When Your Child's Math Homework Is Too Hard
- for YOU!
Math homework makes parents look bad!
From skinned knees to broken friendships to Friday's science project, we are supposed to swoop in and make everything all better. It's what we do
. We may not be able to save the world, but we certainly have the answers to our children's problems, don't we?
It comes as a real slap in the face to realize that not only are we unable to solve our children's problems, we can't even figure out their math homework- especially when your kids are too young to drive!
"I stopped pretending that I was helping my son with his math homework when he was in the 5th grade!" laughed mom Cheryl Autry, whose son is now an 8th grader with a math tutor.
"Even if I could do it myself, I could never explain it to him," she said.
Ah, yes, that math homework is something else, isn't it?
There are reasons why math homework isUse it or lose it.
so hard for parents...
It has probably been a few years since you had to discuss systems of equations or negative integers, am I right?
It's harder than it used to be- really! It's not your imagination. Blame politicians and administrators looking for higher test scores and schools wanting to be known for their ultra-challenging curriculum, but math is hard! Word problems in 1st grade, algebra in 4th grade, trigonometry in 7th grade- we are asking our children to master concepts before many of them are developmentally and cognitively ready to do so. They aren't ready for abstract thought and complicated processes...
And, either are their parents!
So what's a parent to do? You can't leave the room every time your child pulls out her math homework (can you?):
News Flash: Your job is not to teach your children math! They should be learning it in school!
- Be honest.
- It may be difficult to admit that your child's math homework is above your head, but it is the right thing to do. Your child (who you are probably not fooling, anyway)will respect your honesty. Plus, you will no longer have to explain why all of the problems you helped him with last night were wrong.
Let the teacher know that your child is having difficulty, and you don't seem to be able to help. Now, the three of you- parent, teacher, child- can devise a plan of action, such as tutoring.
"Parents tell me all the time that they can't do the math," says Indira Bhatti, a 3rd grade teacher from Elk Grove, CA. "It's no big deal."
- If you think that your buried math knowledge might come back with a little review, borrow your child's math book and knock yourself out. Keep in mind that not only do you need to understand every concept, you must be able to clearly explain them to your son or daughter.
Good luck with that.
As any teacher can tell you, there is a BIG difference between knowing and showing.
- Get help.
- There is nothing wrong with accepting the fact that you will never be a great math teacher or admitting that you do not want to re-live the agony of geometry.
And, why should you? There is a tutoring solution to fit your family's needs and budget. Remember, it is not important whether or not you are the one explaining the Pythagorean Theorem. The goal is to help your child succeed.
Sometimes, being able to say, "I don't know," shows how smart you really are.
Let us show you how to get your child some help with his math homework, and, while you're at it, deal with your math anxiety!
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