As a parent of a toddler, you have already started thinking about how fruitful your child’s future will be. You are already hoping that he or she will excel in mathematics and in time pursue a career in the mathematical field that allows him or her to obtain career success. So from a very tender age, you start teaching your child to think about maths. When you use your fingers to show your child how to count, you are already teaching mathematical concepts and techniques to your toddler.
Should you stop doing this?
No, you should not! You are your child’s first teacher. You play a vital role in teaching him or her important mathematical concepts.
However, you must remember:
“Mathematics is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about understanding.” William Paul Thurston.
To foster your child’s understanding of the subject, you need to start by first building up your child’s confidence and reminding him or her that he or she is able to problem-solve. Once your child seems confident in his or her capabilities, you need to introduce games and maybe even online resources to reinforce the mathematical concepts taught. It is from home that learning initially begins.
Many children have been diagnosed with dyslexia or dyscalculia, does that mean that they cannot be helped?
Well, life is a lot like math, if it’s too easy something is wrong. So even mathematical challenges are part of life and mathematical challenges can certainly be solved too.
Fun Maths for Kids Means More Learning
If you think about getting your child to learn a language, you are recommended to start teaching your child a first and second language as early as possible. The same rule applies to maths. The best time to start teaching mathematics to your child is when he or she is very young. The younger a child is, the more his or her brain will be like a sponge, ready to soak up the information.
Feed your child’s curiosity while he or she is still at a tender age and get him or her involved in solving puzzles, building blocks, and playing with toy clocks from a young age.
Evidence by Professor Alison Gopnik points out that babies as young as 8 months old work out statistical patterns and by 9 months old they are able to detect patterns of probability. Informally children are gaining mathematical knowledge through their daily activities.
As a parent, you can deliberately foster situations that are ideal for learning mathematics. Allow your toddler to experiment with what objects fit in a shape. Talk to your child about what fits and while playing with objects flow into a discussion about shapes.
By the time, a child is 4 years of age, basic mathematical understanding would have developed. From problem-solving to puzzle building, the child can do it all. So when your child enters primary school, you as a parent need to reinforce the concepts taught at school. You need to remember to still continue to create optimal situations for learning at home for your primary school child.
Children have different capabilities so while it may seem that some learners find it far harder to grasp maths, this is not the case. Children will be more positive about learning the subject if the learning seems fun. Creating informal learning situations at home is a great way to get children to enjoy learning about mathematical concepts that were already covered at school.
For a more formal approach, why not rope in a private tutor to help your child excel in the subject?
Personal maths tutors ensure that students are not in any way falling behind. A private tutor can also determine with which concepts your child is struggling to grasp. A tutor will re-teach scientific notation, long division, simple subtraction, and place value so children do not fall behind in the subject.
With a math tutor, you can expect your child to be provided with the needed enrichment to help your child become more confident in the subject. The added practice that the child gets from having classes with a private tutor is always helpful in terms of building upon the baseline knowledge and even advancing the knowledge.
Ways for Teaching Children Maths
You need to remember that while the school does teach new concepts to children, the home environment should be the place where all the things taught at school get reinforced and sometimes even re-explained.
Be positive about the subject and show that you are enthusiastic about problem-solving. Try to relate mathematical concepts to their use in real life. Encourage open discussion about the subject. In this way, if your child is anxious about writing a test on a certain mathematical concept, he or she will tell you. In this way, you can remove this anxiety and stress before the actual exam.
Invest time in helping your child practice mathematics. With subjects like mathematics, the more that you practice the easier it becomes. You can even make sure that you keep the additional maths practice at home fun. Try to teach mathematical concepts using concrete objects. You can use boxes to teach shapes, Legos to teach about construction, perimeter, area, and shapes. You can even make use of educational games that are available online to teach aspects like probability and ratios.
STEM programs encourage the use of concrete objects like Legos or coding blocks to teach math and science concepts!
You would be surprised at just how much children learn when they are having fun learning. Studies have even shown that block play is instrumental for providing the foundation for problem-solving. (Cuyton, 2015)
Maths is all around us and we should be encouraged to use all the maths elements that we see and find to make maths learning fun.
How to Help Children with Mathematics
For most children, you can stroke their curiosity for learning the subject rather simply. You can also teach in a conventional way and that will enable them to grasp all that was taught.
For other children, you may have to adapt your teaching style to the way that they learn best
Certain children find understanding maths exceptionally difficult. Difficulties in solving maths word problems will show up when you watch your child try to tackle a problem. Children who have been diagnosed with dyscalculia have a severe problem in terms of processing numbers. Hence the type of engagement that you offer them is different.
You may have to start off with a more multi-sensory approach to teach learners who are experiencing learning difficulties. Bring pictures or concrete objects into the learning environment when you are teaching a maths concept. Allow children to interact with a maths problem by touching the concrete objects used to teach it and by actually allowing the child to move around in order to problem solve.
A multi-sensory approach to math learning can prove to be powerful. When teaching children with SpLDs, it is incredibly important to be patient with them. Repeat points as many times as is necessary for them to fully understand.
Some handy tips to teach these children would be to use chocolate bars when teaching graphs or to use checklists when there are multiple steps involved in solving a mathematical problem
Remember your goal for your child is to get him or her to perform better than he or she is currently performing. Keep that goal in mind and reward every small improvement to motivate your child to want to improve more.
Will You Be More Successful in Teaching Your Son Maths Than Your Daughter?
"Mathematics is an exercise for the left brain."
For years people have asserted that boys tend to be far more mathematically inclined than girls. It is true that maths involves the use of the left brain, however, there is no concrete evidence that points out that only boys can effectively use the left brain.
So again the idea that boys outperform girls at mathematics is a myth. There are many girls who have excelled in the field of mathematics.
In fact, Ada Lovelace was known as, "the enchantress of numbers". She had been taught mathematics as her mother didn’t want her to end up being a poet like her father. A girl being labelled, “the enchantress of numbers,” clearly proves that girls can problem solve just as well as boys can.
Some girls may not enjoy mathematics because of social expectations. There are certain jobs that seem more fit for girls and because of this girls may not take a keen interest in mathematics in high school and may even drop pure mathematics as a subject entirely in Grade 10.
The fact that from an early age boys are encouraged to watch shows like, “Bob the Builder,” and to construct buildings themselves using blocks may be indicative of why boys take a keener interest in mathematics.
More and more women are filling the seats of mathematics and data science classes in university lecture halls these days dispelling the myth that only boys can be good at math.
Never discourage your daughter from trying to do her best in the subject. Treat mathematics as being an equally important subject for your daughter as it is for your son. And if your daughter outsmarts your son in mathematics, well your household proves that the statement, “Only boys are good at math,” is just a myth.