Whether they like it or not, Maths is one of the most important subjects that your child will have to face at school. It is also the one that can cause the most stress for students who struggle with the concepts. At Spectrum Tuition, we meet a lot of students who, for one reason or another, have fallen behind in Maths. Some of them have missed important lessons due to holidays or illness, some were not dedicated to their studies until it was too late, and some just found particular topics confusing. However it happens, the result is always the same: students become demoralised, anxious and unmotivated. They start associating Maths with all things negative, they decide that they “just don’t get Maths” and their grades start to suffer.
So, what can you do if your child has fallen behind? How can you help them improve if every lesson seems to leave them more and more confused? There is hope. Just follow our 5 steps for helping your child regain their confidence!
Step 1. Recognise That It Will Take Time
There is no magical cure for this problem. Your child will not catch up on weeks, months or years of mathematic skills overnight! It is important to think about improvement as a long-term goal. Instead of your child staying up all night cramming for their exam the night before, it is a better idea to set aside one or two hours a week, on top of their other work, to focus on improving their maths skills. It’s amazing how much that little amount of time each week will add up in the long term.
Step 2. Work On The Basics
Often, the biggest hurdle that causes students to fall behind in Maths is a lack of basic number skills. Think about it: how are they supposed to master complex equations if they are unable to quickly perform basic multiplication, division, subtraction and addition problems? That’s like trying to write a story if you don’t even know the alphabet!
The best place to start is the basics; make sure your child knows their 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 times tables. Make sure they understand the relationship between multiplication and division, and then teach them long division. Make sure they can add and subtract numbers with a large amount of digits. For older students, make sure they understand how to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions. Without these basic skills, it’s impossible to tackle more complex mathematical concepts.
Step 3. Build On What They Know
One of the good things about maths is that it is cumulative. Throughout most of high school, students usually cover the same basic topics every year: fractions, area, volume, number skills, probability, problem solving and algebra. Each year, these topics get harder and harder, but they are still founded on the same basic skills learned in previous years. If your child is struggling with a particular topic, encourage them to remember what they have learned about it in the past. This is a good time to look at their previous work and jog their memory. Once you know what they remember, what they have forgotten, and what they still don’t understand, you will be in a much better position to move forward.
Step 4. Don’t Get Overwhelmed
It is so easy for students to get overwhelmed with maths. There is a fine line between a challenging question and a question that looks like absolute nonsense. If your child is overwhelmed with too many ideas, concepts and questions at one time, they are more likely to forget everything they have learned. That’s why it’s important to focus on one topic at a time. Start with simple questions that your child is confident with. Once your child is getting all of the questions right, move up to a more difficult type of question. The trick is to find the balance between work that is challenging and work that is too difficult.
Step 5. Get Help
If Maths is hard, explaining Maths to a confused student is even harder. Often parents have trouble communicating complex ideas with their children. What’s more, some parents don’t have the time or expertise to help their child catch up on their Maths. That’s what we’re here for. We have over 10 years of experience is getting students back to being confident, happy and successful in class. When students come to us, we give them a free assessment to see what level their mathematics skills are, so that their tutor knows exactly what kind of help they need. If you would like to book a free assessment for your child, click the link below.
Today is the best day to start helping your child get back on track. The sooner they regain their confidence, the happier and more successful their education will be.