Mathing Matters: Warning Signs Your Child Isn't 'Doing Fine' (Blog)

Is your child being left behind?

Parents are just now getting the first report cards of the school year and with it a chance to discuss their child’s progress with their teachers. Parent Teacher Conferences are a great opportunity to discuss any learning issues and what actions can be taken to get your child on the right track. But regardless of the teacher’s opinion on seeking outside help, it is never too early to boost self-confidence and improve your child’s attitude towards math.

Many teachers will tell parents that their child is doing fine…but are they really?

Math is a foundational subject. Each topic is designed to build upon the foundation laid from pre-requisite skills. And like most subjects, math only gets harder with each topic and grade level. Students often find that they have not had the time to master a topic in school or do not have the tools and confidence needed to tackle what is being taught in the math classroom.

Also, with the implementation of “fuzzy” math programs such as Everyday Mathematics, the curriculum is designed specifically to bounce around and move to more advanced topics and does not give enough practice for many kids to develop mastery at each stage.

Students and parents can get so frustrated with working on tonight’s homework that fear and tears often can take over. But this is does have to be the case. If you can identify exactly where the gaps in their knowledge lie and practice those skills to a mastery level, kids will succeed with math and develop self-confidence and a new found love of math.

It is also important to note that just working on what is being done in school will not solve the long-term issues. If a student has gaps in their foundational knowledge, working on advanced material just to get a passing grade on a quiz or test will not solve the underlying problem. That is the lacking pre-requisite skills to succeed.

So find out if your child is being left behind…

See how well your child answers these questions. The results may surprise you!

When students can do these questions (at their grade level and below), mentally — without using pencil and paper — they are likely doing well. For students who can't handle these questions, this is a warning sign. Very often they need help outside of the classroom. Students who can do the questions at and above their grade level may need a more challenging experience. 

First Grade:

11 + 12 = ___

Second Grade:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 = ___

Third Grade:

How much is 99 plus 99 plus 99?

Fourth Grade:

Count by 1¾ from 0 to 7.

Fifth Grade:

Which is greatest: 17/18, 23/30, or 18/19?

Explain how you got your answer.

Sixth Grade:

Halfway through the second quarter, how much of the game is left?

Seventh Grade:

How much is 6½% of 250?


On a certain map, 6 inches represent 25 miles.

How many miles do 15 inches represent?


When you take 3 away from twice a number, the answer is 8.

What is the number?


What is the Absolute Value of the point (3, 4)?

For the answers, click here: www.mathnasium.com/answers.html


Dan Gehlbach is the owner and center director of Mathnasium – The Math Learning Center, located in West Des Moines and within the Waukee School District. Dan lives with his wife and 2 daughters in Urbandale. Year round, the center helps kids get caught up, keep up and get ahead while they develop confidence and a love for math. For more information call 440-MATH or consult the web site at www.mathnasium.com/westdesmoines.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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