Are you setting your kids up for success or failure?
Unfortunately, 60% of American students entering community colleges aren’t ready to take a math class. While these students are high school graduates, they never learned the math skills they need to succeed on a college level.
Experts believe the leading cause is that students think math is about memorizing things when in reality, it’s all about adopting a new way of thinking. Luckily for you, there’s still time for you to learn how to make math easy for your kids, no matter what age they are.
Read on to learn how to teach kids math, the right way.
How to Make Math Easy Before School Begins
First, let’s look at how to make math easy for kids between the ages of 0 and 3. Helping children learn math concepts before they enroll in school will make it easier for them to thrive in the classroom.
Here are a few ways math concepts you can start teaching your younger kids at home:
- Number sense
- Concept of representation
- Critical thinking skills
- An understanding of spatial sense
- How to measure
- Ability to make estimations
- What Patterns are
Start by looking for children’s books that incorporate the concepts above.
Math Learning Tips for Elementary School
Once your child starts school, you can continue to build on the math foundation you’ve already created.
Here are a few tips for how to teach kids math when they’re in elementary school:
- Incorporate math in everyday activities
- Post a chart of math facts
- Buy math-based video games
- Play board games that use math
- Introduce the concept of money
- Admit when you don’t know the answer
During everyday activities like driving your kids to school, talk about how numbers influence our lives. For instance, you could discuss what the speed limit is, or how much a certain item costs. The main idea is to get your child used to talking about numbers, while also showing them how relevant they are to every day living.
Best Ways to Encourage Middle School-Aged Kids
Are you nervous about figuring out how to help your child with math problems you don’t understand? The way schools teach math is a lot different than it was 5 or even 10 years ago.
The first thing you need to do is keep a positive attitude. Kids are incredibly perceptive, and if you start stressing out about math, they may follow your lead. Next, consider getting a learning coach who can work with you and your child as you tackle math problems.
Finally, if you’re pressed for time, look for online math programs you can take to prepare you for the type of math problems your child will be working on.
Talk to Your Kids Math Teacher
One of our favorite tips for teaching math is to speak to your child’s math teacher. If possible, talk to your child’s math teacher before the school year begins. Ask the teacher-specific questions, like how they structure their math curriculum.
For instance, are they building new skills on top of old skills? Or will this year’s math concepts have more of a spiral approach, teaching both old and new skills at the same time?
Finally, find out if the math curriculum will be computer, workbook, or textbook-based. If possible request a copy of the workbook or textbook for yourself, or see if you can get access to the online material.
Set up a Dedicated Study Area
Whether your child’s learning remotely from home or they simply have math homework, a dedicated study area can be a real game-changer. Start by setting up a desk for your child that faces away from distractions like windows and doors.
The desk should also be in an area that has good lighting. Next, stock up the study area with all of the supplies your child may need. Pencils, scissors, rulers, and markers should be readily available for a productive study session.
It’s also a good idea to make the study area a no phone zone, and that goes for you as well. Finally, start learning how to help your child with math, by using special math tools.
Have the Right Tools Available
Find out what math tools your kid’s teacher will be using, and make sure you have the same tools at home. For instance, if your kid is going to be using a ratio calculator in the classroom, make sure you have 1 for them at home as well. You should also take the time to fully understand how to use the math tools yourself.
Work on Math Problems Together
You shouldn’t do your kid’s homework for them. However, it’s important they know they’re not alone in the learning process. For instance, helping with math problems your child’s struggling with is ok, but you shouldn’t stay for the entire homework session.
Once your child understands the concept behind the problem, leave them alone for 5-15 minutes while they work on their own. After giving your child some space, come back to check-in and see how they’re doing. Be sure to also encourage your child to take mental breaks, letting their brain rest after 30 minutes or more of work.
Teach Concepts Not Memorization
Learning math isn’t the same as learning something like vocabulary words. While memorization can be a wonderful tool for vocabulary, math is all about mastering the concepts.
Remember the aged old saying, “Give someone a fish and you’ll feed them for a day, but teach someone to fish and you’ll feed them for life?”. If your kid memorizes their multiplication tables but doesn’t understand the concept behind them, it’ll be hard for them to build new math skills. To make sure your child’s learning concepts, and not just memorizing things, ask them to explain how they’re getting their answers.
Watch Your Kid Count Their Way to Success
Now you know how to make math easy no matter what age your kids are! Which one of our tips are you going to start using first?
Will you be setting up a distraction-free study area in your home? Or are you ready to let go of your negative feelings about math, so your child doesn’t end up adopting them?
Remember, teachers love it when parents take an active approach in their child’s education. If you’re still feeling unsure about how to help your child, reach out to their teacher today. For more helpful tips like the ones in this article, check out the rest of this site!