1. Study smart, not study hard
Often, children may underperform in Maths when they have a poor grasp of the fundamental concepts. This might be due to that fact that they are learning Maths through rote memorisation and practice, without truly understanding the concepts or the problem-solving process.
Understanding concepts is very important. For example, 7 x 6 is 7 groups of 6 objects within each group. It is not just about memorising the multiplication table. Understanding the root concepts enables your children to figure out their own answers even if they forget the multiplication table.
Maths questions are usually non-routine nowadays, and they challenge your children’s minds in different ways. Remember – the process is more important than the product.
2. Demonstrate ideas with concrete examples
Questions involving ‘less than’ or ‘more than’ in problem sums, for example, can be quite confusing for some children. You can demonstrate these ideas more clearly by using everyday objects such as paper clips or dried pasta pieces.
For example, to illustrate 3 more than 4 – place 4 paper clips on the table in a line, then add 3 more paper clips slowly to demonstrate ‘more than’. Instead of memorising the answer 7, your children can see for themselves what ‘3 more than 4’ actually means.
3. Take sufficient time and care to read the question
Children often do not get the correct answer because they tend to read the question incorrectly, which is different from not understanding the question. Maths is more than just about numbers as it requires a significant amount of language processing. It is important for children to build on their language skills in order to read questions correctly.
4. Learn in small incremental steps
Because Maths places great emphasis on conceptual understanding, practising at home in daily bite-sized chunks is better suited to children’s attention spans, rather than cramming a lot of information in one day.
Let your children learn in small incremental steps to build upon their knowledge day by day. Over time, a much stronger Mathematical foundation can be built this way.
For instance, you can start your children on practices for 15 to 30 minutes per day, gradually increasing the duration over time, if required. Alternatively, you can get them to complete one more question than the previous day. Also, create a consistent habit of practice by setting a specific time during the day for your children to do so.
5. Use real-world examples as stories
If you think about it, Maths is everywhere. For example, to explain what 1/4 means, you can illustrate it with a story about 4 children wanting to share a birthday cake. What do we do? What if there are 8 children who want to share the same cake? Will each child get more or less cake? Children learn better when they can see mathematics being applied in the real world.
With the secrets now revealed to you, you can nurture your children on their Mathematical journey of learning!