Maths can be a tricky subject for some children and one they might need a little more support with. It’s important to nip any problems in the bud to prevent children from falling behind their peers.
The good news is there are plenty of ways you can support your child with their maths learning at home if they’re finding it a struggle. Here a pre-prep school in North London provides some helpful suggestions on how you can help your child overcome any maths stumbling blocks they’re experiencing.
Keep things positive
Try to avoid suggesting, either directly or indirectly, that maths is a subject you’re either good at or not. Implying that a person’s maths ability is set in stone won’t encourage your child to keep working at it, particularly if they believe they’re inherently bad at it.
It’s fine to empathize and tell your child if you also found it a struggle at school, but make sure you’re conveying the message that maths ability can be improved with time and effort. Talking about the subject in a positive way will keep your child motivated and optimistic about improving.
Explore maths in everyday life
Sometimes children need to see subjects applied in real life to really understand them, so you can help your child by incorporating maths into everyday activities you do together; for example, when you’ve just finished a meal at a restaurant and get the bill, challenge your child to work out what a certain percentage would be to tip the waiter.
You could also ask your child to add up items as you go round the shop, or multiply blocks of lego when you’re building a model. Baking and cooking are also good opportunities for them to learn about measurements and weights. There are lots of ways you can help your child practice maths in everyday life – they probably won’t even realize they’re learning!
Ask your child to teach you
Make a game of acting as the pupil and asking your child to teach you a maths lesson. They might be surprised by how much they know and this will give them a confidence boost. They’ll enjoy seeing you learning as well, especially if you tell them when you’re stuck on something. Explaining certain concepts to you will consolidate their knowledge and may help them overcome any blocks they have with particular aspects of maths.
Make use of technology
Technology can be a valuable tool when it comes to learning. If your child has a computer or tablet, look for some maths games they can play regularly. You could even play them together – your child will enjoy learning with you. Look out for educational TV programs as well which explore different mathematical concepts in an engaging way.
Games and TV programs can be great for learners who respond best to information presented visually. They might find it easier to understand maths topics when they’re relayed through pictures and diagrams.
Seek appropriate support
If you’re worried your child is falling behind in maths, make sure you express your concerns to their teacher so they can get additional support at school. The school should be able to spot if your child has a particular learning difficulty in maths, such as dyscalculia, or if they’re feeling especially anxious around the subject.
You might also want to consider employing a tutor who can work with your child on a one-to-one basis after school or at the weekends. Getting personalised, one-on-one support in this way might make all the difference to your child.
Maths doesn’t have to be a scary subject for children; with a bit of time and effort they can overcome any blocks they have and feel more confident with the subject, especially with your support and that of their teachers.