confidence in math


Confidence in Math…for Everyone!

“…My daughter knows Saxon math is not my strong suit and so says “See? I can’t do it, like you.” And so I have started a tiny study group: me and her doing the lessons with Nicole, and then all the problems. She loves when she beats me, but also loves that I am right there to ask for help. Sometimes she teaches me; others, I teach her. Either way, we are both becoming math people.”

–Nicole, a Nicole the Math Lady subscriber

With Club Month in full swing, the testimonies of what happens when we challenge our kids are starting to roll in. The goal of making into one of my clubs works… but why? I wanted to take a moment to explain by going over the following:

Confidence in Math: Why I Started My Clubs

I want math to be accessible and even enjoyable for everyone. Everyone! I try to teach for the kids who already love math and for the kids who don’t– yet. Because of that, I wanted my clubs to go far beyond anything like what we remember from an “All-A Group” or Honor Roll. My clubs were designed to give your child benefits that will help them for years to come, not only in math but in life.

Perseverance matters so much to kids, and being rewarded for that early on helps build both confidence and grit. The 30-5 Club shows kids that even when it’s hard, they can build up to it. It also rewards them not for perfection, but for hard work and dedication. Most of what they will experience in life will require both of those things, so the 30-5 Challenge means they are developing them over time.

All my clubs are also designed to keep kids accountable. Because it’s measurable, there’s no room for “I think I did better,” or “I don’t feel like I’m improving.” Did you do the problems or not? Accountability works because expectations are set and it encourages students to take ownership of their work. Again, the practice with the Club helps set them up for success in Saxon, but also in so many future endeavors.

confidence in math

Confidence in Math: What the 30-5 Club REALLY Rewards

The 30-5 Club rewards students who simply show up and do their best on Saxon math, every day. Why? Because talent will only account for a small part of any success. Consistently doing your best will take anyone way farther than talent alone. So while some kids might never get 100% on a test, any kid can (and should) give a hearty effort day in and day out. 

Confidence in Math: How the 30-5 Club Measures Progress

The 30-5 Club also works because it measures effort (All Saxon math problems, for 5 practice sets in a row). Measurable efforts are a huge confidence booster! Why? Because improvement is obvious, even when it’s slight. So with the 30-5 Club, a kid who used to only do 15 or 20 problems a day can start to work up to 30, and then to 30 for multiple days in a row. Each increment of progress shows them they can do something new or difficult. That confidence in their ability to do hard things will carry over in ways we just can’t predict, for their entire life!

confidence in math

Here’s how to approach it: 

First, evaluate where your child is. This is your baseline. The two most easily measured pieces are: How many problems are they doing each day? How long is it taking them? John Saxon started a rigorous curriculum so for reference, understand that it’s not uncommon for a student, even at the younger levels, to take at least an hour each day to complete the work. (That work, however, is easily split into different parts to allow for breaks.) 

Now, look at some of the more subjective things: Are they struggling? Are they turning in work that just isn’t right? Is it taking them a really long time, even when they are focused? Are they open to help and correction? As we are evaluating, these are all just important pieces of the puzzle to keep in mind–because you’ll often see these aspects of your child change as they gain more confidence in math.

Next, set a goal. At what point would they like to be at 20, 25, and 30 problems a day? And then at what point do they think they might be able to go for 30 problems for 5 days in a row? Write it down and each time they hit part of their goal, celebrate it somehow.

Now, work and evaluate again, later. Over time, you’ll be able to measure if they are doing more, and/or if they are doing it in a shorter amount of time. You may anecdotally notice that some of the other issues get resolved as they make progress in the objectively measured areas. And over time, they will likely start to believe the 30-5 Club is do-able for them…and then make it happen!

Ready to take the leap? You can find the info on how to submit your child for 30-5 Club Membership here. Here’s to a great month as we work to achieve new and worthy goals, and develop skills that your kids will take way beyond their school years!

Talk to you soon,

Nicole the Math Lady


P.S. About The All-Right Club…


While the big focus currently is on the 30-5 Club, The All-Right Club hits on a different goal set for kids in Saxon Math. I like to encourage students to strive for excellence and confidence in math no matter where they are. And for some kids, excellence will mean getting everything right on a particular set of problems. That deserves to be rewarded. 


The All-Right Club represents a certain level of learning, certainly. But this isn’t just about putting perfection as the end goal. In my experience, the value of shooting for a perfect score comes from fully committing to a task. With this goal, there can be no cutting corners. No shortcuts.  A student can learn the value of committing to doing their best on every problem. 


In some ways, this may be the riskier club to try and get into! It’s tough to watch kids miss out on it by one or two problems, but remind your student that every step gets them closer to the goal. I also highly recommend celebrating the close calls, too, so that your student maintains his or her love of learning and gets rewarded for all their hard work, too.

Ready to apply? You can find information on getting into the All-Right Club Membership here



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