(EDITOR'S NOTE: This column originally was published Nov. 26 and is being reprinted because of increased questions about the topic.)
It would most be safe to say that each of us have struggled with the subject of mathematics at one point in our life.
The subject of math is rather fascinating, but at the same time can be very frustrating. The world of math encompasses many everyday uses and plays a significant role in many decisions we make on a daily basis.
Having said this, it is crucial that we make sure our youth are grasping basic math concepts. As we teach our youth the "craft" of mathematics, we find that many of our students exhibit signs of struggle while learning basic and advanced math concepts.
This can become a long-term problem for many students, both college bound and workforce bound. The focus of this article is to provide some basic tips and strategies for the student who is having difficulty in math.
Whether or not you are taking calculus or consumer mathematics, it is important that you see and understand the importance of having a solid foundation in math for your chosen future.
Many students and family members ask what to do when they find their child is earning deficient grades in their respective math course.
The first thing that should be done is to schedule a conference with your son or daughter's teacher. As a parent, you should be asking to see your child's grades and their completeness on homework assignments. Many teachers will give points for homework completeness. These should be easy points for the student to obtain.
The reasoning behind seeing your child's grades is to try and detect a pattern, such as lower grades on exams and quizzes, or just inconsistency in completing assignments.
Once you establish a baseline as to where your child is having difficulty, it is time to develop a plan for them. You should become proactive with your child by asking to see their homework assignments each day and you may even want to check this against the teacher's web page for accuracy.
Have your child work on his or her math homework in a quiet and non-disruptive setting. Mathematics is very mental and concentration is a must.
Make sure your child is showing their work and not just the answer(s). If they do not know the steps to get the answers, there may be a chance that they are retrieving the answers from the back of the textbook.
The majority of your school's teachers also have "free periods" set aside to help those who are struggling. Contact your school's guidance office to make arrangements for your child to take advantage of this service.
There also are online math programs for all age groups that offer instructional steps and rationale.
You should be sure that the websites you are using are credible. Your child's teacher usually can have some great recommendations for web-based math instruction.
You may find that after all of this effort your child is still struggling.
The next step would be to hire a tutor to work on the fundamentals and try to decide if the student needs to step back into the previous level of math to work on core concepts.
The most important item of business is to remain positive and encouraging with your son or daughter.
As you can see, there are many outlets available to help your child in becoming more successful in their mathematics course.
You need to remain proactive and use your resources that surround your child.
The relationship with your child's teacher also is key to their success.
Our next article will journey to the land of testing anxiety, regarding what it is and how to attack the problem.
Cordell is the owner of Excell Tutoring Services, 346 Broad St., Montoursville. He may be reached at 506-9998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit www.excelltutoringservices.com.