5 Signs Your Child Needs Help With Math
How do you know your child needs help with math?
Ever wonder if your child is progressing naturally with math or if they might need a little extra help? Or are you feeling your child’s relationship with math is a bit too rocky? As educators, we get these questions all the time. Here are five signs that your child might need some extra help with math.
1. You hear: “I’m not good at math.”
This statement is sometimes accompanied by a slumped stature and downtrodden eyes (followed by a giant hug from a parent!). It seems like it doesn’t take much for our kids to lose joy in math and get a knick in their math confidence. And after a few knicks, their math confidence can really shatter. Many kids who struggle with math are struggling with confidence. According to research cited on this blogpost on Middle Web, it can be traced back to two sources: past experiences or not understanding how math knowledge is actually acquired. And if a child loses confidence early, this can affect them for the rest of their life.
The good news? Confidence is something that an expert educator can build! Teachers do this by helping kids develop a stronger mathematical identity, filling in any gaps in content knowledge, and growing a child’s ability to accept and learn from their mistakes. A focus on problem-solving instead of answer-getting usually does the trick!
2. Your child has math anxiety.
Does your child get nervous even thinking about math? Or even avoid it altogether, break out in tears or anger, or engage in negative self-talk? It could be math anxiety. More than half of elementary school students have math anxiety (*sigh) and it can start as early as Kindergarten (*double sigh*) according to research cited in this Edutopia article.
But don’t fear! Great teachers battle math anxiety and math phobia every day. They do this by engaging students in positive math experiences, letting them explore mathematical ideas instead of just mathematical procedures, and talking through any negative math experiences.
3. Your child gets frustrated with their math homework.
Is your child avoiding homework, hiding it, or is it ending up crumpled on the floor? And are you seeing this frustration more days than not? Your child might need some extra help with math. Here’s why: An expert teacher can address any misconceptions, fill in any gaps, and work to develop a set of strategies your child can apply to tackle any future frustrations.
4.Your child’s grades are slipping.
This one is pretty straightforward. If you notice your child’s grades are slipping, it’s time for a conversation with your child. And once you sit down and peel back the layers, we bet that you’ll find the root cause is one of the issues stated above. All of which can signify that a little extra math help is in the cards.
5. Your child is not grasping concepts you think they should.
There is a brain-based learning difference called dyscalculia which is similar to the more well-known reading neurodiversity, dyslexia. Dyscalculia impacts a person’s ability to do math and is not as well-known or understood as dyslexia. Experts believe that between 5-10% of the population has dyscalculia. There are a few indicators to look for with dyscalculia, though it can only be diagnosed through a psychoeducational evaluation (ask your child’s school). We appreciated this article from Understood that pointed out the signs, which can include challenges with the following:
- Grasping concepts of quantity.
- Understanding the connection between numerals (3) and words (three).
- Estimating time.
- Counting change and money.
- Remembering basic facts (like addition or multiplication).
- Holding numbers in their head.
If you are finding that any of these signs apply to you and your child, there are a couple of paths forward. First, talk to your child’s teacher. See if there is extra help available through the school or in the classroom.
If needed, you can always connect with us at The Community Classroom. Our tutors are all certified teachers, many of them with their Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics from Mount Holyoke College. They have a deep love and knowledge of both kids and math and are ready to serve families in our Classroom space in Florence, MA, and online with students across the country. Let us help your child find their joy, build their confidence, and develop a deeper knowledge of math. Find out more here.
Got the math bug and want to read some more? Check out some of our other mathilicious articles:
- Teacher-curated math games to beef up family game night
- How to take math outside when the grass turns green