Are you concerned about your child’s math learning loss?
The pandemic has widened the skills gap for students and the worst hit are math skills. A McKinsey study confirmed that students faced math learning loss more than the learning loss in other subjects like reading. This is due to Irregular and inadequate testing, disruptions in learning, computer-adaptability issues among others during the shift to the online mode of learning.
Multiple studies have shown that students all over the world are struggling in math, making less progress than they might have in other years. The virtual classrooms have clearly not been able to hone math skills and are no match to the in-person instruction.
Why is math learning loss more than learning loss(es) in other subjects and skills?
Math is a subject that has either lovers or haters! At least in their heart, everyone knows the stance whether they love math or are surviving it. There are reasons why math learning loss is higher:
- It’s a subject that requires significant brainstorming, in-depth analysis, and post-practice discussions. All of it was difficult with remote learning setup
- Math often needs an enforced discipline and regular feedback, much more than what’s required with other subjects. A teacher in an online classroom can not give as much 1:1 attention as they would have in a physical classroom
- Also, while activities like reading are often a part of family routines, math is considered as something to be taken care of completely at the school. As a result, students lose touch with math, and math learning loss becomes significantly higher
How are elementary, middle, and high school students affected?
High school students are more self-disciplined and motivated in general as compared to elementary and middle schoolers. Hence, it’s likely that the worst hit with respect to math learning loss are elementary and middle schoolers. It’s of concern since these are their years of forming basic calculation and analysis schemas and getting their hold on core math concepts.
5 Steps to reverse math learning loss and prepare your child for schools’ reopening
1. Encourage the ‘math mindset’ through at-home activities
There are numerous ways to hone the ‘math mindset’ by involving children in at-home activities. Try the following and watch your child’s general math aptitude improve by leaps and bounds:
- Math games: Yahtzee, Racko, Blokus, Monopoly, etc. are all family games that involve the application of counting, strategizing, and other math principles. If your child is a high schooler, you can try even higher-order math thinking games like the ones on Mangahigh.com
- Everyday applications of math: On your next errand, ask your kids to do the basic calculation. For example, let them do mental math to figure out the final bill after all discounts. Make it a fun race between them and the cashier!
- Create a math learning-friendly atmosphere that is NOT obvious: Introduce a math riddle of the day at home, more like a dinner table discussion. You can also add fun math charts, formula reminders, etc. to your home decor
- Read math-based stories: Yes, they are a thing! Family Math and Bedtime Math series are a great source of math-based stories for elementary and middle schoolers.
- Teach them Vedic Math: Vedic Maths teaches a collection of techniques to solve math problems in an easier and faster way. Learning these techniques not only helps students overcome their weak math skills but also helps students with strong math skills strengthen their problem-solving ability. We’ve put together a blog on why students need to learn Vedic math and how they can get started.
Also Read: Why Should My Child Learn Vedic Math?
- Above all, participate in mathematical thinking along with your child. Take interest in brainstorming problems with them and reinforce it with occasional mini-rewards and LOTS of praise.
2. Systematic intervention with the help of a tutor
The benefits that a tutor can bring in are manifold. And, we aren’t vouching for this because we bring tutors and students together. The benefits are widely known and are vouched for by parents who have experienced them.
A tutor can help in covering math learning loss because they bring in advantages like:
- Accelerated learning to cover the gap: a tutor will be able to work with your child to assess the areas of weaknesses and then devise a combat strategy
- Mock testing and feedback: a tutor can fill in for the gap that the pandemic has brought in with respect to testing. Systematic feedback and overall discipline can help greatly with covering math learning loss
- Flexible & hybrid learning schedules: a tutor can work according to your child’s convenience, bringing in comfort and focus in learning
- Personalized attention and lesson plan: a tutor doubles as a teacher and also a friend or a confidant. With personalized attention and emotional support, your child can cover up for math learning loss quickest
3. Encourage collaborative studies
Encourage your child to participate in online or offline math contests. Study groups with their peers or friends are also a great way to combat math learning loss. This is the right time to encourage collaborative math studies – right before the schools open up.
Collaborative studies can also help your child get rid of school anxiety – something that many elementary and middle schoolers are likely to face.
Explore Talentnook’s study pods to get your child to learn with friends while covering the curriculum.
4. Hone the ‘softer math skills’
It is important to note that math is not only about algebra or statistics. The application of math logic is the real deal. To hone these softer aspects of math, encourage logical reasoning over formulae-based math. Creative applications of math in their regular hobbies can go a long way in building core concepts. For example, get them to use ratio and proportions to calculate ingredients if a recipe for 4 has to be made for 3 people.
To bring it all together, ensure that you celebrate small wins – more than ever! Reward them with a picnic, a new jersey, or a small day trip, whatever they love, and watch their interest in math soar!
Related Reading: 5 Ways to Help Your Child Overcome Math Anxiety
5. Special focus area – Algebra for middle and high schoolers
Algebra is an important part of middle and high school math. Most of the math learning loss manifests itself in the form of algebra knowledge and application loss. For example, students who became used to plotting graphs using online tools may struggle with doing it on real graph paper. The use of calculators and other devices to calculate square roots, cube roots, etc. also leads to an overall drop in skills related to identifying relationships between numbers.
To prepare your child as schools reopen, use one or more of the following strategies for algebra, in particular:
- Help your child revise core concepts like PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction). Ask them simple questions that they can solve on the fly
- Get them books to practice Algebra 1 and 2 questions (you can find related books here)
- Let the algebraic identities sink in subconsciously. Paste formulae charts or even better, get them to use a skill like calligraphy or thumb painting to writing the identities and then display them in their room
- There are tons of algebra learning resources on YouTube. Interactive and fun videos like this one can help build your child’s interest in a fun way.
How can Talentnook help?
Math learning loss due to Covid-19 is undeniable, but the good news is that there’s help right here! Just head out to Talentnook and get your child a headstart in coping with all the learning loss due to Covid-19. We connect thousands of tutors with students over a single interface where you can shortlist tutors based on your own criteria, ask questions, and even request FREE demo lessons.
From reading and writing to math and piano, we’ve got you covered for your child’s every learning need. Before the schools reopen in a full-fledged manner, get your child a professional private tutor that can not only help revert the learning loss but also give them a solid restart, ahead of their peers! Happy learning to you!