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5 Tips for Parents When Helping Children with Math Homework

Math is a tricky subject for some children, and many parents don’t feel confident helping when the homework becomes difficult. Math is a cumulative subject that continues to build on skills learned, so it can be hard – especially as children move into middle and high school – for parents to jump into a lesson and offer help.

One question we often get from parents is what they should do to support their children on math homework that’s beyond the “everyday math” with which they are comfortable. We offer five suggestions for parents to help their children navigate their way through math homework:

Encourage them to Look in the Book for Similar Problems
When children get stuck on a problem, parents can have them browse the textbook (using the table of contents and index to point them in the right direction) for sample problems that cover similar information — class notes or handouts too.

Read Directions Aloud
Parents can help children retrace their work by reading through the pieces of a problem step by step and confirming that they understand. Children who are strong auditory learners might prefer having a parent read, while those who are more visually inclined might rather read to a parent, who can then help them decode and determine whether they missed any important information or details.

Talk Through What Was Covered in Class
It’s easy for children to become overwhelmed when they are deep in the minutiae of a math assignment, but parents can diffuse their children’s frustration by taking a step back and asking what the teacher taught that day. They can refer to class notes together to look for cues on how the teacher walked the students through a problem type or concept. This might help jog the memory with some of the specifics that are escaping them during homework time.

Double Check Math Facts
While parents might not know how to solve a complicated algebra problem, they can verify any math facts with a calculator to make sure their children didn’t miscalculate an addition, subtraction, multiplication or division component of a bigger problem.

Develop a List of Questions
When children end up with a wrong answer and still can’t figure out where they made a mistake after reviewing their steps to check their work, parents should have them write down specific questions about the steps that confused them. At the very least, this will give them what they need to have a productive conversation the following day at school with their teacher — and prove that they gave the assignment their best effort.

This post was written by Huntington Learning Center

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