Before we head deeper into the topic, it is important to understand something that a lot of parents fail to, even today. Some of us are just better at certain things than others and that applies particularly to mathematics. Therefore, it is not always fair to compare your child’s performance to that of his/her fellow students. Do not believe the politically correct ideology that everybody is born equally smart because that’s just scientifically incorrect. The right idea is to record how much a particular child is improving as compared to his/her own previous performance. That said almost anyone can improve their mathematical prowess significantly, as long as the child gets the support and assistance required to get to that stage. If you don’t know what they are exactly, or would like to try something new, here are the top seven methods that are proven to boost the mathematical skills of children.
Ask Questions All the Time
The basic idea behind all types of mathematics is to solve problems and one of the first steps to solving any problem is asking questions. If the child is having trouble with a problem, ask where they are getting stuck first and then work on it till he/she understands the concept behind working similar problems out on his/her own in the future. If your child is capable of solving a particular problem, ask him/her to explain every step to you and it will serve two functions. Firstly, putting the steps into words will help the child get a better and deeper understanding of the core concepts and secondly, you will get to know how much he/she actually knows.
Integrate the Real World with the Worksheet
A worksheet is boring for most children and more often than not, that boredom is what leads to them ignoring mathematics and performing poorly in school. To prevent the boredom, make math interesting by incorporating the real world into it. Make them count real things rather than pictures and when you go out to shop for groceries, make it a game for them to figure out the total by keeping track of everything you are buying. Even when direct real world integration is not possible, use examples from everyday life to make the complex mathematical concepts seem more relatable.
Communicate with the School Teacher
To help a young student excel, parents should maintain a fluid channel of communication with the teacher. It should be a joint effort and free communication will certainly help both parents and teachers identify the problems that the child is facing in math class. In fact, this holds true for school life in general, especially during the early school years.
Seek the Help of a Tutor
Sometimes, you may not have enough time to help your children with their math problems and at others, the child may just need special attention from a professional math tutor to make real progress. Try out Mathnasium, which offers both online and in-person tutorship to students who need it. The best part is that they do not weight their students down with additional homework. The children learn and complete everything in class,lessening the burden of the student, rather than piling on additional pressure.
Try New Methods
This usually applies when the math in question starts to get a little complicated and it might very well be the difference between success and failure. While there are similarities, we all perceive and approach problems differently and the same is true about mathematical problems as well. If your child is unable to understand a certain method, try another. You would be surprised to see how much of an improvement it can bring to the performance of a child if you just try a new method for an old problem. In fact, that’s something that all professional teachers with experience do, especially in private tuition.
Stimulate Problem Solving Skills
As mentioned earlier, at its core, mathematics is just problem solving, and when you are able to stimulate the part of the brain that’s responsible for solving problems, the student will inevitably excel at math, but there are two aspects to this.
Training for the Concept: This is when you train the child’s brain to like the concept of problem-solving itself, through activities that he/she likes. For example, puzzle games are a great way to encourage and nurture the habit of actually enjoying the act of solving problems. Secondly, involve him/her in any practical problem when you can and ask them to solve the situation on their own. This rewires their brain to see problems as an exciting challenge, rather than a boring problem. Rewards on being successful also work pretty well while doing this.
Stimulation of the Brain: Although the brain is an organ, it behaves similarly to a muscle that gets stronger when you exercise it. This means that when you train your children to solve problems in general, they just become better at them, especially since the act is now associated with a positive emotion. In other words, your children will likely become better at mathematics too, when they improve their general problem-solving skills.
Consult the Internet
The internet has changed almost every aspect of modern life and that’s true in case of solving math problems too! If your kid is having difficulty with a particular problem, use the internet to see if there isn’t a better way to approach it. This isn’t an exact science, of course, but we all have smartphones and computers these days, so it would be a shame to not make use of it and at least give it a try.
It’s necessary to make the children understand that you appreciate the effort more than the result. Not everyone is good at math. Therefore, what really matters is the will to improve and putting in the work because that is pretty much all a student can do. That effort, combined with proper help from teachers, tutors,and parents, should make even the comparatively poor student of math improve drastically.