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You Have What It Takes

To Help Your Child Succeed in Math

Too many people believe that mathematics achievement is an exclusive club meant only for those lucky few born with genius genes. Everyone can be good at math with effort.

So, replace the phrase, “I wasn’t born to be good at math” with “Math doesn’t always come easily to me, but I can work to understand it. And when I do understand it, I can feel good about my effort!”


Click above to hear the Texas Standard NPR program interview Carrie about how parents CAN support math learning during COVID-19.

  • How we teach math has changed over the years;  it’s OK to learn while your child learns, too

  • Don’t use language that gives your kids permission to dislike math

  • Have your kids show you what they learned at school

  • Don’t be afraid to lean on online tutorials. Here’s a helpful one from the University of Houston

  • Don’t put too much stress on yourself or your kids; take a break if you need one

Math is Everywhere and Throughout the Day! Here are some tips for helping your kids see the math around them.

To Set Up a Math-Positive Homework Environment

Left to themselves, many children would do homework in front of a TV under no supervision with just a bag of chips for company. At school, children generally don’t do classwork on the playground or in the lunch room. Similarly, you need the right environment for home learning.


A dedicated homework spot limits kids’ distractions, helps them focus on completing work efficiently, and tells them that you believe homework is important. If children complete their homework at an after-school program, it is still good to have an area at home where any additional work can be done.


In our family, our younger children do homework in a spot where it is easy for me to be nearby and provide help. They usually sit at a corner of the kitchen table while I wash never-ending dishes or prepare dinner. As our children have gotten older, I’ve placed a desk in their bedrooms to encourage independence. I try to make sure I peek in periodically to help them stay focused and to offer encouragement.


Be sure to keep math tools such as a calculator and sharp pencils handy so that children do not have to spend time searching for them.

Get kids to buy-in to math by sharing the math in YOUR day! Here are some tips for starting a math-positive conversation with your kiddos.

To Build a Math-Positive Team with

Your Children's Teachers

Some parents (and teachers) wait until a problem arises to engage with one another. However, I encourage you to begin now to cultivate a partnership with your child’s teacher so that when challenges arise, the two of you can spring into coordinated action.


Remember that teachers are real people. They strive to help your child succeed and are looking for your help. You and your child’s teacher are on the same side, working together to give your child a firm foundation in mathematics. Since you are in this together, it’s a good ideas to communicate often and positively.


• Send a quick note or email when things are going well.

• Offer appreciation for extra effort you see the teacher make on your child’s behalf.

• Gratitude does not have to be tied to gifts of any sort. A short email to the principal or school director praising your child’s teacher lasts much longer than a bottle of smelly lotion or candy bar. • Volunteer when possible to lighten the teacher’s load.

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