I’ve noticed that some readers are looking for ideas on how to improve kids’ math scores, so here are some answers. These apply to teens as well as younger kids.
-kids generally need at least 9 hours of sleep a night. Teens too; their bodies are still growing and their minds are still growing. Make sure you (if you are the kid in question) or your kid (if you are the parent in question) gets enough sleep every night.
-make sure the student eats breakfast. And not cereal or pop-tarts. Get your ass out of bed and make them or buy them an egg McMuffin or some fruit and cheese, or minute steaks with peppers. With a large glass of milk. They must have protein in the morning. Make them eat at least some of it. It’s also a good idea to pack a lunch for them. Such as:
1. Peanut butter (or almond butter) with banana on whole wheat, grapes, celery sticks, a large thermos of milk
2. Sardines with lettuce on whole wheat, some cherries, some baby carrots, Hershey’s kisses, a large thermos of milk
You get the idea.
Also, provide an after school snack such as nuts and raisins or yogurt with fruit or brown rice crackers with cheese. Always have plenty of milk in the house. Stop buying beverages that contain sugar. Kids (and adults too) need sunshine or they get sluggish; get them to spend some time out-of-doors daily, weather permitting (don’t forget the sunscreen.) If you live in a cold or rainy area, spend school holidays in a sunny climate.
-make sure your kid gets to school ON TIME. Get your ass out of bed a half hour earlier if you need to in order to accomplish this. Lead by example and practice what you preach.
-make sure your kid has a quiet spot to do homework in. This spot should be free of siblings. This should be a comfortable, clean, organized, nicely decorated, well-lit, and pleasant work space away from distractions. Music is ok while studying for some kids (for some it is actually beneficial); tv is not.
-have your kid explain their math homework to you every night that they have homework. If (and only if) you know your stuff, help them out.
-If you understand the material your kid is studying, work with them one hour a day on it. And don’t be pissy with them. It should be a pleasant part of the day.
-ignore excuses and rationalizations like “the teacher hates me”, “I have a bad teacher”, “I’m a math-phobe”, “I can’t concentrate”. They’re probably all true; so what? The kid still has to pass math. So instead of wasting a lot of time delving into all these PROBBBLEMMMMS, just help the kid to get their homework done.
-play games with your kids like chess, checkers, Othello, bridge, scrabble, anything that uses logic. If their school or library has a chess club, encourage them to join.
-introduce your kids to different kinds of music, bring them to galleries and museums.