Tips for Supporting Kids Struggling with Math Fundamentals

by Cignition, on Jan 17, 2020 10:00:17 AM

Does the following scenario sound familiar? Your child mentions that math is hard, so a red flag is raised in your mind. But you figure it can’t be too bad because their most recent grades still seem passable. But then the math curriculum keeps progressing and the situation gets worse - fast. You and your child become increasingly frustrated. How do you help with fundamentals of math when your child’s class is already moving on? Here are some tips to guide you in providing math help for kids who still need to “get” the basics. 

  • Remember the “why,” not just the “how.” 

Sometimes we get caught up in formal lessons and an academic understanding of math. But what kids need more than anything is to first grasp the concepts. If you want to learn how to teach multiplication to struggling students or introduce math strategies for word problems, the first step is to think about the bigger picture. How might a child use these skills in their life? Why is this an important concept to learn? By emphasizing the “why” more than the “how,” kids are more likely to become interested enough and get a first layer of understanding of fundamental concepts. 

  • Tie it into the real world (and the day-to-day).

Another issue with math fundamentals is that they’re often presented through confusing - and boring - worksheets. When you make math something applicable to the real world, you help with fundamentals of math and make them more accessible to your child. Wondering how to teach multiplication to struggling students? Set up a pretend bank, give your child a fake income and create a scenario around investing their money. 

Also, work to weave math into your everyday life. When you go to buy fabric for a project, talk to your child about how the fabric is measured and how those measurements fit into one another. When you bake cookies together, discuss fractions as you break the single lump of dough in half, and then half again and so forth. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it just needs to be relevant in order to make an impact. 

  • Revisit your toolkit. 

One of the reasons our online math tutoring for kids is so effective is because we keep it interesting. We switch up the activities, games, and approaches we use with students so they stay engaged. Think about the tools you’re using to teach your children. Is it time to update them? You can use measuring cups, algebra tiles, fraction cubes, an abacus - and the list goes on. Also, remember to use games. There are plenty of math games available to reinforce specific concepts and help with fundamentals of math. 

  • Let them be the teacher. 

It’s been said that teaching a concept to someone else strengthens it in the mind of the one teaching. So, let your child be the math teacher for a day! They may be unsure of this at first, but invite them to embrace the role. Guide them in choosing a math subject, and giving them some tools to use with it. Then, let them teach you! 

Be careful to not correct them too much, but rather make the most of this time to see into their thought processes. You’ll see how they approach math and where their roadblocks are, all while helping to reinforce the concepts in their minds. Later, you can help them bridge their gaps, but for now, just let them teach. 

  • Try online math tutoring. 

Last, but certainly not least, one of the best ways to provide math help for kids who need help with fundamentals of math is by pursuing online tutoring. We provide flexible scheduling and one-on-one math tutoring with experienced math teachers in the comfort of your home. Schedule your first free session today!

Topics:MathematicsParent ResourcesMath Tutoring

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Latest news and articles on neuroscience, pedagogy and game-based learning for elementary and middle school math students.

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