Math word problems can be a headache for kids and they often avoid having to solve it. Some kids overcome this by using an online math word problem solver tool to finish their homework for them. While these tools are known to be a nice and quick solution, they’re not suitable to be a long-term one for children. If children rely on online math solver tools too often to help them with solving math, they won’t get to learn anything at all. Children should learn to understand and conquer these tricky questions by themselves – which is where parents come in! In this article, we’ll go through 3 reasons why your child may be struggling with word problems and how you can help them overcome it!
3 reasons why your child may struggle with math word problems:
1. They’re not used to reading
Math word problems rely on, you guessed it, words to describe the scenario. Often times, the words are there to give some context while the numbers are information that children can work with. This remains the same for all types of word problems in math. Since these problems involve the use of various words, it’s only logical that you need to have good reading skills to be able to understand them. Just like how you need to understand the question before answering it correctly, your child will need to understand the problem that they see beforehand. If your child is not accustomed to reading a lot of words, the chances of them struggling with understanding word problems are higher.
What you can do to help:
Teach your child how to break down long sentences into shorter phrases. Doing this will not only simplify the information and make it easier for your child to process, it will also easier for you to detect the words or concepts your child struggle with. This way, you can also start familiarizing them with the words they don’t understand. Your child should also learn math lingo so they’re more familiar with the language. Math lingo are keywords, terms, and phrases found in math problems that can make it easier for your child to choose which math formulas or writing equations to use. You can think of math lingo as the harder language for children. By becoming familiar with the lingo, your child can translate word problems into plain English much faster.
2. They feel overwhelmed
Seeing a lot of words instead of the familiar short math problems can feel overwhelming for children, especially when they see longer paragraphs and sentences. In their eyes, a longer paragraph can only mean a more difficult math problem. So, the unfamiliar length of words may make children feel lost and want to give up before even trying.
What you can do to help:
You can educate your child by proving that long word problems aren’t necessarily hard to solve. Get your child to practice converting the English sentences they see into Math equations to help shorten the problem. This way, they can brush up on basic math skills and slowly understand the connection between the words and formulas. By encouraging them as they work through the math word problems, your child will feel more motivated and confident to solve them.
If you have some time, you can also give them some word problem worksheets or an easy-to-understand guide to go through at home. Just search up “math word problems for dummies” in Google to look for easier word problems to deal with and a step by step plan to start from. The more your child is used to seeing the words and equations, the more often they’ll find a solution each and every time.
3. They have a short attention span
Children are known to have short attention spans. So when they see a long, wordy, and complex math word problem, they’re more likely to procrastinate while solving it. They often lack the patience to solve word problems by scanning the question and assuming what is given or what is asked. Because they did not spend enough time reading the problem carefully, they might end up misinterpreting the question or making mistakes.
What you can do to help:
To help our children develop some patience, set a goal for them do a small number of math word problems during each revision session. We recommend 15 minutes at most to cater to their short attention spans. Know what motivates your child and use that to encourage them every time they are able to show perseverance while problem-solving. As they improve, adjust the goal you set accordingly and you’ll be able to see their patience getting better over time.
Learn math word problems with Practicle!
Being able to solve Math problem sums is an important skill that your child is going to need to primary school. If you’re looking for more resources to help them learn word problems, you can check out Practicle’s math game! We offer daily math practices in the form of fun games to help kids enjoy learning math. Our math practices also include personalized math word problems based on each child’s learning level alongside its own video explanations. By using Practicle’s resources, there’s no need to worry about preparing the resources yourself, so you can focus on supervising your child’s learning! You can consider trying out our 7-day free trial to experience the real deal!