I have hated math since the first time we started grouping marbles into piles in preschool. I absolutely, whole heartedly, despise any type of math problem down to the most basic equation. I make a joke a lot that I’m so bad at math I can’t even tell you how many people live in this house.
It’s bad, ya’ll.
Why do I hate it so much? Well, frankly, it’s because I’m terrible at it. No one wants to do something they are that bad at and when you are that bad, it’s incredibly frustrating.
Which brings me to the reason your kid hates math.
Well, it’s because they aren’t good at it either. They’re frustrated and defeated and when they sit down to a problem they don’t understand it feels overwhelming and impossible.
BUT. There is a big but here. It isn’t because they aren’t able or that they are way less smart than the kid next to them that is acing all their tests. No, not at all. It’s because they didn’t get enough time to master the previous level.
See, math is a tricky thing, requiring you to really, truly master one level before moving onto another. You can’t subtract until you can add. You can’t divide unless you can multiply.
So you are advancing each year to a new class without necessarily having truly understood the previous level. And at that point it’s too late.
Try to get them a tutor for Advanced Algebra when they really needed help four years ago with multiplication? Pointless.
So what are you supposed to do?
It’s actually pretty simple – not necessarily easy, but simple. Watch your children’s math grades and do not be satisfied with just a passing grade – you want to see at least a B. A passing grade in a math class means they have scored enough points to move on, not that they have mastered the skills.
I understand you may not be concerned with complete mastery of every subject of every grade, but with math, it’s necessary.
If they’re getting a low grade, basically signifying they aren’t getting enough problems correct, you need to help them. That may be staying late with a teacher, helping them with extra worksheets at home or hiring a tutor or online instructor. (You can get 20% off tutoring at Care.com with code 30SAVESM)
However you do it, get them better! It is doing them a disservice for every other year of math after that if you don’t make sure they are keeping up.
They’ll hate all the extra math work they are doing now, but will thank you later when they aren’t sitting at a desk with sweat pouring down their forehead because the problem they are looking at is literally impossible for them to solve.
Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.