A good understanding of maths and the ability to apply it is an essential part of our everyday lives.
Does your child find maths difficult? Maybe you want to lend them a hand but have no idea where to start.
Understandably, some learners have difficulty remembering how to calculate square roots, the order of operations or simply memorising their multiplication tables, not to mention building on this year after year.
But what exactly are the applications of mathematics in our lives? Is teaching math to everyone really necessary?
Why not help your young ones to look at maths differently, starting by discussing the subject at home?
Sometimes, all you need is a good learning environment and a different approach to unlock a child's potential at maths revision.
Let's have a look at all the ways in which parents can act as an educator and aid their children with their maths at home.
Discuss Maths with your Child at Home
The issue surrounding only learning maths at school is that learners sometimes become too distant from the subject when they are elsewhere.
This means that if the child encounters an issue in school math, they are less likely to mention it to their parents as the discussion would take place out of the school context, whether it's KS3 or GCSE maths revision.
Rightly or wrongly, if parents do not play an active role in giving their child homework help, for example, it does not occur to the learner that their parents may be able to help them since they do not attend their maths classes.
On the other hand, being at home could be a way of avoiding maths, especially if solving math problems and answering maths quizzes makes them anxious.
Whether they are learning about algebra, geometry or plotting coordinates, math can prove to be an exciting and stimulating discipline for anyone who has a natural curiosity about the world around them.
By placing maths in a familiar context, you'll familiarise yourself with the math concepts and increase your kid's confidence in asking you questions. All children are capable of learning math, so prepare to be surprised!
You could even do this by hiring your own maths teacher; learning what your child is learning can also aid in erasing any fears and add extra support to their learning.
In many different areas of life, the best way to combat fear is to acknowledge it, approach it and discuss it with those around you.
The same goes for mathematics. Whether it's fractions, decimals, arithmetic, the calculation of sums or graphing, just because you struggled with a topic as a child, it does not necessarily mean that your child will have the same difficulties.
However, you can use your child's studies as an opportunity to get over your own fears.
Talking about mathematics in contexts such as cooking, crafts, travelling, and playing with your children is the best way to make this discipline an active part of their everyday lives.
For them, using maths will become just as normal as everything else.
Environment is key: as long as you provide a reason for children to discuss maths, they will do so. This is why it's up to parents and carers to lay the foundations for future academic success.
The more you talk about math in a positive way around them, the more likely they are to start taking a personal interest in it.
For example, if you have girls, you can debunk the myth every brother likes to tell his sister; that boys are better at maths.
Girls often don't feel as capable with mathematics and are often less encouraged to take an interest in it from a young age.
This attitude or lack of encouragement has far-reaching consequences for society, like the gender disparity amongst employees in many areas of STEM.
Break that cycle by encouraging all your little ones to take a positive and active interest in their maths lessons.
Do not hesitate to ask them questions about maths, for example, ask them how to solve math calculations while baking or on a walk.
Exercises like this will aid in developing their recall skills and put them at ease with maths, making for a smooth transition into technical learning in the future.
Learn Maths Through Playing Games
Whatever field of study your young ones choose to pursue, they will always study better when they're having fun than when they're simply memorising.
Playing cool games with your children will provide you with a good opportunity to study basic math. Study counting, sorting, telling time, number sense, probability and more primary curriculum maths ideas.
This type of activity can easily be adapted to your day to day, meaning they have a more interesting and real application that your kids will notice.
For example, you could ask your children to measure the amount of pasta in a bowl or calculate amounts if you need to double a particular recipe.
Lego is another great resource that can make this subject a little more enjoyable for kids. Teachers often use these toys in class, and you can do the same at home.
They can be used to visualise operations such as addition and subtraction or multiplication and division or develop interests in areas like engineering and architecture.
If you have no idea how you could adapt this educational tool at home, there are plenty of tips and lessons online, including from Lego Education Australia themselves.
This website provides a variety of lesson plans and exciting activities that can be adapted for the home. They're even developed in line with the Australian curriculum, so you can pick the right activity for your child's grade.
So take advantage of this! Whether in the form of an online maths teacher, interactive math activities online or by playing with Lego, the subject can nearly always be turned into a game for nearly any topic!
For younger children attending preschool, why not get them to colour in digits to teach them about writing numbers!
Use Your Child's Interests to Help with Maths
Being exposed to a subject as vast as mathematics can be somewhat intimidating for young ones.
Having to remember all the notation, vocabulary, equations, graphs, and theorems by heart can put an adult's head in a spin - never mind a child's!
However, studying this subject can be exciting for children if they are able to practice their math skills in a familiar environment and at their own pace.
Kids do most of their learning without even realising!
Educational games include playing cars, playing with a tea set, building towers with Lego or similar toy bricks, or taking cool math quizzes on a tablet.
You'll be pleasantly surprised to see how quickly kids absorb information when they're enjoying themselves.
There are also many free websites with lots of math resources like puzzles, videos and competitions for kids such as TopMarks Maths and Math Playground. You could even download a free math app onto your tablet.
Let's check out some of the most interesting online mathematics resources:
Mathletics is probably not new to most teachers and other adults, but you may not know just how exciting and effective it can be for teaching math.
The site is full of math activities and what they call 'gamified learning', like challenges and competitions against other learners.
Each resource here is designed to line up with the Australian curriculum, and are made for kids of all ages and skill levels.
And you don't have to worry about your kids wasting time online, because Mathletics produces a parent-friendly report so you can see where your child is excelling and where they might need some extra help.
This site is designed to replace the need for private teachers, meaning it does come with a fee.
With all content designed by the trusty ABC, this site is a one-stop-shop for videos, educational articles, games and so much more to keep your kids engaged lesson by lesson.
They also advertise special competitions and educational events so that kids can be more active in their studies.
While they don't have as many services for mum and dad as Mathletics, all their resources are free and accessible whenever you want them.
Also linked to the Australian curriculum, you can search for content by grade level, content type or topic. This is a great resource for students from primary to secondary.
This American site specialises in content made for younger grades, and features lots of cool animations and videos that will get your kids excited about study!
It's free to sign up and the algorithm will create a personalised study path for every student, meaning they can get extra practice where they need it, but also enjoy themselves reviewing topics they know well.
There are explanations for every answer, so kids can see where they might have gone wrong and how to avoid it the next time.
The best part is that you can download the apps on your phone or tablet and play even when you're offline!
Understanding how to identify your children's interests and include them in their studies is an excellent way to keep them engaged.
See Maths in the Everyday
For many, there is no real link between the content of their lessons and everyday life.
However, there is an opportunity to demonstrate this link in your home, in your garden, or while doing the weekly shop.
For instance, ask your children to count the change in your purse or to calculate the total sum of your purchases as you make your way around the shop.
You can even make it into a completion; if their calculation matches what's on the receipt, they could get a reward that they would love!
If you enjoy cooking, why not give your child the role of sous-chef for the day and get them to give you a hand with the recipe?
Measure the amounts of flour, sugar, count the eggs, convert the measurements from imperial to metric and estimate the cooking time, converting minutes into hours and using the clock to work out when your cake will be baked.
All these small things can quickly become embedded in your child's memory. On the one hand, they'll be happy to help you and on the other hand, it'll keep them engaged.
All of a sudden you can see how removing the pressure of timed tests makes studying easy. Learners can then start to appreciate how useful it actually for their everyday lives to really understand math.
This method of study is far more fun than spending hours on math worksheets and other homework.
If you're interested in hiring a professional who already knows all these tips and can aid both you and your child look for a maths tutor in Perth now.
See More than One Solution to a Maths Problem
We need to teach that math is more than calculators and equals signs at younger ages.
We are often taught that math equations have one solution and only one way to solve them. In fact, the beauty of the field is the flexibility and excitement of finding the most effective strategy to solve a given problem.
In fact, students actually benefit from being asked to generate more than one strategy to solve a particular equation or question, as well as hear solutions that others have thought of.
By showing them that there are several paths to the same answer, you'll help them develop critical thinking and logic skills as they learn to consider each approach.
This helps them to be more flexible when looking at equations, meaning they're more likely to think of the most effective strategy to solve it, rather than just the first one that comes into their head.
Hearing and comparing with other students can also help to realise that different ways of looking at a question can help them find the most efficient answer.
There are always several ways to solve any maths problem and many tricks that can make your life easier.
For example, for simple operations and estimation, why use a calculator when mental calculation can save you time?
The Institute of Educational Sciences in the US proposes a variety of strategies that can be helpful in finding a solution;
- Guess and Check: Using their knowledge of different formulas, students can make an educated guess, then look at the answer to see if it fits. This is the most traditional way of reaching an answer.
- Represent the question using visuals: Pictures, graphs, diagrams, number lines and more are all effective methods for helping to find the correct answer. This can be particularly useful for younger ones.
- Simplify the problem and look for patterns: If a question involves large numbers, it might be easier to start from a more simple case. They can try some different smaller numbers to look for a pattern. Tables, lists and charts are also useful for finding patterns.
- Eliminate incorrect possibilities: If a student is trying to decide between different solutions, they can use the information they have to eliminate impossible solutions. For example, if the question is about a calculation involving 1/5 of an amount, we know the answer is a multiple of 5. Then we can guess and check more efficiently.
These strategies can be used individually, but learners should generally use a combination to find the best possible answer.
If this seems difficult to teach, or even understand, you might want a professional to help. You can look for a maths teacher in Brisbane who can help.
Create a Suitable Environment for Studying Maths
Children develop their early maths skills by getting to know the world around them.
It is the responsibility of the parents to develop and nurture this natural curiosity by sharing their personal experiences in maths and helping their family to appreciate that maths all around them.
For instance, point out the mathematical elements of how their house has been built and look closely at the bookshelf that their Mum or Dad made.
You could even try modelling this using Lego bricks.
Maths is everywhere if you look closely enough.
However, it is impossible to do well in maths if you're working in the wrong kind of environment. Whether it's sitting down to do maths homework or to have a private maths lesson, trying to concentrate in a busy or disorganised area can be too difficult for some.
Give your child a learning corner decorated using a number line and learning posters and educational toys such as building cubes or modelling clay, so they are free to feed their appetite for knowledge in a calm and familiar environment.
By having a space specially designed for this, your child can develop independence in their studies while exploring mathematical concepts like place value, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and sequences.
As we all know, the taste for maths is not always innate, however, it is something that can be worked on from an early age.
It is entirely possible to give young ones a taste for maths by integrating basic notions into their favourite activities and involving them in the mathematical parts of their daily tasks to show the importance of maths in day-to-day life.
Having a good understanding of numbers outside of the classroom makes for better grades in the future as learners feel more at ease furthering their knowledge of the subject. A maths tutor is a good example of this support and interaction.
As a parent, it's up to you to work with your child to develop an interest in maths through playful yet educational math activities.
The question 'How to help my child with math at home?' is made more complex if your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia or dyscalculia
If you want to know more about helping them learn maths, read our article with tips and advice.
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