Ideas to Motivate Sixth-Grade Boys in Math Class

Sitting still can make it hard for boys to process difficult concepts, and introducing movement may help.
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Sixth-grade boys are usually more interested in girls or playing with their friends than they are learning about math. It can be difficult to get them to focus and to become motivated about the subject matter, but it is important because sixth-grade math builds the foundation for more difficult concepts in the coming years. Helping your child overcome weaknesses, develop effective study strategies and have fun can help.

1 Offer Support

GreatSchools says that a lack of support at home can lead to a lack of motivation in students. Support can simply mean offering your child encouragement or listening to him when he talks about his difficulty in math. Support can also mean helping him with his homework, running drills and answering questions about problematic concepts. Don't place pressure on your child to perform as this can undermine your efforts and cause him to lose his motivation.

2 Challenge Students

Sixth-grade boys may lose their motivation because they don't feel challenged or because they don't believe in their own ability. GreatSchools says that students mirror adult attitudes, and if they aren't given challenging work, they won't feel up to the challenge. You can help your child feel challenged and believe in his own ability by getting him additional tutoring modified to his own learning needs. These sessions can supplement what he is learning in the classroom and help him get excited about what he's learning. You can also talk to his teacher about providing more challenging work or perhaps some work for extra credit.

3 Get Them Moving

Duke University says that boys need movement and physical activity to help them learn. Whenever possible, get your boy moving when you are working on homework together or going over difficult concepts. For example, you might get your family together to have a relay race, and at each tag-off point, your child must correctly answer a math problem. Another option is a boards-up game. Give your boy and any other family members who wish to participate a small whiteboard and a marker. Pose math questions, and the first person to raise his board with the right answer wins a point.

4 Reward Them

Rewards and recognition can be motivating for kids. Scholastic recommends offering incentives for good performance such as a skate party or a movie outing. Other rewards might include additional phone privileges, a new CD or a video game, or even cash. The more motivation your child needs, the bigger the incentive may need to be. Start small and work your way up as needed. Keep a chart of your child's progress so he can see the results -- not just in the rewards he gets -- but also in the achievement he is making on test scores and grades.

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.