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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 23, 2006

Help child at home with math studies

By Gina Leslie

Math can be a difficult subject, one that many students struggle with. But math is a very important subject to understand and master. The simple foundations of basic math are built upon each year, so full comprehension is necessary to move on to a higher grade level.

Math homework is the best way for students to practice skills and master the material.

Use these simple tips to help your child with math homework.

  • Check your child's homework. Once your child is finished with math homework, check over the assignment and make sure it is done correctly. If a problem is wrong, have your child repeat the problem correctly so he or she can remember the correct way.

  • Give fun math assignments for your child to complete every day. Working math assignments into everyday living can be fun and will give your child a chance to review basic skills and practice new skills that they are learning. Use visual objects such as M&Ms or chocolate chips to enforce basic concepts such as fractions, adding and subtracting. Have older children calculate the cost per ounce of household items. The sky is the limit! Make learning a game so it becomes a reward and not a chore.

  • Review simple math basics every day for 20 minutes. Sit down with your child after homework is completed and do a quick quiz. Use flash cards or write up your own "quiz" that includes lessons that were practiced. Give your child a set time to complete the exercise or quiz. You can instantly see the child's strengths and the areas where improvement may be needed.

  • Ask your child to walk you through difficult problems. It's important for your child to review one's own work. It gives your child a chance to find the mistakes made when doing the problem. Let your child tell you what was done and how. If there is an error in calculations, have your child do the problem again. Then ask how the child came to the answer, step by step. This will allow your child to correct the problem, see errors that were made and learn from them.

  • Ask the teacher about your child's progress. Ask the teacher how your child is doing in class. Ask the teacher what your child may be struggling in and how you can help your child master the math concepts.

    This column is provided through the Hawai'i State Teachers Association. Gina Leslie is a fourth-grade teacher at Maunawili Elementary.