When it comes to helping high school children with math, many parents are intimidated by the subject matter and don't know how to help their student. However, math does not have to be intimidating. Before teachers can teach critical thinking and problem solving skills, students must have a solid foundation. In math students strengthen their foundation with repetition, the same as with any new skill whether it be learning to drive, playing football, or learning to play a new instrument; practice is imperative to success. Students should spend a minimum of 2 hours practicing a week. Here are a few ways you can practice math at home to prepare your child for the upcoming school year:
1) Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a FREE online resource that provides video explanations, practice problems for grades K-12, and test preparation materials. If you do not already have an account, create one. One for you child and one for yourself. Not only can you monitor what and how long your child practices, but you can also see what their specific areas for growth are. This will be a great discussion piece with your child’s teacher when developing an academic plan for your child.
2) Practice Worksheets
The internet offers a myriad of free worksheets with answers. Kuta Software is a great site that includes worksheets ranging from easy to difficult. Although explanations are not included, answers are provided. Students should complete the easier worksheets and progress to harder worksheets.
Yes, you read correctly. Students need to master articulating their thinking in math. After each practice session students should write a reflection in which they review any new skills they may have learned or an old skill they mastered. They should use the following questions as a guide:
a) What topic where you studying?
b) Create a problem and write directions on how to solve it.
c) What is something you learned that you did not know before?
d) What was difficult about this topic?
Your child should spend a minimum of 2 hours a week working through math problems followed by a WRITTEN reflection of either a new skill learned or an old skill that has been mastered. Writing about what they've learned not only ensures they can articulate their thinking, but it demonstrates they understand the concept. Another option to capture what they've learned is to have your child teach their new skill to you. In doing so you learn a new skill and your child reinforces the skill they've just learned.