10 tips for helping your child with math homework

For families

From kindergarten through 12th grade, students often have math homework several times each week. During the thirteen years of school, there comes a time when parents no longer feel they have the math skills to help their students succeed in math. Fortunately, parents have several options to turn to so they can still provide some assistance. Math tips for parents help parents help their children with tough math concepts. 

Trust the process

Before parents doubt their skills and their children’s skills, it’s important to remember that teachers usually have a plan and a process. It’s perfectly acceptable for children to struggle through a tough concept, especially since many people learn from mistakes. 

One of the best math tips for parents involves encouraging children to trust their children’s ability to learn. Rather than doing the assignment for them, parents can help their children learn by telling a story about a time they struggled but eventually figured it out. Everyone learns at different rates so rather than complaining about math, parents should encourage children to believe in their ability to learn and to understand that making mistakes is a part of the process. 

Parents should stay positive, avoiding negative language about math. The process involves the struggle, and parents should praise their child’s work ethic as they learn by practicing and making mistakes. 

Consider the math muscle

If your child needed to learn to shoot a free throw, you would give your child plenty of opportunities to practice. Children need to exercise their math muscles by getting opportunities to practice. If you’re wondering how to help your child with math at home, the key to success is making it fun - like practicing a sport or a game. 

Encourage your child to teach math concepts to you

Teachers know that if a student can explain a concept to someone else, they know it. Even if your child is struggling with a math problem, get your child to talk about the concept by teaching it to you. 

Talking through the concept is a positive way to help your kids with math. When your child teaches you the subject, they reinforce their own learning. While they teach you the concept, have them show you how to solve a problem. You can help your child in math by listening to your child help you.

Remind your child that learning takes time

If your child is frustrated with a new math concept, remind your child that learning takes time. Math is a perfect example of a subject that involves time and patience. Remember that students begin learning math concepts when they are in preschool, and they continue learning math into 12th grade and college. 

Remind your child that if they are truly confused about a concept, they can ask their teacher for help. Teachers cannot read their students’ minds, so it is important for children to ask for help if they need it. 

Make math fun at home

Even if you don’t like math, you can still make math fun and accessible for your child. Helping your child learn mathematics doesn’t have to feel like school. Your child can learn more about math by helping you with cooking and baking. They can also measure things around the house and help you count real money. Children love to play games, so keep some math-related games around the house. 

Talk about school and what your child learned

When your child gets home from school, don’t just ask how school was. Ask specific questions so your child can tell you what they learned. Ask your child to show you what they did in math today. Giving your child the opportunity to explain the concept while it’s still fresh in their memories helps them cement their learning.  

When you talk to your child about what they are in school, be enthusiastic and inquisitive without being judgmental or critical. Let your child lead the conversation. Give your child time to talk, and be prepared for your child to stop and think. Don’t talk over your children or put words in your child’s mouth. Kids need to think as they speak, so they often stop to look for the words they need to say. 

Confirm your child’s successes

Helping with math can be as easy as recognizing your child’s successes. Children will take risks with learning when they know they have support from their families. Rather than praising their grades, praise their efforts to earn them. 

Teach your child to advocate for themselves

Children need to learn how to advocate for themselves. When parents constantly make phone calls to the teacher, children never get the chance to help themselves. Rather than making phone calls to learn about your child’s weaknesses in math, help your child by encouraging your child to talk to the teacher and get the help they need. 

Let your child take the lead on asking for help. If you want to be sure your child talks to the teacher, let the teacher know your plan and check if your child followed through by asking for help. 

Get a tutor if necessary

Some children need additional help with math concepts. Because children learn in different ways, many benefit from learning from a different person. Math tutors know the curriculum in the local schools, and they know how to present the information in different ways. Most tutors will help students in person or virtually. 

Stop the drill, kill, and speed rounds

When parents were learning math, their teachers used the drill and kill method - which is probably why parents aren’t fans of the subject. Today’s students don’t need to speed their way through learning multiplication tables. They need to have time to think about math. Instead, use music, puzzles, games, and shopping trips to make math fun and playful. 

Don’t buy any math workbook, instead find video games and apps on your computers and tablets so children can connect math with play and enjoy the process of learning.