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Posts Tagged as "tips for parents"

What to do when your kid’s math fills you with dread

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

Parents routinely come to me with this situation. Your passionate, creative, unique, visionary kid has been struggling with math for months (or even years), even though they’re already giving it everything they’ve got.

You’re spending hours on Khan Academy every night trying to untangle your kid’s homework, teaching yourself so you can teach them. Instead of having dinner as a family, you’re working on math.

Your kid is so frustrated and stressed about math that they routinely break down and cry. Or maybe they’re just so anxious that you’re starting to pick up their anxiety yourself, and you’re struggling to filter everything you say, just to make sure you don’t snap at them.

You feel drained, burdened, even resentful. You come home from work, and instead of being excited to see your kid and have this precious time with them, you are filled with dread about the math you’ll need to help them with tonight. Again. Night after night. No end in sight.

And the days when they have tests are the worst. When you pick them up after school, you feel this knot in your stomach worrying about how they did.

You’re already worrying about the doors that will be shut to them if they don’t feel comfortable with math. You don’t care whether or not they pursue math as a career – you just really, really don’t want their math phobia to get in the way of their dreams coming true.

You might have even already taken then to a tutoring center and they hated it. Maybe they felt embarrassed that someone they knew might see them. Maybe they were just turned off by having to do worksheet after worksheet. And even though it was supposed to solve the problem, the tutoring center wasn’t able to help your kid either.

And you’re starting to feel extremely guilty, because even though you’re trying everything you can humanly think of, your superhuman efforts are not creating results. Your kid isn’t really understanding, they’re not really learning, and they’re not getting good grades. Sometimes you feel like a failure as a parent.

In a few years, your kid will be in college, out of the house forever, and right now, your precious time together as a family is being completely consumed by struggling with math.

You feel completely stuck.

Does this sound familiar? Is this what you’re facing?

Please know that you are not alone. Nothing is wrong with you. There is just something missing. You aren’t getting the support you need to truly understand, and neither is your kid, but that doesn’t mean that either of you is mathematically incapable. There’s just a gap between what you need and the resources that you have in front of you.

Please know that what you’re facing is not insurmountable. Just because you have been struggling for months or years does not mean that you have to struggle forever.

For example, I personally spent years struggling in silence with math and thinking that I was “not a math person.”

Now I’m on the other side, and I have helped many other families go from being completely consumed about math to feeling happy, relaxed, and confident about math – even in really extreme situations where a kid was so anxious about math they refused to do their homework unless they were sitting next to their mom, or, another example, where a previous tutor had told the family that math was like a foreign language and their daughter only spoke five words.

Please know that you don’t have to stay stuck. It is completely possible to find support that results in lasting math transformation – even if you feel like you’ve already tried everything and nothing has worked.

Please know that you don’t have to keep doing what you’re doing. If it’s not working, doing MORE of what’s not working is not going to create the transformation that you desire.

Please know that you don’t have to do this by yourself. You do not have to reteach yourself all of the math you ever learned. You do not need to be the one trying to ensure that your kid understands. You do not need keep spending hours on Khan Academy every night trying to figure out what they heck your kid is supposed to do. You do not need to continue to feel this dread about your kid’s next math grade.

If you’re ready to invest in world-class, one-on-one math mastery support for your passionate, creative kid, just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs.

Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to explore whether or not the magical way I work would be a good fit for you and your family! I can’t wait to connect and create this same lasting transformation for YOU!

Related posts:
How to know when it’s time to stop tutoring your own kid
Case study: an 8th grader goes from “math meltdown” to “math touchdown!”
What to do when you get a disappointing math test grade

Posts Tagged as "tips for parents"

Making Math Magical is in the newspaper!

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Hey beautiful readers!

I’m so excited…. I was interviewed about the process of making math magical for an article for the Rye Record newspaper by the fabulous Maureen Mancini Amaturo!

Read on for the full article 🙂

Math + Rebecca Zook = Magic

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

Rebecca Zook, musician and fairy godmother of math who works with kids all over the world, will be at The Rye Free Reading Room November 9, 2017 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. She’ll present, “Making Math Magical: How to End the Math Freakout and Raise a Math-Confident Daughter,” a program that is just as effective for boys. Her mission: to conquer math anxiety. Because of her unusual way of guiding all those who say, “I’m not a math person,” there are a lot more people out there adding to their potential.

“I work with girls and boys, but the majority of my students are girls. There is lots of research on girls and math. From my own experience, I find that the reason is not that our intellect is an obstacle. It’s emotion. There is a larger shift in our culture now of women coming more and more into positions of leadership and in fields not traditionally slated for them. There is greater awareness of where women are underrepresented and a lot of positive energy going into changing that.”

Rebecca is a musician, really, with a self-designed interdisciplinary degree in Music and the Humanities, and she performs around the globe. “I find that because I am a creative, artistic person, I understand what creative, artistic people need to feel comfortable with math. This helps me connect with kids having a hard time.”

When Rebecca heads out to tutor math-phobics, she arrives with her cello. Memories of struggling with math as a young girl motivated her to find a way to help others avoid that stress and discover the skills they they don’t have. “A big part of my work is hearing, ‘I wish I worked with you when I was growing up.’ I say I wish I had worked with myself!”

Her students have shown incredible growth. “Many think once you have a hard time with math it’s game over. You work hard, and it’s not clicking. You think something is wrong with you. Over time, you disengage and give up. I am amazed at how much transformation is possible.” Rebecca has perfected a process to subtract the anxiety and add confidence. “I work with students to eliminate the negative emotion — the nervous feeling, anxiety, fear­, and help them slow down.”

So, what’s the key to unlocking math phobia? “There are three fundamental pieces,” she says. “One: have a growth mindset about math which means to understand that math ability is something you can cultivate and grow with comfort, and it’s not something you either have or not. It’s such a toxic mindset to think that you’re either a math-science person or humanities-language person. I’m living proof you can be both.

“Two: Stay in the sweet spot where it’s not so hard you are overwhelmed and not so low you get bored. Break it down into pieces that are small enough for you to handle.

“Three: Take a mastery orientation approach with math. We have an understanding in our culture with athletics and art that you practice, and it’s enjoyable. With math, we think if we just do what we are told, that’s enough. Mostly, the curriculum doesn’t identify that, and kids give up and opt out. Practicing math in a way that is pleasurable and customized is crucial.”

Rebecca is the magician that dispels the fallacy that if you are working with a tutor, you’re bad at math. “If you want to bring your dreams and vision to the world, you have to support that desire. All winners have coaches, trainers, guides, mentors, and teachers. Support is not about dependency. It’s about facing new challenges and growing.”

Hear more about Rebecca’s unorthodox approach to developing a successful relationship with math at the Rye Free Reading Room, visit or contact her directly at or 617-888-0160.

Is your creative kid freaking out about math? Do you want them to truly master math and love it so their dreams can come true without experiencing math as an obstacle?

I’d love to connect and explore if my work would be a fit for your child!

Just click here to take the first step: click here

Posts Tagged as "tips for parents"

What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #4

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

4. Math-masterful parents are focused on the long-term process of mastery.

Typical parents focus on just getting math over with.

Math is so stressful that they just want to help their kids complete their homework assignments as quickly as possible.

But this never gets below the surface to the actual root problems that are causing the math anxiety and stress.

In contrast, math-masterful parents focus on whether their child is deeply understanding and internalizing the material, not just getting their homework done.

As part of this, math-masterful parents are proactive, not reactive.

Instead of being in crisis mode, waiting to see if they have math issues, scheduling support only around tests, or reacting to the artificial rhythms of the school year, these parents put support in place consistently and let their child’s mastery needs set the pace.

Like athletes or performing artists, math-masterful families train consistently.

They still take breaks and vacations, but use holidays and summer breaks as a powerful secret compartment to catch up, get ahead, and stay connected to math—to enjoy math on their own terms.

This consistent training develops their own inner math sanctuary that supports them, once they’re back from vacation, no matter what is going on in their classroom or curriculum.

And because they invest this time and energy in consistent math mastery training, they end up having a much more relaxed and happy school year, because their child is actually confident and prepared.

As a quick example of this, one family came to me towards the end of 5th grade after years of struggling with math and not getting what they needed from typical tutoring.

We worked together throughout the summer between 5th and 6th grade—still taking some breaks, but making sure that this student was really connecting to math and loving it.

Her first day back of 6th grade, this student was the only kid in the room who knew what the commutative property was, and nailed question after question after question until her teacher just started laughing!

More recently, a student and I used her spring break as an opportunity to get ahead and really understand logarithms.

Just a few days ago she told me that she was the only student in her class who actually understood them.

And her mom now experiences her daughter’s school vacations as much more relaxing, because there’s no more math dread.

Do you wish your child could go through this same transformation?

I would love to talk to you.

Just fill out this application here.

As soon as your application is received and reviewed, I’ll reach out to schedule a special appointment for us to connect on the phone and get clear on how I could best support your family.

I can’t wait to connect!

Sending you love,

Related posts:
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #1
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #2
What Parents Of Math-Confident Children Secretly Do (That Typical Parents Don’t) – #3

Posts Tagged as "tips for parents"

What parents of math-confident children secretly do (that typical parents don’t) – #2

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

I’ve come to understand that many parents tend to misunderstand what is actually needed for a child in math crisis to become math-confident.

Did you know that parents of math-confident children have a very specific set of beliefs and behaviors that set them apart?

I’m on a mission to educate parents about this.

First (as I shared in my last article about this), math-masterful parents see high-level support as normal and desirable, both for their child and for themselves. (Full details here.)

Second, parents of Math Masters are no longer willing to suffer or wait.

Typical parents tend to respond to a child’s persistent math struggles by waiting and hoping that their math issues will just magically go away by themselves.

They will tell themselves things like, “Let’s just wait and see what happens,”
“Let’s see how my child does between now and the end of the year,”
or “It will start clicking for my child eventually.”

But almost always, what happens is, in the best case scenario, the child barely manages to keep their head above water.

Or, worst case scenario, the child’s math understanding spirals downward…and the situation just keeps getting worse.

In contrast, math-masterful parents face reality and take control.

They understand on a deep level that if they continue to do the same things that aren’t working, they’ll just continue to get the same results.

Their child will struggle and suffer, and so will the parent.

So math-masterful parents choose to take a different action to create a different result.

When faced with an opportunity to receive support that will actually help their kid, they say yes and move forward.

As a quick example, one family was referred to me by a colleague at the child’s school. The student was tired of struggling and went to the math department head with her mom to ask for a referral to a math tutor.

This department head knew that the student loves to sing and dance, so she told her and her mom, “You should call Rebecca, because she sings about math.”

When the daughter told her mom, “Let’s call Rebecca right away,” they ACTUALLY called.

And we started working together almost immediately.

After our very first session, the mom emailed me that a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

And the mom’s relief only increased as her daughter continued to receive this aligned support and get consistently great grades.

Did I just describe *your* mindset? Do you see high-level math mentoring support as normal and desirable? Are you no longer willing to wait while your child continues to suffer from math challenges?

I would love to connect and explore how I could best support your family.

To take the first step, just fill out this application here:

Once your application is received, I’ll reach out to schedule a special appointment time for us to connect and get clear on what’s not working, what you want instead, and whether my work would be a fit.

I’m totally excited to hear from you!

Sending you love,

Related Posts:
What parents of math-confident children secretly do (that typical parents don’t) – #1
The secret ingredients of true math mastery
When doing your math homework just isn’t cutting it

Posts Tagged as "tips for parents"

Three simple steps to tell if your kid actually understands what’s going on with math

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Have you ever been helping your kid with math, and just really wanted to know whether or not they were getting it? Or maybe you got the feeling that your kid might be confused about something, but you couldn’t put a finger on what it was yourself. Well, let me share with you my special time-tested technique for dealing with this exact situation!

First, ask the question, “What questions do you have?” instead of “Do you have any questions?”

There are several reasons for this:

When we are asked “do you have any questions?” most of us have been socially conditioned to say “no,” without really thinking about whether or not we do need something cleared up. So asking “DO you have any questions” is not super effective.

“WHAT questions do you have,” because it assumes that you have questions, encourages people to actually try to come up with something they have questions about, instead of just glibly saying “no.” It also makes it normal to have questions, and treats the need for clarification as just a natural, built-in part of the learning process.

Second, wait up to seven seconds for your kid to respond. Why? Research has found that it usually takes seven seconds to formulate a question when you’re asked if you have one. This can feel really uncomfortable the first few times, since we’re not used to waiting like this. But it is absolutely worth it.

Third, only ask “What questions do you have?” if you genuinely want to know and you have time
to address the questions that your kid may have. If you don’t actually mean it, A, over time, the question will lose its power, and B, your kid will feel that they don’t actually have a chance to ask their questions and it just becomes a fake formality.

(I’ve had to be careful with this myself – for example, to not ask for questions when I only have 30 seconds left before I need to talk to my next student! If you’re in that kind of situation, just trust that you will be able to take care of the questions your kid has at a later moment when you can give it your full attention.)

Do you dream of your daughter or son receiving high-level, individualized one-on-one support that’s customized completely in every nanosecond? Do you prioritize investing in your child’s education above all else? Do you just want a caring professional to take over your family’s “math situation” so you can just focus on being a mom or dad, and not have to do the tutoring yourself?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child.

I’m here for you, and I’m so glad we’re connected!

Sending you love,

Posts Tagged as "tips for parents"

How to check if your kid actually understands what you just said

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Wait. Does your kid REALLY understand what you just said?

Here is a super simple way to check if your kid understands what you’re explaining to them.

After you demonstrate a math problem, just ask them to teach it back to you like they’re the teacher and you’re the student.

This gives the student a chance to be an even more active learner. They have to take more initiative than they would if you were just explaining it to them, or even if you were doing it interactively together.

It reinforces what you just explained at a deeper level!

And it helps you get clear on whether or not they understood what you just did!

If they confidently explain it back to you, awesome! Move on to the next practice problem!

If they don’t want to explain it, can’t explain it, or try to explain it and say something incorrect, then you just got great feedback on where they’re at and you know exactly what to address.

Would you like your visionary, passionate, unique kid to receive a completely customized math tutoring experience that truly supports them in mastering and internalizing the concepts?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear on whether or not the magical way I work is a match for you and your family!

Related posts:
What to do when your kid makes a math mistake
How to know when it’s time to stop tutoring your own kid
How to get your kid talking about math
How to experience math as your own unique creation

Posts Tagged as "tips for parents"

What to do when your kid’s math terrifies you

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

“This is terrifying,” my student’s mom confided in me as we discussed my student’s taking one of the most advanced math classes you can take in high school. “What my daughter is doing is way beyond any math I’ve ever attempted.”

Does this sound familiar? Your kid is doing math that, if you needed to explain it to them, you would have a panic attack? mental meltdown? total and complete incomprehension?

This is a situation that I face all the time. Sometimes a kid’s math will cross the “parental capability threshold” in elementary school. Sometimes it’s middle school. Sometimes, high school, or even college. But unless you, the parent, are actually a math professional or math educator, it’s very normal for there to come a point where you absolutely can no longer help your kid with math, no matter how much you WANT to help them with it, unless you take it upon yourself to teach yourself from scratch how to do it (and sometimes, not even then).

If this is what’s happening to you, here’s what to keep in mind:

Just because you are terrified doesn’t necessarily mean that your kid is terrified. Don’t assume you and your kid feel the same way about the math they’re being asked to do. Your kid is surrounded by other kids who are also doing terrifying math, and it might even feel normal to them. Maybe they feel proud or excited to be doing it! It is possible that they also feel terrified like you do. But just remember that it’s possible that you won’t be having the same emotional experience about it.

Don’t underestimate your kid. (Especially based on your own math experience). Maybe you tried to do this level of math and failed. Or maybe even considering doing this level of math was so terrifying that you opted out, during your own education. Maybe you never had an opportunity to even TRY to learn this level of math. No judgement!

However, keep in mind, your past math performance does not predict your kid’s future performance. Even though a lot of people in our culture talk about math ability like it’s a genetic trait, truly, truly, TRULY EVERYONE can learn to do math if it’s explained to them in a way that they can understand. Math is not a talent. It’s a skill that can be acquired with practice and persistent effort. Please remember this if you start to feel terrified about what your kid has taken on.

You don’t have to be able to do the terrifying math yourself in order to be a good parent. It is normal as a parent to passionately want to give your own kid every possible opportunity to thrive. You want to teach them everything they need to know to succeed in the world on their own. How can you do this once the math they’re doing surpasses what you yourself have learned?

Do not fear. You do not have to teach them terrifying math yourself! Sometimes the best thing you can do as a parent is make sure that someone else is helping your kid with the terrifying math for you, and just step back and focus on being a mom or dad, not on having to be a math teacher after you come home from a full day’s work.

Are you ready to invest in having someone else – who is caring, empathic, adventurous, and super experienced – help your passionate, creative kid with the terrifying math, so you can just focus on being a parent?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to explore whether or not my magical math tutoring programs would be a fit for you and your family!

Related posts:
How to know when it’s time to stop tutoring your own kid
Afraid your math teacher will judge you?
Math student’s bill of rights
Face your fears, get a higher grade

Posts Tagged as "tips for parents"

What to do when your kid makes a math mistake

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

In my work with my students, it’s really essential to me to also create a relaxed, playful environment. 

And a big part of this is how I handle it when students make mistakes.  I create a growth-oriented environment by asking very specific questions which support their mastery process.

Here are four simple ways that you can also respond to your kid’s mistakes in a positive way that will really support their long-term mastery. 

1.  Don’t be afraid to let your kid know that they did something wrong when you’re working through math together.   When we’re learning, it’s super important to get feedback as to whether or not we’re on the right track or off the rails!

Keep it lighthearted and matter-of-fact.  It’s no big deal.  There is no sense of failure or punishment.  You’re just giving them feedback – it is just information.

A lot of times I will say, “Actually, no” if a student makes a mistake, or just say, “No,” with a smile.

You can also use a question to direct them to re-do a step.  Like if you see them write out “7+7=15,” you can say, “What is 7+7?”  I probably use this one the most of all.

2.  If they don’t know they made a mistake, or you’re not sure if they know there was a mistake, ask them to find the mistake.  Invite them to locate it.

I prefer to use the specific wording, “Where’s the mistake?”  Or, “OK, where’s the mistake?” as opposed to “Can you find the mistake?”  (I wouldn’t be asking them if I didn’t believe they could.)  

3.  If they know they made a mistake, ask them, “What’s the mistake?” to invite them to tell you exactly what it was.   Invite them to analyze it.

Routinely analyzing one’s mistakes helps you raise your awareness and increase your odds of not making the same mistake next time.

A lot of times a kid will exclaim, “Oh, I understand what I did wrong!!” once you’ve started to re-do a problem that they originally did incorrectly, and this question is a great way to invite them to really break down exactly what happened.

4.  Don’t be afraid to talk about your kid’s mistakes on tests and quizzes.

Research has shown that if we don’t talk to kids about their mistakes and failures, kids internalize the message that they have done something so shameful it can’t even be spoken about.  (Even though this usually is just an unintentional byproduct of adults not knowing what to say, or not wanting to “make the kid feel bad.”)

If the student hasn’t already been asked to do this for school, you can invite them to analyze their errors by making a log where they identify the error, analyze why it happened, and correct it.  Just like analyzing it verbally, this really gives the student the opportunity to reflect, increase their awareness, and not make the same mistake next time.

One of my students, who loved doing this, and gave this process the playful name “Mistakes Log Blog.” 

And just be sure to keep it lighthearted – it’s not a chore or a punishment, it’s just an opportunity for further insight and growth.

If talking to your kid about their math mistakes seems overwhelming, just start using one of these steps to begin.  As long as you’re lighthearted and matter-of-fact, you’ll be helping your kid develop their capacity to reflect and analyze and think critically about their own work, with is a major life meta-skill that goes way beyond math!

Are you afraid that your kid’s math mistakes are going to close doors for them down the line and prevent them from living their dreams?  Are you tired of trying to handle this alone?  Are you ready to receive high-level one-on-one support? 

Then I invite you to apply for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. To begin your application, just click here.

Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special, complimentary appointment to talk about what’s going on in your kid’s math situation, and explore whether or not the way I work would make sense for your family! 

I’m excited to hear from you!

Sending you love,

Related posts:
Tip of the day: what to do when your kid makes a math mistake
Case Study: a 5th grader emerges as an enthusiastic student and confident mathematician
Tips for a happy math year: normalize error
How to help kids be okay with things being hard

Posts Tagged as "tips for parents"

How to know when it’s time to stop tutoring your own kid

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

2014-01-16 09.32.28
You want math to feel like a fun adventure through a magical forest… not like you’re lost in the wilderness without a trail!

You want to help your kid so badly! You are willing to move heaven and earth to help your son or daughter understand math better.

But you’re struggling to help your kid with math by yourself. It’s painful.

Sometimes it might just be a question of working with your kid when you’re not so tired, getting materials that feel like a better fit, or adjusting your approach. But sometimes it’s more than that.

How do you know when you’re not the right person to be helping your own kid?

I haven’t seen anyone else write about this yet, but it’s been coming up a lot recently in the families that I work with, so it’s clear to me that it’s time to share…. how to know when someone else should be doing the tutoring – even if you have been willing to do it yourself.

1. Tutoring your own kid has become toxic to your parent/child relationship. This can go both ways. For example, when one family that now works with me first approached me, the 5th-grade student refused to work on her math homework at all…. unless she was sitting next to her mom. The student believed her mom’s presence was calming, but she was still so anxious that it totally stressed her mom out to have this arrangement! This was negatively impacting their entire mother/daughter relationship.

2. No matter how hard you try, you can’t explain it to your kid in a way they can understand. This can take many different forms. Sometimes even if you are a professional mathematician, you won’t be able to explain it in a way that your kid can connect with. Or maybe you have a method that is crystal-clear to you, but that leaves your kid completely fuzzy or frustrated. Maybe you vividly remember how you learned it growing up, but there seems to be no connection with the way your kid is being taught the material now.

Sometimes this can also look like “Your kid resists your help” or “Your kid won’t listen to you about math” (because they might just not understand how you explain it–even though they still love you!!)

3. Helping your kid with math is taking over your entire life. Sometimes your kid will understand the way you approach it, but helping them becomes a huge project that eclipses everything else. You might find yourself spending hours every single day working on math with them, just wishing that you had time for a normal evening where you could cook dinner and enjoy it as a family without worrying about math.

4. Your help is not creating fluency.
Sometimes a parent will be able to help their kid “get through it” by being persistent, working backwards, and guessing and checking, but you can sense that even though your kid is “getting it done,” you know they’re not really getting it. It’s like they’re limping through Barcelona using a phrase book instead of actually learning how to speak Spanish fluently, and if they come up against something a little out of the ordinary, they only know how to ask where the bathroom is or how to get to the train station. You know this level of understanding is not going to get them where they need to go even if on the surface things look “OK.”

5. You can absolutely do it, but it’s not how you want to spend your time. You can explain it. Your kids get it when you help them. But when you come home from work, you just want to be a parent. You don’t want to have to be their teacher and tutor. You just want to have time to relax and hang out with your kids during the few precious last years you have together under the same roof.

6. What you’re doing isn’t helping. This is the absolute bottom line. Sometimes a parent and a kid will be working together for hours every day, and the kid is still struggling. The parent’s first impulse might be to work together with the kid EVEN MORE, but don’t more of what isn’t working is not going to make the situation better.

Do these scenarios sound familiar?

Are you ready to invest in high-level one-on-one support so you can just be a mom or dad, trusting that your kid’s math mastery is completely being taken care of?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child.

Sending you love,

Related posts:
Tips on how to help your kid with their math homework
Three simple steps to tell if your kid actually understands what’s going on in math
How to find a good tutor
The rhyme and reason of making mistakes

Posts Tagged as "tips for parents"

How to get your kid talking about math

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
A lock growing out of a tree?

A lock growing out of a tree?

That’s what I found on the trunk of a holly tree in my neighborhood!!

Who did this and what does it mean? It is completely intriguing to me – a door lock that looks like it’s been grafted onto (or growing out of) this beautiful tree!

A lot of times, kids can feel that talking about math is like a door they just can’t open all the way.

Maybe they know some of the words, but really expressing what they understand or asking about what they don’t understand – that might feel like just a tiny sliver, like they can only open that door a crack.

I want to share a powerful question I use all the time to get kids to open up about talking about math.

This is especially helpful when you want your kid to explain something back to you to really check that they understand.

After spending some time working through problems together, I will ask, “How would you explain this to your best friend?”

A lot of the time that is all it takes to get them talking. Instead of worrying about not using the right “math words” or making a mistake, they’re able to connect to the feeling of just helping their best friend.

Occasionally, a student will be totally tongue-tied even with this question – and that’s OK. That usually just means they need to spend more time doing the concept together before trying to explain it to someone else.

Also, kids can even use this technique if they are completely by themselves. This can actually be a bridge towards encouraging students to talk themselves through problems more, like we talked about in my recent post about talking math out when you’re in doubt!

Do you want your kid to experience math as an intriguing, fun puzzle, instead of a monster in the closet?

Is the pain of your kid’s math challenges actually causing you pain as their parent?

Are you ready for high-level one-on-one support?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child.

Sending you love,

Checking out this mysterious holly tree that the lock "grew" out of

Checking out this mysterious holly tree that the lock “grew” out of

Related posts:
Is multi-sensory learning hard-wired into humanity?
When in doubt, talk it out
When a math problem just takes for-EV-ah
What to do when your kid makes a math mistake