1. **Remove all distractions from the learning space.**

The cute cat, the dancing dog, the food, the beverage, the cell phone, and little brother watching cartoons in the next room–they all have to go! Whether class has started or kids are doing homework, create a genuine learning space. Doing math requires a quiet environment, free of distractions. Lay the foundation for your kids’ success.

**2. Break for 30 minutes between end of classes and start of homework.**

Experts say a short break helps. This is an ideal time for snacks and drinks. Most students struggle with math more than other subjects, so do math homework first. By moving math tutoring sessions from 6pm to 3pm, I found that students had a better attitude about math and completed homework more quickly and more accurately.

** 3. Ask kids for evidence of completed & uploaded assignments**

From the start, let your kids know you need evidence of completed homework. Ask for an image or print screen saying the assignment was successfully uploaded and ask to see the original homework assignment so you can verify all exercises were done. Use Fridays to double check with math teachers (or dashboards) that there are no missing assignments. Missing math assignments should be completed on weekends.

*Monica Johnston has tutored since she was a teenager and has successfully tutored hundreds of students around the Bay Area for the last 30 years. Contact her at myneighborhoodtutor@gmail.com.*

## Practical Measures for Assessing How Well Your Teen Understands Math

A parent told me that her daughter had a B in math, so tutoring was not crucial. The teen failed the first three math tests and couldn’t do her homework without help. How is a B possible?For grades 6-12, a course grade may not be a good metric for mastery of math, especially given the increasing use of test corrections to boost a grade. The ability to do a typical homework assignment without help and in 45-60 minutes is a better metric, especially for students in Algebra II/Trigonometry or lower.

Test corrections, which are a reactive form of learning, are only one form of learning and not the most desirable. Post-test learning competes with learning the next topic. It reduces the importance of studying and test preparation. Students have said that they don’t study too hard for tests because they can “make it up” with test corrections. For my newer students, about 25% of learning occurs during our review of their graded exams. Within 6-8 weeks, I’ve helped them shift from reactive to proactive learning.

Proactive learning starts when the student reads about a math topic before the teacher lectures. Learning should happen during the lecture. By reading the book or lecture notes, a student can learn after the lecture. Learning takes place during homework and the next class when the teacher asks for questions. Learning happens during test. With this much learning, who needs test corrections?