Maths is everywhere. We use it every day, even if we don’t realise it. Mastering maths helps us to understand and describe our world, solve everyday problems, make predictions, develop our abstract reasoning and make better decisions.
But, for many kids, a love of maths doesn’t come naturally. Or easily. Helping your child learn to love maths starts at home. Here is what you can do to get them mastering maths.
1. Promote a sense of relevance and interest in mathematics.
Make connections between math and everyday life which encourages them to want to use maths.
Taking part in everyday activities like going to the shops, cooking, or even setting the table can help your child with maths. Getting dressed and learning to take turns when playing a game all help your child to understand pattern and shapes, measuring and sorting.
2. Bring maths into your daily reading routine.
Reading to children is a treasured activity. What better way to integrate mathematics into the lives of children than to read them stories that bring mathematical ideas to life? Children’s books related to mathematics can be separated into four categories: counting books, number books, storybooks and concept books.
Some good ones to consider are Alfie’s Number by Shirley Hughes, One, Two Buckle My Shoe by Melissa Everett, Sorting Through by Spring-Lizann Flatt and What’s a Fraction by Nancy Kelly Allen.
3. Connect play time with maths.
There are plenty of board games and card games that can help encourage maths but you can also incorporate math lessons in other ways as well. Play ‘shop’ and count out money. Play ‘builder’ and measure various items around the house.
Children need lots of experiences in making, counting, drawing and talking about numbers. Make connections for your child by explaining how numbers and counting are a part of everyday life.
4. Think outside the traditional maths lessons
You may feel that the maths your child is doing at school is different from how you were taught, but you will still be able to support your child in many ways and encourage your child with other ways to solve maths problems.
Giving your child more than one way to solve a problem is highly beneficial to their learning. After all, there is always more than one way to get the right answer.
5. Encourage them to problem solve.
Problem solving is about engaging with real problems – guessing, discovering, and making sense of mathematics. It is about developing young mathematicians who have an ‘understanding of the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject’.
You can help them build their problem solving skills without them even realising it, and in no time they’ll be mastering maths. Encourage them to ask questions, to analyse the information they have been given and to look at the various ways to solve the problem.
6. Focus on their individual journey.
Like reading and writing, maths is something that we are constantly learning and consistently using. Maths today is about understanding number patterns, not learning by repetition.
Avoid comparing your own maths skills with that of your child’s. Saying things like “I was bad as maths too” is one of the worst things you can do as it lowers their own expectations of themselves.