Building Mathematical Skills For Academic Success
As a parent it is difficult to watch your child struggle with math homework. The nightly routine of completing the assigned homework may lead to frustration, confusion, and feeling overwhelmed. Math shouldn't be the dreaded evening chore. Instead it should be an opportunity for your child to apply previous knowledge to current understanding while completing the assigned homework tasks.
It is important to understand the core knowledge strands that comprise a student's mathematical learning. Whether your child is in second grade or a sophomore in high school these concepts are vital to mathematical understanding:
- Counting and Cardinality - Counting, cardinal numbers, comparing numbers, and understanding quantities
- Operations and Algebraic Thinking - Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, use of multiple operations, relation of operations to one another, factors, multiples, numerical expressions, patterns, and relationships
- Number & Operations in Base Ten - Place value, sequencing, place value in arithmetic, place value in fractions and decimals, and applying and understanding relational place value skills
- Fractions - Equivalence, ordering, building fractions, and arithmetic with fractions
- Measurement and Data - Understanding measurable attributes, classifying, measuring length, telling time, representing and interpreting data, estimating, counting money, applying geometric measurement principles, using probability to evaluate outcomes, and converting measurements
- Geometry - Identifying, analyzing, comparing, classifying, creating, and composing shapes with specific attributes, graphing points on a coordinate plane, understanding congruence and similarity, and using geometrical understanding to solve real life problems
- Proportional Relationships - Ratios, analyzing proportional relationships, and applying rate reasoning
- Expressions and Equations - Algebraic expressions, reasoning with equations and inequalities, quantitative relationships, variables, radicals, integer exponents, and linear equations
- Functions - Defining, evaluating, and comparing functions and modeling quantity relationships
- Statistics and Probability - Statistical variability, distributions, random sampling, comparative references, probability models, and bivariate data
These skills are distributed among grade levels to provide a careful progression of skill attainment. Students are expected to master basic and prerequisite skills before moving on to more difficult concepts. These basic skills are then applied to current understanding to create ongoing learning and mastery. Tutors at Huntington Learning Centers use their deep understanding of mathematics and knowledge of how students acquire math skills to create customized tutoring sessions. Regardless of a student's current understanding or skill mastery, the professionals at Huntington Learning Centers can create a program that is ideal for cultivating basic academic skills.
There are several effective strategies that parents and students can utilize to improve academic skills, including:
- Knowing the standards Each state and school district has different mathematical standards for each grade level. Understanding what your child is expected to master, and which specific skills are assessed, is crucial to cultivating strong academic skills. Taking the time to read and understand the standards documents will give you insight into essential academic skills and how these skills build upon one another.
- Working the problems Math is learned by working the problems. Students must spend time in ongoing practice to master basic concepts, understand formulas, and connect math skills to prior learning. If your child is struggling with a specific skill you can generate multiple opportunities for ongoing practice. This repetition will build solid foundational skills over time.
- Applying basic concepts True mathematical understanding occurs when a student is able to apply basic concepts to larger problem solving tasks. Many tasks require students to apply a variety of skills across mathematical strands. Consider a problem requiring a student to calculate elapsed time. This problem is far more complex than just reading the time on an analog clock. A student must be able to tell time to the minute, subtract, add, regroup, apply basic problem solving strategies, and participate in mathematical communication.
- Asking for help If your child is continuing to struggle with the assigned math homework it may be time to ask for help. The professional tutors with Huntington Learning Centers are experts at understanding why a student is struggling in math. Assessment data is used to create a customized learning plan that incorporates both a student's strengths and weaknesses. Personalized tutoring sessions are carefully crafted to meet the specific needs of each student.