It is not uncommon to see your child struggling with Math in school. However as their first and best teacher, parents can support and help children in being more proficient in the subject. SC sums up some tips on how you can support your child in Math.
Nurturing A Love For Math
Being good at Math takes hard work and consistent practice, and it’s much easier for your child to be adept at it if he loves the subject – especially if they see it as a field where they can figure things out and play around with patterns. So ditch the complicated jargon – help your child learn Math through manipulating concrete materials, using diagrams and interacting with others.
Breaking It Down
Practice makes perfect. If your child is lagging behind in the classroom, get them to focus on basic skills and routine tasks. Instead of explaining lengthy solutions to children who struggle to grasp ideas, ask them questions accompanied by concrete material and diagrams. Additionally, help them explore alternate ways of seeing a problem. For example, if a long division (eg. 351 divided by 3) is troubling them, get your children to see that the number 351 is the sum of 300, 30 and 21, all of which are divisible by 3.
Understanding Problem Solving
One aspect of problem solving in Math is heuristics, which is the use of different strategies (e.g. writing out an equation, drawing a diagram etc.) to solve an unfamiliar problem. Parents can help facilitate an understanding of heuristics in their children by choosing problems that require a specific set of heuristics you want them to learn and then letting them use the strategies in their own way.
Along the way, your child is bound to be frustrated by a challenging question or a difficult concept. The best thing to do is to be patient with them and find out the root of the problem. Find out the reason why they had the difficulty and provide help in the area – be it misinterpretation of the problem sum, the inability in handling a multi-step problem or the incorrect calculation of numbers. However, do note that while it is perfectly acceptable to provide help every now and then, parents should not spoon-feed their children the answers.
Making Math Relatable To Real Life
Naturally, children will be able to appreciate Math when they realise how applicable it is to real life and how it helps us describe and connect the world around us. As such, parents need to show the relevance and importance of the subject in daily life situations. E.g. Parents can establish a link between cookies on a tray to the topic of multiplication, or how art can be created by arranging shapes in a tangram set.
Originally published in “At Odds?”, in Singapore’s Child May 2016.