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What to do when your kid’s math terrifies you

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

“This is terrifying,” my student’s mom confided in me as we discussed my student’s taking one of the most advanced math classes you can take in high school. “What my daughter is doing is way beyond any math I’ve ever attempted.”

Does this sound familiar? Your kid is doing math that, if you needed to explain it to them, you would have a panic attack? mental meltdown? total and complete incomprehension?

This is a situation that I face all the time. Sometimes a kid’s math will cross the “parental capability threshold” in elementary school. Sometimes it’s middle school. Sometimes, high school, or even college. But unless you, the parent, are actually a math professional or math educator, it’s very normal for there to come a point where you absolutely can no longer help your kid with math, no matter how much you WANT to help them with it, unless you take it upon yourself to teach yourself from scratch how to do it (and sometimes, not even then).

If this is what’s happening to you, here’s what to keep in mind:

Just because you are terrified doesn’t necessarily mean that your kid is terrified. Don’t assume you and your kid feel the same way about the math they’re being asked to do. Your kid is surrounded by other kids who are also doing terrifying math, and it might even feel normal to them. Maybe they feel proud or excited to be doing it! It is possible that they also feel terrified like you do. But just remember that it’s possible that you won’t be having the same emotional experience about it.

Don’t underestimate your kid. (Especially based on your own math experience). Maybe you tried to do this level of math and failed. Or maybe even considering doing this level of math was so terrifying that you opted out, during your own education. Maybe you never had an opportunity to even TRY to learn this level of math. No judgement!

However, keep in mind, your past math performance does not predict your kid’s future performance. Even though a lot of people in our culture talk about math ability like it’s a genetic trait, truly, truly, TRULY EVERYONE can learn to do math if it’s explained to them in a way that they can understand. Math is not a talent. It’s a skill that can be acquired with practice and persistent effort. Please remember this if you start to feel terrified about what your kid has taken on.

You don’t have to be able to do the terrifying math yourself in order to be a good parent. It is normal as a parent to passionately want to give your own kid every possible opportunity to thrive. You want to teach them everything they need to know to succeed in the world on their own. How can you do this once the math they’re doing surpasses what you yourself have learned?

Do not fear. You do not have to teach them terrifying math yourself! Sometimes the best thing you can do as a parent is make sure that someone else is helping your kid with the terrifying math for you, and just step back and focus on being a mom or dad, not on having to be a math teacher after you come home from a full day’s work.

Are you ready to invest in having someone else – who is caring, empathic, adventurous, and super experienced – help your passionate, creative kid with the terrifying math, so you can just focus on being a parent?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to explore whether or not my magical math tutoring programs would be a fit for you and your family!

Related posts:
How to know when it’s time to stop tutoring your own kid
Afraid your math teacher will judge you?
Math student’s bill of rights
Face your fears, get a higher grade

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