One thing I’ve noticed as a teacher: there are broadly two types of math students. One- those that simply love it, and two- the ones who shun it. Not surprisingly, the ones who love it, mostly excel at it and of course that ones who don’t take kindly to this subject are not too very good at it.
As a parent you will have already gathered that the math teacher and her attitude, strategies and motivational methods play the foremost role in your child’s math tackling abilities. However there are things you can do to improve the overall competency of your child in this area.
Without going into a lot of mathematical jargon that we teachers love cramming into out lesson plans like spacial awareness, critical thinking skills etc., the following simple tips can help your child get over the fear of taking math head on and improving:
1. Start early: You often hear parenting experts say that you should start reading to your new born as soon as he comes into the world. Same can be said for math. Counting poems is a good way to start. As the child get older you can do: sorting activities (with clothes, toys etc), count out objects even when out on a trip, point out different shapes and colours around the house, playfully talk about concepts of big and small, flat and round, thick and thin.
2 Using Time: Oh this is a great way to get the mathematical juices flowing. Along with imparting punctuality, talking about starting and ending time will improve mental calculations. Adjust the time talk according to the level of the child.
3. Kitchen Fun: There are oodles of resources in your kitchen to involve your child in, from the weight machine, to the different spoons, to their favourite cookie recipe. Ask the kids that if you want to make double the amount of cookies, how much of each ingredient would then be required and let her put them in the bowl. Kids easily grasp the concepts of estimation, weight and volume, even fractions.
4. Shopping Frenzy: Ah the good old ‘how much change is left’ strategy. Let your child stand at the cashier and ask your child to try and calculate how much change you would get back. Make it fun by promising a treat. As the child gets older, challenge him to calculate the cost of all the items. If there is a sale with half off, ask your child how much the original price would have been.
5. Board Game Family Time: Playing Monopoly, Payday, Snakes and Ladders and all fun family activities. Set apart a time every couple or so days. Kids become so good at calculations and determining strategic thinking to win the game. This skill is very relevant in today’s competitive world. I add in card games like Ono and Solitaire, memory game etc.
6. Online Games: Nothing like pitting a couple of friends against each other for a fun play date playing online math games. Some are so much fun, that kids hardly even know they are doing math. there are so many out there.
7. Fix It Time: When daddy wants to put together the cot for the impending arrival of new baby. let your child sit in. Great and fun way to learn about inches, feet and a whole range of other skills.
8. DIY Math Activities: Consider some of these to do with your child as a project:
It’s all got to do with what appeals to your child. Motivating him, showing him that math is everywhere, developing an interest are essentials that will lead to more independent mathematicians. Math is FUN!!