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How Can I Help My Grandson With Math Homework?

By Allison Gardenswartz, Consulting Educator

Question:

My grandson is in fifth grade and I am struggling to help him with math homework. I'm 52 and frankly some of the work I have never seen before. How can I help him properly?

Answer:

Math today appears different than in the past and the process taught in school is certainly different.

Homework is meant to be an independent practice of topics taught and discussed in class. Your grandson should be able to complete the homework independently. If he is struggling and not sure how to do it, the teacher needs to be aware of this so that she can go over the lesson again in the classroom, if necessary. Sometimes the entire class will struggle with an assignment, and your feedback will let the teacher know that the instruction was not effective.

You can help your grandson by creating an appropriate study environment and allowing him the time and supplies needed. If he needs help with the content you should involve the classroom teacher.

You can use the teacher as a resource to guide you to an appropriate tutor if the teacher feels supplemental help is needed. Many times a teacher will be willing to work after school with a student and many times a little individual attention is all that is needed. Finally, you can try to determine what the struggle is that your grandson is having: perhaps by guiding him with some general question answering strategies you can work your way through the questions, even if the math is unfamiliar to you. Ask him to walk you through his process. Ask him what operation he thinks he needs to use. Ask him if his answer is logical. View How to Help With Math Homework for more suggestions.


Allison Gardenswartz is the founder of a San Diego tutoring center specializing in gifted and remedial learning and test preparation studies. An educator for over 15 years, Allison is an expert in identifying and enhancing the learning abilities of school-age children. Allison now fully devotes her time to parent education, consulting and college counseling. Allison has a teaching credential and has taught for several years in various public school systems. She has three children: Jacob, 11, Sofia, 7, and newly adopted Ryan, who is 3.

Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

10/31/2011:
"all need help with subtracon "
09/14/2011:
"great blog thanks for such topical posts "
06/30/2011:
"I sometimes really need help with my math homework because as much as I try to get the right answer I can't. And also try to get you're grandson out of computer because that gets them dumbd "
02/8/2010:
"I'm curious how many of your readers children or students are using a book called Envision Math by Foresman/Weseley? Supposedly, it has been adopted all over the country. I'm a fifth grade mother and I think that this is the worst book I have ever seen, and I'm not alone. The teacher thinks it is terrible too. Other parents of other grades and other schools that I have spoken with also agree it is the WORST math series. I spoke with a Rep from the company that created the series and they told me that this was a highly rated math series, Who's been rating it????????? I contains many errors and in a number of places, just doesn't make sense. The format doesn't make any sense. It's obvious that they did not have any parents review the book? Since parents are required to do so much teaching at home - just so the child can keep up with the class, they should at least make the book make sense to the parents and it doesn't. I an adult has so much trouble with it imagin the child. I would love to know what other people think about this math series."
09/18/2007:
"another good way to help your child in math is to get the math reference book, most teachers are willing to let you take the book home. It helped me alot, alot of things i just couldn't remember or just by going over the reference book with her helped her remember. Kids like to play with parents intelligence, sometimes they really do know but when they see you don't know they play on that. I suggest get the reference, kids don't want to learn with there parents especially if they already know. I experienced that with my daughter when she was in the fourth grade, she is now in the fifth. "
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