Like many parents, you may find that you’re not familiar with the math strategies that your child is learning in school. Along with the Common Core standards have come methods and strategies that are different than the ones many of us learned when we were in school. Although today’s math lessons may be challenging for both you and your child, remember that your attitude toward math will have an influence on what type of math student your child will become. It is important that you demonstrate a positive attitude toward math in order to help your child be successful. Help your child to understand that math requires:
- Lots of practice
- Time to think and reflect
When your child has difficulty with math homework, ask questions and listen to his responses. Often simply explaining something out loud can help a student figure out a problem. Remind him to show all of his work, so that he can later look back at it either to review the steps or fix a mistake. This record of his thought process can also be helpful to his teacher when trying to pinpoint where he is having trouble.
Here are some other helpful tips for you and your student:
- Read over the directions with him to find out what he does and does not understand
- Encourage him to find a math buddy that he can call if he needs help
- Ask him where he thinks he should begin
- Ask him if he can find information in his notes to solve the problem
- Ask if there is a similar problem in his textbook
- Suggest that he draw or make a model of the problem to explain his thinking
- Ask guiding questions: What should you do next? Is your answer reasonable? Can you solve it another way?
- Resist the temptation to do his homework for him
- Remind him that he needs to take responsibility for his own homework
As a parent, it is less important that you know all the steps to solve the math problems your children face. It is more important that you support your child with guiding questions and strategies, such as those mentioned, and that remind your child how to access what his teacher has taught him.
Article Source: Maryland State Dept. of Education, Office of Mathematics
If you want to do more to support your student with math, check out the following helpful resources:
Video from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics called “Parents: Supporting Mathematics Learning”
Website – bealearninghero.org – provides resources for parents
This site provides a learning tool that:
- can be searched by grade level, subject and type of resource (for example, video, website or PDF)
- offers lots of resources to explain Common Core math (and language arts) and how to support your child’s learning