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What is Math Anxiety and How Can You Help a Child Who Has It?


As early as kindergarten, kids are introduced to math. As they progress in grade school, children will learn math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and more.

While math can be fun and challenging for some children, it can be a very different experience for others. For many students, working with numbers and math concepts can lead to math anxiety, in which they can develop a fear and stress about math. They can feel anxiety about not getting the answers right and not understanding what is being taught. They may feel frustrated and upset about not doing well in math, and may develop a dislike for the subject, making the development of math skills even more difficult.

Common Causes of Math Anxiety

Often, children develop math anxiety when they don’t master early math skills, and then are continually expected to learn additional math when they haven’t yet gained the fundamental knowledge.

Just as a solid building cannot be erected upon a shaky foundation, expecting a child to gain new math skills when they haven’t mastered the basics can lead to lack of confidence and anxiety about math. But this is precisely what can happen when children try to struggle to find the correct answers to math problems without understanding the concepts in the first place.

School-age children may also see peers excelling in math and develop a belief that they are not as “naturally” good at math as these other children are. This can lead to self-doubt and a reluctance to try harder at improving their own math skills.

How to Handle Math Anxiety

Parents can help a child overcome math anxiety by offering reassurance, practical assistance, and by making it fun. Most of all, they can set the tone by developing a positive attitude toward math themselves, and trying to find a way to use numbers as much as they can with their child in everyday life. Here are some ways parents can help their child avoid stress about math.

Play math games. Whether you play "math games online, get out some number-centric board games such as Monopoly or Double Shutter, or use some common kitchen items to play with numbers, playing games that are math and numbers oriented is an excellent way to make math fun and get children interesting in doing math.
Be aware of your own attitude toward math. Have you ever said things such as, “I’m not good at math,” or “I just don’t like math”? If so, consider changing your attitude, or at least not voicing such negative ideas about math out loud. Your child is watching and learning from you, and if you express negative feelings about math rather than talk about the fun and important aspects of math, then you are doing your child a disservice.
Practice with your child. When it comes to math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, nothing beats practicing. And learning multiplication facts is a matter of drilling. Practice multiplication tables on the way to school, while your child is having a bath, right before story time at night -- whenever you can squeeze it in. Print out math worksheets and practice doing math problems, making things fun and challenging by using a timer or giving your child a treat for finishing the problems and getting faster doing them.
Ditch the idea that some people are not good at math. This is a particularly important message for girls, who may pick up the misconception prevalent in the world today that boys are better at math than girls. While some experts have asserted that a math gender gap no longer exists, other researchers have argued that it does; the reason for those differences are likely complex and varied, including parents’ and educators’ failure to nurture girls’ confidence in math, societal pressure for girls not to succeed in math, and parents’ and teachers’ failure to spot girls’ early struggles with math, which can then worsen over time.
Get help early. And while we’re on the subject of a math gender gap, a fascinating study from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign found that the math gender gap between girls and boys widens between kindergarten and 5th grade. Moreover, the study determined that many teachers may mistake girls’ attentiveness in class and completion of assignments as indicators that they understand the material, when in fact they may not. To make sure that a child -- boy or girl -- really does understand the material, teachers and parents should go over the material with the child, and if necessary, give him or her some extra help as soon as possible.
Help your child shake off mistakes. One of the best things you can do as you help your child develop math skills and learn other academic and life lessons is to assure him that mistakes are something that will happen and that they are learning opportunities. If you can help your child put math mistakes into perspective and remind him that they are what will ultimately help him learn, your child will be less likely to develop anxiety about math.

courtesy :By Katherine Lee

It's good that you are taking him to school every day even though he is crying. That's tough, but it's really the best way to help him through it. Any of a number of things could be going on with him; but since he is doing well while at school, the problem with crying at home should ease over the next few weeks. Sometimes kids have a bout with school anxiety after the holidays or summer vacation.

Without interrogating him, see if you can pick up some clues about what is worrying him. Sometimes you can pinpoint a certain trigger for the anxiety. Often it is a combination of factors at home and school that lead to the anxiety related to school avoidance. Stresses at home may lead him to worry about leaving you. Or, fears and worries about certain aspects of school may be the triggers.

If you think that he has overheard something at home that has him worried, find some ways to reassure him that you are just fine. Don't oversympathize when he says he misses you. Instead, be matter-of-fact about going to school while you maintain good structure and familiar routines at home.

Ask him about a variety of activities at school. Does he worry about going to the bathroom? Is there an atmosphere of strict punishment in the school or classroom? Does he have playmates in his class? Are there problems with bullies? Again, don't interrogate him about school. Simply talk about his day and listen for clues that might tell you why "school is too long".

If the problem continues or worsens, by all means, take him to a child therapist. You don't want to let his anxiety build without addressing it. School avoidance can have serious consequences in the short and long term. He's young and he misses you; that's understandable. But, crying every morning isn't good for anyone. If it continues, a good counselor can make a world of difference for you and your child.
From Kimberly L. Keith, former Guide


How does a student benefit by taking NCO ?
Participants of NCO are ranked on the basis of marks obtained. Hence, after taking the first level of the test, students can judge themselves academically at four different levels - within the school, at city and state level, and above all at International level. Finally students are suitably awarded based on their international ranking. Prizes include cash prizes, computers, medals, CD’s, etc.. The prizes for the first 3 toppers of each class are awarded at a grand prize distribution ceremony presided over by an eminent personality. Rest of the prizes are either sent to the schools or can be collected from the Foundation’s office after announcement. State level prizes are also being initiated to award state toppers.

Who all are eligible to sit for the NCO?
Students of classes 2nd to 12th are eligible to appear for the NCO. There is no other eligibility criterian like minimum marks. The top 500 All-India ranked students of the first round from each class and 10 state toppers class wise are eligible to appear in the 2nd level online / offline exam.

I am interested to take part in the NCO. Tell me how will I come to know about the details of the exam?
All the relevant information is sent to the schools all over the country along with prospectus, registration forms and posters before the first round and then as the date and venue of the second level is decided, the information is sent to the relevant schools again. The students come to know about the necessary details from their school teachers or through the Foundation's official website

Myself and few of my friends are interested to take part in the NCO but our school has not yet received any information regarding the Olympiad. What do we do?
Let us know the complete address of your school. We will send detailed information and registration forms to your School so that your Principal / Computer Teacher can register your names for the exam.

What is the syllabus for the NCO?
The syllabus of the NCO is the Computers and Mathematics syllabus as is prescribed by the CBSE, ICSE or various state boards. If you sit for the second level and have moved onto the next class, the syllabus will remain the same (i.e. of the previous class). The syllabus is also posted on the Foundation’s website.

Are there any special books which the participants should refer to for the NCO preparation?
There are no special books as such. In general, NCERT books/course books prescribed by the CBSE/ICSE/STATE BOARDS are sufficient for the preparation. Your computer curriculum book is good enough to prepare you for NCO. MTG NCO Class wise Workbooks contain useful matter including exercises and previous years paper of NCO.

My school does not want to register for the NCO, but I am very eager to write the exam. Can I do it on my own?
SOF does not encourage individual participation. Students have to register through their schools only.

I have already appeared for the NCO while I was in a lower class? Can I appear again?
Definitely yes. This will give you an opportunity to improve your previous rankings, and if you are successful in doing so, you will again be eligible for certificates and prizes.
My school has already despatched the registration form. I am left out and I want to register myself for the NCO...
You can request your school authority to send your exam relevant details and fee immediately to us. We accept it if it reaches us before the last date of registration (usually 4 weeks before the exam).

I am going to write the NCO for the first time. Can I get sample papers?
Sample Papers are sent to all the registered schools. SOF website also contains these papers (link for NSO / NCO / IMO). Sample papers sent to the schools prior to the first level test are helpful and can be used for both levels of NCO.

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