Improving your child’s math skills is a collective effort involving you, your child, and their teacher. As a parent, it’s essential to collaborate closely with your child’s teacher to ensure that they excel in mathematics. Opening channels of communication between you, your child, and their teacher provides support to your child and aids them in building confidence in their math abilities. In this article, we will discuss the steps a parent can take to work with their child’s teacher in enhancing mathematical skills and comprehension.
1. Start by forming a strong connection with your child’s teacher
Effective communication with your child’s teacher is crucial for your child’s success. Make it a point to attend school events, parent-teacher conferences, and other activities that provide opportunities to connect with your child’s teacher. Doing so can serve as a foundation for an open and healthy relationship between you and your child’s teacher. The teacher wants to know you are an engaged parent. It makes the teacher more comfortable and confident in sharing more about your child’s school performance or asking you to help your child at home.
2. Be interested in what your child is learning
As a parent, it is essential to be actively engaged in your child’s education and have a genuine interest in what they are learning. This not only helps to create a positive learning environment at home but also opens up channels of communication between you and your child, which is critical for their growth and development. Being observant is key, as it allows you to have a better understanding of your child’s progress, strengths, and areas that may need improvement. It also enables you to provide valuable input to their teacher, creating a strong foundation for a collaborative effort in nourishing your child’s academic journey.
3. Regularly discuss your child’s progress and concerns
Keep track of your child’s performance in math throughout the year. Regularly communicate with the teacher to better understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses in the subject. Ask the teacher about the mathematical concepts your child is struggling with and seek suggestions for methods, activities, or resources that could help improve those areas. Your child’s teacher may have helpful suggestions or insight for what you can do at home to help your child succeed.
4. Be transparent and collaborative
When discussing your child’s math performance with their teacher, it’s important to be honest and transparent about any concerns or issues at home that could be affecting their learning. This can lead to a more collaborative approach to addressing these issues and finding effective solutions. Additionally, it’s important to stay open and receptive to the teacher’s feedback and suggestions. Don’t be embarrassed if your child is not doing well or not willing to do work. Share your concerns honestly. Your child’s teachers are trained professionals who have dealt with a wide range of students and are likely to have valuable insights on how to help your child.
5. Seek extra assistance if necessary
If your child is consistently facing challenges in math, it might be beneficial to explore additional resources or support outside the classroom. Speak with your child’s teacher about recommendations for tutors or math intervention programs. Many schools offer supplementary math programs, or there might be after-school activities or clubs focused on enhancing math skills that your child could participate in. Research has shown that targeted interventions can significantly improve a student’s math skills. But the key is early intervention. The more you put off, the harder it will be for your child to catch up.
6. Create a supportive home environment
Encourage your child’s love for learning by creating a supportive home environment. Set aside time for studying math and provide them with the necessary resources and tools to succeed in the subject. Some strategies you can employ include:
- Helping your child set realistic and achievable goals.
- Reinforcing what they have learned at school by practicing together or discussing mathematical concepts.
- Providing math resources like workbooks, games, and manipulatives to engage your child in fun, interactive learning experiences.
- Maintaining regular communication with the teacher to be informed about your child’s progress and areas of improvement.
7. Understand the importance of a growth mindset
Developing a growth mindset in your child is a valuable tool for their success in math. A growth mindset, as defined by Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, is the belief that one’s abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. By cultivating a growth mindset, your child becomes more resilient, persistent, and motivated in their learning journey. As a parent, it’s essential to model a growth mindset by embracing challenges and reframing failures as learning opportunities. Encourage your child to persist in their efforts and collaborate with their teacher to promote this mindset in the classroom as well.
8. Be on the same page as your child’s teacher and work as a team
It is essential to work with your child’s teacher as a team to enhance your child’s math learning experience. Being on the same page will ensure that the teaching methods utilized in the classroom are reinforced at home, providing a consistent learning environment for your child. For instance, if fraction blocks are used by the teacher to help your child visualize fractions, it is important to adopt a similar approach at home, rather than overwhelming your child with algebraic fraction worksheets. Find out what kind of terms or methods your child’s teacher is using to teach your child, and use the same kind of language and methods. This collaborative effort will minimize any confusion your child may experience and promote a deeper understanding of the concepts taught in school. Working hand-in-hand with your child’s teacher will increase the likelihood that your child will understand what she or he learned in school.
Working closely with your child’s teacher is a critical component in supporting your child’s mathematical growth and success. Open communication, collaboration, and a strong partnership between the parent and teacher can provide the necessary support, resources, and encouragement for your child to overcome any challenges they face in math. By establishing a productive relationship with your child’s teacher and fostering a supportive home environment, you can significantly contribute to your child’s mathematical confidence and achievement.
Richard Zhang, M.Ed., is an educator and a software developer with a Masters degree in education from University of Toronto and an immense passion for education and learning. Until the pandemic, Richard owned an award-winning learning centre in Toronto. For 15 years, he has taught and mentored hundreds of elementary, middle school, and high school students succeed in academics. He is also an app developer specializing in web and mobile application in educational and business sectors.