In order to transform the way math is taught at home, you must first let your children realize that the subject is beyond a collection of rules, concepts, and processes. Instead, math should be perceived as a way to recognize patterns and correlations, make rational analysis, and defend one’s theories and findings in a logical and reasonable way.
Math can be a very creative process that can instill confidence and valuable skills in people to deal with challenging issues in everyday life. It can also shape them into independent thinkers, sometimes even out-of-the-box thinkers. In a nutshell, math is a fantastic vehicle for children to learn how to think. Are you still wondering how to approach teaching math to children?
Well, as overwhelming a task as it may seem, there are certain basic math rules every parent must try to teach their children. These rules apply regardless of your children’s grade level and are based on years of research in the teaching and learning of math. More than rules, they are a way of approaching the subject that may go a long way toward raising smart, confident, and thoughtful individuals. Let’s delve into some of these rules.
Encourage a Positive Mindset
Let’s start with the basics. Math can be a difficult subject, a realization that may seem daunting at first. However, fostering positive thinking before even beginning to study math can be quite beneficial. When children face difficulties in math, they may easily conclude that they aren’t good enough at the subject. Parents have a significant role in eliminating such anxieties and several others related to math. Many children might believe that competence in math is a gifted quality that they haven’t been blessed with. In other words, they may think that they do not have much control over their ability to understand mathematical concepts. Resolving complex problems may seem a far cry. Such thinking can prove to be a great disadvantage to them.
This is where parents can intervene. Making children understand that with a little more attention and lots of practice, they can be ready to conquer most mathematical problems is crucial. This can improve the children’s mindsets and encourage them to give their best. Children who have been taught to have a growing mindset believe in making sincere and steady efforts to get acquainted with the subject and grow in it. They must be taught that it is through hard work and effort that they can tackle difficult mathematical issues. This is very important for parents to understand because it means that, through a positive mindset, they can lead their children towards success.
Transition from Concrete to Abstract
For children, concrete experiences are the stepping stones to moving toward an abstract understanding of the world. This is true of math as well. It can be done through the good use of manipulatives, which helps in better retention of math as well. With manipulatives, children can progress from tangible examples to more abstract ideas. Numbers are no longer just symbols; they are actual quantities. Once they have enough knowledge, they can gradually inch towards more abstract concepts. For instance, parents may teach addition through regrouping by using base-ten cubes. When performing addition, children can replace units for 10 rods as necessary. With enough practice, children can become familiar with the traditional algorithm for resolving problems in addition by regrouping with only a pencil and a sheet of paper. In this way, children can slowly transition from concrete to abstract.
Apply Mathematical Concepts to the Real World
Another important thing parents must try to do is to teach children the practical use of math in day-to-day life. This makes math more engaging and useful for them. Having understood math concepts, children should be able to use them in the real world.
For example, they may add up the total cost of the things in their grocery basket using mental math. They can also count a huge number of grouped things with the help of multiplication. Math is also very useful in other professions. Engineers, architects, and others make use of mathematical concepts in their respective fields. Children can also create and balance a budget.
To give them a more hands-on experience with math, you can engage them in some other activities such as letting them measure when you bake something, asking them to figure out how many miles you all will be driving on a certain trip or how long a tube you would need from the spout near the gate to the middle of the garden. Through such activities, children will feel more involved and, hence, will learn math concepts in a much more practical way.
Teaching math to your children may not seem like an easy task. It is, however, significant. By following some basic rules mentioned above, you can ensure that your child has a great start to learning a subject that is both interesting and rewarding. While you’re at it, visit BYJU’S FutureSchool Blog to learn more about math and how to help your child explore it in a more engaging and fun way.
- Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics. (1994). https://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/math/math.pdf
- Sonnenschein, S., Galindo, C., Metzger, S. R., Thompson, J. A., Huang, H. C., & Lewis, H. (2012). Parents’ Beliefs about Children’s Math Development and Children’s Participation in Math Activities. Child Development Research, 2012, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/851657
- Standards for Mathematical Practice Parents’ Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved July 15, 2022, from http://www.debbiewaggoner.com/uploads/1/2/9/9/12998469/practices-4-5.pdf
- How to Help Your Child With Math | Understood. (n.d.). Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://www.understood.org/en/articles/how-to-help-your-child-with-math