Chances are pretty good that if your kid hates math, it’s because of some skill she never mastered. Even if she gets a passing grade and is promoted to the next math course, it’s true. That thing she didn’t learn properly or fully will remain that way. It will haunt her every time she has to use it to learn something new in a math class.

It will worsen over time. This is an example of what could happen with his one math skill issue. What if he has a few existing problems? Even if you only consider his one unlearned math skill, how many other issues will arise because of it?

That’s why I teach remedial math. I’ve personally seen more kids who took pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, or above struggle with their math skills. I’ve seen algebra students who didn’t know some of the harder times tables, e.g., sixes through nines. They figured that they could work through the current coursework and fake what they didn’t previously learn. They didn’t realize how much time it would cost them. Despite everything, their plans failed.

Basic math exists for a reason: all the other math relies on it. Don’t let a passing grade be a false sense of hope. Your kid passing or barely passing a course doesn’t indicate competency. It means:

- She barely managed to pass a course she didn’t really understand.
- He doesn’t know the subject matter like he should.
- The next course will likely create the same experience.

If you remember all the headaches and issues that occurred, you can expect more of them.

Part of parenting includes the times when you are unable to stop your children’s pain. You care whether they are troubled. They are the ones feeling the pain. They are in the classroom suffering a 45-minute class like it’s a three-hour class. It’s repeated whenever they have quizzes, tests, midterms, and finals. The same occurs when they have to study for them.

If you know any of the following scenarios apply to your child, get help.

- They are the ones who are unprepared for class, i.e., no book, paper, or pencil.
- They fail the tests because they don’t do the homework.
- They don’t do the homework because they can’t learn the concepts.
- They can’t learn the concepts because they don’t really meet the prerequisites.
- That’s because of their unaddressed basic math issues.
- They’re in middle school or high school struggling with math.

Get them past some of the worst things about the school experience.

In my classes, they’ll be with other students who are in the same boat, not much younger students who will point fingers and ridicule them. Once they learn what they need to know, there will be no proof that they didn’t know those things all along.

Twitter: @DeidreMSimpson