You may have observed that your child is struggling in Math for quite a long time now. But the problem is, you aren’t that much on an expert when it comes to numbers and figures. What then you should do?
Letting math struggles go on too long without intervening could lead to life-long difficulties in school, on college admissions exams, and beyond. The first thing that you can do is to actually identify if they are having problems in the subject.
Below are the exact signs that your poor child is having difficulties:
27 Signs Your Child is Struggling in Math
1. Difficulty learning to count
2. Poor memory for numbers
3. Trouble recognizing printed numbers
4. Writes numbers backwards (e.g. 3 looks like ‘E’ and 2 looks like ‘S’)
5. Difficulty tying together the idea of a number (5) and how it exists in the world (5 cats, 5 dollars, 5 soccer balls)
6. Trouble organizing things in a logical way
7. Trouble with basic concepts of time (telling time, estimating the time that has passed)
8. Struggles thinking abstractly with concepts like older/younger, bigger/smaller, before/after
9. Trouble with mental math
10. Difficulty in estimating costs
11. Difficulty remembering basic math concepts and basic math facts
12. Difficulty learning math concepts beyond the basic math facts
13. Confused by rules and scoring systems for sports or games
14. Poor ability to budget, calculate a tip at a restaurant, or balance a checkbook
15. Trouble with concepts of time (e.g. sticking to a schedule or approximating time)
16. Difficulty finding different approaches to solving a problem
Any Age K-12th Grade
17. Reports “hating” math class
18. Gets upset or easily frustrated when working with numbers
19. Cannot follow the steps required to solve simple math problems
20. Insists he/she “cannot do it” without even trying to do it
21. Says math teacher does not teach or help (this may or may NOT be true, but still a sign of struggling)
22. Reluctance to do math homework
23. Anxious about math quizzes or tests
24. Says his/her “mind goes blank” on quizzes or tests
25. Hides report cards or says he/she did not get one
26. Caught cheating on an assignment or test
27. Wants to miss class or school
Why Your Child is Struggling in Math
They do not understand the basics
If your child wasn’t able to grasp the building block of Mathematics, he would really struggle until college. It is important that before your child learns a new topic, he fully understands the former topic taught. This will help him easily recall concepts when they are needed.
They have Math anxiety
Some kids are really anxious when it comes to Math and numbers. It’s as if, there is some physiological change that happens with them when presented with problems to be solved and numbers to calculated.
The common signs that your child has Math Anxiety are:
- clammy hands
- lack of response
They have some sort of learning disability
We do not mean to judge or classify students, but there are really some children who need extra attention because they have learning disabilities. They find it hard to quickly understand topics, more so if it is Math. One good example of this is Dyscalculia or number dyslexia.
5 Tips on How to Help a Child Who is Struggling in Math
There are many ways – free or paid – to help students struggling with math. Here are some ways to help get you started supporting your child!
1. Free Math Websites
- 51 Math Websites (alphabetical list of 43 free math websites)
- Top 10 Free Math Websites (detailed overview of 10 great sites)
- 13 Best Math Apps That Makes Learning Fun
2. Free Tutoring
Talk with your child’s teacher, math department, counselors, and school administrators to learn about all the free after-school tutoring help available. Even if your child says “there is no one who can help me,” that may not be the case. Reach out and learn more.
Know any parent friends or peers of your child who is great at math? Maybe someone can help tutor for free or work with your child in a study group.
3. Get More Information
Reach out to your child’s math teacher and ask for specific ways he/she could work to improve. Some things could be classroom behavior related or ‘soft skills’ like organization, time management, or effective studying. The math teacher spends the most time working with your child in this realm and can offer great insights and support.
Or have you child take an assessment test to pinpoint specific areas of math he/she needs to strengthen. Knowing what skills are week is half the battle!
4. Look into potential learning disabilities
I have already mentioned dyscalculia earlier, but allow me to discuss it in detail.
Dyscalculia is like dyslexia with numbers. It is a real diagnosis and I personally have worked with students who have it. They often struggle with mental math and simple math calculations even though they have mastered them in the past. Sometimes they report having a poor sense of direction, mixing up left and right, and fearing to work with money. If your child really struggles, this could be part of the reason. There is support and possible accommodations available.
5. Change Your Attitude! (Yes, you parents!)
If you hate math and are reluctant to do it, this will rub off on your kids whether or not you intend for it to. Take a moment to self-analyze your current ‘math attitude.’
Stop saying things like “some people are just bad at math,” “I never got it either,” and “just get through this class because you will never use it again.” Math is like being in shape; you have to work at it. Some people may need to workout longer or harder than others to get to the same level of fitness, but that does not mean some people can never get fit. Same with math! Encourage your kids to be willing to put in the work and see the improvement. Be willing to improve your own math a little to show them it is possible.
Speaking of which, brush up on your own math skills and vocabulary! Review easy-to-watch videos from our Top 10 Math Websites like the Khan Academy and Patrick JMT. You may just surprise yourself on what ‘comes back’ and finally clicks! You do not need to become an expert; a small increase in relevant vocabulary and math how-to can pay off greatly when working to help your child.
Conclusion: 27 Signs Your Child is Struggling in Math
If your child is having Math difficulties, don’t let them give up just yet. Be patient on teaching them personally or hiring a tutor in order for them to keep up with their lessons.
In case they are suffering from a learning condition, it would be better if you can have them checked by a professional so they can start improving. Early intervention always helps, even with Math difficulties.
Know other warning signs or other good tips? Share with us in the comments below!
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