# Top Ten Ways to Help Your Kids Do Well in Math

**Mastering
Math**

Mastering mathematics is absolutely essential for future opportunities in
school and careers. Your children will need to reach a certain level of
competency in math to take many advanced high-school courses, to be
admitted to college, and to have a wide variety of career choices. Here's
how you can help them maximize their math-smarts.

**1. Make sure your children understand mathematical concepts. **

Otherwise, math becomes a meaningless mental exercise of just memorizing
rules and doing rote drills. Have your children manipulate objects to
figure out basic concepts. For addition, they could add one, two, or more
blocks to a pile of blocks and then tell you how many blocks are in the
pile.

**2. Help them master the basic facts. **

Mastery of a basic fact means that children can give an answer in less
than three seconds. Considerable drill is required for children to give
quick responses. Use flash cards to help your children learn the basic
facts. When they don't know an answer, have them lay out objects to solve
the problem.

**3. Teach them to write their numbers neatly. **

Twenty-five percent of all errors in solving math problems can be traced
back to sloppy number writing. Improve your children's number-writing
skills by having them trace over numbers that you have written. Suggest
they use graph paper to keep the numbers in problems neatly aligned.

**4. Provide help immediately when your children need it. **

Math is one subject in which everything builds upon what has been
previously learned. For example, a failure to understand the concept of
percent leads to problems with decimals. If a teacher is unable to help
your children, provide the help yourself or use a tutor or learning
center.

**5. Show them how to handle their math homework. **

Doing math homework reinforces the skills your children are learning in
class. Teach them to begin every assignment by studying the textbook or
worksheet examples. Then have them redo the examples before beginning the
assignment to make sure they understand the lesson.

**6. Encourage your children to do more than the assigned **

problems.

Considerable practice is necessary for your children to hone their math
skills. If the teacher only assigns the even problems, having them do some
of the odd ones will strengthen their skills. The more time your children
spend practicing their skills, the sooner they will develop confidence in
their abilities.

**7. Explain how to solve word problems. **

Mathematicians have an expression: To learn to solve problems, you must
solve problems. Teach your children to read a word problem several times.
Also, have them draw a picture or diagram to describe it. Make it easier
for them to understand the steps in a problem by teaching them to
substitute smaller numbers for larger ones.

**8. Help your children learn the vocabulary of mathematics. **

They will never get a real feeling for math nor learn more advanced
concepts without an understanding of its vocabulary. Check that your
children can define new terms. If not, have them use models and simple
problems to show you they understand how the term is used.

**9.Teach them how to do math "in their head."**

One of the major ways to solve problems is by using mental math. Kids
should use this method frequently instead of using pencil and paper or a
calculator. When helping your children with a problem, help them determine
when it would be appropriate to use mental math.

**10. Make mathematics part of your children's daily life. **

Mathematics will become more meaningful when your kids see how important
it is in so many real-life situations. Encourage them to use math in
practical ways. For example, ask them to space new plants a certain
distance apart, double a recipe, and pay bills in stores.

**More on:**
Math Homework Relief Center