, and with this in mind parents can help their child's math learning by demonstrating how math adds value to their life in a real and tangible way.
Math also teaches us the value of qualities such as reasoning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving and it may even improve our ability to communicate with one another.
You can demonstrate how math is used in your child's everyday life to lessen their anxiety and instead stir their curiosity about the subject. You can point out how math is used in statistics, when playing sports, when figuring out the sale price of an item of clothing, when purchasing fuel to travel from one part of town to another and so on.
By drawing parallels between everyday events and your child's math homework, you are encouraging your child's visualization and critical thinking skills and such by motivating their ability to use math in a more practical sense.
This way your child will be more interested in how it can be applied rather than feel discouraged getting through challenging concepts.
5. Lead by example (show you're also interested in mathematics)
Parents can help with their child's math learning by helping them recognize how a variety of career paths or jobs require good math skills, such as scientists, doctors, accountants, video game creators, and much more. Parents could show their children how they use math on a daily basis in order to drive home the importance of this valuable skill.
While it may seem obvious that some of these jobs require math skills, your child may not be aware of the fact that there are other types of jobs that also require a good understanding of math; for example, to be a business owner or entrepreneur, an astronaut, a mechanic, a lawyer, a clothing designer, etc.
Helping your child realize that the effort they make to improve their relationship and understanding of math will not only help them reach their dream career but will also open up several career opportunities for them in the future could help change their perception of math now and in the future.