Out of the myriad of students that come through our doors, it seems that the biggest problem facing our clients is mastering math. Why is math such a huge problem, and why are so many failing? From what I’ve seen, it isn’t so much the subject itself, but the preparation that students receive in the subject. They are basically missing the fundamentals. For example, there is no reason why any student above grade 4 shouldn’t know their times tables, yet I regularly sit in front of high schoolers that flinch or reach for calculators when I ask them what 8 x 9 is. Wow. This is definitely an epidemic that needs to be fixed, but seems to be happening more, and more, and more…
There are key methods in math that must be used in order to become proficient:
Memorization is unavoidable. – There’s just no way around this one. Students must spend the time to memorize their multiplication tables and number families. They must learn to add and subtract positive and negative integers. Just those two skills alone would prove invaluable to students in the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
The goal is algebra. – Remember having to fill in the blank to finish 3 + __ = 5? This is not any different than 3 + x = 5… but for some reason, students see letters and freeze up. The bottom line: mastering addition, subtraction, multiplication, division are all preparation for learning and being successful in Algebra. Mastering algebra is the key to understanding all the higher math areas such as geometry, trigonometry, precalculus, and the higher sciences. Put the math focus on solving algebraic problems, and you are setting the student up for success.
Repetition is not lost. – Problem, after problem, after problem… I don’t care how much your child complains, repetition will make it stick. Checking for speed and accuracy, print out worksheets that have 10 to 20 problems and time your child to see how fast they can complete them. Have them strive to beat their time and accuracy score on each attempt.
These are just a few things to help your child perform better in math and to prepare them for future math classes. For more tips on this subject, contact me using the info below. Study hard, and God bless!
Jamal L. Burt CEO/Owner EBO Educational Services, LLC