April is Math and Statistics Awareness Month! Why kids MUST overcome math anxiety and learn math

Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month began in 1986 as Mathematics Awareness Week with a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan. Today, Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month is a program of the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM). It’s a collaborative effort of the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics with a goal to  increase the visibility of mathematics as a field of study and to communicate the power and intrigue in mathematics to a wider audience.

Why is learning math so important for kids?

Mathematics is the only language shared by all people worldwide, regardless of race, culture, religion, or gender. And, math is not just for astrophysicists or Calculus majors pondering imaginary numbers or calculating difficult equations. Math is for everyone! 

Math is used in dozens of different daily tasks, from telling time, to reading a car’s odometer, to counting change, to calculating a tip. And, nearly every profession uses some form of math.

Math anxiety is real. How to overcome it!

Since math is so vital in society, why do kids struggle with it? One reason is math anxiety.

Math anxiety is a phenomenon that is often considered when examining students’ problems in mathematics.  Mark H. Ashcraft, Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, defines math anxiety as “a feeling of tension, apprehension, or fear [of math]…”

Research confirms that pressure of timed tests and risk of public embarrassment have long been recognized as sources of unproductive tension among many students.  Marilyn Curtain-Phillips, M. Ed. explains in The Causes and Prevention of Math Anxiety, “Three practices that are a regular part of the traditional mathematics classroom and cause great anxiety in many students are imposed authority, public exposure and time deadlines. Although these are a regular part of the traditional mathematics classroom cause great deal of anxiety.”

Much of this anxiety also happens in the traditional classroom due to the lack of consideration of students’ different learning styles. And, the anxiety often translates into poor math performance.

Building a strong math foundation: How parents can help at home

  1. Make sure that your child understands the concepts, rather than just memorizing meaningless rules.
  2. Review math vocabulary to ensure that your student can define the skills he’s learning.
  3. Computing math problems in your child’s head will reinforce concepts more quickly than using a calculator.
  4. Check to make sure your child is approaching his homework properly. He should study the textbook and practice the sample problem before starting the assignment.
  5. Encourage your child to tackle more than just the assigned problems. Extra practice always helps!
  6. Approach word problems together. Your student should read a problem aloud, repeat it, and even draw a picture of each problem.
  7. Explain how math applies to real-life situations. Math is much more interesting if your child can understand its real world value.
  8. Drills and flash cards are quick ways to solidify basic math facts.

Math is the universal language. Make sure that your child speaks fluently! Math help is available in Delaware

While, 2016 state test results show progress across the board in mathematics, more is needed. According to the Delaware Department of Education, in math, only 44 percent of the  students in third through eighth grades who took the Smarter Balanced Assessment test scored at the proficient level or higher. And, while that number is up from 41 percent in 2015, more work needs to be done.

So, what can a parent do? Back to Basics Learning Dynamics in Wilmington, Delaware offers 1-on-1 math tutoring at all levels from kindergarten through college. And, summer is the perfect time to build and strengthen mathematics skills for the upcoming school year.  Students work 1-on-1 with an experienced instructor to review and learn concepts and create fun ways to remember them.

Each session is tailored to the individual child to meet his or her needs, interests, level of background knowledge and learning style.  Previous school years’ material is reinforced during these interactive sessions, with an eye toward next year’s concepts, as well.

Math tutoring is available at your home, day camp or in Back to Basics’ Newark or Wilmington, Delaware locations.

To learn more about math tutoring in Delaware, please call Back to Basics at 302-594-0754.

Photo by MR LIGHTMAN and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

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