Middle school is a key transitionary time in your child’s education, and a math tutor may help them reach their goals, setting the stage for long-term educational success.
In the classroom, they are moving from foundational math education into more difficult concepts that will begin to determine the direction of their high school education. This will be a critical time for your child to maximize their math competencies because students will have the option to select AP courses and college credit courses that will then dictate their college entrance qualifications.
Before we dive too far into the importance of excelling in math during those later years, though, let’s explore how a math tutor can help your elementary school student successfully get ready for middle school math.
Remember, it’s important to keep these in mind whether your child is entering middle school this coming fall or in a few years.
Math is a subject that builds – step by step – on prior knowledge. So ensuring that your student leaves each grade with a solid understanding of those math skills is important to their success the next academic year.
The Importance of Middle School Math
According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, middle school typically begins with concepts such as fractions and decimals, leading to pre-algebra ideas like manipulating variables and solving equations for unknown values.
Many of these concepts are not easily visualized or explained with physical objects, which can be hard for students who think concretely and tend to rely on memorization. However, according to an article on pbs.org, during middle school, “adolescents’ brains are transitioning from reasoning in a concrete manner to understanding abstract concepts and ideas.”
This means that this is a great time to give your child (and their maturing mind) a geometry boost or general math help with a qualified math tutor who will know exactly how to teach your child mastery of these new concepts.
Students transitioning between elementary and middle school will need to have a solid grasp on the math curriculum that they’ve been learning in the classroom. Memorization may have worked for simple math problems and multiplication charts, but a middle school math curriculum will require a deeper understanding.
To bring this idea home, NewSchools.org says, “Middle school is a critical inflection point, transitioning students between the foundational math concepts taught in elementary school and the college and career readiness focus of high school.”
A math tutor – coupled with technology enabled tutoring programs and unlimited worksheets for extra practice – can help your student get ahead of this trend and ensure that they have put in the work to learn math and proceed to more difficult concepts in middle school, high school, college and beyond.
How a Math Tutor Prepares Your Student for Middle School
Hiring a math tutor can be essential to future math success if your student needs a boost to completely master a topic. And, if they’ve began to fall behind, you have the opportunity to remedy this quickly so your student stays on track for their middle school classes
Tutors provide a wide array of benefits to students. An increase in math skills is, of course, the primary goal. However, working with a tutor will also provide your student with new critical thinking skills and experiences that can benefit them in other areas.
Here are some of the benefits a math tutor provides:
One-on-One Learning in a Comfortable Environment
A math tutor is a great resource for your student to ask for clarification and get help in a specific area, taking as long as is necessary for them to feel comfortable with the concept in question.
Tutors are not working with multiple students at once or sticking to a specific, one-size-fits-all curriculum. Instead, your child’s math tutor can work with your student one-on-one at their pace, customizing the lessons to best fit their needs.
Plus, all those budding mathletes can also work ahead when they feel comfortable with a concept.
Another benefit of one-on-one learning is simply getting out of a classroom setting where your child needs to compete with other students to get attention from the teacher.
We’re sure you know that the classroom can be full of distractions. While this can be great to help young children build interpersonal skills in a social setting, this is not always the ideal place to learn difficult math concepts.
While tutoring provides a more focused setting, selecting an online tutoring program takes this even further.
Online math tutoring is not dependent on a specific location – you set your schedule and don’t have to factor in any travel time to a tutoring center or after-school program. Your student can learn while sitting at the kitchen table, in their room or in whatever environment they are most comfortable in.
Regular Feedback and Access
Your student most likely only has direct access to their math teacher during class. While this provides immediate value, some students are too to shy ask questions during class time, while others simply may not know the right questions to ask to help them with their math problem.
A math tutor is more in tune with your child and can often help them before they even need to ask a question. Plus, having an entire tutoring session to themselves gives your student more time and freedom to ask questions and receive dedicated help.
But, similar to an in-classroom teacher, most in-person math tutors are typically only available to your student during sessions.
Using Thinkster Math, you and your student will have regular access to your dedicated tutor and a personalized curriculum. We provide unlimited math worksheets for additional practice, video tutorials for assistance and daily feedback on completed math worksheets.
And, there’s no waiting until the next tutoring session – your student can learn on his/her schedule.
When it comes to checking in on your student’s progress, our online tutoring program stands out there as well. Instead of juggling parent-teacher meetings with your busy schedule, you can simply email or text your child’s tutor. If you just need a quick update, you can check the Parent App dashboard at any time.
Homework Help and Test Preparation
As a parent, you may find that you’re not able to help your student with math homework or an upcoming test, especially as they advance to their middle school courses and the concepts become more difficult.
A math tutor can help take the pressure off parents because you know you have a qualified and experienced resource available to help.
With Thinkster, your student is given a personalized curriculum after an initial assessment gauges their existing knowledge and skill level. Based on their performance in the skills assessment, the tutoring sessions and supporting math worksheets are individualized for your student so that they can start learning immediately with maximum impact.
Our goal is to help your child master the math concepts they are learning in school and gain the skills they need to get ahead.
We determine proficiency based on how well your student does on the math problems that they are assigned. Once they show proficiency at this level, we use a “fade-over-time” concept to determine if your student has a deep understanding of the concepts. As they show learning proficiency in a concept, the tutor will begin to move ahead to offer other math problems, and then revisit the concept that they had demonstrated learning proficiency in earlier after a few weeks. If your student is able to show that they have maintained their understanding of the original concept even after a few weeks when they take a review test, our tutor and our systems will note that your student has achieved “Review Proficiency” with that concept. Your student will once again be asked to respond to questions around this concept after a month or two, as part of a Unit Review test, and if they continue to demonstrate that they are able to answer questions in this concept satisfactorily, we then determine that your student had demonstrated “mastery” of the concept.
We do this methodically, because anyone learning a new concept will likely not remember all aspects of that concept after a few weeks. This is not unlike our own ability to remember all the sequences of a movie after a few weeks after we have watched a movie. Our memory will begin to fade and we may not be able to recall all the scenes in the movie in the exact sequence they originally appeared. But once we see the movie again after a few weeks, our ability to recall the scene sequences improves considerably even after a few weeks of elapsed time. This is exactly what we do by eliminating chances of concepts being forgotten and begin to “fade over time” by re-introducing them every few weeks. This is how students learning Taekwondo or Karate move from being white belts to becoming black belts. We want our students to become as masterful as a black belt in Karate!
Intangible Benefits of a Math Tutor
You may think that math tutoring only benefits your student in math, but seeing success with a math tutor can benefit your student in a variety of other ways.
Work and Study Habits
Tutoring can teach your child work and study habits that they can use for life. This is a huge benefit as the workload for students in middle school and then high school typically increases.
We often see that students who are tutored generally study more and perform better on tests.
Work Ethic and Motivation
Tutoring is extra work and requires a level of self-discipline and motivation from your student. Having proof that they can put in the extra time and work to excel at something they’ve been struggling with is a great life lesson for the future.
The Thinkster program provides students with regular feedback on their math worksheets and overall progress. Seeing this regularly reinforces the benefits that this type of work ethic can bring, which is beneficial in future endeavors.
There is also a level of independence in online math tutoring as the student takes what they learn one-on-one with the tutor and practice it alone outside of tutoring sessions.
Knowing that their tutor is waiting to provide feedback provides accountability, but it is ultimately up to the student to study and learn.
The online tutoring system provided by Thinkster helps build confidence beyond math proficiency.
Using a system focused on concept mastery, our online tutoring program helps teach students how to study, learn and think critically all in one place. Knowing they have the ability to learn and excel – and seeing it on a screen in front of them – encourages students to use these techniques any time they get stuck on a new problem.
And, as math lessons get harder in middle school and beyond, confidence can be the extra push they need to get them through.
Your child will know they can master a tough math skill – and they know the amount of effort that’s required – as they have done this before. Having the past experience of overcoming difficult problems can impact how well they handle future struggles.
Time Management and Organization
It seems that life is only getting busier – and this is true for your children as well.
From sports, clubs, homework, friends and more, their lives are fuller than ever before. Adding a math tutor is just another responsibility that requires your student to learn how to stay organized and manage their time.
This is also true if they want to take advantage of extra math work – such as the worksheets games, tutorials and work problems provided in the Thinkster Math online tutoring program. With some practice, your student can learn to prioritize their schedule and maximize the time spent on extra math work.
As your student finishes elementary and middle school and continues through high school, the math lessons progress quickly and require varied math and life skills. These skills may be required of your student in other subjects in high school, college and even in the workforce (we know it feels too soon to think about this one!).
We want to see your child reach their personal and professional goals in the future and believe that now is the perfect time to start preparing!
Try a Math Tutor for Your Elementary School Child
Whether your student is headed to middle school next year or you’re planning ahead to keep them on track, a math tutor can be that extra step to help them learn and excel in math.
If you’d like to go even further and get the benefits of a math tutor, as well as the benefits of a full online tutoring program like Thinkster, you can give our program a try for 7 days with our free trial. With this free trial, you’ll be able to experience all the benefits of online tutoring for yourself.
Your student will start with an initial assessment that gauges their existing knowledge and skill level, before being paired with a qualified tutor and receiving their personalized curriculum.
If you want to learn more about what makes our one-on-one program so great, you can meet some of our online math tutors, too!