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How to Help Your Child with Mathematics

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By Derrick Nicholas
Some parents feel intimidated when it comes to the subject of Mathematics and are
therefore reluctant to try to engage with the subject. For this reason, many students
are left deprived of help. It is quite normal to feel lost with these ‘new’ methods of
doing Math.
Mathematics is needed for employment purposes, to get into a college or university,
and simply just to go about our daily lives. The need for persons to be competent, if
not versed in this subject is therefore very important.
William Paul Thurston (1946 – 2012) famously said: “Mathematics is not about
numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding.” He
understood that all it took for persons to master their fears of Mathematics, was to
unlock their understanding of the subject. It is therefore very troubling to encounter
students preparing for the CXC exams, who still struggle with basic and foundational
Here are some tips to help parents provide help to their child in Math:
 Make your engagements on the subject fun. Never make it seem like work.
This will make your child less stressed.
 Do not project your fear of Mathematics onto your child.
 Stay in touch with your child’s teacher(s). Find out how your child is doing,
and ask for tips on how you can help at home.
 Get familiar with new ways/methods of teaching math. This will make it easier
for you to provide help to your child.
 Seek help from trusted online sources.
 Encourage your child to speak through their Math assignments – especially if
they are having issues.
 Do not have the same expectations for all your children. It is neither fair nor
 Find ways to get your child to improve his/her competency.
 Talk to your child about what they are doing right – not just what they are
doing wrong in school.
 Remember that some students require more time and help in order to get
better at Math.
 Embrace the struggle: it is normal for students to struggle at first with new
 Be patient with your child.
 Encourage your child to practice.
 Use items or chores to illustrate Math topics at home.
 If you feel the task is greater than you, get help from a tutor.
 Always do what is best for your child.

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