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Math Anxiety Now Extends to Parents Who Have to Help Kids With Math

Now it could refer to what parents feel when their kids ask them for help with their math homework.

By Ari Odzer
|  Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013  |  Updated 8:16 AM EDT
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Math anxiety used to mean a student’s fear of math.  Now it could refer to what parents feel when their kids ask them for help with their math homework.

Math anxiety used to mean a student’s fear of math. Now it could refer to what parents feel when their kids ask them for help with their math homework.

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Math anxiety used to mean a student’s fear of math.  Now it could refer to what parents feel when their kids ask them for help with their math homework.

"I get a little scared, a little overwhelming for me because I don’t remember,” said Robert Gafanha, whose daughter, Isabella, is a sixth grader at Pembroke Pines Charter Middle School, west campus. Gafanha speaks for frustrated parents everywhere when he says, “the way they’re learning it now, how to solve the problems, is definitely not the way I learned.”

Principal Devarn Flowers says she’s sympathetic with parents who aren’t sure how to help their kids with mathematics the way it’s taught now, especially since some of the old concepts have new names now, which makes it more confusing for parents. But Flowers says the days of rote learning, kids just solving row after row of problems without thinking of why they’re doing what they’re doing, is over.

“We’re teaching children how to think, how to understand the reasoning behind the asnwers and that’s the key thing,” Flowers said.

Jennifer Barry has been teaching middle school math for seven years.

“When we went to school, there was one right way to do it, and nowadays, that’s kinda changed a bit, we’re getting more into common core standards which is many different ways to do the same problem,” said Barry. “I’d rather my students know many different ways and then choose which way that they like the best.”

This school offers parents training session to catch up with the new math, and if all else fails, you could adopt Gafhana’s strategy.

“If it gets to the point where it’s just over my head, then i call mom,” Gafhana said.

Flowers says her school, and many others, for that matter, offers students extra help in math either before or after school hours.

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