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Math skills can benefit career paths
Today's Objective: Help high school students improve their achievement levels in math by showing relevance and encouraging them to use their teachers as a resource.

Glynn Academy math teacher Holly Carter understands the difficulty many parents face when trying to help their children with math once they're in high school.

Modern math curriculums begin introducing concepts in trigonometry and calculus as early as ninth grade, Carter said.

"Some of these concepts are tough for parents," Carter said.

Keeping in touch with teachers regularly will help parents know what is happening in class and give them a better grip on what their sons and daughters are studying.

For parents who find it intimidating to help high school students with math they haven't used since their own high school days, encouraging students to get together to form study groups is a good way to pool resources, Carter said.

Parents can also help their high school students by simply encouraging them to overcome a fear of math, she said.

"That is often the biggest obstacle for students," Carter said.

Parents can resort to a classic tactic to ensure students are giving it their all.

"A good old-fashioned bribe always works," Carter said with a laugh.

Setting up a system of small rewards for a student who might be less than motivated in math can be a good way to stimulate them to keep up with their work.

Another way to foster an interest in math is to show students why the subject is relevant, Carter said.

Remember that teenagers are starting to consider life after high school and what they might do as a future career, she said.

Sitting down to discuss what jobs they are interested in and how math might play an important part in their career choice could give students the spark they need to dive deeper into the subject, Carter said.

"Parents can even find someone locally to introduce their high schooler to that can talk about what they do," she said.

Simply keeping up with what is happening in class can be fruitful. Teacher websites allow parents to check lesson plans, keep up with homework assignments and know when tests are coming up, Carter said.

"Websites are great resources because they keep parents informed and have Internet resources they can use to help their kids improve," Carter said.

* The Homework Project appears Thursday. Contact Michael Hall at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 320 to suggest a topic for a column.

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