The importance of learning mathematics is not to be able to "do some Algebra", just as the importance of studying history is not to remember when something happened. The value of learning anything lies in the process and with the thinking skills that are developed along the way. Mathematics is relevant to all students because it develops the ability to analyse information, find and describe patterns and make reasoned conclusions supported by evidence; the ability to approach problems and their solutions in logical, methodical ways; and the attributes of patience, perseverance and curiosity.
In some cultures, it seems to be common to say, "My son takes after me - I was never any good at Maths either." This attitude only gives students a false reason to stop trying. Your child's ability to succeed in Maths is not determined by your past success. The things they are learning in school are within their ability. It is just a bit of determination and hard work that separates them from where they are now and where they want to be.
When helping your child with their homework, provide them with guidance, not the answers:
1. Go over the question and ask what they do understand and what they don't;
2. Ask if there is a similar problem in the textbook or in their notes;
3. Ask guiding questions as you work through the solution:
- "What should you do next?"
- "Does this answer make sense?"
- "Did you answer the question?"
- "Can you solve this another way?"
4. Suggest looking for homework help online (eg. MyiMaths, Khan Academy);
5. Resist the temptation to do the homework yourself.
Always stay positive. Remember - the greatest impact on a child's attitude toward Mathematics is their parents' attitude toward Mathematics. Show interest. Point out the many ways you use maths in your everyday life. Every parent is a mathematician.
Thank you for supporting your children's progress in Maths.
The Mathematics Department