Do you find yourself getting anxious when the math books get pulled out of their backpacks? Does the idea of explaining how to add 1/6 to 1/4 stress you out?
Do not fear, I have some great tips and resources for you to use to help make math homework time a little less chaotic.
Use whiteboards. I bought a couple of small whiteboards for a dollar each at Target the other day. They work great because you can work through problems without taking up lots of space on their homework paper, and kids seem to think that whiteboards are tons of fun, so they’re usually more willing to work out the problems with you. You can even turn it into a game. Give them a practice problem and have them race against you or another family member to solve it. First one done holds up their whiteboard!
Use objects and cheat-sheets. For all the visual learners out there (myself included) having a cheat sheet or using blocks to work though problems is really helpful. Simply explaining how to subtract 9 from 13 with words isn’t always best with children. If you lay out 13 blocks or beads, and then have them take away 9 and count what is left over, that is much more effective.
You can use anything from paperclips to pom poms to pieces of cut up paper to visually demonstrate addition and subtraction. I bought a box of colorful wooden beads at Target, and they work great!
Here are just a few helpful “cheat-sheets” I found on the web. If you are looking for something specific, I’m sure there’s a sheet out there for you!
Read the lesson beforehand. I know that seems obvious, but it really is helpful. I frequently help my little sister-in-law with her homework, and I was able to find a version of her math book online after doing a Google Search. Before I set up our video chat to go over the problems she’s struggling with, I skimmed through the lesson she was on that day so that I was not caught off-guard by any problems. While sometimes it is necessary, it is usually best to go by the steps taught in the book versus Googling instructions. Sometimes there is a specific method for solving the problem that your child needs to master.
It’s okay to not know. Sometimes the problem is just too confusing and no matter how much you work at it, you just don’t quite understand it. In this situation it’s best to have your child make a note to ask their teacher about that problem before class or during the lesson the next day. Don’t just guess; it’s better for them to ask about it later than potentially learn how to do it completely wrong.
Lots of patience and praise. Nothing helps a child more than hearing how smart they are, even if they aren’t getting each and every problem right. Kids that don’t feel confident do much more poorly than others. The elementary years are so crucial in building up their self-esteem. If they feel like they’re unintelligent and bad at math, they’re not likely to put much effort in and they’ll continue to fall behind. Be patient with them as you work through the problems, don’t get upset if you have to repeat yourself a few times, either. In the end, your patience and praise will help them more than anything else.
Those are just a few tips that I have found helpful while helping kids with their math homework. Follow a few of those and you’re sure to have a better homework-sessions this week!
Do you have any helpful methods for helping your kids with their math assignments? If so, please share them with us in the comments!
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