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Math and science are not often subjects about which students are neutral. Some students love math and/or science, can’t wait for class to start, discuss concepts outside of class, and look for opportunities to learn more and apply their knowledge. Other students dread the thought of math or science classes, even if they are gifted in other areas, such as English, languages, and visual art.
Math and science are not monolithic when it comes to these difficulties. Some students may love geometry but feel numb during algebra class. There are students who are eager to hit the chemistry lab but can’t seem to grasp the basics of physics. Math anxiety is a real phenomenon and students can feel intimidated by these subjects, particularly when they are both abstract and cumulative.
Falling behind one day can lead to a feeling of being lost for weeks and since the material may not be about readily perceptible objects but numbers, and it can be a challenge to get back on track of comprehending the material. There are several ways parents can support their children who are struggling with math or science.
One way is to understand the source of their problem, the next is finding ways to illustrate concepts, if possible, and the third and often the most effective solution is to hire a tutor to help the student through the process of understanding math and science and catching up on missed work.
Identifying the Problem
To understand your child’s difficulties with math and science, it is important to get an idea of the changes that occur in a typical curriculum between grade school, middle school, and high school. Children are introduced to the concept of math through practical problems that are related to their day to day life, such as counting, simple addition, and subtraction, multiplication and division. They are taught to recognize shapes they see as part of their everyday reality. Science experiments deal with the real world and they learn about how their body’s function, how plants grow, and things they relate to constantly.
As a child advances in school, math and science topics become more abstract. This can be fascinating to many students but others, particularly those who are visual and verbal learners, may suddenly feel lost. Also, memorizing theorems and multiplication tables can seem tedious to some students, but not doing so can cause a student to fall behind quickly.
In addition to changes in the curriculum as a child reaches higher grades, there are certain learning differences that can make a quick acquisition of math and science concepts a challenge. Students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or difficulty to do mathematical calculations and ADD and ADHD should be assisted by experts in teaching children with learning differences, and it is essential for parents of children with these issues to understand the challenges.
Parents who are adept at math and science can help their children navigate their way through their coursework. Even those adults who have struggled with the subjects may provide support and at least let their children know that they understand their difficulties. Doing homework with your child can be an important way of letting him or her know you are on their team, even though you both may not be able to get all of the right answers together. Being involved and showing concern can motivate a child to understand since self-esteem plays a significant part in academic difficulties.
Hiring a Tutor
Hiring a tutor can be the most effective way to help your child through math and science courses. A trained tutor can see observe your child learning from an objective point of view and can have insight on how your child approaches problems and concepts and how this approach can be improved. Also, a tutor from a reputable agency has been trained and screened to provide personalized educational strategies to help children solve math problems and grasp scientific concepts.
It may be tempting simply to hire a tutor from the neighborhood, but finding a trained tutor from an agency with a solid reputation is likely to be a better choice. It can be beneficial, and less embarrassing for the child, to work with someone who isn’t from the neighborhood, school, or a family friend. Agencies train, screen, and pair their tutors with students who make the best match. Also, tutoring companies, such as Tutoring Tactics, provide oversight and support to ensure a productive student-tutor relationship.
Giving Your Child the Tools to Master Math and ScienceTrying to understand the source of your child’s difficulties with math and science subjects, providing hands-on support, and hiring the right tutor for your child are effective ways of helping your child face the challenges of a changing curriculum. Once he or she has overcome difficulties in one area of study or topic, your child will have the tools to face challenges in future courses and in the real world.