Ah, Algebra.. the subject that seems to stump parents and students everywhere. Figuring out how to help your child with algebra homework can be frustrating, especially with the difference in math standards taught now as opposed to our school years. The miscommunication between you and your child will often lead to stress and panic instead of a positive experience.
Despite the negative rep algebra has, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be a mathematician to effectively help your child with their homework. With a little bit of guidance, you can effectively help reinforce algebra concepts your child learns during the day and set them up for future success.
Algebra by Grade-Level
Although Algebra isn’t normally taught until 8th or 9th grade, the math concepts your child learns during elementary and middle school give them the foundational knowledge they need for these classes. In most standard public school settings, a student will take algebra I and algebra II as a graduation requirement. With that said, the required math courses for high school graduation vary by state.
In a typical setting, a student would take Algebra I during their 8th or 9th grade year. Algebra II is then taken the following year. As these classes progress in difficulty, your child may develop an aversion to math. When this happens, it’s important to be prepared to help.
Algebra Tips to Guide Your Child
If you notice your child struggling with their coursework, there are several things you can do to help. By remaining calm and finding ways to help, whether from you or someone else, your child will have a far less difficult time navigating algebraic concepts.
Let’s take a look at five beneficial things you can do in your role as their parent.
1. Don’t Project Your Own Anxieties
Math aversions are incredibly common, even for long after you finish your school years. This is especially true if you’re female. Studies show that math anxiety is more common amongst females than males. If you experience math anxiety, it’s important to make sure you don’t project those fears onto your child. If they can physically see or sense that a math concept is making you nervous, they’re going to feed on that emotion and the situation will only get worse.
It’s okay to admit that math isn’t your strong suit. If this is the case, you should take some time to either re-familiarize yourself with the content or seek outside help from a tutor, and implement strategies to reduce your student’s anxiety.
2. Find Ways to Incorporate in Daily Life
While algebra may look scary on paper, it’s an integral part of our daily life. If you incorporate your child’s algebra homework with a situation in their typical day, the concept is more likely to stick.
For example, let’s say they need to set an alarm to wake up in time for school. If your child has a specific morning routine, they need to calculate how long each task will take before determining how early they should set their alarm for. Algebra is also an integral part in sports. When playing basketball, a player needs to calculate the trajectory needed in order for them to score a point.
Regardless of your child’s routine or interests, there are plenty of ways to incorporate algebra practice in your daily life.
3. Re-familiarize Yourself With Algebra Concepts
Re-familiarizing yourself with the concepts your child is learning will help you to help them. It also takes the stress away from trying to figure out answers alongside your child. With that said, we understand that math isn’t always a favorite subject and re-learning concepts can take time.
To help with that disconnect, Piqosity offers algebra courses at the Algebra I and Algebra II levels. While these were designed for students, they also serve as a wonderful tool for parents to freshen up skills they may not have touched in decades.
4. Don’t be Afraid to Try “New Math”
The “new math” put in place through Common Core in 2010 has sparked serious debate among parents and educators alike. While some find it easier, others have deemed it “difficult and unnecessary.”
Regardless of the camp you’re in on the matter, we encourage you to give it a shot. The purpose of new math is to introduce students to a new way of approaching math problems. Rather than focusing on solely memorizing math facts and concepts, new math gives them the opportunity to understand why a specific concept works the way it does.
If you take the time to learn the basics of common core algebra, you’re going to have a far less stressful experience in helping your child. A low-stress experience, in turn, will allow your child to have an easier time fully comprehending a concept.
5. Find Outside Help
At some point, you may decide that you aren’t equipped to help with their homework. Rather than continuously working on something that is causing stress for everyone involved, using an outside resource can be beneficial.
If this is the case for you, we urge you to check out some of our resources. Piqosity offers online algebra courses at the 9th and 10th grade levels. On top of that, you and your child can utilize our math tutoring app when a concept is causing frustration.
If you’re struggling with how to help your child with algebra, just know you aren’t alone. Algebra is a sore spot for many people who have math aversion but it’s important for your child’s academic and mental health that you refrain from projecting onto them.
By following the tips we’ve included in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to help the next time your child asks for homework help.
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