Ahhh, the start of the school year. A scary time for both teachers and students. It is especially difficult for mathematics teachers, who teach in a classroom populated with nearly 50% of students who suffer from math frustration or anxiety. As we begin this new year, there are many different things that parents can do to lower the temperature and transform the learning into a positive experience.
Why is math homework helpful?
Homework is an essential part of school and practicing regularly helps students process what they’ve learned in class. Often this is easier said than done. That’s especially true with math homework. Math homework can go beyond simply being frustrating, and may even induce math anxiety.
How can families streamline math homework?
Simplifying math homework not only helps improve the experience but can make it enjoyable too. The quicker students complete their math homework, the sooner they can get back to the activities they enjoy. Check out these top four methods to simplify math homework.
HOW TO COMPLETE MATH HOMEWORK FASTER AND EASIER
Remove Distractions: One of the first things to do before starting homework is to remove all distractions. Having cell phones, tablets, or other digital devices nearby can hinder focus. A Consumer Research study (https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/691462) found that the mere presence of phones in the room was distracting to students. Taking homework seriously is a valuable tool for long-term success. By removing digital devices, students let family (and friends) know that homework is starting and to reduce distractions and interruptions.
Finding a quiet, comfortable place with minimal clutter allows students to remain focused on the homework at hand. While working in clutter-free quiet might be challenging at first, removing distractions ultimately helps students complete work quicker and easier.
Identify Mistake Patterns: A small mistake can ruin the entire math problem. That’s why it is so important to be aware of, and correct, those mistakes, whether big or small. Writing down and showing math computations is crucial in locating the errors. Making mistakes is part of the learning process and so is learning how to rectify them. The most common math mistake is careless computational errors, easily identified if the work is shown.
Complete Homework in Stages: Stage 1: Students should complete as many problems as possible independently…. no help from parents, siblings or friends. Stage 2: After they solve as many as possible alone, they can receive help or ask for a review / check of homework. This is a great time to identify mistake patterns or frustration patterns (ie: did they skip all the math word problems?).
Use Resources: Most classroom teachers have homework assignments posted online in case there is a question (argument?) about what is due. Many teachers will have links to ‘help’ websites or will post notes online too.
Most of the difficulty with math stems from math anxiety or frustration. Math tutoring is an effective solution to engage students in an educational and fun way. When proper problem-solving foundations are in place, math can become fun!