Who's Fault? _ Is it his fault that he lacks confidence with word problems? Not entirely. Our actions, as educators, seem to imply a belief that solving word problems should come more naturally than simpler operations like arithmetic and algebra. Many parents and teachers feel justified in encouraging (i.e. forcing) a child to work hundreds or thousands of math worksheets, drill multiplication tables, long division... but few encourage solving hundreds of story problems. One suspects that the relative ease of creating and checking ordinary math worksheets keeps the focus of math education on simple, atomic operations at the expense of more holistic story problems.
Step 2: Work on the Skill _ Once he has met the skill, it is time for him to take baby steps on his and work on it. I will usually print off 5 sets of math worksheets on a topic. There are many great places to find these available. On the first worksheet, I let him work completely independently with no outside help at all. If he gets stuck, he gets stuck. We then go over everything together. I bought a piece of white board and eraser able marker; I show him how I would do the problem on this board. It makes it easy for him to see. How we do the second and third sheet depends on his success of the first page. If he did well, I let him work on those by himself. If he struggled, he will do all problems on the white board. The fourth sheet he does totally independently. We review that sheet and save the last math worksheet to be done a day after we complete this process, as a review.