How can I help my child who is struggling in math?
- May 20, 2019
- Posted by: SumLogix Team
- Category: Psychology
A child who is struggling in math quickly becomes fearful of math, starts believing he or she is incapable of doing math and enters a negative feedback loop.
As the loop shows, a bad performance in math tests or a math class leads a child to lose confidence and believe that he or she is not smart enough to do math. This leads to the child avoiding math. The situation might be made worse by a parent or someone else berating a child for his/her bad performance. However, since concepts of math build on the basic foundations laid in elementary school, the avoidance of math leads to a child falling further and further behind in math. By the end of middle school, such a child has usually decided that math is not for him or her.
The best way to ensure that your child doesn’t fall in a negative loop is to take action before the situation gets out of hand.
The first step is to identify the problem areas.
1. Is your child making calculation errors?
2. Is he or she unable to interpret language in math problems?
3. Is your child making errors when under time pressure?
Be sure that you identify the problem correctly. For example, a child might make an error while solving a word problem due to many reasons. He might make a computation error. He might not have understood the problem and/or guessed which operation to use. It is important to identify the types of errors that a child is making.
Once you have identified the problem areas, encourage your child to practice areas where he or she is weak. Below are a few things that you can do as a parent.
If your child is making calculation errors or having a difficult time memorizing facts, then have him or her practice these skills everyday.
1. Do calculation drills everyday for at least 15 minutes.
2. Play games that encourage the use of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts regularly.
3. Use flash cards and have the child go through them once or twice a day.
If your child is having a difficult time interpreting language, then focus on language interpretation.
1. Start with very simple contexts and very simple language.
2. Start with single step problems.
3. Use visual models or concrete materials to explain what is happening.
4. Teach the language of each operation and keywords. For example, the words “total” and “altogether” imply addition of parts.
If your child is making errors when under time pressure, then have him or her practice under time pressure.
1. Make the drills time bound so that the child gets used to recalling the facts and performing the operations faster.
2. Be careful to emphasize accuracy over speed. Speed will come over time with practice, but accuracy should not be sacrificed to gain speed.
By carefully identifying the problem areas and focusing the efforts on areas of weakness, you, as a parent, can definitely prevent your child from falling into a negative loop and lead him or her to success in math.