Do you remember what you had for lunch two Wednesdays ago? How about two days ago?
Most likely not.
And that’s why algebra is hard for your child.
The brain is incredibly efficient and throws out what it deems to be useless information. You will no doubt remember a lunch if the server accidentally spills the whole thing in your lap because the brain has several things to attach that memory to. But otherwise, one lunch blends into the next and fades from memory.
When you initially put algebra into your brain, it ranks up there with lunch two weeks ago (without the spill). The brain subconsciously sees no value in it, can’t really attach it to anything significant, and therefore immediately starts throwing it out.
Because algebra builds on itself, if the brain has thrown out previously learned math material, it makes it much more difficult to learn the next concept. Unfortunately, this starts a compounding effect and before long, students find themselves in a bad place with math. Sprinkle in a few negative experiences (like a bad teacher, confusing curriculum, low self-confidence) and math can quickly become a mess.
There is nothing wrong with your child’s intelligence. The bottom line is that the reason algebra is so hard for a lot of kids is because their brain is working exactly the way it should be!
There is hope.
Students need to put into practice some different, brain-friendly learning techniques that help the brain take in new, abstract information. I’ve identified 7 simple skills that are needed to build math success (which I’ve incorporated into my Algebra 1 course). I will also be sharing those skills here over the upcoming weeks.
P.S. Don’t forget to download our free calculator guide to take the guesswork out of when students should be using this tool.
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