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13 Study Tips To Prevent Your Child From Falling Behind in Math

Mom helping her daughter do her homework

In every subject, each student progresses at his or her own pace. However, when it comes to learning math, students who need more time to understand a concept often fall behind—and they fall behind quickly.

Why Students Fall Behind In Math

Math is a cumulative subject⁠—each new concept requires a solid understanding of the concepts that were learned before. When it’s time for a new unit and there’s still confusion about the last one, students who need more time to learn can have a tough time grasping new concepts. This can lead to a snowball effect where students continue to fall further behind in math class and are unable to catch up.

Fortunately, there are ways to help your child stay on track. Keep reading to discover tips for studying math, encouraging good homework habits, and keeping your child on track in math class.

13 Study Tips To Make Math Easier For Your Child To Learn

1. Talk About Classroom Participation

Have a discussion with your child about the importance of participating in class, actively listening when other students ask questions, and asking the teacher for help when needed. It’s important to have this conversation with your child often—he or she will need to take responsibility (as you won’t be there to oversee it!).

To help gauge your child’s classroom participation, ask your child what he or she did in class each day. You can also talk to the teacher about how often he or she participates.

2. Get Ready To Learn

Just like stretching before exercising, math is easier if your brain is ready for it. Encourage your child to do a few fun brain teasers before sitting down to complete homework or before studying for a test.

3. Complete All Homework

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to encourage your child to fully complete all assigned homework. Completing all of the assigned homework will help your child develop a deeper understanding of the concepts.

Just because he or she got a few practice questions right doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t finish all of the assigned questions. Getting the right answer is only important if your child also understands how he or she got the right answer.

4. Find Additional Questions

If the concepts are still a bit fuzzy even after doing math homework, find some additional practice questions for your child online. Instead of repeating the practice questions from the textbook, trying new problems (that he or she doesn’t know the answer to yet) will help the concepts stick.

5. Make Connections

One of the best ways to learn is to make real-world connections that extend far beyond a textbook. Incorporate practical math learning whenever possible.

Hands-on learning is a great way to keep your child engaged, even with math. Some examples of practical math learning include:

  • Have your child help with a baking recipe to learn fractions.
  • When learning geometry, have your child figure out the surface area of his or her bedroom (using a measuring tape).
  • When shopping, have your child estimate the total cost of items at checkout.

6. Review Errors

When homework and tests are returned, take time to go over any wrong answers with your child. Help him or her identify where mistakes were made and how to fix it. Then have your child try answering the question again.

Reviewing his or her mistakes will help your child learn why they were made and how to avoid making the same errors on future tests and assignments.

7. Don’t Get Hung Up On One Problem

If your child gets caught up on every mistake or problem and becomes overly frustrated, it can lower confidence and impact other areas of learning.

When your child is struggling with a question or concept while doing homework, set it aside, take a break, and return to it later. If needed, make a note of the problem and encourage your child to ask the teacher for help the next day.

For struggling learners, identifying and dealing with stress is one of the best ways to help him or her to make progress. Let your child know it’s okay to make mistakes and to ask for extra help to solve a problem.

8. Make It Fun

Today’s technology brings many resources that are useful for learning all kinds of subjects, including math. Educational apps and online games are a great way to encourage skill development, without it feeling like actual work.

9. Start Studying Well Before The Test

Studying is important to doing well on tests, but learning how to study math effectively is important for understanding the concepts and making sure they stick.

Math concepts are understood through doing rather than just reading. Although reading a textbook may help familiarize your child with concepts, actually doing them is more helpful.

Here are some tips on how to study for math tests:

  • Encourage your child to review his or her notes and previous assignments and tests.
  • Have your child work through practice test questions as though he or she was writing a test. Most textbooks have practice test questions or review questions at the end of each chapter or unit (and these aren’t always assigned by the teacher!).
  • Circle questions that need to be addressed, and have your child identify any mistakes in the problem-solving process to correct them.

10. Slow Down

Math is not a race! Encourage your child to take time to understand, complete, and double check his or her work. Slowing down reduces the chances of making mistakes or not really thinking about how your child is arriving at an answer.

11. Exercise Before Math Homework

Light exercise increases blood flow to improve mental clarity and ability to concentrate—which is exactly the state you want your child’s brain in before doing homework. Go for a walk before hitting the books to get your child in the right headspace to tackle his or her homework.

12. Keep Open Communication

Ask your child about what he or she is learning in math, how he or she is finding the units and concepts, and what he or she is enjoying most. Even if your child is completing homework independently, it’s important to communicate. Asking your child questions about math class keeps you in the loop and reassures your child it’s okay to talk to you if he or she is struggling with the subject.

13. Consider A Tutor

If math concepts still aren’t sticking or your child needs some extra support, it may be time to sign your child up for tutoring. It’s a great way to build confidence and prepare your child for tests and exams. Contact your GradePower Learning location to learn more about math tutoring.

Help Your Child Stay On Track

With a little bit of extra work from both you and your child, math can become much easier. Use the tips above to help your child stay on track in math class.

For more math help, check out these related resources:


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