Mathnasium 800 McBride Blvd, New Westminster BC V3L 2B8 (604) 553-7323   newwestminster@mathnasium.ca

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What is Your Child's Report Card Really Telling You?

Dec 30, 2018

So your child got their report card.  For some of you, it may be clear that your child needs help in math...the mark on their report card is no surprise.  For others, your child got a great mark, they seem to be doing well!  What now?

First, I'd like to focus on those kids who are doing well.  Let me start by saying that I am not here to throw teachers under the bus or to fault the education system.  I think that they do a phenomenal job. Teachers are indispensable.  Our role at Mathnasium has always been to support teacher’s efforts.  Instead, I would like to focus on what I have seen in my experience here at Mathnasium; working with kids who have been strong math students in the past and quickly turn into students who are frustrated by math.

There's a well known technique of studying a little bit every day. This spacing effect is the phenomenon whereby learning is spread out over time.  For the most part, this is not how our kids learn in school.  Subjects are covered consecutively and students are tested on the material before moving on to a new subject.  Many students can do well in the short term but immediately begin to forget the material.  This is why we see kids having trouble in later grades when they have to apply the math they did not master in the past.  For some, it is simply gone.

This is why I suggest that parents bring their kids in for an assessment to make sure that they are mastering the skills they will need in the future.  At Mathnasium, we slow down the pace and revisit skills in many different ways over a longer period of time.  By revisiting these skills, students have to recall what they have learned and apply it in many different ways.  By doing this we not only get to see whether or not the skills have in fact been mastered but also, the students are practicing that process of forgetting and retrieval which helps cement the new knowledge in place and in turn will help them be successful with math in the future.

For the students who are having trouble with math, most parents are not surprised.  I hear many parents say that they were also bad at math so they aren't surprised their child is as well.  Studies have shown that it can be harmful when parents communicate negative messages such as “math is hard” or “I was never good at math in school.”  It is critical that when parents talk to children about math they communicate positive messages, saying that math is exciting and that anyone can learn math with hard work, that it is not about being "smart" or "not smart", and that math is all around us in the world. 

Mathnasium works to not only increase math understanding and ability but we also help kids turn their negative attitude of "I HATE MATH" into "I LOVE MATH"!!  A positive change in attitude towards math is one of the first things parents notice when their kids start coming to Mathnasium. 

For many kids who have struggled with math, school can be frustrating and it’s no wonder they adopt a negative attitude towards math.  For them, it feels like they are always behind, never truly understanding the material.  At Mathnasium, we assess each child individually and work to catch them up from where they understand and move them forward.  This helps to give kids a sense of accomplishment and success that they haven’t been feeling at school.  This in turn helps to change their attitude about math.  Kids don’t naturally hate math, they just hate being frustrated by it.

Can your child answer these mental math questions? The results may surprise you!

If they can solve problems at and above grade level, they may be ready for a challenge. If they are unable to answer questions at grade level or below, they're likely in need of extra help.

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 13/4 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 6 1/2% of 250?

Eighth Grade: On a certain map, 6 inches represent 25 miles. How many miles do 15 inches represent?

Algebra: When you take 3 away from twice a number, the answer is 8. What is the number?

Functions: What is the absolute value of the point (3, 4)?

For answers and explanations, visit mathnasium.ca/answers! How did your child do?

Whether your child is far behind, performing at grade level, or eager to get ahead, Mathnasium's personalized programs can help!