“Maths is the science that uses easy words for hard ideas.” Edward Kasner

When you first dip your toes into the mathematics pool, maths may seem like a hurdle that is impossible to overcome. When you feel like you are drowning in the mathematics deep end, you realise that mathematics is a science and maths is a difficult subject for many to grasp.

It feels like just knowing that maths entails problem-solving makes it an exceptionally difficult subject. We don’t realise just how much we use maths to solve daily problems without even realising that we are using maths. If mum has a box of Smarties with 24 smarties and she has 3 children, she will have to use maths (division) so that each child can get a fair amount of Smarties.

If you do want your child to never think of maths as being complex, you may need to rope in a good private tutor from the onset.

While teaching your child timetables may make you want to pull your hair out, your child is capable of learning his or her timetables with added encouragement and support. In fact, the younger you start making the learning of timetables compulsory, the better it will be for your child when he or she needs to grasp high school math concepts that are linked to the knowledge of timetables.

You must remember that the South African math curriculum has been set in such a way where foundation phase learners learn the bare basics of mathematics, intermediate phase learners further expand on basic principles that have already been learnt but also learn multiple ways for doing one thing. High school learners, however, start to expand their knowledge of mathematical concepts and begin to indulge in more complex problem-solving tasks. Everything from the Pythagoras theory to the cartesian plane is covered in high school maths.  By the time learners get to high school, they ought to be smart enough to tackle complex maths problems. Algebra and Geometry sections are covered in high school and more than one termly exam is written in the subject by high school children.

Parents should begin by inculcating a love for maths in their children. Maths provides the needed grounding for children so that they can handle the world when they grow up and solve any problem that may arise using logical thinking skills.

Taking pure maths until Grade 12 is essential as it:

• Teaches children the needed logical thinking skills to help them succeed in the real world
• Allows matriculants to pursue careers in the mathematics and sciences field after school
• It helps with problem-solving
• Children who study mathematics until Grade 12 can choose career paths like statistics, data science, and coding too
• Everything from cooking, building, to being an entrepreneur requires the knowledge of money, time, and measurement which is at the core of the intermediate phase mathematics curriculum

A maths tutor can be instrumental in bridging any learning gaps that a child may have with regard to maths. If you allow your child the chance to grasp the basic knowledge of mathematics with a tutor, you will notice that your child won’t be as afraid of the subject as they get older

If you have struggled with the subject while you were at school, try not to discuss your maths woes in front of your child. He or she must be able to understand that he or she has nothing to fear when it comes to the subject.

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## How to do Well in Mathematics?

According to a study by Robert P Hunting, “Play has an important role in early year mathematics learning.”

Research indicates that children who do well at mathematics are those children who during their early years engaged in free play which led to exploring mathematical concepts and finding ways to understanding maths. As a parent of a very young child exploring mathematical related aspects like puzzles and blocks, you need to scaffold the learning and find a teachable moment during free play.

A great toy that teaches maths and is fun to play with is Legos. Legos can be used to teach concepts like symmetry and also can be used to teach addition and division as well.

Try to encourage the use of maths games that are highly interactive to yield the best results in terms of teaching the subject. Certain online maths games are interactive and teach quite a bit. Since children enjoy playing on devices such as their Ipad and tablet, encourage them to play mathematic games instead.

There are also sites such as BBC Bitesize, a free website is fun and that teaches children things like algebra, calculus, and all about money and solving puzzles. The website can be used throughout the primary school years as a form of added enrichment.

The internet offers plenty of resources for you to use to allow your child to get step-by-step instructions on how to solve problems. If you want your child to do well in mathematics, you must encourage that he or she follows every step of problem-solving and that he or she solves each problem strategically. Maths must never be rushed. The completion of daily homework lessons from Grade 1 onwards is vital to ensure that your child succeeds in maths.

While calculators and computers are readily available, try not to encourage the use of calculators and prevent very young children from using calculators entirely. Young children should be given the time they need to work out multiplication sums. If children are really struggling, use concrete objects like an abacus or dominoes to explain how to them how to add, multiply, divide, and subtract.

The truth is that even very young children as young as 5 years old can grasp maths concepts. They just need to be encouraged to explore and develop a love for learning. It is proven that parents who don’t speed time to help their children with grasping mathematical concepts when they are younger raise children who struggle in mathematics later in life.

That is why if you are afraid of mathematics and can’t seem to encourage maths learning at home, you need to rope in a maths tutor to help you foster the optimal learning situation for your child.

Firstly you may not be qualified to teach maths but you can certainly wear the teacher’s hat if you are enthusiastic about making sure that your child stays motivated to learn the subject. You could want to get involved in helping your children grasp mathematical concepts because you know that you struggled in the subject and you wouldn’t want the same for your child.

"When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you will feel the positive energy. It's simple." Paul Coelho

If your child senses enthusiasm in the way that you interact with a complex mathematical problem, he or she will be more determined to solve problems and see problems through to completion.

As a parent, if you are trying to teach your child maths from home, consider his or her emotions at all times. You need to be aware of the emotional intelligence component of learning at all times. If your child is scared to try a certain maths problem, talk to him or her about his or her fears. Consider his or her fears and then help him or her work through them.

If you are teaching mathematics you must start teaching from a point of view where you teach your child how to derive the answer and you teach your child all about the logic involved in getting to the answer. Don't ever approach maths as a subject that needs to be taught through rote learning. Maths is all about understanding algorithms and solving problems.

If you are struggling with certain methods of problem-solving yourself, perhaps you should consider inviting a mathematics tutor home to teach your child all the possible methods of problem-solving. The main thing that you need to do from home is build the self-esteem of your child.

See more on how useful the time tables are here on Superprof.

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## Helping Your Child Learn Maths By Developing a Positive Mindset

Younger children are most enthusiastic about learning as they are still highly curious about all things in the world and how things work. If this enthusiasm vanishes the child will be far less enthusiastic about learning the subject and may lack the motivation to learn.

The first thing you need to do as a parent is to motivate your child and reassure him or her that it is possible for him or her to do well in the subject.

It is proven that children who are most confident in their abilities perform far better than children who feel negative about their ability to perform in a certain subject.

According to Aristotle,

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

You cannot expect a child to succeed when he or she has already convinced himself or herself that he or she will never be able to succeed.

While maths may not be your child’s cup of tea, you must help your child to prepare for the subject by emotionally easing the burdens that the child may feel when writing an exam in the subject.

Helping your child starts with changing his or her mindset about the subject.

## Transforming Mindsets in Terms of Mathematical Abilities

Again, if you make mathematics seem like a chore, your child will feel less positive about the subject. If you make maths seem fun, your child will be more positive about the subject.

Start to teach your children about how mathematics can be used in real life. If children realise how mathematics can be used in real life, children may be more enthusiastic about engaging in the subject. You can also use coding games such as Hour of Code or CodeCombat to teach certain mathematical concepts like the concept of objects and their properties. In mathematics, the properties of objects are important to know.

With a positive mindset and the right type of programmes, you can encourage further mathematical learning from the home.

Online tutoring programmes like Maths Buddy have been developed to allow South African children to learn using animated and fully narrated videos that teach concepts to children from the foundation phase right through to high school.

## Can Every Child Do Well in Mathematics?

Well, it seems like some children cannot excel in mathematics, most children can succeed in the subject if they are given the chance to do so. Children need to be motivated to do well in the subject. With the right environment for learning the subject, every child can do well in mathematics.

## Hiring a Private Tutor is a way of Helping Children Learn Mathematics?

Again you need to do everything in your capability to ensure that your child does well in mathematics. A private tutor is a great way to help your child learn mathematics.

Private tutors create the optimal environment for learning and tailor their lessons to cater to each and every student's needs.

As opposed to learning with 30 other learners in a class, a private tutor will enable your child to learn on his or her own by working on his or her specific problems in the subject. A private tutor can encourage your child to ask questions when in doubt.

With a private tutor, your child can start by tackling his or her weaker areas first. Thereafter your child can choose to focus on topics that he or she would like to tackle. Concepts like fractions and decimals are important to grasp and your child can always ask his or her tutor if he or she is unsure about certain aspects with regards to fractions or decimals.

A personalised learning programme catered specifically for your child is a great way to get your child to focus and be enthusiastic about learning. Tutors have the added professional skills to effectively teach mathematical concepts that may seem too complex to grasp. The tutor will also know exactly how to scaffold learning and the tutor will probe and ask just the right amount of questions. A tutor can add that added element of confidence that your child may need to be able to tackle mathematics problems.

With a private tutor, you can rest assured that your child's maths homework will always be completed and the concepts covered in the homework will be well understood.

Learning maths need not be a big challenge.  With the right mindset, your child can adequately approach the subject.

Mathematics requires time and effort to be effectively mastered. A child has the full potential to master a subject but needs to have the right type of encouragement from home to be able to act on this potential and realise his or her true potential in the subject.

Succeeding in maths is about having the right mentality to do so and being able to mentally challenging yourself to solve problems beyond your comfort zone. With the right mindset, mathematical success is a sure possibility for all children. In fact, the probability of your child doing well in mathematics is far greater if your child’s mind is set on doing well.

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