As we enter December, you may be evaluating your academic experience thus far this year. Here are some of the conversations we are having with parents at the halfway point in their academic year:
1) Online Math
My student’s online math program doesn’t seem to be effective for them.
2) Math Struggles
My student is really struggling with the materials that have been presented by their instructor and I need to come up with a different option.
3) Hours and Tears
My student is having a very difficult time with mathematics. Every lesson takes hours to complete, and sometimes there are tears.
4) No Math Plan Yet
Math has been a struggle in our household and so we haven’t even attempted it. Four months into the school year, we still don’t have a “math plan”.
5) Virtual Learning
My student has accommodations for math in their school environment, but it is clear that the virtual learning environment cannot deliver on those accommodations.
Do you see yourself or your family in any of these scenarios? The Customer Success Team at Demme Learning has really been striving to collaborate with parents and figure out what the root cause of math struggles are. We often find that parents have changed curriculums, once, twice, even three times before coming to us. Changing curriculums does not necessarily result in a better experience. There was a reason that the three little pigs’ straw and stick houses did not hold up to the huffing and puffing of the big, bad wolf. They were not solid and did not have a strong foundation.
Evaluating a Student’s Math Performance
When we evaluate a student’s math performance, our conversation is not limited to what they are presently doing, but what they have done in the past, and what their complete skill set looks like. Frequently, we find that the root cause of struggle is not the present mathematical lessons, but all the way back at the foundational beginnings of math: addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. If a student does not have their computational facts committed to memory, as math becomes more complex, it becomes ever more difficult to stick with the problem to its conclusion. Imagine it this way: You as the parent are trying to figure out a complicated set of instructions. Your child keeps interrupting you. It won’t be long before you cannot continue through the instructions and are exasperated, right? Interrupting your math to do simple computations is the equivalent. Frustration is legitimate and constant. It doesn’t take long before you begin to think you have a mathematical disability. But just like those pig’s houses of straw and sticks, your foundation is weak.
How do we meet the challenge of a student’s math struggles? We take the time to pause and step back and replace ineffective and inefficient habits with more effective ones. Often, we find if we can recreate that foundation as a stronger one, students find themselves at a more age-appropriate learning level within months, and their math anxiety is greatly reduced. It is no longer “them”, rather, it is now that they have the tools to be successful. But like any home improvement project, it will be a little messy before it becomes beautiful.
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Our goal is to support your family and make your educational journey as successful as possible. We are here to answer any questions, concerns, or to help with the next steps in your education.