Many parents can’t help but feel a slight twinge of terror when, settled down at home after a hard day at work, they hear their child ask that dreaded question: ‘can you help me with my maths homework’.
The most accurate predictor of a child’s success in school is parental involvement in their education. Yet this presents its own challenges.
Lots of us have not stretched our maths muscles since our own schooldays. Parents want to help their kids ace their Maths GCSEs or A Levels but may fear their own skills are too rusty to be of much use.
Giving your children a better chance needn’t be a source of stress. Here are just a few ways you can cultivate a great learning environment at home and help your child conquer their difficulties with Maths.
1. Brush up on the current maths curriculum yourself
Some parents will have more use for maths in their daily lives than others. If it’s been a good while since you last solved a quadratic equation, or if a logarithm sounds like something you danced to in the ‘90s, it might be time to take a look over the GCSE and A Level maths curriculums before you try and help your child.
You can find the GCSE Maths curriculum here and the A and AS Level Maths curriculum here. Take some time to read them over to see if there are any areas you are unfamiliar or unconfident with. If so, try and find a moment to read up on the basics.
2. Teach your child good study habits
It doesn’t matter if you’re not 100% proficient with all the content of your child’s maths assessments. At the end of the day, your child must develop the confidence to tackle this material on their own. You can play a practical role here in helping them find effective ways to learn.
Firstly, parents can create an environment at home that helps kids flourish in their maths studies. This might involve, for instance, creating a workstation where they have everything they’ll need at hand.
Once they’re settled into their study space, you can teach them valuable disciplines and habits for learning maths efficiently. These may include creating revision timetables, identifying and isolating distractions, or structuring notes.
Each child learns differently, so you will probably have to use a bit of trial and error to find out what approaches they respond to best. Whatever this turns out to be, you can rest assured that your efforts to instil structured study techniques in your child are one of the most crucial bits of help you can give them.
3. Be empathetic about their difficulties
While helping your child with their maths revision, you might find that they hit a mental block with certain topics. Even if the solution seems glaringly obvious to you, it is really important to keep your patience.
Everyone’s brain is built differently, but nobody responds well to exasperation. Even if you’ve had to explain a particular problem-solving process over again and again, keep at it and they’ll get there eventually. After all, the last thing you want is to destroy their confidence or make them feel stupid or incapable!
In this vein, try and avoid phrases like ‘come on, it’s easy’ or ‘I don’t understand how you don’t get this’. If something is really proving intractable, then move on to something else and come back to it with a fresh head.
4. Enlist a tutor
Every parent wants to make sure their child does as well with their maths exams as they possibly can. But parents have other obligations, and it may be difficult to find time for all the help their children need. If your child needs a level of help with their maths that you are just not able to provide, it might be time to consider private tutoring.
Maths tutoring has major benefits for pupils. A good tutor will build up a precise picture of a child’s current maths ability and identify areas of particular difficulty. They will then build a tailored lesson plan structured around getting a student back up to speed.
Being able to learn one-on-one from a talented, qualified mentor figure can have major positive consequences for a child’s confidence and emotional development. A tutor can deliver the individualised attention and support that a classroom teacher can’t, with the maths expertise that most parents will not be able to provide.
Our mission at TuitionWorks is to help parents add value to their child’s education by connecting them with top-class maths tutors. All our tutors are fully-qualified teachers, with a deep understanding of the curriculum and how to communicate it to children. They help pupils get their maths on track with bespoke lesson plans shaped around their specific difficulties.
Do you think your child could benefit from the close care of a one-to-one lessons on our state-of-the-art digital platform? We make it as easy as possible to make up your mind. To start off, all your child has to do is take a quick, free online maths assessment to gauge their current maths ability and identify areas of weakness. Then one of our tutors will be in touch for a free, 15-minute chat about their results.