Why Kids Struggle with Math and How to Help

Why Kids Struggle with Math and How to Help

Math is one subject area where kids can struggle to master the concepts and be successful.  There are several areas of weakness common to many children including number facts, computation, following directions, understanding terminology, and transferring knowledge that can make math challenging for kids.  One thing to keep in mind is that you should always present a positive attitude toward math with your child as it will help them to continue to strive hard to master the skills.

Number Facts

Younger children should be encouraged to practice number facts at home.  This includes number recognition, counting forward and backward, and skip counting.  Building strong foundational skills will help them to combat computational weakness.  One way to have them practice computation is through repetition.  Any activity that can provide repetition to practice the steps in solving a problem or memorizing fact families will help them later in solving more complex problems.

Word Problems

Many children freeze when reading a word problem because they do not understand math terminology.  Practice with your child so they can learn the various terms that identify what type of steps they should take to solve the problem.  For example, “find the sum” refers to addition.  Following the directions through the steps of the problem with your child and learning the vocabulary will help them to be successful.  At home, you can even make your own math “word” problems by asking questions while you are cooking, gardening, or even picking up toys.  An example would be, if we have 3 blue circles and 3 yellow stars and we need to put them into the bucket, how many shapes will be in the bucket when we are done picking up?

Real Life Connections to Math

Lastly, home is one of the core areas where children learn to transfer knowledge and build connections between different parts of their lives.  This is an important skill to see the larger picture of learning.  Making real life connections to math when possible will make math more meaningful and realistic in their lives.

Look for posts that cover these topics more in depth over the next month including at home ideas for practicing the skills that kids struggle with most frequently.

How do you help at home when your child is struggling with math in school?