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Why Do So Many Students Hate Math?

Schoolboy doing math on green chalkboard in a classroom at elementary school

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Audio Article

 “Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.” – Shakuntala Devi.

Does your child dread and whine during math lessons and homework?  Do you fight over math homework more than all the other subjects? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. “I hate math!” is a common and heartbreaking phrase in very many households.   So many children experience anxiety, dislike, excessive academic pressure, and low self-esteem due to their inability to grasp some math concepts. A child’s wrong attitude and frustration towards math can get into any parent’s nerve, and worse, it can affect atheir performance in the subject.

Let’s explore some of the reasons behind the hatred for math and the possible solutions for the problems.


Learning gaps in math can contribute significantly to your child’s hate for math. Math concepts build upon each other like stacking blocks.  If your child has not mastered a previous concept, it will be impossible for them to build upon a new one. Failure to understand the basics makes it difficult for them to learn math in higher classes. This means that to excel in math requires a proper understanding of concepts from lower classes.

Possible Solution… Go back to basics and help your child learn what they missed out on in the basics. You can work with a qualified tutor to help fill in the learning gaps and boost your child’s confidence in the subject.


Most students see math as something that only happens in classrooms but does not apply in real-life situations. For example, a student may not see how finding the value of “X” or “Y” will be applicable in their lives or how the geometry will affect their future careers or businesses.  If you cannot help your child understand how some of these concepts apply in life, they will continue to despise the subject. Teachers and parents should work together to ensure that students learn math skills and also develop positive mathematical attitudes. 

Possible Solution… Connect math to real-life scenarios. For example, you can calculate the time you will use to reach their school (based on speed and distance). Getting the exact answer you calculated will be an exciting experience and proof that math is applicable in life! You can also use math when buying groceries or calculating proper fractions for baking a cake.  Also apply math in their life interests and games to make it more exciting.


There are students hate math because they are unable to memorize all its concepts, equations, and rules. According to Jo Boaler, an author and a Professor for Mathematics Education at Stanford Graduate School of Education, many educators teach math as a closed subject. They drill to students specific and only formal ways to get solutions. However, this is not true since math is an open, flexible, and creative subject that accommodates different methods to solve a problem.

Possible Solution…  Rather than memorizing formulas and equations, teach your children how to discover and work out problems. Develop your child’s problem-solving skills and help them to understand why and how formulas work. You can also use brain teasers to build up their interests and understanding of the subject.


Some children struggle with math and end up hating it because they cannot keep up with the learning pace. When the class moves on too quickly, it becomes hard for students to keep up with speed, making it impossible to understand all the concepts.
Possible Solution: You should check with the teacher how your child understands concepts in class and address any learning gaps with the help of the teacher or a tutor. This way, they will move on with the class and eventually develop confidence and love for the subject.


Some students dislike math because of the stereotype that surrounds the subject.  Others hate math because their parents hate it too!

Possible Solution…  Talk positive about math and disagree with your child when they speak ill of the subject. Further, speak of the potential benefits of math in life to improve their attitude towards the subject.

What’s More?

At Kids on the Yard, we help students master math skills at their own pace and fill in any learning gaps to get back on track and build confidence and self-esteem. These efforts translate to more significant success in the classroom, during homework time, and in life. Check out one of our one on one math program and see how your child is blooming again 😉

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