If your child finds maths hard to grasp then do not worry, as there is plenty that can be done to help them strengthen their skills and improve their confidence in numbers. From devising everyday maths problems to swotting up on numerical vocab, here are some ways in which you can help your budding mathematician to succeed.
Neatly does it
Even the most accurate sum will not receive top marks in a test if the examiner cannot read what you have written. So, practise writing out numbers and symbols so that they are really clear. Make sure you can spell mathematical terms correctly and that you know how to use equipment such as rulers, protractors and compasses correctly to produce a neat and tidy answer. Try to keep working out as neat as you can as well, as you can often glean a few unexpected marks from this, even if your final answer is incorrect.
Don’t confine maths to the classroom. Find ways to practise when you are out and about. Shopping is an excellent opportunity to work on understanding money, addition and multiplication, decimals, percentages and weight. If you like to cook, try making larger portions than the recipe is designed for by working out how to expand the given quantities of ingredients. In the garden, you can work on area and size to help you plant spring bulbs properly or space out vegetable seeds.
Many people learn more effectively through visual techniques. So, if your child is stuck on a question, see if you can recreate it on the table in front of them using items from around the house. This works well with concepts such as algebra, fractions, shapes and symmetry. Can you or your child do a drawing to help them work out the answer? Or perhaps act out the scenario is described in the question.
Lose the calculator
We have all come to rely on the fact that most smartphones carry a calculator app, but there is still much value to be had in honing mental maths skills. Remove all calculators and phones for a week and see how you all get on, working out restaurant bills, totting up grocery shopping amounts and completing maths homework by hand, the old-fashioned way. Working things out mentally will help your child retain the information and will reinforce the mathematical concepts being used.
Need for speed
Finally, test your child’s understanding of maths concepts with regular quick tests. See how fast they can answer each question and make a note of the ones they take longer to complete. Make it a fun challenge to get all questions done in a certain time to win a treat. For the trickier areas, you could use flash cards or online resources to help your child improve.