I am so, so grateful that we are coming to the end of our middle school years. Finally! The hormonal changes, body changes and introduction of some semblance of adult responsibilities can wreak havoc in your home. And I had two going through it at the same time!
Needless to say, despite the teenage angst and random outbursts of “feelings”, education is still at the top of the priority list. What they do in middle school sets them up for high school, which as we all know is when it counts.
Tackling Middle School Math
Children typically enter middle school with the basic math concepts in tact. They know addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They are familiar with fractions and decimals, and even know how to apply them in some real world situation such as cooking and shopping.
Middle school math is where they start putting it all together. Algebraic concepts are introduced. Word problems become more complex. They have to start weeding out the needed data from the extraneous information that is not needed.
It can be hard, especially if math is not their super power! While many researchers now admit that the theory of Left Brain vs Right Brain is an over-generalized assessment, there are certainly some merits to understanding the way your child thinks and processes information. This is especially true when tackling middle school math!
Find Out How Your Child Learns
I highly recommend you educate yourself on how your child learns. While you probably have a pretty good idea after 12 or so years with them, it doesn’t hurt to get some additional feedback. Ask their teachers. Visit the school counselor. Do some research online.
There are several online resources and quizzes that can guide you:
- Parenting.com offers What is the Best Way for Your Child to Learn?
- CNN.com spelled out the 3 most basic learning styles back in 2006 in How Your Child Learns.
- WebMD.com assures parents that children develop different in Understand Your Child’s Learning Style.
- MusicTogether.com highlights how different learning styles translate into different behavior in the classroom in Tuning In to How Your Child Learns, and that’s okay!
The bottom line is the best way you can support your child in middle school, math or otherwise, is to understand them. And help them understand themselves.
Once they understand why and how they work, they can begin to work to their strengths, ask for what they need (and be able to explain why) and establish more self control. All of which are crucial for their future success.
Supporting their Math Skills
While most kids will continue with the preset public school curriculum and end up mastering the advanced math with some effort. There are certainly circumstances and times when us as parents need to help out.
There are several ways we can do that:
- Help them with their homework. Even if it’s beyond you, there are free resources to help out. Look at Khan Academy, ask Google or check out a book from the library.
- Purchase a full set of curriculum. Math U See has upper level math sets just like they have Preschool and Elementary math options.
- If your child is all about independence and loves online classes, check out ALEKS.com. It is a mastery based curriculum that goes all the way through college and professional levels, and it lets parents monitor what their child is doing. This is my absolute favorite math option for upper level math!
You can support your child through middle school math. I’m not saying it will be easy. In fact, just getting through middle school may take everything you’ve got. But I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And with your support, your child will come out confident and ready for what is next…high school!