Message for Parents
Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have a question, or would like an update on your child's progress. Occasionally some high school students are not always forthcoming with answers to the age old question, "How are you doing in math class?" I would be more than happy to help you obtain an answer to that question. If you would like to contact me the best way is by e-mail, using Nancy_Ramsay@pittsford.monroe.edu. In your message please let me know if you would like me to respond electronically or by phone. If you would like me to call you, please tell me your phone number and the best time to call.
Please use the links below to get more information on specific course requirements, what to do if your child is having trouble in math, or what type of calculator to get for your child.
Math is my child's most difficult subject. What can I do to help?
Tell your child that it's natural to be frustrated about a subject he finds difficult. Math is sometimes hard. Admit it. Forget about trying to list the virtues of math and its applications in real-world situations. Kids have already figured out that you can buy some really great items on sale without being able to calculate "20% off," you can enjoy a trip to the mountains without memorizing the equation for linear distance, and board games are fun to play even if you don't know the probability of rolling double sixes. So, what do you tell your child when he complains, "Why do I have to learn this stuff anyway?" Tell him this: Math teaches you how to think. The thinking that must go on when you do math helps in all your other subjects. When you are "doing math," you are practicing thinking. Math is weightlifting for the brain. Occasionally, it can be dreary and repetitious. At times, it can be incredibly frustrating. But the struggles you'll experience as you work your way through the math textbook serve to strengthen your mind. There's no greater discipline, no better way to train your brain.
How can I help? I've forgotten so much! Commonly, most parents last opened a math text book when they were in high school or college. It is not surprising that you may be a little unsure of how to help your child have a successful experience in their high school math class. Here are some tips.
1. To begin with, watch your attitude! If you had a hard time in math, or if you currently wrestle with it, it's OK to acknowledge that to your children. But please don't dump on math. Instead, emphasize its importance and value. Positive messages will lead to more positive results in your children. Just as you might look over an essay or talk about a novel that has been assigned in English class, ask your child what he's doing when you see him working on math. And when he says, "Doing my math homework," have him explain it to you. "Gosh! It's been so long. I've forgotten how to do that. Can you remind me how it's done?"
2. Stress the importance of nightly homework. Use this web site to regularly check your child's homework assignments. Assignment sheets for each chapter will be posted, along with Cumulative Reviews (for Pre-Calculus) and Written Assignments (for AP Calculus and Multivariable Calc). Expect homework to be assigned every night (including weekends). I will always insist that students show all their work. You may not know if it is correct, but if you look closely, and try and follow each step, common sense should tell you if the paper contains honest-to-goodness "math work" or just a few numbers on a page.
3. Check to make sure your child has completed ALL of the assignment. Each problem is assigned for a reason. Doing "all but the last 3" is never a good idea.
4. Neatness counts. Watch for it! The neater the paper, the greater number of correct answers, and the messier the work, the more careless the computation becomes.
5. Help guide your child as he/she learns to set priorities. You can do this by setting a good example. Schedule family events such as reunions or vacations so that they coincide with school breaks (summer, winter and spring breaks and the usual three-day holidays). By choosing responsibility over fun and convenience, you are sending a clear message to your children that you think their schooling is of the utmost importance. In addition, you can guide them as they begin to have more input into their own schedules. The majority of high school students tend to be very involved in extra curricular activities such as choir, clubs, band, drama, and sports. These are healthy, enriching activities that help them develop into interesting, well-rounded adults. From time-to-time, one or more of these activities is bound to conflict with another. Sometimes they conflict with their math studies. That's when choices have to be made. Of course, as their math teacher, I want to encourage them to choose a course of action that will be of the greatest benefit to their success in my class. Still, I realize that every situation is different. You and your child are the best judges. The choice will be yours. Help guide them as they set priorities and support them in their decisions.
6. Contact me RIGHT AWAY if you are concerned. You can call the math office 267-3146 or send me an e-mail. Early intervention is always the best course of action.