You hear it pretty often, even from successful and highly educated individuals: “I’m just not good at math.” Commonplace as it may seem, a lack of confidence in one’s math skills can hinder achievement in both children and adults alike. And because most math learning is cumulative, problems mastering the fundamentals early on can make getting comfortable with more advanced subjects much tougher later in life.
Bev Perdue, a former governor and educator, writes in Education Post that “student success, especially in subjects like math and science, is not just a matter of cognitive ability and IQ. When it comes to student achievement, non-cognitive skills like confidence, grit and self-control can have a big impact.” That becomes all the more apparent when kids start approaching one of the biggest indicators of college preparedness: algebra. Often, students aren’t struggling with linear equators or abstract variables as much as they are struggling with feeling they simply can’t do it before they even try.
So, what’s the solution? Well, here are some ways that parents and teachers can help boost math confidence early on:
Focus on the fundamentals. Start slow and build a strong base to work from. Rushing through concepts too quickly won’t do anything except make learners feel unsure about how much they understand each subject.
Qualify effort rather than grades. Achievement means more than just A’s and B’s for many kids. For some kids, sitting down and completing an assignment is a major achievement in itself. Putting positive focus and support on daily effort will eventually, in time, result in higher grades as well.
Develop good study habits early on. Set a regular study time and keep it as consistent as your schedule will allow. Consider starting a weekly study group to encourage kids to engage with friends in learning and play.
Make learning fun. Studies show that kids learn better when parents and educators approach learning like an extracurricular activity. That means, above all, making it stimulating, active . . . fun!
***We at Wonderland Math are firm believers that learning math should be a fun and exciting experience, filled with curiosity, mistakes, and growth. If you’d like to see what our after-school learning programs are all about, feel free to sign up for one of our risk-free trials – CLICK HERE to get started!