Do you have an extremely independent child who doesn’t want your help with homework? Do you wonder if he understands what he is learning in school or if he is even doing his homework? Here is a great way to find out while giving your child all the control, or at least letting him think he has all the control! This idea can be applied to any subject but is most useful for any middle school general math class.
What You Do:
- Ask your child to be the teacher for you. Tell him that you want to learn from him and understand what he is learning in class. Most children will love this idea because they get to be in control and it is always fun to stump mom or dad. Ask your child to create a test for you to take. A ten or twenty question test is usually a good start. You may want to brush up on the skills that the test will cover, so you don’t embarrass yourself. Encourage your child to create a test with a variety of questions from the unit he is currently working on. Remind him that the tests he takes in school are neat and easy to read. The test he makes should be the same.
- Let your child pick any ten to twenty questions that he wants to test you on. The test should include a variety of equations. All the questions shouldn’t be alike. When they are finished, take the test and do the best you can. It may be a good idea to make one or two intentional mistakes to be sure that your student teacher is paying attention during their corrections.
- When you are finished taking the test, return it to your child, and ask him to correct it for any mistakes. The process of correcting the test will be a great way to reinforce all his current math skills. Your child will need to work through each equation himself in order to check your work. This is something he should always do when taking a test at school, before handing it in for grading. It is also a great opportunity for you to see what he is learning and how easily he corrects your “mistakes”.
- Ask your child to talk you through your mistakes, explaining your errors. This is an additional way for him to commit his skills to memory.
Your child will love to teach you a thing or two for a change, and he won't even know that he is practicing math!
Liza Jenkins is a middle school Language Arts teacher and private tutor from Maryland. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.