Q:

While my children do all right in math in elementary school, they usually get just B's. I wonder if you have some tips that might help them get A grades. -- Seeking Help

A:

What you do to sharpen your children's math skills will depend on what grade they are in school. Since your children are already receiving good grades, slight tweaks could result in even better grades.

Our number one suggestion for helping children in elementary school is for them to neaten up their work if it is sloppy and causing errors to be made. Young children may need to work on the correct formation of numbers, while older students should make sure the numbers in problems are properly aligned. It also helps at this level to make manipulatives to use at home to reinforce basic concepts and to sing the basic math facts to make recalling them easier. In addition, there are a great number of websites that let children drill on the basic facts.

Students in middle school and high school may find it easier to solve word problems if they use smaller numbers in place of the actual numbers in a problem. It also helps if they underline the key facts in a problem and cross out unnecessary ones. They should also circle the question that they need to answer. And sometimes drawing a picture can help in solving problems.

When students take more advanced math classes, they may find it helpful to work with another student and keep formulas on a small card to trigger their memories.