I don’t get it. Can you help me? My teacher didn’t explain it. I forgot. This is stupid.
We have all been there. We have all heard each of these when our child is working on math homework. The question is, how do we get him/her to stop being helpless? Here are a few ideas to start with.
Listen to their frustrations. Then move on. Look. Being frustrated is okay. We don’t want to say it isn’t. But being helpless is not okay. This is a life lesson. Not everything is easy, but we don’t get to give up.
Don’t do the math for them. That only lets your child know you will let them off the hook every time.
Help them find resources and look at them together. Some questions to help you out:
- Where are your notes from today? Let’s review them and see if there is anything there we can use.
- What are you learning? Let’s look up some videos (mathtv.com is a great site for video lessons, but if you just go to utube or teachertube you will find others) and see if we can relearn it together.
- Let’s look at your book and see if there are any examples that might help us.
- Call/Facetime/text a friend and see if they can assist you. (Research shows that study groups truly help all students in mathematics!!!
- Email the teacher and see if s/he has tutorials to help. (Many teachers put up videos, the solutions, etc on-line. Find out if yours does!)
Above all, let them know that it is okay to not know everything, but NOT OKAY to give up. This is a biggie. Most math worth doing takes time. Students assume that if they don’t get the answer right away, they must have done it wrong (or don’t know what they are doing and are not good in math). So not true! Help your child use resources available to be successful, but they need to do the work and put in the effort.