“I’m not good at math” is a refrain most parents and teachers hear from students who struggle with this subject. The thinking here is generally that if you aren’t born with an aptitude for math, you will never be good at it. The good news? Studies show that while natural talent does give some students an advantage, all students can be great at math with a little bit of effort.
Math can be learned by everyone; however it’s one of those ‘one percent inspiration, 99% perspiration’ things which requires concerted effort to master. One of the biggest problems for students is missing fundamental building blocks. Each year, teachers assume that your child understands all of the math from their previous academic years. They just add on to these foundations so, if your child is missing some underlying building blocks, they just get further and further behind every year.
Hire an in-home tutor
One of the biggest downsides to an inability to master math is the lack of confidence it creates in kids. When they get one-on-one tutoring at home, they are in a safe environment where they can ask questions and speak out when they don’t understand. Tutors can help to find those missing building blocks and fill in the gaps so your child can catch up and keep up.
‘I can’t do math’ is simply not true; everyone can learn to do math so outlaw these sentences in your home. It may also be a good idea to show the practical applications of math in the real world as well as the opportunities having math presents for college applications. Students who feel like they will never use math after school will find it difficult to motivate themselves to learn.
In a study for Purdue University, Patricia Linehan found that students either believed that they could improve their math abilities through practice and study or that they were just ‘bad at math’. Studies show that students who practices math with a positive attitude will see an improvement so a change in thinking is the first step to success.
Use math every day
Whether you are getting your child to measure out ingredients for a recipe, calculate a tip on a restaurant bill or project the earnings they will make on their paper route, using math every day will help them to understand abstract concepts and will provide great opportunities for practicing their math skills.
Free math apps abound for every grade and every new math concept that your child must master. You can get a really great overview of the apps from our blog here.
When it comes to math, natural ability does factor in to a small degree, but everyone can learn math and get great grades if they study hard and practice. Changing attitudes, filling in missing building blocks, daily practice and offering rewards for improvements will all contribute to turning your child into a math genius!pic by Woodley Wonderworks