Middle school, especially sixth grade math, can be one of the toughest times in a child’s life. Not only are kids going through puberty during this time, but friends are also coming and going, and they are expected to learn more. Like, more math. Extra hard math. Common core math. We are not talking about just simple operations like adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and rounding anymore. This is advanced factions, algebra, geometry, graphs, and even a little bit of probability. When it comes to sixth grade math, online games can really help kids understand, but playing is just one part of the solution.
Whether your child is struggling with eighth, seventh, or sixth grade math, if you follow the three suggestions below, you’ll be on the right path. The tips take only 5-15 minutes each, and will help both you and your child tremendously!
Online Math Videos
Most of us are visual learners. Although multisensory options are very important, for most students, using the sense of sight to ‘get math’ is key. Think about it. If you were blindfolded and could only hear and touch during an Algebra lesson, would you be very successful? Sure, you could be, but it would take a lot of effort.
Websites like YouTube, are chocked full of every kind of math video you can think of! Many YouTube channels are dedicated to just teaching math. So this is where many parents and teachers send kids for extra help. However, this is only one piece to a multi-part puzzle. A benefit of an interactive, comprehensive program like ArgoPrep’s K-8 math is when your child has a video, there are practice questions that can be completed as well.
So for example, if a sixth grade math student watched a fractions video but didn’t understand still, she could practice the concepts as well. This adds a second, important element, to truly understanding math.
Find Games for Middle School Math
Now, this sounds like a funny way to help, doesn’t it? Playing video games that have math in them may seem stupid, or even like a waste of time, but it really is not.
Did you know that when you do something in play, it takes less time for you to memorize how to do it? Many studies have found that playing sixth grade math online games when learning something makes it easier to learn and you learn better. This is because your brain is more engaged and awake. When you’re moving, your brain wakes up as it gets more blood to it, stopping it from dozing off.
If you’re also wanting to supplement with paper materials, Quizlet is a great option. Try to find some of the same material on Quizlet.com. Quizlet is a flashcard website available on a phone, tablet, or computer, and I have used it for many years to learn vocabulary, French, and history concepts. Quizlet is free, and sometimes you can even find the same material you are going over by searching the name of the worksheet on the website!
For hands-on activities, you can use legos to represent place values, you could go on a math scavenger hunt, or you could even find an online Jeopardy board and have a game night! (We do Jeopardy a lot, and I personally love it!)
Online Game Options
Does your kid like video games a lot more than flashcards or hands-on games? Good news! There are plenty of video-game-like math games on the internet, perfect for your tech-savvy kid! By exploring these websites and more, you can get a plethora of games for your struggling child. They’re bound to enjoy at least one of them, so make sure you encourage them to at least try!
A word of caution though, you’ll want to make sure that you only subscribe to game sites that are:
- Comprehensive (they have more than just games)
- Are designed around school standards
- Target middle school math in particular, not just elementary
Playing games not only is an easier way to learn, but it keeps children engaged in middle school math. Plus it helps them get less frustrated. Signing up will only take a few minutes, and can help a lot with doing homework or studying for tests!
Stay Calm and Encouraging
It’s most likely that your child is going to get frustrated with math. They may even yell, cry, or shout out things like “I hate math.” When my daughter was having a hard time with sixth grade math, we both struggled..and I teach math! So, I totally get how when it comes to sixth grade math, online games can make things easier but not solve the problem.
Remember to stay calm if this happens. Their brains are growing and their emotions are surging, so it is harder for them to control their feelings. Thankfully, there are several kid-friendly calming techniques that can help with this. Meditation in particular can be a great relaxer.
When they become frustrated with middle school math, encourage them to take a walk, play outside for a little, or do a chore like help you with dinner. Having them work on other homework, unless it is something like drawing or crafting, may further tire them out, so try to avoid this.
Try to get them moving every 20-30 minutes. The brain takes 20 minutes on average to fall asleep, so do some jumping jacks with them, or play tag to avoid the drowsiness!
By engaging your child, you not only are spending quality time with them, but you are also showing that you can be someone to talk to. Sometimes, well, a lot of times it can get frustrating for you too, but don’t let it get to you. Work on something else if you are getting annoyed. There is nothing wrong with putting homework away for a little. Staying calm will help them stay calm, and listening will show your children you care. Even if you are just doing homework.
With these 3 tips, you’re well on your way to victory! And never forget: they will figure it out eventually. You won’t be in the dark forever. And if you truly can’t get it? Make sure you tell the teacher your child is struggling. They will be able to help too!