I wrote this piece about how to help your child in math for Yahoo. This is the same advice I give the parents of my 8th graders during open house every year. I find the parents are often more fearful of algebra than the students:)

I thought I’d share it here as well, since I know many of you are parents of school age children. I hope this can help lower the stress level in your home this fall!

Lisa – this IS a huge issue. I agree. I’m one of those most dreadful parents who was herself shamed in front of the class at the age of 8 (thanks Irish nuns at boarding school) when I was asked to solve (on the black board in front of the class) 8 x 9 (or some such ). We were new to multiplication but a light bulb went off for me, and I simply went to the board and wrote 9 down 8 times in a vertical column and added them up. Came up with the correct answer and was literally laughed out of the class and made to sit outside for my stupidity. That stuff hurts! Seems to me that understanding the multiplication is a fast track to adding is a darn good first step! So – add on several more math disaster moments and I feel as physically sick at the sight of x = a (fill in any algebraic stuff here) as many people do at the sight of their Ex, or in the face of emotional trauma. There is something about the way maths is “taught” (drilled, forced, rammed, ridiculed, traumatized – choose your verb) into children still that triggers many Mums like me. I wish math teachers had to have extra training (as we therapists do) to at least “Do no harm” in the classroom. Sounds like you are one of the rare few…

I faced shame in math classes too. In fact, I almost failed Algebra II mainly due to my poor confidence in math. As a result, I work hard to make my classroom a safe place to try and to take risks. I share my struggles with them and I let them see me make mistakes.

It probably doesn’t hurt that I grew up with a therapist for a momma too:)

That sounds like a winning combo! The fact you struggled means you have so much more empathy and understanding for how hard this can be. It’s on my “bucket list” (really) to overcome my math phobia! Not that I ever plan to use algebra – but at least I can figure out how to not throw up at the sight of a problem. I’ll be reformed bu the time the grand kids come around.

Love it! If you’re ever in Atlanta, I’ll be happy to give you a math lesson:)