This blogpost is second in a series about how parents can help support their children. The previous post spoke about the benefits of reading with your child. This post is about supporting your child with Maths.
In order to support your child in Maths you also need to be on board with teaching your child Maths. As Ugo Uche says in Psychology Today "…parents set the tone for our homes. When we're dragging, everyone's dragging. When we're energized and positive, the kids are much more likely to be, too" (Uche, 2018). It might even be necessary for a parent to improve their own Maths skills. Some may want to go back to college, others may find comfort in an online course or a good book. They may even seek out tutoring support (like RK Tutors offers!).
Yet more often than we hope children will say those dread words, "I hate Maths". Often children find Maths in everyday activities dull, feel deflated about getting the wrong answer, it involves a lot of thinking, lack the motivation, are embarrassed to admit they don't get it etc. How can we encourage children to enjoy a subject they feel so apathetic about?
Understanding Maths and its importance
Teaching your child is important can help them understand why they need it. Maths is brain food (Dr Arthur Benjamin). It not just important to do well in Maths so your child get good grades at school, to help them to get from A to B in their chosen career path, it also supports a child's development and it supports a child in their daily life. Increased Maths activity has been proven to aid brain development and the strengthening of neural pathways. It "enhances your analytical and problem-solving skills, creates the basis for systemic thinking, improves the skills required to arrive at logical conclusions, expands the mind to handle unfamiliar tasks with ease and confidence, learns through trial and error, and promotes cautious and careful thinking" (Roussey, 2017). Not least it helps children grow up to effectively track their finances! For more reasons why Maths is important visit PiDay's post on "Why is Math Important in Life?"
Keeping Maths creative
Here at RK Tutors we believe Maths should be fun and creative. Arguably some think there is little place for creativity in the Maths Curriculum in UK and that assessments are driving creativity into an early grave (Rycroft-Smith, 2018). Yet as Rycroft-Smith points out without creativity we wouldn't have some of the most original ways of thinking in Maths - "…excellent mathematics learners are characterised by the understanding that more than one approach can lead to equivalent results and the ability to solve problems in different ways, in other words, are characterised by mathematical creativity (Leikin and Lev, 2007) (Kroesbergen and Schoevers, 2017, p420)" (Rycroft-Smith, 2018). Rana argues that Einstein was an artist as well as a scientist and mathematician. He thought creatively. When helping your child think of ways to keep Maths creative. This may involve incorporating art, problem solving in new ways, involving drama or kinaesthetic and plain just having fun. Yet being creative means coming up with new ways! Don't be limited to what is available. Make resources, take risks, get messy!
Get a tutor
Students who have a tutor in Maths have been proven to score higher than students who do not (Ireson and Rushforth, 2005). Getting a tutor has other benefits as well (see blog post series on this). Getting a tutor in Maths can help with improving subject knowledge, memory of Maths facts, understanding Maths terminology, help with reasoning and visualisation.
For tutoring or other tips visit www.rktutors.com for your tutoring needs.