Helping with your child with their maths homework can be very rewarding, and a great way of seeing how they’re progressing at school. For some however, it leads to controversial tension, arguments and upset. It’s also more common than you think that some parent
s have a fear of teaching their child incorrectly, or just not knowing or remembering how to do it themselves.
Maths help from parents can get ugly. In my house, in the past, it’s turned into messy arguments, and I knew it needing turning around before any lasting damage was to take hold. So, here’s some hints and tips to help guide your child to a positive future with their maths homework.
Firstly it’s important to get into your head about what your role is as a parent when supporting your child with their maths. It’s not to do their homework for them (giving them the answers!), but to facilitate and not to force. If there are always attitudes of anger and frustration flying around whenever the maths homework is brought out, then this could quickly become associated with the subject.
It’s your job to support at times of frustration – what not to do:
- Don’t get angry.
- Don’t criticise the method in which they are being taught – the world advances and moves on!
- Don’t panic, it may cause your child to have negative thoughts, increasing maths anxiety – maths anxiety rubs off.
- Don’t do their work for them, they need to understand what they’re doing.
- You don’t have to go through all of their work to make sure it’s right, otherwise the teacher won’t have a true understanding of their ability. Just check the first few to ensure they understand the concept of the task required.
- Don’t assume they’re getting the right level of homework for their personal comprehension. If you’re not sure, then talk to their teacher.
- Don’t use bribery, it’s not a great strategy. Believe it or not, it demotivates and associates completion with the bribe reward rather than gratification. They should be really proud of themselves when they achieve what they do.
Learn how to help with homework:
- If you get stuck with their homework, you can get help at Mathshub.help with bitesize maths videos that follows the curriculum.
- Find a local maths workshop for parents to get your head around the maths that they learn today.
- Check out Family Maths Toolkit and Maths 4 Mums and Dads for advice and support.
- Have a positive approach.
- Always praise good work, downplay the not-so-good work to encourage motivation.
- Keep calm!
- Where possible, link it to real life to emphasise the necessity and usefulness of maths in the real world.
- Allow them to be self-sufficient – have access to Mathshub.help so they can watch a lesson, check their progress or test themselves at their appropriate levels.
- If they’re getting frustrated, get them to take a break.
- Keep an eye on how long they spend on maths homework. 1½-2 hours or more is too much! If they’re taking so long, there’s usually a problem – try and get to the bottom of it.
- If they’re on the younger side, make it fun – games, puzzles, jigsaws, use objects etc.
- Understand that a lot of kids just don’t like doing homework.
- Empower them, let them feel like they’re in control of what they’re doing – no helicopter parenting!
- Always use praise!
The homework that your child brings home is for them. They should be responsible for it, remember it, and learn from it, by practising the task they’ve been given. It’s hard not to nag if they forget. If you have a very forgetful or disorganised child for whatever reason, then give them a check list so they can relinquish control and feel more independent and organised. This will hopefully aid in reducing any anxiety caused by forgetting and being nagged by you!
Enjoy seeing your child develop and understanding the world of maths.