Reasons Why Students Struggle With Math


To help your child make learning math easier, you should first work out why they’re finding it difficult. For many children, it isn’t what they’re learning in math that’s hard, but how and why they’re learning it.

Here are some common reasons why math is hard to learn for some children:

1. Concentration and Lack Of attention 

When your child is trying to solve a math problem, they need to concentrate and carefully follow each step. If they lose concentration or are distracted at any point in this process, they’re much more likely to make a mistake and will have to start over until they get the right answer. 

Over time, making the same mistakes repeatedly can lower your child’s confidence and interest when solving math problems, especially if they feel like they’re falling behind their classmates. 

2. Lack of understanding the problem

A lot of math lessons start with a teacher presenting a math problem to the class and walking them through a step-by-step method to help them solve it.

After watching the teacher solve a problem using a specific method, your child might feel confident enough to try it out on their own. 

But when they’re presented with a more challenging problem later on, they might realize they didn’t fully understand the method taught in class. This can lower your child’s confidence. They may even avoid letting their teacher know, because they feel embarrassed they didn’t understand the method. 

School absences like vacations and sick days are other common reasons why your child may have a hard time understanding a particular math concept. If they don’t have the opportunity to catch up on their missed learning, this can cause them to feel left behind and find math harder to learn than their classmates.

3. Learning difficulties

While teachers do a great job of bringing out the best in their students, the classroom isn’t always the easiest learning environment for every child. 

For children with learning difficulties, it’s much harder to enjoy learning math without a teacher or teaching assistant who knows how to properly support them.

If you suspect your child is experiencing a learning difficulty and believe it’s affecting their performance in math, contact your child’s teacher or school. Many schools offer special learning programs that will identify your child’s difficulty and tailor a learning program designed to help them reach their full potential.

4. Impatient In Solving Math

Math involves using plenty of multi-step processes to solve problems, being able to master it takes a lot more practice than other subjects.

Having to repeat a process over and over again can quickly bore some children and this may make them become impatient with math. While learning to be patient is an important step in your child’s development, they should also be encouraged to practice math with activities that are fun and engaging.

5. Online opportunity

More often than not, children aren’t aware of how they can practice basic math outside of school and homework. This can cause them to lose interest and make it harder for them to feel motivated with math.

But it doesn’t always have to be that way! Engaging and educational math resources like online tutoring change that by giving your child plenty of fun opportunities to practice their math skills outside of school.

6. Math anxiety

Math anxiety is a phobia that appears when someone is faced with math problems. It tends to appear when a child or adult is placed in a testing environment, but may also appear when they have math class or need to do math homework.

Math anxiety shows up in many different ways. Your child may appear quiet and nervous or be reluctant to go to school when they have a math class or test. While challenging, math anxiety can be successfully managed with support from professionals like teachers and tutors.

Real-life value of math

One of the biggest reasons why students find math hard is because they don’t understand its value in real life. This attitude becomes harder to shake off when students are about to start high school math, which is more theory-based.

If your child is questioning the real-life value of math, explore why they think that is with them. You could explain to them that math offers plenty of real-life benefits, including:

  • Better job opportunities — As a STEM subject, math skills are in high demand and will give your child plenty of opportunities to achieve their future career aspirations.
  • Better money management — Being able to understand topics like interest and budgeting helps your child save and manage money more efficiently, meaning more opportunities for them to enjoy their favorite things. 
  • Computational skills — Math is a great way to develop technical skills in computer science, robotics and engineering.
  • Problem-solving skills — The skills learned in math class give students the ability to think analytically and solve problems using logic and reasoning, helping them to make better decisions.