Hoping to help your 12th-grader with math skills? Here are some basic tips that experts suggest.
Ask to see math homework
You might not be able to help your child with the more difficult elements of their math homework, but by asking to see their work and offering to help out you can continue to make sure that they are maintaining good study habits and staying on top of their assignments. Ask them to explain to you what they are studying. Verbalizing the concepts they are learning will help them process and retain the information.
Encourage your child to persevere when they encounter difficulty in math. If they are having difficulty solving a problem, encourage them to think about it in other ways and to look for patterns among similar problems. It’s important that your child isn’t discouraged by math and continues to see it as something that is doable, even if it’s getting more difficult.
Use online math resources
For many parents, the biggest challenge they face helping their kids with math in high school is that the material their high schoolers are studying is too difficult for them to be able to easily help out with. Familiarize yourself with the range of online resources, like Khan Academy, IXL and Hippocampus, that provide your kids with plenty of opportunities to review the concepts they’re studying, take tutorials and do practice problems. Even if you can’t solve the problems yourself, you can help steer your child toward helpful resources.
Find a math mentor
If your child is struggling with math and doesn’t understand what use it could ever be to him, it might help for him to have a mentor. This could be a friend or family member who uses math in their work, such as an accountant or an engineer or a programmer. Enlist this person to talk to your child to help to demystify math for him.
Find a tutor
If your child is really struggling it might be necessary to enlist the help of a math tutor. Ask your child’s math teacher and guidance counselor for advice. Many schools will suggest that students in higher grades help out as tutors.
Discuss math-related careers
Encourage your child to explore ways in which math is used in different careers. How do doctors use math? Engineers? Bankers? What is your child starting to think of as career goals? Help him explore, by researching online or talking to other adults, the role of math in the fields they are starting to consider.
Watch movies that feature math
Plan a family movie-watching night around a film that features math, like "A Beautiful Mind," "Moneyball" or "The Da Vinci Code."
Encourage reading about famous scientists and inventors
Encourage your child to read biographies of famous inventors, scientists or computer experts, like Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein.
Highlight math through sports
Sports provide a great forum for your child to delve into many of the math concepts that they are studying, from statistics and probability in baseball to geometry in racket sports.
Play math games
Plenty of games can help foster math skills. These include card games, board games, dice and dominoes.
To find out what your 12th-grader will be learning in math class, check out our 12th grade math skills page.
Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Joyce Epstein, Director, Center on School, Family and Community Partnerships, Johns Hopkins University; Pamela Mason, Program Director/Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Denise Walston, Director of Mathematics, Council of the Great City Schools, and align with the Common Core State Standards.