Parent Tip Page:

For Your Students Success

Helping You Child With Math Beyond Homework


There is math all around us. We encounter mathematical
problems in everyday life. Students ofter complain about doing
story problems; when, in fact, story problems are the most commmon 
form of math. Ever math problem we do is related to an everyday 
event. Rarely, if ever, do we do a list of computations for the sake 
of computing. From your change at the grocery store to measuring for
new carpet in your home, you do math in story problem format.

How Students Learn:

Students learn better if new knowledge is presented as a relationship
to old knowledge, or previously learned concepts to put it in educational terms. It is for this reason that you must take the time to drill math concepts with your student: times tables, division facts, measurement, time, etc.


Students accept new information better if they see where it is 
applicable. "When am I ever going to use this?" is a common 
question. Make math and story problems real to your teen. Show him 
or her how to use math everyday.


Examples of Story Problems:

  1. Measurement: Have your teen measure the living room for new 
    carpet or the kitchen for new vinyl. Have him or her figure the square
    footage. Your teen can also figure out how much fencing you need for 
    the dog to run or how to double the recipe for the bake sale. 
  2. Travel: If you are planning a trip, have your student figure the
    total miles of the trip, the amourt of gas needed, and the cost per mile.

3. Estimation: Students struggle with estimation. They have 
difficulties determining if their anwser is reasonable or not. Have 
your student estimate your total bill at the store, or estimate the
number of paper products needed for the big family picnic. Even have him estimate the grades he/she surrently has in all classes.

4. Drill and Practice: These are dirty words to kids even though both of them are longer than four letters. Drill your student while you
are standing in line at Wal-Mart or on your way to the movies.
Quiz them on their basic facts: times tables, division facts, 
measurements facts, units of time, elapsed time.

(Make sure to check your child's math before making any major purchases.)

All of these things may take a little extra time out of your day. Be patient and take the time. Your child may or may not enjoy these activites. Regardless of their feelings now, they will appreciate what you have done
for them in the future. It will definitely have been time well spent.

Closing Thoughts:

Basic math is something your child will use everyday. Upper level math courses may not be applied to daily life as easily but are still a necessary part of your child's educatione. Algebra and geometry classes for example, are vital even if your child does not plan on a career in Astrophysics or Nuclear Engineering. These courses teach your child logical sequencing, approaches to problem solving, as well as how to follow directions precisely. All of these skills are essentail for each of us to function in society.

One last thought, be positive and always encourage your student. 
Never look at him/her and say, "It's okay, I was never good at math 
either," or "You'll never use that again anyway." Your student will take
these statements as a reason not to put forth effort and therefore not to succeed in math, Make sure always to be honest with your teen. It's fine 
to tell them if you struggled with math, but be sure to expect them to
be successful. Challenge them to study and put forth their best effort, 
not rely on re-doing work. Extra credit is there to make a good grade 
better. Failing to prepare is the same thing as preparing to fail.