Why do kids hate math? I have said for a long time that no kids actually hate math, but many kids think they do. It is my job to show them that they don’t actually hate math, they just hate the way it has been presented to them in school.
One of my very first posts on this site was called What Is Most Important in Math? Click the link to read the whole thing, but the answer is mindset. Too many kids believe that they are “bad at math” and associate math with being frustrated. They see math as an isolated (often boring and hard) school subject and don’t realize that math is something that they already use every day, that it is part of science, art, music, sports, cooking, building things, and so much more.
How do I as a tutor help kids change their attitude toward math?
- Show enthusiasm for math
- Demonstrate understanding for why it has been frustrating for them in the past, but confidence that I can help them change that.
- Explain to them in a straightforward way what they need to know to be successful at math, and have a plan for getting them there.
- Build on their strengths so they can experience success and have positive experiences with math.
- Help them understand what they are doing through using manipulatives and visuals, and by focusing on the patterns of math.
- Give them engaging and interesting ways to practice.
- Play lots of games! Games are the absolute best way to practice math.
This whole site and my whole mission is about sharing ways to do these things. My post What Is Math Therapy? tells you about what I do with kids 1:1 or in small groups to help them learn to change their attitude toward math. Kristen Powers of Math Super Powers wrote an excellent guest post for classroom teachers on Motivating Math Students.
However, if you are a parent who would like specific resources to help your child learn to love math, I have a fantastic resource for you called Help Your Child Love Math. It is available on my Stan Store. The free version has a list of my favorite free resources you can use. There is also a free list of resources for summer math. The full version…
- examines reasons kids think they hate math
- helps you identify your child’s strengths that can be used to develop mathematical thinking
- explains why you should focus on strengths rather than weaknesses
- shows how math is in everything we do, and gives specific examples of how you can use the interests a child already has to teach math
- explains why games are the most effective and engaging teaching method and suggests specific ones to play
- tells you exactly what to do if your child is struggling in math
While I wrote it for parents it is also helpful for tutors, interventionists and anyone who works with children 1:1 or in a small group. Here’s the summary of the main ideas…