Parent Guide to High School Math

When it comes to high school courses, a little bit of parental support goes a long way.

It’s every parent’s dream to witness their children succeed in everything they do. When it comes to high school courses, a little bit of parental support goes a long way. High school is a student’s first look into more intensive workloads, more frequent exams, and more homework than ever before. 

Naturally, your children will likely lean on you as their parent for comfort and help with their classes, especially when it comes to mathematics. Math courses in high school can be very difficult because the numerical concepts introduced are new and different from what students learn in elementary school. 

As a parent, your instinct is to help your child, but at the same time, you might not know how to go about helping your child in the best way. It all starts with familiarizing yourself with the math classes that high schoolers take. 

From there, you can decide if you have the ability to help them better understand the concepts they’re learning about or if professional help is a better approach. 

Which Math Classes Do High Schoolers Take? 

Every high school is different in terms of the exact course requirements that they include in the curriculum of high schoolers. However, most schools offer similar classes for high school math. Here are some of the courses you can expect your child to take in high school:

  • Algebra I 
  • Algebra II 
  • Geometry 
  • Trigonometry 
  • Pre-Calculus 
  • Calculus 
  • AP Calculus 
  • AP Statistics 

Algebra courses are often reserved for ninth-graders or freshmen, with trigonometry and geometry typically taught to tenth-graders or sophomores. Juniors usually enroll in a calculus course, while seniors tend to take either an advanced-level calculus class or a statistics course. 

How to Help Your High School Student Excel in Math 

Let’s take a look at three main ways you can help your high school student excel in their math courses! 

Correct Your Child’s Language Surrounding Mathematics 

When children do not understand concepts or find it hard to wrap their heads around school subjects, they tend to speak in self-deprecating ways. You might have heard your high school student say disparaging things like, “I’m so bad at math!” or “I’ll never be good at this.” 

Of course, the exact phrasing will vary from one high school math student to the next, but the overall theme is the same. To help your high school student excel in math, correct the way they speak about themselves. Our mind is a powerful tool, and it can often affect how well we perform. 

When high school students do not trust in their abilities, they are less likely to apply themselves because, in their minds, it makes no sense to try when they already assume they’re going to fail. So, help them overcome their own self-limiting beliefs by correcting the way they speak about themselves. 

You can do this in one of two major ways. The first option is to ask them why they speak about themselves in such a negative manner. Encourage them to change the way they view their mathematical abilities by adjusting the words they use to describe themselves.

Another option is less direct but still effective. Instead of asking them why they do what they do, lead by example. Speak positively about your high school student and congratulate them every time they work on math problems. 

Even if they don’t get the answer right the first time, the point is to focus on the fact that they are trying their best. When children are supported, they feel more capable and more willing to keep trying. 

Inspire Your Child Instead of Solving Problems for Them 

When issues arise, our instinct is to find a solution so that we can fix the problem as soon as possible. However, as a parent, this isn’t always the best approach, especially when it comes to high school students and math class. 

For example, if your child comes home with math homework and they are visibly struggling to complete their assignment, you might feel inclined to sit down and solve the problems for them. Instead, fight that instinct because it’s nothing more than a short-term solution. 

If you solve problems for your child, they will not learn how to solve those problems on their own. However, you can certainly help them work through the math problems so that they don’t struggle on their own. 

Point them in the right direction, but don’t give them too many clues. Give them a chance to solve math problems on their own. 

Hire a Tutor Who Specializes in High School Math if Necessary 

Once you are aware of the exact high school math course that your child is taking, you can start to analyze the situation and determine if you can help them understand their lessons. There is no shame in admitting that you are not well versed in a way that would allow you to teach math concepts to your high schooler.

After all, that’s what professional-level tutors are for. Encouragement can only go so far. It can elevate your child’s confidence and belief in their ability to solve math equations, but words of encouragement will not teach your child how to understand concepts they can’t grasp. 

If your student is struggling to understand concepts, equations, or formulas, it might be time to turn to a tutor. Tutors are amazing resources because they specialize in the exact math courses that your student is taking, meaning they can offer specialized assistance to set your child up for success. 

The Bottom Line 

All in all, your goal is to do everything you can to help your high school student excel in math. Uplift them when they talk down on their abilities and encourage your child to apply themselves instead of fixing problems for them. 

While it feels better to help them at the moment, inspiring them to solve equations on their own is better for them in the long run. Whether that means directly helping them or hiring a tutor that specializes in high school math concepts, choose the option that benefits your child the most. 


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