The key to lifelong, academic, and economic success is the development of critical thinking skills and numerical fluency in math curriculums from pre-kindergarten through high school.

A Guide to Mathematical Achievement

Sylvan Learning’s White Rock team help students build a strong foundation for the future

Are some students destined to succeed in mathematics because they are inherently “good at math?” According to Sylvan Learning, the answer is no. Educators believe everyone can succeed at math.

The Power of Parents

Melanie Bannister, Centre Director at Sylvan Learning White Rock, offers valuable advice to parents who want to help support the learning process.

“To support your child’s math learning, parents must believe that everyone can learn mathematics and that learning math is essential to lifelong success,” says Bannister.

Parents can encourage a positive attitude towards mathematics by boosting a child’s confidence and competence. People who experience long-term difficulty with a subject tend to give up quicker than those who have met with success.

“It is important for parents to intervene as soon as a child exhibits signs that they are struggling with a concept. Math skills build on previous math skills. A solid foundation is key to learning new concepts. If a student’s foundation is weak, learning higher concepts is like trying to have a conversation in a foreign language—when you have only learned a few vocabulary words like hello and goodbye,” says Bannister.

Parents can dispel the notion math is difficult by believing in their child’s ability to master challenging material.

“Attitudes are contagious,” says Bannister. “Encourage and praise your child.’”

Making mathematics a part of a child’s daily routine, and continuing the process throughout high school, can help create excitement and a willingness to learn new, complex concepts.

Parents can make math matter outside of school by unlocking math situations hidden within everyday situations.

“Keeping track of batting averages provides a natural introduction to statistics,” says Bannister. “Mathematics can be found rearranging a teenager’s room. It is a geometry lesson.”

By “mathematizing” daily activities such as shopping, parents can inspire confidence in math abilities. Parents can also “talk mathematics,” highlighting the types of math needed in their chosen “cool” careers, such as interior decorator, football coach and party planner.

“The key is to encourage young people to use math to manage the world around them,” says Bannister.

Sylvan Learning, a well-known provider of tutoring to all ages, grades and skill levels, encourages parents to play an active role in boosting their children’s numbers sense and discovering a love of higher mathematics.

Sylvan Learning, a well-known provider of tutoring to all ages, grades and skill levels, encourages parents to play an active role in boosting their children’s numbers sense and discovering a love of higher mathematics.

The Road to Achievement

Many students admit they are reluctant to ask for academic assistance because they feel alone in their struggles.

“Children need someone patient to help them better understand math. This can be a parent, teacher, friend or tutor,” says Bannister.

Tackling Testing

“The first step is to help your child learn the skills needed to complete day to day math homework. The second step is alleviating the fear associated with tests,” says Bannister.

Adequate preparation, familiarity with test formats, and good practice will help alleviate test-taking fear. Parents can help students plan a study schedule and even create a few practice tests. Before each math test, parents are encouraged to review relaxation techniques and test-taking skills while emphasizing the importance of answering the most straightforward questions first and coming back to complete the more complex problems.

“Once the skills are mastered and the preparation is complete, the most important thing parents can do to help is demonstrate their confidence in their son or daughter’s ability to perform well on the test,” says Bannister.

For additional educational resources for children in grades pre-K through 12, please visit www.SylvanLearning.com.

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