Many students struggle with their math questions, especially as they approach their teen years. There are several reasons for this, which I will discuss later.

However, every parent can help their child rise above this struggle - and succeed. If a student gives up, it can lead to a cycle of frustration and failure that can haunt a student (and parents) for years.

The extra effort you make is an investment in your child's future.

As you already know, students who understand math increase their chances of being accepted by the University of their choice.

In addition, a superior math score on standardized tests increases a student's likelihood of receiving a scholarship or fellowship to pay for their education.

Math is also important to your child's future employers. Employers are searching for applicants who can apply mathematics to business problems.

Many employers now give math tests to job applicants. High math grades in school will not be accepted prima facie. Public schools have a reputation (deserved) for inflating grades. Employers are searching for employees who actually know the material.

In addition, every citizen in a democracy needs a working knowledge of math to cast an intelligent, informed vote. Every citizen-voter will be voting on budget and bond issues. Casting an informed vote requires some knowledge of accounting and finance.

So how can a parent help their child prepare for these things?

A parent can help their child in several ways.

1) Recognize that children are unique individuals who mature at different rates. These differences are apparent even with siblings being raised within the same family.

A student's current level of mental development will be reflected in their ability to understand abstract concepts - such as the symbolism used in algebra.

If your child cannot grasp some of the more abstract concepts in math, it's probably nothing to be particularly worried about. Don't insult your child.

Just be encouraging and supportive. Wait until your student matures a little more. Time will take care of this problem.

As a parent, you have already noticed that even another 3 or 6 months in your child's age will allow them to make quantum jumps in understanding.

2) Help your child master the basic math skills used in arithmetic before doing anything else.

Why? Algebra is built upon arithmetic. The symbols used in algebra stand for numbers. The symbols used in algebra behave the same way numbers behave.

For example, 1 + 2 = 2 + 1. If you already know this from arithmetic, it is easy to see that x + y = y + x in algebra. This will be true of all the properties of real numbers: associative, commutative, distributive, etc.

The underlying problem is usually this: Most algebra students have never really learned how to ad, subtract, divide, and multiply fractions, mixed numbers, or decimals without the use of a calculator.

The techniques used in arithmetic and algebra are exactly the same. If a student can combine these fractions using arithmetic: (1/3) + (3/5), they can also combine these fractions using algebra: (a/b) + (c/d).

That is why a parent should concentrate on arithmetic at first. Ensure your child understands ARITHMETIC, and your child will have much less difficulty working with quadratic equations or trigonometry.

Test your child's understanding by asking them to add, subtract, multiply, and divide the following two fractions: 1/3 and 3/5.

If you don't feel qualified to help your child with arithmetic, take your child to meet with his or her teacher after school for extra tutoring. All the math teachers I have ever talked with are happy to spend as much time as necessary to improve your child's math skills.

3) Set aside enough time at home for your child to study the material presented in school.

Be aware of the fact that by 7th grade, government regulations require the teacher to increase the pace of math instruction dramatically. This is a big surprise to most students. It means that more and more unfamiliar material will be introduced at a faster and faster pace.

Teachers are monitored to make sure they keep up the pace.

Your child's teacher will be glad to provide you with a calendar which shows the schedule of what topics will be presented each week for the entire year. Be sure to ask.

4) Require your child to take notes in class and notes on the material you review at home.

These must be detailed "how to" notes which show EVERY step in every problem solution.

Direct your child to refer to those notes when he or she encounters the same type of problem covered in their notes. (Taking and organizing detailed notes on math is real work. Your child will not want to do it. Being required to refer to those notes is pure torture for teenagers. However, taking and using notes will put them in control of their own learning more than anything else ever can. Without their own notes, your child will endlessly ask for more "help". More help to a teenager always means: Do It For Me and hand me the answer.)

Tom Lillig teaches a step-by-step, universal process for solving math problems at Solving-Math-Problems.com. For some great help answering math questions, be sure to visit his Web site

Many students struggle with their math questions, especially as they approach their teen years. There are several reasons for this, which I will discuss later.

However, every parent can help their child rise above this struggle - and succeed. If a student gives up, it can lead to a cycle of frustration and failure that can haunt a student (and parents) for years.

The extra effort you make is an investment in your child's future.

As you already know, students who understand math increase their chances of being accepted by the University of their choice.

In addition, a superior math score on standardized tests increases a student's likelihood of receiving a scholarship or fellowship to pay for their education.

Math is also important to your child's future employers. Employers are searching for applicants who can apply mathematics to business problems.

Many employers now give math tests to job applicants. High math grades in school will not be accepted prima facie. Public schools have a reputation (deserved) for inflating grades. Employers are searching for employees who actually know the material.

In addition, every citizen in a democracy needs a working knowledge of math to cast an intelligent, informed vote. Every citizen-voter will be voting on budget and bond issues. Casting an informed vote requires some knowledge of accounting and finance.

So how can a parent help their child prepare for these things?

A parent can help their child in several ways.

1) Recognize that children are unique individuals who mature at different rates. These differences are apparent even with siblings being raised within the same family.

A student's current level of mental development will be reflected in their ability to understand abstract concepts - such as the symbolism used in algebra.

If your child cannot grasp some of the more abstract concepts in math, it's probably nothing to be particularly worried about. Don't insult your child.

Just be encouraging and supportive. Wait until your student matures a little more. Time will take care of this problem.

As a parent, you have already noticed that even another 3 or 6 months in your child's age will allow them to make quantum jumps in understanding.

2) Help your child master the basic math skills used in arithmetic before doing anything else.

Why? Algebra is built upon arithmetic. The symbols used in algebra stand for numbers. The symbols used in algebra behave the same way numbers behave.

For example, 1 + 2 = 2 + 1. If you already know this from arithmetic, it is easy to see that x + y = y + x in algebra. This will be true of all the properties of real numbers: associative, commutative, distributive, etc.

The underlying problem is usually this: Most algebra students have never really learned how to ad, subtract, divide, and multiply fractions, mixed numbers, or decimals without the use of a calculator.

The techniques used in arithmetic and algebra are exactly the same. If a student can combine these fractions using arithmetic: (1/3) + (3/5), they can also combine these fractions using algebra: (a/b) + (c/d).

That is why a parent should concentrate on arithmetic at first. Ensure your child understands ARITHMETIC, and your child will have much less difficulty working with quadratic equations or trigonometry.

Test your child's understanding by asking them to add, subtract, multiply, and divide the following two fractions: 1/3 and 3/5.

If you don't feel qualified to help your child with arithmetic, take your child to meet with his or her teacher after school for extra tutoring. All the math teachers I have ever talked with are happy to spend as much time as necessary to improve your child's math skills.

3) Set aside enough time at home for your child to study the material presented in school.

Be aware of the fact that by 7th grade, government regulations require the teacher to increase the pace of math instruction dramatically. This is a big surprise to most students. It means that more and more unfamiliar material will be introduced at a faster and faster pace.

Teachers are monitored to make sure they keep up the pace.

Your child's teacher will be glad to provide you with a calendar which shows the schedule of what topics will be presented each week for the entire year. Be sure to ask.

4) Require your child to take notes in class and notes on the material you review at home.

These must be detailed "how to" notes which show EVERY step in every problem solution.

Direct your child to refer to those notes when he or she encounters the same type of problem covered in their notes. (Taking and organizing detailed notes on math is real work. Your child will not want to do it. Being required to refer to those notes is pure torture for teenagers. However, taking and using notes will put them in control of their own learning more than anything else ever can. Without their own notes, your child will endlessly ask for more "help". M

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