Mathematics is more relevant in today’s world than at any other time in history. In a modern age, the same skills that make one successful in the mathematics classroom, successful with computers and related technologies. Mathematics and technology skills are finding their way into everything from engineering to business and the medical field. It isn’t surprising that both employers and university boards are putting a premium on finding candidates with these skills.
So what’s a parent to do when their child struggles in math? First, avoid the temptation to place blame. Unless you have a good reason to feel your child is neglecting their studies or to feel that the teacher has created a hostile learning environment, it’s not going to do any good to go on the attack go math 4th grade. You’ll just create distance between yourself and your son or daughter or their teacher or both. Instead, take stock of what resources are at your disposal to address the problem.
Start by checking in with the teacher to see if they can give you any insight into what kinds of problems your child is struggling with. They might have suggestions on how your child can study better or alert you to some problems your child is having with their in-class routine that you are not even aware of. Ask the teacher if the school offers peer tutoring or a before or after school study program. Sometimes, local colleges and universities have programs where math education students tutor K-12 students at no charge.
If you decide your child could benefit from additional support, there are a variety of paid tutoring options available. Most cities will have a variety of professional independent tutors. If you prefer a “trusted name,” Kaplan, Sylvan, and Kumon all offer math tutoring and are in most mid-sized and larger cities. These options can get expensive, however. is another great possibility if you are looking for extensive tutoring while trying to keep costs to a minimum. Oftentimes, you can purchase a month of tutoring online for the same cost as an hour of one-on-one tutoring.
Whatever choice you make, the key factor is usually time. Almost all children are capable of learning math, and learning it at an exceptional level. The more time your child spends working with their tutor on math, the more you will see the results. Keep your expectations realistic. It takes a while for a tutoring program to really work. You can’t expect a “C” to become an “A” in just a few days. Give your son or daughter at least 2 or 3 tests or quizzes to see results. You should start to see results after several weeks. If you don’t, you might need to reevaluate with your tutor to see if a different approach can be tried or if you need to try something altogether different.
To summarize, if things get difficult for your son or daughter in math, don’t give up. There are plenty of tutoring options available to help improve that grade. Talk to the teacher, seek out help, and above all, stay encouraging. You and your son or daughter will be rewarded not only with a better mathematics grade but with the possibilities of a better future that accompanies those grades.