A student’s learning experience extends beyond school walls; there is also value in homework, which reinforces learned concepts and allows students to put their knowledge into practice.
However, practice is often easier said than done—when completing their math homework, students inevitably encounter challenges that cause them to feel discouraged. In such cases, what can parents do to help?
Have you ever looked at your child’s homework and thought, Even I can’t figure this out? If so, you are not alone: many parents find it challenging to solve, let alone explain, complex mathematical concepts they have not studied since their schooling years.
That said, it is counterproductive to announce your frustration with the subject. We recommend moderating your language when speaking to your child. For example:
Avoid: “It’s okay that you’re bad at math—so am I!”
Try: “I understand this is difficult for you, but I’m confident we can solve this together.”
The former statement is negative and may cause your child to feel resigned to doing poorly. On the other hand, the latter statement focuses on the positive and encourages them to make an effort.
Break It Down
When helping your child with their homework, you should focus on making complicated things simple.
The first step to doing so is clarifying the assignment. Look through the questions together and ask your child to explain what needs to be done in their own words. This practice helps them better understand the demands of the problem.
Additionally, it helps to identify key concepts and topics. For example, do you need to apply algebraic formulas to answer the question? Do you need to multiply, add, or divide anything? Facilitate the process by discussing what framework you should use to solve the problem efficiently.
Create a Conducive Study Environment
A conducive studying environment helps set the mood, tone, and mindset for academic success.
Ensure the distractions are kept at bay, and the study space is well organised. It also helps to create a regular homework schedule with your child to foster consistency for more efficient performance.
Encourage Independence and Self-Efficacy
When your child asks for help, it is best not to lend a hand directly. Instead, try asking them questions to guide their thought process; this way, you can push them towards a solution without spoon-feeding them the answer.
Set Realistic Expectations
Each student progresses at their own pace; comparing your child’s academic performance with their peers will only cause unnecessary stress and resentment towards the subject. Hence, moving the focus from getting the perfect answers to making improvements would be best. This practice gives your child a greater sense of accomplishment and, therefore, higher motivation.
Connect to Everyday Examples
One of the most effective ways to help your child with their math homework is to incorporate it into their day-to-day life. For example, you can count clouds, calculate grocery prices, or guess building heights with your child. This makes math problems more relatable and less intimidating.
As an extension of the day’s lessons, math homework allows students to apply what they have learned. Unfortunately, students often struggle to figure out the problems. Hence, parents can help facilitate the process by following some of the abovementioned tips.
For extra out-of-school guidance, consider enrolling your child into Miracle Math, a math tuition centre in Singapore. Our primary and secondary mathematics tutor provides upper primary and secondary tuition, including Sec 3 and Sec 4 A-Math tuition.