How To Know If Your Child Is Struggling With Math

If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance that you’ve experienced the following situation: You’re helping your child with their math homework, and they just can’t seem to get it. They don’t understand what they’re doing, they can’t remember how to do basic operations, and everything seems to be a struggle. It’s frustrating for both of you – and it may leave you wondering if your child is struggling with math. So, how can you tell if this is the case? 

As frustrating as this experience can sometimes be, there are some simple ways to know if your child is struggling with math. One of the best ways to tell if your child is struggling is when they bring home their report card. Report cards often mention milestones they should be reaching, and if a teacher is reporting that they are missing milestones, it is a sure sign that your child is struggling with math. Grades don’t lie, and teacher remarks can help you understand where your child may fall behind.  

Also, if your child is exhibiting signs of math anxiety, it could be a sign that they are having trouble. This well-documented condition can manifest in various ways, so it is important to understand math anxiety and how to notice any signs. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss these signs and more to help if you are wondering if your child may be struggling with math. We will also cover some simple tips for how to help them overcome these struggles. Keep reading for more information!

What Causes Children To Struggle?

A common complaint among children is that math is too complicated or that they are not smart enough. Unfortunately, this belief can severely impact any child’s success in mathematics. Math is a subject that requires focus and concentration, two things that are often in short supply for young kids. In addition, math requires a certain amount of abstraction, which can be difficult for children who are still learning to think in concrete terms. However, math is also a subject that rewards effort and perseverance. With time and practice, any child can learn to master math basics. The key is to keep trying, even when it seems difficult. Any child can succeed in math with a positive attitude and a willingness to persevere.

Report Cards

Report cards offer an excellent view of your child’s education. There is no better way to check if they are struggling than by looking at their grades. It should be a warning sign if your child appears to perform well in every subject except math. Lower grades in math that go unnoticed may lead a child to focus more on subjects they are already succeeding in and spend less time studying math. 

The key is not just to look for a failing grade in math. A lower grade than usual can signal that your child is struggling along with teacher remarks about missing concepts or misunderstandings of core components of the curriculum. By catching these signs early, you can get your child the extra help they may need to keep up with their peers. 

Math Anxiety

Math anxiety is a genuine phenomenon that can be frightening and deter many children from learning math. Chances are that if your child is showing any signs of math anxiety, they are struggling. But what does math anxiety look like in children? For some children, math anxiety manifests as a physical response, such as a racing heart or sweating palms. For other children, math anxiety manifests itself as more of an emotional response, such as feeling overwhelmed or anxious. In either case, math anxiety can significantly hinder a child’s ability to learn math. If your child is showing any of these symptoms, such as saying things like “I hate math” or “I’m not good at math,” or if they are trying to avoid math-related activities, it’s usually a sign that they have math anxiety and are struggling with the subject. 

The good news is that there are ways to help children overcome math anxiety. Parents and teachers can help children see math more positively by providing encouragement and positive reinforcement. Additionally, there are many helpful resources available that can provide children with the tools they need to succeed in math. With a little bit of effort, math anxiety can be overcome.

Hitting Milestones

Generally, children hit certain milestones in math around the same age. However, sometimes they have trouble developing these skills at the same rate and end up falling behind. For example, an expected milestone for children in grades 1 and 2 may include counting to 100 by ones to twos, fives, and tens. While others pick it up without any problems, some children may struggle with the concept. This noticeable milestone should be corrected before the child moves on to the next concept. 

Similarly, in grades 4 and 5, your child should start being able to apply math concepts to the real world and be able to solve a problem in more than one way. If they don’t quite grasp that yet, they may be struggling with math. (For more math milestones, see our blog “Math Milestones: What To Expect As Kids Grow Up”)

If you feel like your child is not hitting their milestones, you may want to speak with their teacher. By addressing the issue early, your child can catch up and not get left behind the other children in their class. 

The Building Blocks of Math

Math can be a challenging subject for some children because it is cumulative. In other words, each year builds upon the concepts learned the previous year. If a child falls behind, it can be difficult to catch up. For parents, it is important to understand that this does not necessarily mean their child is lacking in intelligence or motivation. In fact, kids who struggle with math are often working very hard – both mentally and physically. 

Researchers from the University of Akron recently published a study called “The Importance of a Strong Mathematical Foundation,” where they tested 39 ninth and tenth graders. Each student had to complete questions ranging from third to seventh grade on fractions, proportions, and ratios. Only seven students were able to pass the assessment.

Researchers were able to conclude that students were simply being taught math concepts matched with their current grade level and not based on the mathematical knowledge they brought to class. Because of this, students were falling behind at each grade level. This was due to them not mastering the concepts before continuing on to higher-level instruction. These education gaps can create misunderstanding, hindering students from making the necessary content connections and gaining conceptual understanding.

If your child shows signs of a gap in learning, it may explain why they are struggling. Try returning to concepts they would have learned in the previous grades and test their knowledge. It is also important to talk with them about how math is essential and that everyone struggles with it at some point or another. 

By providing them with resources, such as a math tutor or supplemental math activities, children can catch up and excel in math. With patience and understanding, math can be mastered by any child.

Disruptions In Education

After two years of educational disruptions caused by the pandemic, many students are behind in mathematics. This is causing children to exhibit signs that they are struggling to keep up with what they are learning in math class. 

At Dropkick Math, we offer math online tutoring programs that can help children who may be struggling. We start by assessing children so they can be placed in the appropriate programs, not based on their grade level but on their current understanding of math concepts. This allows our certified Ontario teachers to work with children to build upon their knowledge and help with any misunderstandings they may have. 

If you are looking for math help online for your child, Dropkick Math can help! Check out our programs today!

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