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2nd Grade Math: How To Help Your Child With Homework!

Math in 2nd grade: A lot of material - also in homework

When dealing with math in the 2nd grade, your child will discover, among other things, the number range up to 100, get to know the multiplication table and deal with the basic arithmetic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in the form of semi-written arithmetic. In addition, sizes, monetary values, lengths and time are dealt with in the 2nd class. The formation of terms, the development of the size concept and the introduction of some standardized units of measurement (liters, kilograms, meters) are in the foreground. This previous knowledge will be taken up, deepened, expanded and systematized in the next school years.

This is quite a challenge for the little second graders, because after the concentrated work at school, homework is often still waiting in the afternoons. The homework checks whether your child has understood the school material and can implement it independently in solving the tasks. "Mom, help me out!“Is an often heard sentence that comes from the nursery. But the well-intentioned support from parents is not always helpful. Especially if the child is relieved of their own thinking, puts themselves under pressure to perform or parents use outdated explanations from their own school days, the help with homework does more harm than it does.

Math Homework: How To Help You The Right Way!

Basically, when learning together with your child, you should always comply with the current school material and the learning and solution paths conveyed there. In case of doubt, a conversation with the teacher will clarify the situation. Ask for:

  • What additional exercise material does your child use to learn at school?
  • Which calculation methods are taught?
  • Which learning goals are planned for the first half of the year?
  • What can useful exercises at home look like?
  • Which skills are expected from your child?

If you use this information to help your child with their homework, not much can go wrong.

In the following example “Max is doing maths” you can see what an effective and structured homework aid in mathematics can look like.

Homework example: "Max is doing math"

Arithmetic problems in the number range up to and over 100: Seven-year-old Max comes home with a whole package of math problems. He sits brooding in front of his book and cannot find a beginning. To him the mountain of homework seems huge and insurmountable. Too many arithmetic problems are waiting to be solved. He is desperate and calls for help.

The first tasks concern the addition and look like this:
The point here is to add a two-digit number with a single-digit number. Sometimes the 100 is exceeded, but sometimes not.
91 + 7 = __________92 + 3 = __________
96 + 5 = __________93 + 4 = __________
99 + 3 = __________97 + 9 = __________
92 + 2 = __________94 + 4 = __________
The next tasks train subtraction and look like this:
The point here is to subtract a three or two digit number from a one or two digit number.
100 – 8 = __________100 – 10 = __________
99 – 7 = __________99 - 9 = __________
95 – 3 = __________87 - 6 = __________
97 – 9 = __________97 - 7 = __________
Finally, Max should also solve supplementary problems in the number range up to 100:
The point here is to subtract a two-digit number from a two- or three-digit number.
90 + __________ = 100100 – __________ = 99
95 + __________ = 9999 – __________ = 95
92 + __________ = 9793 – __________ = 91
91 + __________ = 9598 – __________ = 9




Step by step to the homework solution

Since Max looks very tired and discouraged, his mother decides not to start doing homework right away, but to motivate her child first. She knows: the more listless and demotivated her child is, the longer the homework will take. A little encouragement in advance may cost valuable time in the beginning, but in the long run it has a positive effect on doing homework. She decides to have a short talk in which she wants to motivate her son. Because only if Max opens up to active cooperation will he work quickly and try to understand and solve the arithmetic problems.

Tip 1: Have an encouraging conversation and motivate the child

Max's mother knows that her child can do quite well at math. However, the boy quickly feels overwhelmed and easily loses track of things. Then he doubts his ability and has problems even getting involved in the tasks. In addition, he is exhausted after class and needs some time to recover. With an understanding, positive conversation, she first breaks through Max's negative attitude. It could look like this:

  • Was it hard at school today?
  • Were all your friends there, or was someone sick?
  • Would you like to have a drink before doing homework? A bright head needs a lot of fluids to learn.
  • Show me what you did today. I am very proud of you.
  • How much you've learned in school so far!
  • Come on, let's see if you can work as well today as you did yesterday.

Tip 2: Make a clear time agreement

It is particularly frustrating for Max when he cannot foresee when his homework will finally be done and he can go play. He is then extremely unmotivated and cannot find a start. His mother knows that homework shouldn't take longer than half an hour in the first two years of school. However, the reality is often different. Many first and second graders sit at their desks for over an hour until they have everything done. So it is difficult to estimate in advance when the free time begins. That demotivates.

Max's mother does it better. She pays attention to the time frame every day and breaks off homework time after a maximum of 40 minutes of continuous work. An alarm clock on the desk stops the time. So Max can be sure that after work he will still have time for other activities. That increases his motivation. A short note to the teacher, if Max did not manage everything in the agreed time, avoids trouble.

Tip 3: have auxiliary material ready

Max succeeds in arithmetic problems much better if he can use his hundred block of pearls in an emergency. His mother knows this and makes sure that the pearls are ready, because for arithmetic in the number range up to a hundred, students in the first grades usually have special visual aids that illustrate the quantities and arithmetic movements. This can be, for example, a number house, a block of hundreds, pearl necklaces, Montessori arithmetic pearls or colorful wooden arithmetic sticks. These arithmetic aids can of course also be used for homework. It is important not to provide any material other than what is used in school, otherwise a child can easily become confused.

Tip 4: I can already do that: light things first!

In the next step, Max and his mother get an overview of their homework. The boy thinks about which tasks he will understand right away. He then starts with these simple calculations, because he can solve them himself. Both agree that Max should call his mother as soon as he can no longer get anywhere on his own. Max works quickly and quickly solved the task blocks with the addition. When his mother checks the solutions, she does not find a mistake. Max also coped with the tasks in which the result was more than 100.

Tip 5: Name your successes - Praise and recognition motivate your child

Max ’mother doesn’t skimp on praise, because her son has honored the first agreement wonderfully. Relaxed and interested, both of them now take a look at the next tasks that involve subtraction. Here it is not easy for Max to calculate beyond a ten jump, so he uses his additional material to help. Again his mother leaves the room and only comes back when Max calls her. When checking the solution, two errors appear, but Max quickly corrects them when asked.

Tip 6: Final spurt with the tricky tasks

Finally, Max dares to do the supplementary tasks that he didn't understand very well in school. Due to the success of the previous homework, Max now also dares to tackle the difficult material. Together with his mother, he thinks about how the missing number could be calculated. The illustrative material helps him to do this. In the first task 90 + ____ = 100 he clarifies the two sums and quickly sees that exactly 10 are missing here. The round sums make it easy for him to come up with the right calculation method. With the next task he tries to subtract the first number from the result in order to calculate the missing difference. The cross check shows that his calculation method was correct. Highly motivated and proud, Max now also solves the last tasks. It takes half an hour to finish.

Tip 7: Well done! That'll work next time too

After the booklet has been closed and the tasks have been completed, Max's mother summarizes her son's achievements again. “Look how fast it went. You were able to solve more than half of it all by yourself, and I only helped you a little with the rest. It was really fun to see how you came up with the solutions. Super Max, I'll tell Dad that afterwards! ”Such a homework situation does not burden children or parents, because with motivation and a clear framework it is almost always possible to cope with the workload in a manageable time and with little stress.

  • My advice: Even better than a clock or an alarm clock on the desk that parents have to program is a fun egg timer for second graders. This allows you to set the agreed period of time yourself and easily check it.