If you’re feeling like your homeschooler is behind in math and you don’t know what to do – don’t panic. Here are some tips that will help!
In this article I discuss ways to help a homeschooler who’s behind in math. In addition to my tips, I mention an online math program, CTCMath, that has really helped my daughter catch up to her current grade level. I was compensated for my time reviewing the CTCMath Homeschool Membership and I’m happy to show you how to use this program to help your child regain their confidence in math.
Have you ever fallen into this trap?
You start out homeschooling your kiddos, embracing the freedom of not worrying about grade levels and just teaching your kids where they’re at.
It’s a wonderful approach to educating kids. But sometimes our worries get the best of us.
That was me. For years. I loved the flexibility and freedom of homeschooling. But as my kids got older, I started worrying more. I was homeschooling so that my kids could be ahead, not behind! Yet there I was with two kiddos who were obviously lagging behind other kids their age when it came to math.
After years of trying many different things, I’d like to share how we finally caught up to grade level in math.
#1. Sit with your child for their entire lesson.
Independent learning is an important goal of homeschooling, but pick a different subject to have them study on their own. When your child is behind in math, sitting with them for their whole lesson makes a big difference. Stay calm and be willing to wait while your student takes extra time to figure things out. Even if they get annoyed by your presence, chances are your patience will rub off on them.
If your child really protests, give them a little space but stay close. If you see some stage fright happening (you know they know the answer but they’re acting nervous like they don’t know it ) you can stay close but appear distracted. Read a book or check your phone, but stay there so they know you can help anytime.
#2. Remind your child of the math that they’re good at.
When kids struggle with learning new concepts, it can quickly make them feel like they’re just not good at math. You need to change the narrative – begin speaking more about the things they’re great at.
As your kids struggle to remember how to do new things, remind them of the things that they do know. Say things like, “See how fast you remembered 5 x 7? You’re really good at math!”
There are some times when we need to over encourage our kids. If your child has been struggling with new math concepts consistently, chances are their math-confidence has plummeted. They’re going to need extra, over the top encouragement to compensate for those negative feelings..
Sometimes we get so much into the habit of correcting our kids that we simply forget to be purposefully nurturing and encouraging. If you’re a homeschool mom teaching your kids all day, you might be wearing your teacher hat most of the time. This can lead to our kids hearing mostly corrections all day and not enough encouragement.
The challenge is to be a teacher AND a mom at the same time. This means that while we’re teaching them new concepts and expecting them to try hard, we’re also paying attention to their emotional well being. We all want this for our kids, but under the daily stress of trying to do it all, we can sometimes fall behind.
The quick and easy fix for this is to choose a day to be intentional about speaking encouraging words to your child – especially during math. Over-encourage them a bit and pretty soon it will be more of a habit. And if they don’t visibly improve, don’t be discouraged. Those are seeds you’re planting and they’re taking root!
#3. Use an adaptive, online math program that doesn’t intimidate.
At some point, you might realize that you just need a little help. Online math programs are phenomenally helpful when you’re trying to bring your child up to grade level. If you’re serious about helping your child get to a particular level, you need something that’s adaptive, unintimidating, and provides metrics that are actually helpful.
After years of my daughter struggling to catch up in math, we discovered how much of a difference CTCMath could make in a short amount of time.
CTCMath provides online math curriculum that can help your homeschooler catch up to grade level quickly. You’ll be able to do some diagnostic tests to see what level to start your child at. Then your kiddo logs in under their own login and simply starts on the new lesson.
The other great feature of using this homeschool math curriculum online is that you can pinpoint the specific math concepts that your student is struggling with. If your child is behind in geometry or algebra, for example, you can assign specific lessons to boost these skills.
#4. Play more math games & model the fun.
Math games are a great way to deal with math anxiety and to keep your child learning when they’re behind.
There are plenty of online math games that can help your kids too. In fact, there are maybe too many!! You can get lost quickly trying to find great math games online to help your kids build their math skills.
I appreciate that CTCMath has their own Speed Skills and Times Tables games linked to the bottom of the student dashboard. Kids can play a quick game or two to boost their skills when they do their lessons.
If you do want more online games in a good environment, we also love using mathplayground.com
#5. Sneak in some below level work to boost their confidence.
Once in a while, “accidently” give your kiddo a worksheet or task that is way too easy for them. This reminds them that there are plenty of math facts that they do have memorized. When the work is too easy, this can help them want a challenge. So go ahead and give them something below level so they feel more confident in math.
#6. However you do it, prioritize math facts.
Try a season of playing the games mentioned above in #4, including the games in your CTCMath dashboard.
We also really like memorizing the multiplication tables using songs. Print out my multiplication song cue cards for an easy way to learn the songs for each table.
And if you want to try traditional math worksheets, we like to use Web Math Minute.
For an easy refresher on multiplication facts, take a look at your child’s lesson plan in CTCMath and find the section for Times Tables. You can assign your child the whole Times Table topic and these lessons will step them through daily practice that will catch them up quickly.
Not only is this an un-intimidating way to catch up in math facts, but you’ll be able to see how they’re doing on their lessons. You’ll also be able to see their scores on their Speed Skills. With all this info, you’ll know for sure when they’ve got their math facts down and are ready to move on.
#7. Discover your child’s aptitudes & play to their strengths.
Since kids all have different strengths and styles of learning, so it’s important to get to know how our kids learn. Using a mix of pencil and paper, books, video, audio, and creating, we can hone in on what works best for our kids.
If you use an online math curriculum program like CTCMath, you’ll have visual, audio, and writing covered. Kids watch a short online video that teaches them a bite-sized math concept. They then answer a few questions online and get to try for a great score. You can even print out worksheets if your child really prefers to work with pencil and paper.
Beyond learning styles, it’s important to help your child find and acknowledge their own math strengths.
Some of the areas of strength for math are:
- Spatial Reasoning (Geometry)
- Codes (Algebra)
- And so many more!
If you find that your child has a particular strength, try to slant their lessons and math work towards it. For example, if your child has trouble with memorization, but can work out areas of geometric shapes, you may want to allow them to use a calculator or chart to take the edge off. Work on memorization separately, and your child will begin to see their own potential when it comes to higher level math concepts.
Math is 90% attitude.
At least in my house it is! Keeping a positive attitude and happy heart is key to having success with teaching and learning math in a home setting. Some comfy jammies, a few m&ms, and a snuggly study buddy may go a long way in keeping math a positive subject in your homeschool.
And if it’s time to get a little help in math by using an online program, take a look at CTCMath. Whether you use it as a complete math curriculum for your K to 12 students, or as an online math tutor for your kids to catch up a grade level, I know it will be a blessing for your family.
About CTCMath Homeschool Membership:
- This is a comprehensive program for grades K through 12.
- It uses video lessons that break down each concept into easy to learn pieces.
- Interactive questions help your child know when they’ve mastered the topic.
- Adjusts to your student’s skill level to provide adaptive learning.
- Provides actually helpful progress tracking and reports that can even be emailed to you weekly.
- Great pricing that makes this very affordable for your whole family.
- A clean student view makes this very user friendly for kids.
- Works on all devices with mobile compatibility.
- Excellent customer support!