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Four Ways Parents Can Help Their Kids with Math Homework (Even if you don’t understand the math!)

A common reaction we see from parents is to be very hands-off when it come to helping their kids with their math homework. Citing reasons like, “We argue too much when I try and help” or “I just want to be a parent and not a teacher”, parents can easily become disconnected and the perceived lack of interest gets mimicked by the child when it comes to math class and homework.

We get it – math is hard and you took that algebra 1 class a LONG time ago, but with these simple tips, any parent can become more connected with their kid’s education and not feel like they’re creating math fights every night at the kitchen table.

  • Become the student. Engage in their coursework by asking them to explain a concept to you. As tutors, we know that if a student can explain a concept they’re working on, in their own words, then they truly understand the material. Parents can do the same, and it works even better if you don’t understand or remember the topic at first glance. Wouldn’t it be cool if you were reminded what SOH CAH TOA meant from your own son or daughter?
  • Create an environment. You might not be able to step in and provide tips on solving differential equations, but you can make sure their surroundings are awesome. Provide snacks, cold water, hot coffee, a bright space, and all the school supplies necessary to make that once-daunting algebra homework seem like a piece of cake.
  • Knock down hurdles together. The best lesson we can teach our kids is to dig in and not give up. At your work, when you hit the first hurdle in a problem, you don’t give up or go and ask someone for help immediately. So, when students get stuck on a problem, let’s help them work through it. If you don’t understand the math, I guarantee someone on the Internet does. Try coming at the problem from a different angle or Google for help.
  • Misery loves company. If you’re encouraging your kid to grind out an extra hour of homework while you watch the hockey game, it’s not exactly motivating. Instead, fire up your laptop and catch up on some work emails at the table next to them. Your grit will rub off on them and you’ll both leave knowing you’ve chopped down your to-do lists.

Math homework is practice. It’s important to gain some momentum in the subject, reinforce skills that were learned in the classroom, and ultimately improve overall problem-solving skills. Support your kid with a positive attitude around math homework and their marks and confidence are sure to rise!

Thanks for reading,

Mike

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