I ran across this post today at The Educators Room, titled It Starts at Home: How Parents Can Help Their High School Students in Advanced Mathematics. I like essay overall — it speaks to parents who may not have been comfortable with math when they were in school, and gives them some ideas about how they can help their children without having to become math experts. I particularly like what the author relates about his mother, who supported him in math even though she felt that she was “bad at it.” These days, I know we discourage parents from saying “I’m not really good at math” to their kids, but I also think it’s important that we don’t lie to our children. It’s OK to let our kids see us struggle — they can learn perseverance and see us not simply giving up because we are “bad” at something. So let your kid know that math has been tough for you, and then listen to them while they explain some math to you, and really try to understand what they say. It will do your child a world of good to see you trying and learning. I also like that the author of the article reminds parents that there are a lot of different skills needed in math.
Mostly, this essay reminds me that I’d really like to write my own “how to help your child in math” essay, so perhaps this is the poke that I need to move forward on that!