As a result of e-learning, a lot of us are becoming more involved in our children’s education. For most of us, it has been A LONG time since we took our last math class and we learned things differently when we were in school. How are you supposed to help your child learn math at home when you aren’t sure how to do it yourself?
One of the most important qualities for learning anything is confidence. Confidence increases with familiarity. An important tip to help your child learn math at home is to show them how much math they already see in their everyday life. Use examples such as:
Another way you can help your child learn math at home is simply to be aware of what they are studying. Simply discussing what they are learning while eating lunch or dinner will help in several ways. First it will let your child know that you are interested in what they are doing. This will make your child aware that what they are studying is significant. Secondly, it will help your child learn math if they explain it to you. They not only have to know what to do but they have to be able to verbalize the steps. Thirdly, this is a non-stressful way of measuring your child’s comprehension. Do they have trouble converting the fractions when describing how to double a recipe? Are spatial concepts like area and perimeter challenging for them? You don’t have to know the solutions! You just need to recognize that they are a little less sure on those skills. Then you can suggest ways to help them improve or provide opportunities to practice those skills.
Practice is paramount. Set aside 15 - 30 minutes five times a week for your child to practice problems. Repetition will play in key role in how your child learns math skills. For more information on the importance of repetition in learning, check out this article https://medium.com/peak-wellbeing/the-reason-for-repetition-how-repetition-helps-us-learn-10d7eea43e95. Time spent on math should not be limited to doing homework. We remember what we spend time on. If you emphasize the time your child spends learning rather than completion of a task, they are less likely to rush to finish. This also, sets up the winning formula of stressing “effort not outcome.” Your child cannot control their grade on an assignment or a test. They can however control how diligently they studied for the test. You can avoid a lot of frustration and encourage perseverance by only holding your child accountable for things they can control.
Math takes persistence. You don’t need to be an AP Calculus teacher to help your child learn math at home. It is ok if you don’t know how to do a problem. The most important thing to help your child is to show them that learning doesn’t mean knowing it ALL right now. It means trying more than once, looking for help if you need it and working until you can find the answer. An added bonus is that these skills apply to life in general, so by helping your child learn math at home, you are helping them develop skills that will serve them well in other endeavors.
What it you have been trying to help your child learn a particular math skill at home for days, or weeks, and you are still stuck. Get HELP. There are YouTube videos or PDF instructions available online. Have them contact a friend in their class. Maybe their friend understands the skill and can explain it to them. If not, two heads are better than one. Still stuck, find a professional. There are lots of online tutoring options available. The most important thing is that your child realize that they aren’t dumb, they can get this and your are proud of their effort. If it looks like math just isn’t your thing, you may want to get consistent support to help your child learn math at home. Find an online tutor. Maybe get a few of your child’s friends to join in. This could help defray the cost and will show your child that they are not the only one who finds this skill challenging.