How to Help Your Child Catch Up on Math

Mathematics is a difficult subject for many students. It is a cumulative discipline that requires a strong foundation. When learners fall behind, it becomes even harder for them to grasp more complex concepts and formulas. Since many fields require math, a student’s ability in the subject can influence their education paths and future career opportunities.

Because of the pandemic, many students experienced major changes to their learning environment. This has led to poor learning outcomes, particularly for students from less-privileged backgrounds. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, math test scores for grades 3-8 students in fall 2021 were significantly lower than those of fall 2019.

Parents of children who have fallen behind in math may feel that the situation is beyond their control. However, it is not too late. The Bay Area Tutoring Association shares some ways that you can help your child to regain their confidence and mastery in math.

Set a Study Schedule

Getting better at math is a long-term process. It could take weeks or even months for a child to catch up to their grade level. Instead of expecting overnight results, plan a schedule and stick to it for as long as it takes. Many children need time to let information sink in. Therefore, steady and regular revisions can be more helpful than intense pre-test cramming. Aim to dedicate two hours a week to improving your child’s math.

Work on the Basics

As mentioned, math is a cumulative skill. A strong foundation is the key to advancing further. Before you try to get your kids to perform complex equations, be sure that they have mastered their basics. Help them to learn their multiplication tables up to 12 and ensure that they understand long division. Younger learners should be able to do addition and subtraction of multiple digits, while older students should have a firm grasp of fractions.

Encourage Communication

Many children will pretend that they understand to avoid feeling embarrassed or upsetting their teachers (in this case, you.) Instead of getting frustrated, be sure to encourage your child to speak up. This supportive approach can help you address specific areas that they are unclear about. You can also ask your child to explain their thought process as they solve a math problem, so you can find out where they may be stumbling.

Build Math Vocabulary

Vocabulary is not solely a concern of language subjects. The subject of mathematics comes with a considerable amount of vocabulary as well. Words like average, ascending, denominator, and more can add to the confusion of learners. If they cannot understand the question, they will not be able to find the correct answer. Hence, it is important to review math vocabulary with your child.

Use Visual Aids

Learning experts attest to the effectiveness of visual aids for learning, especially for younger students and visual and kinesthetic (hands-on) learners. Using study props like blocks can help your child to visualize concepts in their mind and better understand calculations. For older learners, learning how to draw graphs can help them to put a word problem into a comprehensible visual format, making it easier to find the answer.

Build on Knowledge

Once your child has become adept at a certain level of math, slowly increase the difficulty of the questions by adding one or two more difficult problems to their regular practice. This will help to build your child’s confidence and allow them to leverage their existing foundation. Try not to be too impatient. Raising the bar too high all of a sudden can overwhelm your child, demoralize them, and scare them away from the subject.

Seek Help

Math is a tough subject. Sometimes, parents can have trouble understanding it ourselves, not to mention explaining it to our children. Furthermore, teaching our children math can take a significant amount of time and patience that not all parents have. In such cases, it can be beneficial to the child to have a tutor. Your child may not tell you this, but many children find it less stressful to learn from a tutor than from a parent.

The Bay Area Tutoring Association is a non profit tutoring organization that connects educators and tutors with students and parents. They provide quality extended learning programs to facilitate the academic development of students and the empowerment of parents. Their core commitment is to support the San Francisco Bay Area community by training passionate and competent tutors who work to uplift individuals in the community.

Students of all ages and academic levels can enroll in the Bay Area Tutoring Association’s programs. The association offers learning pods where your child can have personalized tuition in a small group. One-on-one tutoring is available for students who need focused attention and a little extra assistance. In addition, their tutors speak native languages such as Mandarin, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Spanish, ensuring that your child can communicate with them fluently.

If your child is struggling with mathematics, you should support them as soon as possible. Students who fall far behind can be disadvantaged when it comes to future academic pathways and career choices. Through conscientious revision or the help of professional tutors, your child can master math and become more confident and fulfilled.