Costa Mesa Tutoring for Elementary School Math
Parents of students in elementary school often overlook the potential of early math tutoring. At these grade levels, the math being learned is often seen as too fundamental and memorization-based: counting, numbers, digits, addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc. It might seem that private Costa Mesa tutoring is unnecessary to learn this material that everyone gets through together in elementary school. After all, for the most part, there isn’t as much pressure or emphasis on grades, standardized test scores, and honors or remedial classes until they get older. Isn’t it better to wait until they are in a more advanced class like algebra before tutoring can really help?
It isn’t. This way of thinking is prevalent but wrong. Early math tutoring by an experienced private tutor can lead to improvements in quantitative skills and mathematics grades for the rest of their educational career. Here are three reasons why this early tutoring is so vital.
The Fundamentals Never Go Away
The mathematics that children learn in their first few years of school will continue to be used for the rest of their math classes and the rest of their lives. These fundamentals are just that: fundamental. This material sets the foundation for all future math skills and learning. There will never be a single lesson in their classes from this point forward that does not include the math that they are learning now.
So, what are these fundamentals? Well, of course, we have topics like numbers, counting, and estimating. There are also early operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Other topics like shapes, geometry, spatial skills, problem-solving, and word problems are learned in elementary school. And, importantly, there are introductions to fractions, decimals, and percentages.
When tutors help and evaluate students in middle school, high school, or even college, a lack of expertise in these fundamental skills is often a significant factor holding them back. Being able to quickly and correctly do basic operations and times tables (remember “mad minutes”?); understand and work with fractions, decimals, and percentages; and confidently solve math questions in their head (or at least, without a calculator) are all issues that plague students who struggle with math. How many adults do you know who still say that they can’t do fractions, or can’t solve math problems in their head if it’s more than one digit?
Costa Mesa tutoring at this time solves those problems before they become problems. Some of the processes used to help students become experts in these topics might simply not be effective for your students. Or, the material isn’t learned as well as it could be. Or, the teacher(s) don’t prioritize the right material that your student will need for the future. Whatever the case, becoming an absolute expert at these early number manipulations is a huge advantage for students going into their next years of math, and it is often an advantage that continues to keep them on top and is a skill that continues to be valuable.
Math Confidence is Key to Success and Self-Esteem
A large contributor to many students not enjoying math or not doing well in math is a lack of confidence in the material. When they are always learning new things, it always feels difficult and challenging. It is easy for many students to start thinking that they aren’t good at math at an early age. This feeling can stay with them, and it can lead to a dislike of mathematics and mathematical fields, as well as disinterest in the classes which will make it more difficult to do well.
One way to help boost math confidence is to build it early on. Experienced math tutors know what is important and they know what will be coming next for the student. A private Costa Mesa tutor can help your students master what they are learning now and prime them for future material. Learning some of the material with a private tutor is very effective: they can be more engaging with your student, cater to the ways that your student learns best, and revisit confusing parts while accelerating the easier parts. It is clear that most students respond very well to private lessons from an experienced math tutor.
What this priming and preparation does is it then makes the student much more experienced in confident in class. They have already mastered some of the material and practiced others that the teacher hasn’t taught yet. For many students, they get to experience this for the first time when a tutor gets them ahead of schedule in middle school or high school. The happiness, confidence, and relief from the stress of being ahead of class instead of behind can be an exuberating mentality shift for students who have never felt this confidence before. Much joy in mathematics has been sparked by simply being in a position where the student is no longer confused and stressed.
Even better than trying to fix confidence is to provide it from the first place. Help your students excel at early math and take that success and self-esteem with them to higher levels. You never know what problems you might be avoiding altogether by being proactive with tutoring.
Guaranteed to Stay on Track and Not Fall Behind
Math classes tend to build upon prior math classes. This is true for most subjects, but it is most obvious and most prevalent in mathematics. Difficulty or poor understanding of one math class often leads to more difficulty and worse understanding in the next classes. This effect can build on itself, and it creates a slippery slope of math success that is easy to fall off from just one poor class.
Similarly, some math fundamentals need to be mastered in order for a student to be successful in the future. Unfortunately, most of these fundamentals are never revisited – meaning that if they aren’t learned and mastered early enough, it will mean problems in the future.
These issues make tutoring much more difficult in the future when a student might really need help. A tutor can often diagnose some of the deficiencies in a student’s math knowledge that are leading to their problems in a class. The problem is that is often almost impossible to go back and revisit, reteach, and master so much older material while still learning the new material well enough to get a good grade. This often leads to tutors having to perform “damage control” with a student where strong understanding and true knowledge must be sacrificed in order to prioritize the memorization required to help the student improve their grade in time.
This type of tutoring is often only a temporary band-aid for a problem that needs much more work to truly fix. However, it is often all that is possible with the time available.
You can avoid this with early tutoring and setting your student on track from the beginning. A tutor will catch if there are ever starting to slip off and can help fix the problem and move forward before it has been too much time. Many students in high school and beyond who have math tutoring also would require lessons of material that they failed to understand or master from back when they were a child to truly fix their math problems. The problem is that it is too late for them to really fix it. An experienced tutor can fix this by working with your student while they are learning some of the most important math skills in their childhood.
Book your in-home Costa Mesa tutor today!
Michael C. is currently a private math, science, and standardized test tutor with TutorNerds in Irvine and Anaheim.
All blog entries, except for guest bloggers, are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us write.