I dreaded math in school. I always had sleepless nights before the math exam in school. I was overjoyed when I gave my last math exam for my boards in class 10.
So now when my daughter takes time to grasp math concepts, I fear that she will also have to go through the same. However, the education system has evolved a lot now and there is a more practical approach towards devising teaching methodology in schools. But when it comes to motherly fears there is no practical thinking and it becomes all emotional.
I realised that I become emotionally charged up while my daughter does her math homework. I try and avoid being with her and ask her to do her work independently but she seeks my support so I sit along with her. And when she makes silly mistakes in applying operators, I lose my cool. Though I know I need to be patient and she might take time to understand but eventually she will, at that particular moment all this thoughts are far away from my mind. That made me introspect my behaviour and I realised that I might be transferring my own insecurities on to her. And I started looking out for answers from blogs. I read quite a few and I list below few tips which I will employ moving forward in helping my daughter develop a love for math; not as an academic subject but as an important tool for practical use in life.
- Explore: Explore math around you. For example, let them count the number of tress around while taking a walk in the park.
- Make it creative: Make the learning process creative. For example, plan a trip to a super market, ask them to make a list of items they want to buy and estimate the price of each item. Give them an amount more than their estimate. Help them explore which operator they will need to employ while paying for the items they bought. This will help them learn addition and subtraction in a fun way and their reward will be the items that they chose to buy.
- Solve puzzles and math games: Now as the vacations are approaching, it’s an ideal time to spend time with kids and do fun math puzzles. There are lot of free printable puzzles available on sites. Sit along with your child to solve them. It will help in daily practice of math but in a fun away. Math is more about logical thinking rather than solving sums. So expose your child to various logic building puzzles which will help in learning mathematical concepts.
- Build confidence in your child: I need to do this immediately. Try not to transfer your insecurities. Never tell a child that you didn’t like a particular subject or you were not good at it. You need to build confidence that anything can be learnt in a fun way.
Start with attempting easy questions for the topic that your child is finding difficult to understand, that will help in building confidence.
- Math from stories: While I was searching the net, I got to know that there are various interesting story books on math. It would be an exciting way to introduce concepts to kids.
- Praise: Praise your child on attempting, even if he is not able to solve the question. I am guilty of not doing it so I need to do this immediately before my daughter develop a dislike for math.
Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that, I’m so smart;
It’s just that I stayed with problems longer.
So let’s teach kids to enjoy problems to solve them.
If you have any feedback that you would like to share about other methods that any of you have used to make math learning fun, please comment. I shall like to incorporate it in my article to make it more useful for parents.