May 29, 2024

Are Math Struggles Bad?

The Math Struggle Is Real!

The tears, the fights, the defiance, and the defeat is a part of the lives of many students as they try to navigate the waters of mathematics. Over the years I have had conversations with many parents and students who have always struggled with math. This has led them to the belief that they are not good at math and never will be. The struggle also can lead to anxiety and tears.

Is the struggle bad? In a word….maybe!

Not all struggle is bad and sometimes it takes a bit of time to determine the struggle that is happening. Learning any new thing is going to necessitate a certain amount of struggle. If you sit down at the piano to play, it takes time, effort and struggle. This is the good kind of struggle. For so many who have struggled, they were unable to figure out a way past the struggle and that was frustrating. There can be many reasons that students find math very difficult. It can be a result of a weak foundation or it can be a lack of clear explanation. When I started developing Unlock Math, I began with the basic premise that most students CAN do the math if it is explained in a way that is clear and makes sense. My goal in each lesson was to make it as clear as possible without unnecessary information added that only muddies the waters and makes an explanation less clear.

Unlock Math has had so much success with students who previously struggled...

our clear explanations that make the concepts make sense for them have helped many have go on to achieve math success they didn’t think was possible. Having said that however, these students all had two things in common:

1. They all struggled to understand before beginning Unlock Math.

2. They all put the effort into their learning.

They came up against challenging topics that took longer to grasp, but they didn’t give up. It doesn’t matter how great any program is, if the effort isn’t put in (the struggle forward) then success is very hard to obtain.

A student, Grace, wrote to me and told me how much Unlock Math changed her life because math was always so hard and she just couldn’t grasp the concepts and it was her least favorite subject. After she began Unlock Math, she began to understand and see the beauty in mathematics and is now pursing a path that leads to a doctorate in mathematics.

"My name is Grace, and I have an Unlock Math success story to share with you. I took Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 from you in 2019 and 2020. Before I started using your curriculum, I hated math. Math was scary and difficult for me, and I was never really able to understand it. When I began using your program, however, Unlock Math opened my eyes to the wonder and beauty of math, and I fell in love with it. The videos you created were engaging, fun, and easy to understand, and the practice problems provided me with ample practice on the mathematical concepts. I especially loved the challenge questions at the end of each lesson, which helped extend my knowledge of the concepts further. Unlock Math has been the most influential math curriculum I have ever taken, since it completely altered the course of my life. Taking your courses changed me from a math hater to an avid math enthusiast. Now math is my passion and is by far my favorite subject in school. I am now a high school senior and, because of you, am preparing to major in math as I transition to college this year. Currently, I work as a teacher’s assistant teaching math to others and as a private math tutor. Thank you so much for your amazing curriculum that has completely changed my view of math and set me on the path to hopefully earn a PhD in Mathematics someday!" - Grace

Another student, Luke, always struggled with math. Luke began with Unlock Math after failing Algebra I. On the autism spectrum, he had struggled with math for years.In less than two years with UnLock Math he entered college, at 16, ahead of schedule.

When he found us, he worked very hard and the math began making sense! He is now pursuing a STEM career with a full ride scholarship!

“I have no words to thank you! Luke, 16 years old, who is on the autism spectrum and has many struggles, passed the PERT, a college entrance exam, and got an honors level placement in College Algebra. Honestly, I never thought he would make it to Algebra, but he has surpassed all my expectations!” - Rodica

The point is that if your student is struggling to understand with a program that isn’t clear or doesn’t make sense – that is the bad struggle. Your student needs to “connect” to the curriculum. Concepts need to be explained in a way that makes sense to THEM. The struggle that comes with learning something new and challenging is a good thing and develops the brain in so many positive ways if the student is learning and putting the effort in.

Until next time, Alesia