Some memories just stick like glue. I was sitting with a bunch of other girls on my group table. It was the second grade. The teacher had given us a piece of paper with some subtraction sums. As the girls around me fumbled and struggled with their fingers, I just subtracted the digits regardless of whether the lower ones were larger than the ones on top or not. I was feeling pretty darn proud of myself, having finished first in class. Which just made the blow even harder when the teacher’s red handiwork was presented to me on said piece of paper.
After that, I always struggled with borrowing. It was not until a couple of years later till I got somewhat proficient at it. Feeling deeply on this subject, I have made a presentation to help parents who are trying to get their kids to truly understand this concept, logically and thoroughly; especially since it is that time of the year!
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.
Laying a solid foundation for geometry early on will no doubt help your child in middle school and beyond. As usual play and activities brings the abstract into concrete. Teachers strive to balance both aspects. This gives you, the parent, plenty of leeway to play games and have fun with any concept taught at school. Making subjects fun is the key to motivate any child and motivation in turn, gets your child more involved voluntarily. I remember my phobia of Math. I was never really much good. The memories of red marks and disappointing test results remind me that it is not okay for any child to feel the way I did, not capable and plain stupid. Kids feel a lot, pick up a lot and don’t say much about it. Hence my commitment to making learning fun and progressive. So about this particular topic, it’s fun…did I already say that? Well I’ll say it again, it’s fun.
Let’s get thing one straight right off the bat, if your child truly grasps the concept of place value (according to age), it’s pretty much easy sailing as far as other math concepts like addition, subtraction, greater than, lesser than go- and mental math becomes a cinch. There are so many fun filled activities that you can do at home to reinforce the concept. You can and probably should in fact, take a couple of steps ahead from where your child is at school. Here are a few interesting things that can be done to get the juices flowing in their brains regarding this concept.
The best way to teach children about most things is to bring the applications of those things in everyday life. Even teachers now resort to gamification and the creation of real life situations to more effectively teach the students. Even very young kids already know that money is what you use to buy things. You can improve your child’s mental math by asking your child to handle ‘reasonable’ amounts of money next time you go to the store. Talk to the child about which notes to use, how much change you got etc.
As an extended activity, you can easily talk about different currencies of the world. You can discuss how every country has its own specific money and that it can differ in value from the money of your own country. Here is a fun online shopping activity as well. Have kids print out the notes of your country’s currency and make a collage with them. Tell them about the denominations. If they receive pocket money, encourage them to save up a portion of it and sometimes give a small amount to charity,
Now would be a great time to discuss the tenant of lawful earnings in Islam, the good ways to earn money. Stealing, cheating, gambling are all big NOs. In our religion, there is a dua for so many things including means to earn lawfully. You can easily teach it to the kids and make them aspire to this very important principle from a young and tender age:
I hope this gives you some ideas to engage your child. These basic things if taught earlier on leads to a stronger moral compass in them when they become adults.
Making kids learn the tables is one thing, and explaining the concept is another. I used to get pretty confused as a child between addition and multiplication. These days, with the help of multimedia and extended materials, teachers have become quite proficient in explaining the concept effectively. Using straws or pencils is a common way to do this. For example, put a 3 or 4 pencils at an interval from each other, this would donate 3×1 are 3. Then put one more pencil alongside each one you placed earlier, it would then donate 3×2 are 6. Children will immediately notice that in multiplication the answers come up greater than addition.
So how do we incorporate a little deen into this concept while we teach it. We could tell the children about hasanah and how when we think of doing one good deed it is counted as one but when we do it Allah gives us 10 hasanah or more. He multiplies it for our benefit.
Simple little facts, but what a motivator to do good. Subhan Allah.
As we sit down and make our children revise concepts taught at school, there are little bits of Islamic knowledge we can impart on them. Life is so fast-paced these days, there is hardly time enough to get all our work done including one on ones with the kids, so study time can serve the purpose I mentioned above.
When we teach children about writing numbers in the order of smallest to biggest, we can demonstrate this by drawing a staircase and the smallest number can be written on the lowest step and then the bigger on the step above and so on. You could go a step ahead and actually make your child count the numbers while climbing a stair case.
But we can also incorporate a small hadith when doing this:
So in effect, you could teach your child that whenever going up in the elevator or climbing a ladder or stairs they can say ” Allah-u-Akbar” and when coming down they can say “Subhan Allah.”