When your child comes home with work he or she does not understand you naturally want to do all can to help your child. One of the problems you will face is interpreting exactly what help your child needs.
You may sometimes faced with the rather solemn and unsmiling face. This is the face your child shows when life is obviously unfair.
“My teacher told me to leave the hard questions and then come back to them at the end. I did leave the hard questions out and I did come back to them and I still could not do them. What do I do?”
“I was told to leave the proportion questions as we had not done them at school or at home. I am not sure how to do: ‘If 8 men dig a ditch in 6 days, how long does it take 16 men?’ Anyway my teacher told me that it was unlikely that a question like this would come up in the examination.”
So here we have a situation where your child is able to blame someone else for not learning how to do a topic. This could be a fair reaction if your child has been given incorrect information – but not if the teacher has deferred coving the topic until a more opportune moment. So in a case like this all you can do is to reassure your child that you will not forget to initiate a follow up.
If your child has not covered the basics of the topic at school then you are faced with a different set of circumstances. Suppose your child is not very certain of his or her tables. (Especially the eight times table.) Then it becomes very difficult for your child to understand the mechanics of realising why you need to multiply, in the example given above, the 8 times the 6 to work out how long it would take one man to dig the ditch. Your child may find it difficult to multiply 6 times 8 to make 48. There may be an even bigger problem when your child needs to be able to divide the 48 days by 16.
So in this particular set of circumstances your child’s frustration may not be with you, or the teacher, or the tutor – but may not understand the topic because of poor tables.