All too often, students are saying the phrase, “I’m not good at math!” Our response as a parent is always, “I wasn’t good either when I was your age, but you have to learn it”. This can seem like the perfect response at the time, but as children progress through the concepts, a fixed mindset begins to develop. Students become set in believing they will never begin to love math. Here are a few ways to help your child develop into the mathematician we all know they can be!

  1. Practice make progress
    1. Practice makes perfect is very stressful. The idea of needing to be perfect at everything and every concept is very daunting for an adult, let alone a child. When you approach all things with the idea of a growth mindset, they will learn to persevere through any hardships. Your response to your child when they are struggling making progress, “it’s ok, you just can’t do it yet”.
  2. Allow the struggle
    1. This ties with making the practice makes progress, allowing the struggle. It is very difficult to watch your child struggle at anything. As a parent, we just want to help our child with any and everything to keep them from feeling frustration or even failure. The process of saving our child seems amazing for right now, but in the long run, the child begins to lack in a few areas in which struggle helps us. Areas such as perseverance, determination, and resilience. 
  3. Understand how to work through the struggle
    1. Close your eyes, think of when your little one first learned to walk. The joy you had when you saw the first steps being made, the cheering you did when they finally reached you, and the reassurance you gave when they fell. Academically, especially mathematically this should all still happen. Cheer when you see them attempt the problem, these are the first steps. Review their answers, they should have shown their work, and cheer when you look at it (reaching you). Lastly, when the answer is incorrect, review back with them the steps needed to take, and tell them you’re almost there, just not quite yet. Sometimes, you may just need a little extra help.
  4. Use your resources
    1. Helping your child master their steps was never difficult, it was almost instinctual. Think about it, you told them to hold on to the couch or a table. You used a walker or even had them walk alongside you. It is the same with math. Find videos to help with review, use household objects to help with counting, check with your child often to just simply ask how they are doing. This will help with the struggle and the understanding to push through to make that progress. Remember, yet!
  5. Have fun!
    1. Any subject should not be horribly boring. It should be fun! Be creative at home during homework. Use games, relay races outside and cooking! This is a wonderful way for you and your child to bond and create a mathematical mind together. Whenever they struggle, just remember to respond, “it’s ok, you just can’t do it yet”.

Jamil Brown

3rd & 4th Grade Math Teacher