Raising Black Genius Blog

Helping Your Child Learn Math

I always tease parents that if the schools ever stop giving out homework, I would be without a job.  How many families struggle with homework time, especially math? Students are showing a decrease in standardized math scores across the country and the achievement gap is widening especially in Math.

Parents are often at a lost at how to help their child learn math.  The days of flashcards and simple multiplication seem to be a thing of the past? Or is it?

Math Tips

Tip: Studies of elementary age students show that children who have more adaptive skills and can manage emotions are better at math than students with behavior problems and low frustration tolerance.  Math can be frustrating. Teaching children to manage their frustration while learning math is key to success in math.  Once the brain gets frustrated, it will be hard for students to learn.

When my son would get frustrated with math, we would step away from the kitchen counter, do a few breathing exercises and then return to the math.  Deep breathing and relaxation strategies help us as adults even when we are struggling at work.  Teaching your child to breathe deeply can help their mind to open up and to learn better.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Make Math Fun For Any Age

Tip: Toys are the best way for babies and toddlers to engage in math.  Simple counting and going over numbers as you play with an infant will help to develop early math skills.  You can spend time counting stuffed animals, building blocks or cars. Anything to count is helping to gain math skills early.

You can practice math while driving in the car, by counting the number of cars. You can practice higher math by having your child figure out the sales tax on the jeans they just bought.  Many students benefit from math if they can see the practical application of math.  Students have said to me in counseling, “why is math even necessary, you probably don’t even use it”.  I have to laugh and then I do share with them how I use math in managing my business, but definitely not Geometry.

Parents Can Be Helpers

Tip: Homework- Help students by not giving them the answers when stuck on homework. Many parents feel like giving the answer is easier than watching their child try to figure it out.  You can help your child figure out the answer by reviewing the actual instructions and have your child talk out loud how to solve the problem.  Teamwork is key. 

Parents if you struggle to help with math, I often encourage the use of a tutor. Tutors can be children in higher grades than your child and can be very affordable.  Care.com and other websites have tutors at affordable rates.  Ask your neighbors or family members with older students if they can help by tutoring your child.

Use All Your Senses

Tip: Talk out loud- Have your student read instructions, math problems out loud. Helping them to hear themselves think can help ideas stick.  Some children learn best with audio instructions even for math. 

Tip: Websites- Khan Academy is a great website. It has videos that teach math concepts with simple to follow illustrations. Most videos are short and can be viewed on the go.

Learning styles are different for every child. Learn how your child learns best. Some students need to hear the teacher and then read the textbook, while others learn from reading the textbook first.  Help your child to figure out what works best for their learning style.

Work Ahead

Tip- Learn in the summer.  Each year, I visit the school district websites to see the specific subject areas in math my children will be learning.  For example, my daughter reviewed Algebra during the summer prior to taking Algebra.  She was able to maintain an 100% average throughout the year because she already knew the concepts.  Summer learning allows my children to take their time to understand the concepts and gives them the practice they need to be ready for school in the fall.

Check out my channel on Youtube Raising Black Genius and my video on Math for more great tips.

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Dr. Stacy