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Before you argue that CGI math is too time-consuming, too
frustrating or too something else annoying, let me say this: I hear you. It's
not for everyone. My 6-year-old son solves complicated math problems in his
head without a single drawing of a number disc to help him along. In fact, he
finds CGI math time-consuming and redundant. It's not for everyone.
That's the thing about math anxiety: When we are taught that
there is one "right" way to do math, someone will be anxious. When we work
through that one style of math thinking that we just don't get it, we develop
negative beliefs about our ability to understand math. And that? That causes anxiety.
It's time to work through feelings associated with
math anxiety, parents, because a new
study shows that math anxious parents are likely to raise math anxious
kids. Published in Psychological Science, the findings of this study suggest parents' attitudes about math,
specifically when helping kids with homework, play a significant role in a
child's math achievement.
What can math anxious parents do to stop the cycle of math
anxiety in the family? Try a few of these strategies:
1. Reframe your
Instead of fretting about what you don't know, challenge
yourself to learn something new. When parents respond to math homework with
statements like "I just don't understand this stuff" or "I was never very
good at math," kids pick up on the anxiety and negative associations. They view
math as something to be feared instead of something to enjoy.
You can't force yourself to love math, but you can set goals
to try to learn something new or understand a new math concept. When parents
send the message that math can actually be fun to learn, kids are more likely to
develop positive associations with the subject.
Ask your child to you show you her favorite math games and take turns crunching numbers together.
2. Ask for help
While many teachers ask that parents refrain from helping kids with math, there still tends to be an expectation that parents will provide emotional support
while kids do their homework. It's difficult to be supportive when one look at
a math worksheet sends you into a panic.
Reach out to the teacher and ask for notes or a brief
explanation of the concepts so that you can understand what your child is
3. Increase the fun
factor (for you)
Between board games, apps and educational websites, math is
no longer just numbers on the page. When
it comes to teaching kids, the options for fun math are endless. Why not get in
on the fun?
Ask your child to you show you her favorite math games and
take turns crunching numbers together. If apps and computer games aren't your
thing, bring back family game night. There are numerous options for board games
that involve counting (whether it's cherries for little ones or money for big
kids). Make the connections between math and board game play while you play the
game to remind yourself that math can be a lot of fun.
Math isn't for everyone. You don't have to pretend to love math to support you child's learning. You simply have to learn to work through your math anxiety so that your child
sees math is not to be feared.