Solving word problems in math seems to be that tricky part, that stumbling part, for most kids in homeschool. I was no exception when I was a kid! Kids need a routine or a formula that can follow to get to those answers. Here, you'll find those magical strategies for your kids to learn how to solve word math problems along with help for the homeschool mom when teaching this classic concept to your kids!
Teaching your kids how to solve word problems is an important step in their education. You can learn how teach math word problems to them by providing assistance, materials and encouragement. By teaching your homeschooled kids how to do this, you will be setting them up for success in all of their future endeavors!
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The Simple 5 step method for solving word problems
There are a lot of different ways to solve word math problems. Here are five steps that can help you get started with them as well as to help direct you on how to teach math word problems:
1. The first step is all about reading the problem and identifying the keywords, my friend. Have your child read the problem carefully, pay attention to important details, and single out those keywords. Keywords is how they'll solve these word problems! Because this will help them know what operations to use to solve the problem.
I always have my kids circle the keywords when reading math word problems. This way, the key phrases stand out to them. You can do this, too, or you could have them underline or highlight them just the same. You could even create a key word list and put it next to your kids during a math lesson for them to memorize because, eventually, they will commit these keywords to memory and when they do, it'll be a whole lot easier for them to solve these pesky problems.
Keywords to watch for include: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These key words will help you know what operations to use to solve the problem. Other words that might be helpful include: sum, increased by/decreased by, total of, gain, raise, more, difference, product, and quotient.
When in doubt, start by solving the easier math problems and work your way up to the more difficult ones. This is probably the best bet to start with then learning how to solve word math problems.
2. Write down what you know and what you need to find out. This will help you stay organized and focused. Sometimes it can be helpful to underline or highlight the information you need to solve the problem, similar to highlighting keywords but it's other information you don't want to dismiss.
Try to think about where each sentence begins and ends before starting or finishing another sentence within the word problem in order to really get what the problem is saying. Read – and make sure your child understands – one sentence at a time within the math problem. This is one great way when figuring out how to solve word problems.
3. Draw a picture or diagram to help visualize the problem. This can often be helpful in figuring out the solution. Whether it's drawing little duckies or simple x's and o's, visually seeing the problem really helps, especially for your visual learners.
4. Try different solving strategies until you find one that works. There is no one right way to solve word problems. You just need to find the method that works best for you. Keep reading to get a few strategies!
5. Check your work to make sure the final answer is reasonable. Make sure you are using the correct operations and that the answer makes sense and that it is, in fact, the correct answer. In math, you can go from problem to answers as well as answer to problem back again. Do this each time you solve a difficult math problem to make sure you come to the right answer.
For word problems, walk yourself through the problem while answering it with your answers along the way in order to hear out loud if it really makes sense and is reasonable.
Math can be a difficult subject for kids, but with a little bit of practice and some helpful strategies, they can learn to master word math problems. You can use these simple steps for two-step word problems as well as with a simple word problem. These five strategies will help your homeschool kids become more confident in learning how to solve word math problems.
Strategies: How to solve word problems
When solving word math problems, there are a few different strategies that you can try. Try different solving strategies until you find one that works. Sometimes it helps to try a variety of methods until you find the one that fits the problem best. These are also some of the best ways to go about learning how to teach math word problems.
Try to solve the problem using basic math skills that you already know. This might include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Take words and turn them into numbers to create a number sentence.
Strike out or cross out and eliminate any extra information. This is likely the FIRST thing you'll want to do!
Use a graphic organizer to add parts of the word problem to in order to create a more visual mathematical equation. There are free printables of graphics organizers online, which is actually a fun ways learning how to solve word problems.
Have your child read and then re-read the problem while looking for important information.
Make sure your child breaks the problem down into smaller, more manageable steps. This can make it easier to see the pattern and solution.
Have him or her write out the problem in words. This can help you see the meaning of the problem and how to approach solving it.
Group the numbers and symbols together. If it's a multi-step problem, group similar problems together. This can help you see the pattern or structure of the problem.
Once you have a general understanding of the problem, start solving it step by step.
Check your work to make sure the answer is reasonable. Make sure you are using the correct operations and that the answer makes sense.
If you get stuck, take a break and come back to the problem later. Sometimes it helps to see the problem from a different perspective.
Have your kids practice by creating their own word problem of relevant information, so they become familiar with it and for solving it.
Strategies to Teach Your Homeschool Kids How to Solve Word Math Problems
Teaching your kids how to solve word problems is an important step in their education for every grade level, especially since they absolutely will be using this information out in the real world. You can help them by providing assistance, materials and encouragement. When they are able to solve word problems independently, they will be successful in all of their future endeavors!
If you have any other tips or strategies that have helped your child, please share in the comments below!