## Make Sure Your Homeschooler Does Not Make This Common Algebra Mistake With Fractions

On many occasions while working with students, I would see one of the most common mistakes made in algebra. The mistake can be traced back to when a student initially learns about basic fractions and how to simplify or reduce them.

The error is a misunderstanding of how to cross cancel like numbers (or variables) in the numerator and denominator in order to reduce a fraction. The best way for me to explain this algebra mistake is to show you some examples. Please be on the lookout for this error as it happens very frequently with algebra students.

**Let’s reduce this fraction**

****You can only cross-cancel like factors, i.e. numbers or variables that are being multiplied not numbers or variables in sums/differences.**

**Another example of the algebra mistake…**

**This is correct…**

****You can only cross-cancel like factors, i.e. numbers or variables that are being multiplied not numbers or variables in sums/differences.**

### Final Thoughts

Now that you know this common algebra mistake, you’ll be better equipped at helping your child avoid it. A great way to test how well your child understands the concepts is to have them try the problems above. You may discover they are a little confused on how to solve, as are so many students about this topic. But don’t worry, even the best of math students make this error. Once they understand the concepts they’ll get it right.