Teaching math is hard enough on it’s own, what do you do when your child is falling behind? There is so much pressure that we face as homeschool mom’s to “keep up” with grade levels and teaching certain topics in certain time frames. I think it is easy to forget that the pressures we feel as parents are passed down to our kids. We, in turn, pressure them to perform BETTER, to do MORE, to step up their game. Because their slow pace is simply unacceptable. You can deny it, you can tell yourself that this isn’t what you tell your child, I told myself that for many years. But the fact was this: my child was learning at a different pace than other children their age. How was I going to deal with it?
5 Tips for Teaching Math to the Child who is Falling Behind
1. Find out why they are falling behind. What is the root cause? Are they not developmentally ready for the next lesson? Is the math program moving too fast? Are they uninterested? Is it working with their learning style? (take the free quiz here).
2. Make it fun. How can you make it fun for them? What can you do to make the lessons more interesting? That *might* mean switching math programs, or it might be as simple as adjusting the way you approach lessons.
3. Take a step back. This isn’t always the answer, but it is often a significant piece of the puzzle. If your child is struggling to the point of tears and frustration- it might be time for a break.
4. Slow Down. Even if you don’t feel taking a break is an option or the best move for your child, slowing down might be. I have seen countless parents push their children ahead when they weren’t ready. Their kids hadn’t fully understood the last year of lessons and now they were trying to build on that shaky foundation for another year. This is how kids get further and further behind! If you are starting to sense that this is too much for your child, slow down!
5. Supplement. If your child is not grasping concepts in their current math, many parents assume there is no alternative but to redo the math book (by purchasing another book) or trying something new. However, that is not the case. Instead, try supplementing with free math worksheets and printables to help your child fully understand that concept before moving on to something new.
A Math Curriculum to Look into
Many math curriculum’s just keep pushing you forward into new territory and new concepts. They are based on a model of education where you just keep exposing kids to ideas and hope that they pick it up. However, if your child is regularly struggling in this area and you are considering trying something new, it is worth looking into the mastery approach.
Math U See is a math curriculum that is built on hands on visualization of math, hands-on applications and easy-to-follow video lessons. It is catered to all learning styles and built on mastery so that concepts can build on each other and students are truly understanding something before they move on.
If you are interested in learning more about Math U See and how it works, check out the intro post here or the review post here. The key to long term success with this or any curriculum is not serving the curriculum, but letting the curriculum serve your child. If you are doing a lesson with your child and you are realizing they are not mastering it, truly understanding the “why” behind it… then they aren’t ready to keep going let alone start a new level.
Math U See makes that a bit easier because they have a super simple placement test available on their site which will help you identify if your child is ready for the next level or not. If in doubt, I always recommend erring on the side of caution. Better to have a math that is bit easy for your child that they *enjoy* and helps reinforce concepts that might have been missed than to do a level that is way too hard, they hate every minute of, and they don’t really understand at the end of the day.