I Need Algebra Help!

This page discusses ideas on how a parent/teacher/tutor can offer Algebra Help to their students.  If you are looking for specific help with an algebra topic - please visit my Basic Algebra hub page.

Have you heard this, one too many times? To offer your child effective algebra help, start by refreshing your own memory of the Properties of Arithmetic.  

If you are unsure of your abilities to self tutor your child, visit the parent center which is full of hints and tips for you to apply.

So what is Algebra?

Algebra to arithmetic is the same as a JCB to digging with a shovel!

It terrifies some people, but there really isn't anything difficult about it.  You must simply know the rules, know when to apply them, and calculate.  Having said this ..algebra is a means to generalizing any math process involving numbers in our number system.  

A strong foundation in numbers and operations is essential. Your child should be comfortable writing numbers in their expanded form.  If your child struggles with this, don't start them on the Algebra route just yet.

Being able to articulate generalizations from arithmetic and patterns is a skill used throughout algebra.

Algebra combines all the skills used in the five main areas of elementary math.

Once you have brought your child up to speed (if required) the place to start is basic algebra.  The reason for this is so you can monitor their reactions to certain types of questions.

For example:  if they can jump in and solve this math problem;

18 + ___ = 20  (answer is 2)

But appear anxious when presented with

14 + x = 19 (answer is 5);

They are indicating a problem with algebraic variables.  There are many printable math worksheets at your disposal on this site to give your child plenty of algebra practice.

By Fourth Grade

At about Fourth grade, your child should have the ability to solve algebraic equations and inequalities with one variable, using procedures and algebra facts. They will rely less and less on observations and trial and error.

Other Kinds of Algebra Help

Showing your kid algebra in use in daily life might just be the help they need.

Making use of a weighing scale image can greatly assist with inequalities in a visual way.  If you know your child is a visual learner, aids like this will work wonders for their algebra comprehension.

Exposing your child to the mathematicians behind algebra and some famous number patterns is a must. The Fibonacci Numbers and the Gold Ratio might be just what they need to spur an exploratory interest in algebra.

An excellent way to offer your child algebra help is to show them that it is real and everywhere around them.  It exists in nature as well as man made items.  Send them on a Tessellations hunt, or Pattern Hunting. Of course they should record their finding in their math journal.  Perhaps you could use their findings in a Data and Probability project!

This will encourage your child to look beyond text book math and perhaps broaden their horizons, and with luck, their love of mathematics. 

If you enjoyed this piece on Algebra Help, there are more excellent hints and tips in our online tutor section, or explore everything else Printable Math Worksheets has to offer.

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