Your child needs help with math homework, but you’re not sure how to do the math problems yourself. Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone. This happens a lot to parents.
Keep in mind that showing kids with learning or attention issues that it’s OK not to know the answers can be a good lesson. Here are some suggestions for approaching math homework with your child.
The Most Important Tip for Math Homework
It’s important not to spend more than 10 to 20 minutes working through math homework that neither you nor your child knows how to do. Spending more time than this will probably just be frustrating for you and your child without providing much benefit.
Try the steps outlined below. If they don’t work, it may be better for your child to get more instruction from a teacher in order to complete the homework.
5 Things to Do When Helping With Math Homework
Here are things to keep in mind when helping your child with tricky math homework.
- Start by acknowledging that not understanding what to do can be stressful. You can also say something positive to acknowledge that your child is trying. For example: “I’m proud that you know what the homework is and brought home the proper materials.”
- Ask your child to show you an example. This could include a math problem he did in class or a sample math problem from a textbook that includes the answer.
- If your child can’t find an example problem, try typing one of the homework problems into an internet search. Your child’s worksheet, textbook or notebook might have a title or math term to search for online. Your search will bring up a list of websites designed to help with math. Try a few sites if the first one doesn’t help.
- Once you’ve found a sample problem either from your child or online, ask how the teacher said to do the problems. Having a completed example in front of him can help your child recall any instructions and class discussions.
- Use the sample problem to figure out the process to follow to solve the problem. Make notes of each step your child remembers as you work your way through the first problem together. This reminds your child that math is a process. The list you create also gives your child something to take to the teacher to show his efforts, even if he doesn’t come up with the right answer. The teacher can use the list to correct the process so that your child can solve the problem in the future.
3 Things to Avoid When Helping With Math Homework
Here are three things to avoid doing when your child asks for math homework help.
- Try not to begin by asking your child what the teacher said to do. If your child remembered that, he likely wouldn’t be asking for your help.
- Try not to contact the teacher right away. Kids with learning and attention issues might give up easily or get angry if they’re not sure what to do. But it’s important for them to try to think of ways to approach the situation before going to the teacher.
- Try not to write a note that just says your child didn’t understand the assignment. Give the teacher information about what your child has trouble with, such as adding fractions. This can help find the “missing piece” to solve math problems.
For more help with sticky homework situations, here are tips on how to win homework battles. And visit Parenting Coach for ways to work with kids who give up too easily.