Helping your child with math

Helping your child with math

Tips even math-challenged parents can use

Not all of us are great at math, but adults understand that basic math skills are essential to everyday living. Kids who are struggling with math often feel defeated and can’t see any practical reasons for learning math. One major way parents can help is to try to instill a positive attitude towards math.

If you’re wondering how to relate math to everyday life so your child understands how important it is, here are some great examples that show how math is a life skill every person needs:

  • Finance and Budgeting. Math skills help with personal finances like budgeting, managing money, financial analysis, investments, mortgages, etc. Strong math skills can lead to higher earnings over time.
  • Everyday Decision Making. Day-to-day decisions like finding best deals, discounts and percentages, calculating tips, estimating costs and quantities – all rely on good math.
  • For many jobs and careers. Complex math, statistics, and analytical skills are used in sciences, engineering, economics, medical, technology, and business fields. Basic math is essential for most jobs.
  • Home improvement projects – being able to estimate, accurately measure, and calculate the right amount of things like building materials, paint, etc. is really helpful.
  • Cooking and following recipes – Understanding quantities, measuring ingredients properly, adjusting recipe sizes, and calculating cooking times.
  • Problem solving ability – The analytical and critical thinking skills developed in mathematics help frame and solve all kinds of complex problems.
  • Analytics and technology tasks – Managing data, building models, analyzing results to drive decisions and insight relies on strong math skills.

Besides just showing how essential it is to be proficient in math, here are some good ways parents can help a child who is struggling with math:

  • Play math games and do math puzzles occasionally to make it fun. There are many math games, apps, and books with a gaming angle.
  • If they are struggling with a concept, try using concrete objects and examples to demonstrate and allow hands-on learning. For example, use blocks when learning about fractions.
  • Work with them on math homework, going through it step-by-step and teaching the concepts. Resist the urge to give them the answers, instead help them reason their way through.
  • If you see them getting frustrated, approach the problem from a different angle or take a quick break so they stay motivated. Encourage them that steady practice will lead to progress.
  • Connect them to resources like online tutorials, tutoring, or math learning centers if available. Especially for higher level math, a tutor can provide expertise.
  • Talk to their math teacher so you understand where they are struggling. The teacher may be able to provide additional practice or custom re-teaching if needed.

Above all, be patient and encouraging. Overcoming math struggles takes time for most kids, but with consistent support they can get there. Praise their hard work and celebrate small wins.

Get help to pay for tutoring

Get help to pay for tutoring

Sources of funding for parents

Private tutoring is an excellent support tool for students but is generally not a free service. The best tutoring programs available usually charge some type of fees. There are several grant sources and programs that parents can explore to help pay for tutoring for their child. Here are some potential options:

  1. Title I Funding: Title I is a federal program that provides financial assistance to schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families. Schools use this funding to support academic achievement, which may include tutoring services.
  2. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): If a child has a documented learning disability, they may be eligible for support under IDEA. This can include access to tutoring services or other educational interventions.
  3. Nonprofit Organizations: Some nonprofit organizations offer grants or scholarships for educational purposes, including tutoring. Examples include local community foundations, education-focused nonprofits, and charities.
  4. Direct Education Grants: Federal education dollars that were provided for learning loss relief are still unused. Some states are providing grants to parents to pay for private tutoring.
  5. School-Based Programs: Check with your child’s school to see if they offer any tutoring programs or if they can provide information on external programs that may have financial assistance options.
  6. State and Local Programs: Some states and local governments offer educational assistance programs, including grants or subsidies for tutoring services. Check with your state’s education department or local community organizations for potential opportunities.
  7. Community Organizations: Local community organizations, such as Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, or youth-focused nonprofits, may have programs that support educational initiatives, including tutoring.
  8. Corporate and Business Sponsorships: Some businesses or corporations offer grants or sponsorships for educational programs. Check with local businesses to see if they have any initiatives supporting education.
  9. Faith-Based Organizations: Religious institutions or faith-based organizations in your community may have programs or funds dedicated to supporting education, including tutoring services.

Before applying for any grants or programs, it’s important to carefully review the eligibility criteria and application requirements. Additionally, reaching out to local school officials, community organizations, and educational agencies can provide valuable insights into available resources.

Is Tutoring a Tax Deductible Expense?

Is Tutoring a Tax Deductible Expense?

UPDATED December 2023

In most cases, tutoring expenses are not a federal tax deductible item. There is an exception to this, for special education tutoring. Parents of children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia or ADHD may deduct tutoring expenses for their special needs child from their federal income tax, according to the IRS. If the child has a medically diagnosed learning disability, specialized tutoring is considered a medical expense if recommended by a doctor, and may be deductible if your total medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. This info can be found under the IRS Special Education section under the medical expenses that can be deducted.

Some states allow tax deductions for K-12 education and/or homeschooling expenses. Check your individual state regulations to see if your tutoring expenses may fall into the category of a deductible expense on your state return.

Other Help for Tutoring Expenses

  • Many school districts have programs that assist with tutoring expenses for disadvantaged or low-income students. Contact your school’s financial aid office to see if they can connect you with financial aid resources for students in K-12. If your school doesn’t have a financial aid office, the school counseling office may be a good resource, or your school district administrator’s office can guide you.
  • The federal government has approved coronavirus relief money to fund “microgrants” for parents to use to hire tutors or teachers.
  • Some non-profits are funding tutoring programs for students who can’t afford private tutoring otherwise.
  • Some states provide vouchers that can help pay for private education.

Is Private Tutoring Worth the Cost?

One thing most everyone can agree on is that education has suffered a huge setback due to the COVID-19 quarantines and subsequent shutdown of schools and regular school programs as we knew them. Student grades have suffered, test scores on assessment and achievement tests have dropped, and the dropout rate has soared.

Private tutoring is not a free service, and as such is not the solution for every child. However, many parents are rearranging budgets and prioritizing tutoring as a necessary expense instead of a luxury. For many parents, being able to hire a private tutor for their child not only helps the child catch up and keep up with grade-level schoolwork, but it also takes the burden off of the parent who may be juggling a lot right now. Lots of parents who work from home full-time or part-time welcome even a few hours a week of professional academic help for their kids.

How Tutoring Helps

The Hechinger Report, a national non-profit reporting exclusively on education, recently published an in-depth look at how tutoring is helping students right now: The Simple Intervention that Could Lift Kids Out of the “Covid slide”. They report that “tutoring is more effective than other measures” and the challenge is to expand it to support more kids. Individualized tutoring gives a child the one-on-one attention they can’t get in the classroom or doing virtual school. The results are impressive.

TutorUp Tutoring Services

TutorUp is committed to providing the highest-quality tutoring services at a reasonable cost, while paying our teacher/tutors a rate that their professionalism deserves. All of our tutors are certified, background-checked, experienced teachers who are professionals devoted to helping children succeed academically, one child at a time.

Whether your child needs help keeping up with the daily/weekly assignments that so many schools are using instead of a typical in-person all day school experience, or they have fallen behind and need help catching up, a tutor could be the help they need.

To find out more, and get matched with the perfect tutor for your child, let’s get started!

Why Math Can Be the Toughest Nut to Crack from Grades 6-12

Why Math Can Be the Toughest Nut to Crack from Grades 6-12

Math is the number one subject in tutoring

For many students, the journey through grades 6-12 is marked by academic challenges, and one subject consistently stands out as the most difficult: mathematics. While some students breeze through equations and theorems effortlessly, others find themselves grappling with the complexities of the subject.

Abstract Concepts and Symbolic Language

Mathematics is a language of its own, filled with symbols, equations, and abstract concepts that can be daunting for students to grasp. Unlike subjects that rely on language for communication, math often involves understanding symbols and their relationships, requiring a shift in cognitive processes. The transition from concrete arithmetic in elementary school to more abstract algebra and geometry in later grades can be particularly challenging for many students.

Cumulative Nature of Learning

Mathematics is cumulative in nature, meaning that each concept builds upon the foundation laid by the previous ones. Students who struggle to grasp fundamental concepts may find themselves sinking further behind as they progress through the curriculum. A weak understanding of basic arithmetic, for instance, can snowball into difficulties with more advanced topics like calculus or trigonometry.

Lack of Real-World Context

In the early years of math education, students are often introduced to concepts without a clear understanding of their real-world applications. This lack of context can make it difficult for students to see the relevance of what they are learning. Connecting abstract mathematical concepts to real-life situations can help make the subject more accessible and engaging.

Fear of Failure and Negative Mindset

Math anxiety is a well-documented phenomenon that can significantly hinder a student’s ability to succeed in the subject. The fear of making mistakes or the belief that they are not “good at math” can create a negative mindset, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy where students shy away from challenging problems or avoid seeking help.

Limited Teaching Methods

In some cases, traditional teaching methods may not cater to the diverse learning styles of students. A one-size-fits-all approach may leave some learners struggling to keep up, especially when the pace of instruction moves quickly. Teachers incorporating a variety of teaching strategies, including visual aids, hands-on activities, and real-world examples, can help accommodate different learning preferences.

While mathematics may be perceived as the hardest subject in grades 6-12, it’s essential to recognize that challenges vary from student to student. By addressing the abstract nature of the subject, emphasizing real-world applications, fostering a positive mindset, and incorporating diverse teaching methods, teachers can help students change their attitude towards math and improve their outcomes.

The Helpful Role of Private Tutoring

The Helpful Role of Private Tutoring

Private Tutoring Can Help Any Child

Private tutoring is a valuable and personalized educational supplement, offering students the opportunity to receive targeted assistance in specific subjects or skills. While traditional classroom settings are essential for learning, private tutoring provides a tailored approach that caters to individual needs, unlocking the potential for academic success and personal growth. Here are numerous ways in which private tutoring can be a helpful resource for students seeking an extra edge in their educational journey.

  1. Personalized Attention: One of the most significant advantages of private tutoring is the individualized attention that students receive. In a traditional classroom, where the student-to-teacher ratio can be high, it’s easy for some students to get lost in the shuffle. Private tutors can tailor their approach to the specific learning style, pace, and needs of each student, ensuring a more effective and personalized educational experience.
  2. Customized Learning Plans: Private tutors create customized learning plans based on the strengths and weaknesses of the individual student. This personalized approach allows for targeted reinforcement of foundational concepts, addressing gaps in understanding and building a solid academic foundation. Tutors can adapt their teaching methods to suit the student’s preferred learning style, whether it be visual, auditory, or kinesthetic.
  3. Improved Academic Performance: The focused attention and personalized learning plans provided by private tutors often lead to improved academic performance. Students who may have struggled with certain subjects can benefit from the additional explanations, practice, and reinforcement that private tutoring offers. This, in turn, can boost confidence and motivation.
  4. Flexibility in Scheduling: Private tutoring offers flexibility in scheduling, accommodating the busy lives of students and their families. This flexibility allows students to receive additional support without disrupting their regular school or extracurricular activities. Whether it’s evening sessions, weekend reviews, or intensive exam preparation, private tutors can tailor their schedules to meet the unique needs of their students.
  5. Targeted Exam Preparation: High-stakes exams, such as standardized tests or college entrance exams, can be daunting for students. Private tutors specialize in exam preparation, guiding students through the content, format, and strategies needed to excel. The focused attention on exam-specific skills helps reduce anxiety and increases the likelihood of achieving favorable results.
  6. Building Confidence and Motivation: Success breeds confidence, and private tutoring is a powerful tool for building both. As students grasp challenging concepts and see tangible progress in their academic performance, they gain confidence in their abilities. This newfound confidence often translates into increased motivation and a more positive attitude toward learning.
  7. Addressing Learning Differences: Every student learns differently, and some may have specific learning differences or challenges. Private tutors can identify and address these differences, providing tailored support and accommodations to help students overcome obstacles and succeed academically. This personalized approach is particularly beneficial for students with learning disabilities or attention disorders.
  8. Encouraging a Love for Learning: Beyond academic success, private tutoring can instill a love for learning. By fostering a supportive and engaging learning environment, tutors can help students discover the joy of acquiring knowledge, cultivating a mindset that goes beyond the immediate academic goals and extends to a lifelong appreciation for learning.

Private tutoring serves as a helpful and impactful resource for students of all ages. By providing personalized attention, customized learning plans, and targeted support, private tutors empower students to overcome challenges, excel academically, and develop a lifelong passion for learning.