How to Motivate Your Student to Study Math

“Math,” (Yikes!)…

For some of us, this simple word sends a shiver up our spine as those long-ago tormented years in math classes come back in a wave of consciousness so strong we can still smell the musty text books and # 2 pencils. As parents, we desire to help our children learn and understand how they will one-day come to use math in their everyday lives. How then, do we get past our nightmarish math memories to the point where, while educating our children, we too can overcome the hesitations and learn to enjoy math? consulted with to ask them their advice on how parents can overcome their own math phobias in order to help their children discover the joy of mathematics. Their suggestions were simple and constructive. Here are some great tips to help motivate both you and your student to study math.


Don’t let your fear of math come across to your kids.

Parents must be careful not to perpetuate the mathematical myth – that math is only for specially talented “math types.” Strive not to make comments like; “they don’t like math” or “I have never been good at math.” When children overhear comments like these from their primary role models they begin to dread math before even considering a chance of experiencing its wonders. It is important to encourage your children to read and explore the rich world of mathematics and to practice mathematics without imparting negative biases.

Emphasize the usefulness of math!

The student might get more motivated if she/he knows how often math is used. Math improves problem-solving, increases competency, and should be applied in different ways. It’s the same as reading. You can learn the basics of reading without ever enjoying a novel. But, where’s the excitement in that? With math, you could stop with the basics. But why when there is so much more to be gained by a fuller understanding? Life is so much more enriching when we go beyond the basics. Stretch your children’s minds to become involved in mathematics in ways that will not only be practical but also enhance their lives. Often our children question why they need to learn a specific subject, so emphasizing and pointing out the everyday applications of math may help them.

Wrong Answers are valuable!

One of the reasons students have math anxiety is because it’s so easy to get the answer wrong. Instead of putting down a wrong answer, ask your children to explain how they came up with that answer. If there are other children studying the same problem, ask if they got the same result. If you have two different answers, go through each step and figure them out together. Remember, wrong answers are valuable. You get insight into the student’s thinking and where he/she went wrong and you can then work on the concepts that need to be re-taught.

Take the emphasis off of tests.

Tests are a part of school but they don’t need to be the ultimate goal.  The goal is to learn math so the child can use it in his/her life. Instead, use worksheets with your children to see what concepts that have grasped and what they need more work on. This way, you can still evaluate how well they’re doing, but your children won’t have their normal anxiety.

Use the internet to help your child explore the fascinating world of mathematics

With sites such as, it’s easy to make math fun and exciting again. With, you buy only the games that you want, download them immediately and incorporate them into your classroom or family fun. Their math worksheets, workbooks and workshops can be used in the classroom, home or tutoring sessions to improve standardized test scores, reinforce skills and provide differentiated instruction. They can also be used to enhance ESL and special education programs