Math was never an easy subject for me in school. It didn’t seem to matter how much I tried I never seemed to understand what the teacher wanted and I dreaded when we worked out problems on the board, I always made a mistake and the other children always snickered or had hurtful comments to make. The teachers always seemed at a lost of what to do to help me or any other student who could not keep up with the schedule they had written down at the beginning of the school year. I didn’t want my own children to experience the dread of learning math; determining that things would be different for them I came up with some tips and now I hope that these suggestions might offer help and guidance if you know a child who struggles with their math skills.
My first tip: Make sure that your child has a breakfast before they start their day. Research has shown that your child will be more ready to learn if their nutritional needs are meet. It is hard to concentrate on learning anything if their belly is rumbling with hunger.
2nd tip: Introduce the history of math to your child, when certain math inventions were made and by whom, what were the circumstances or need for the invention. How is math used through out the world.
3rd tip: Make a game of learning facts. There are a lot of math games that will help your child enjoy learning, helping with the fundamental facts that they will need to know. Using games reduces the stress of the learning process and makes learning fun and not so boring nor intimidating.
4th tip: Use math in real life situations. Take the facts that your child is learning and bring it into situations that your child is in every day. When cutting a pizza talk about the fractions you are making. If they are making a purchase show them how to figure tax into the price. How many cookies will they need for each of their friends to have two? These can be ways to use math in their every day lives.
5th tip: Use visual aids or manipulatives when teaching math. We have talked about how children learn differently; for some children using visual aids can be the catalysis between understanding and not understanding the concepts that are being taught. As your child learns the skills they will become less dependent on the manipulatives.
6th tip: Using food to teach math concepts. Weather it be candy, cereal, popcorn or pizza simple math facts are easy to manipulate so concepts can be seen. This also puts the child at ease which helps make the learning easier.
7th tip: When learning math there are many patterns but sometimes those are hard for a child to see. Pointing out these patterns can making math easier, this can be done using manipulatives such as money. Also helping the child to memorize the patterns such as 2s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 8s, 10s and working up from there.
8th tip: Use music and songs to help your child with memorizing math facts. This tip was used by each of my children. They sang their way through their multiplications tables, square roots and there is even are even little ditties that help in Algebra and Geometry.
9th tip: Mix it up. Use different medias when learning and doing math; computer software, worksheet pages, time races, are all great ways to keep learning varied which will help the student from being bored and help with the learn process.
10th tip: The buddy system is a great way to learn math facts. Kids can sometimes explain things to each other so they understand it better then any adult can. Plus as they help each other learn solidifies the facts for each child.
As you read over these tips I hope that you see at least one or two that you could implement to help make math fun for your own child.