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Offer your Child Math Help, as though you are Customer Service!

Today my brain hurt! Recently I have had to go through the journey of rebuilding, Math Momentum Academy. There were many reasons, but if I have to whittle it down,  I want to create a math ‘home’ for parents to enjoy, and one where we can grow and learn together.

I’m happy to say that I found that with ...

GrowLearnTeach creators of WPEP. It was straight forward enough for me to set everything up the way I wanted it. Of course, there were questions to be asked from their support team. I asked the questions, I received the answers and guidance I needed, and I implemented what I needed to, and there it was. Just a few short days later. My new Math Momentum Academy was exactly how I had envisioned it!

Tonight, was a different story. I wanted to do something, something very simple. I knew it had to be simple. I still couldn’t figure it out. I once again jumped over to support, and once again they responded. I couldn’t ‘see’ what they were talking about! I asked for clarification, again received the answer but still could not ‘see’ how to do it

I was feeling those feelings of frustrations kick in.

Those feelings of disappointment in myself for ‘not getting’ what is supposed to be ‘easy’. The feeling of embarrassment of having to ‘ask again’, and wondering what the people at support were thinking about me. Thinking myself into a hot mess! Everything is easy when you know how. Not so easy when you don’t!
Back and forth the messages flew between the support desk and I. Eventually, I saw it! If the young man who was assisting me hadn’t face-palmed himself by this stage of the conversation, I certainly had – enough for both of us! 

And you know what. It was easy. And looking back, with my new-found know-how, reading his directions in every response, it was ‘obvious’ what to do. But, it wasn’t obvious when I didn’t’ know how to do it.

Our brains work differently.

Yes, there are huge similarities to how they function, but they are also very different.  Some peoples’ brains seem like these amazingly ‘smooth’ running, super machines, where every components’ function appears effortless, all working in perfect harmony, producing this ‘musical’ hum, a vibration that’s magnetic, almost.

And then, there are people like me.  I liken my brain to a beautiful, old fashioned clock, working with pendulums and cogs.  Each component doing its’ job, connecting its’ movement to the next cog, until all are working smoothly and consistently.  Dependably. Until it’s not! 

The outer cogs, that create those first movements that get everything going are small.  When resistance is put on them, they slow down easily, and of course when they do, everything starts getting out of sync.

It’s frustrating, because I know that if I don’t get these cogs going again, it will cause major issues.  It’s exhausting the amount of energy I put into the process to keep these outer cogs moving. And the only reason I keep going is because I WANT the outcome.  I ‘want’ what it is I am attempting to learn. 

Tonight, if I didn’t WANT the outcome I was seeking, I probably wouldn’t have continued to the point of actually knowing what to do.

But this is EXACTLY what we ask of our children every single day in school.

To learn, become frustrated often and stay on that constant learning curve. But here lies the problem. They don’t have a ‘want’ compelling enough to keep them there, in this area that requires so much effort. 

And we just tell them they have to get on with it, because ‘what they will learn this year is so important for next year’.

Children learn by modeling.

This is why mathematics for the first few years of school is not a problem for most students.  Children use base 10 blocks to learn number sense, Lego blocks to show patterns, fraction circles to explore the world of numbers in between Natural Numbers, toys to model sorting and to identify attributes, shapes, projects, arts & crafts, the list goes on. By 2nd and 3rd grade it changes. It’s all about the worksheets! Math starts to become a little more abstract and a lot more frustrating!

Children learn by modeling.  They model your skills, they model your behavior, your habits and they model your tenacity.

When was the last time you tried to learn something new, that had you stumped, but you kept going anyway?

Not because you had to. Not because you wanted to, but because you decided to, because you committed yourself to learning this ‘something new’.

You may say that you have this at work all the time.  Yes, this may be true, but your child doesn’t see that.

If you want your child to develop the belief that they can do whatever it is they set their mind to, ensure that you also equip them to deal with the inevitable moments where they are going to feel like throwing in the towel.

It’s not always going to be straight forward, it’s not always going to be easy.  However, this is far too easy to tell a child.  Remember, children learn by modeled behavior. 

You have to experience a struggle, and your child must witness how you handle it, for them to in turn, learn to deal with struggles in learning.

In this way, they will absolutely know that when they experience frustrations in school, it’s okay.

  • It’s okay to ask for help.
  • It’s okay not to get it on the first attempt, even having received help.
  • It’s okay to feel frustrated,
  • It’s okay to expect and receive courtesy even when you ‘feel’ you no longer deserve it!
  • But it’s not okay to give up, because you just don’t know what you’ll miss out on if you do.

So, my advice to you is, when helping your child with mathematics …. 

... follow the Customer Service Representatives methods ...

… modeled excellently by the GrowLearnTeach. team.

  • Respond enthusiastically,
  • There is no such thing as a stupid question,
  • You don’t answer the same question in the same way, over and over again! Find an alternative way to explain it.
  • You stick with your client until the problem is solved.

Thank you GrowLearnTeach for assembling an amazing team, and offering me the opportunity to make this pretty great learning connection.