What to Know About Middle School Math

With the introduction of new—and often challenging—concepts, middle school math can be a roadblock for many students. To best offer guidance to middle school students who are apprehensive about their math class, there are specific things parents should know about middle school math—such as how students can establish good study habits, ways to encourage development of strong subject-specific skills, and how to identify opportunities for advancement.

Middle school math can be intimidating for students and parents alike. Keep reading to learn what to know about middle school math:

Middle school math allows students to establish strong study habits

Your student’s middle school math class is a great time for them to practice excellent study habits that will foster future success. Middle school math classes often involve a plethora of assignments that may feel unlike previous classes’ workloads. Therefore, it’s a great opportunity for your student to gain useful study skills. At the start of the semester, ensure your student understands where to find homework assignments—whether this be in the course syllabus or through the school’s online platform. Regardless, good study habits begin with students remaining consistent and up-to-date on all class assignments.  

If a student encounters concepts they find challenging, it’s important to address these questions with their teacher. Remind your student that it’s beneficial to be proactive and to ask questions before grades become negatively affected. At times, students are unable to identity their own mistakes; therefore, discussing concepts and assignments with teachers can give students insight into how to improve. When reviewing for quizzes or exams, it’s key to do all the practice problems provided. Encourage your student to analyze incorrect answers in order to identify areas of improvement.

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Middle school math involves a number of foundational concepts

Math classes in middle school introduce students to concepts they likely lack a high level of familiarity with. That being said, the large amount of information students are expected to learn can be overwhelming at first. You can help your student ease their concerns by noting concepts they may encounter, including:

  • Substitution

  • Equations

  • Percents

  • Proportions.

It’s key to understand that concepts learned in middle school math are often the foundation for higher-level courses students will take in the future. Skills learned now, for example, may come into play in high school geometry or calculus. Note that math classes build upon each other. Therefore, if students experience knowledge gaps at this level, it’s important to address them before moving on. Always encourage your student to discuss any concerns they may have with both you and their teacher.

Support development of these concepts by assisting your student in finding strategies that suit them best. It’s critical for students to find specific techniques that work best for their individual learning styles. If your student is a visual learner, they can research at home the concepts learned in class to find related educational videos. Students may also color-code notes to help further absorb information. Encourage your student to be honest with themselves about what helps them learn these important concepts best.

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Middle school math can provide opportunities for advancement

While not every middle school has honors math classes, it could be beneficial to inquire about the opportunities for advancement available to your student. If your student would thrive in an honors-level course, discuss with his or her teacher what options are available and what they would entail. These types of classes can provide the extra challenge some students are looking for. Additionally, taking honors math classes in middle school can gain students admission to higher-level high school math courses.   

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Middle school math doesn’t have to be a source of stress for you or your student. Have an open discussion with your student about their interests and concerns. Remind them to always approach teachers if they have questions or concerns, and to utilize appropriate study practices. This is a great opportunity for your student to take ownership of their learning and to seek out ways to excel.

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