Mathematics is one of the core subjects in Singapore’s education system. It’s taught throughout kindergarten to graduate school—perhaps even post-grad. But not everyone is fond of math. Some even feel fear so intense that it qualifies as a phobia—numerophobia or arithmophobia is a thing. These fears have to start from somewhere—you aren’t born with this aversion to numbers. If this then is the case, you might find yourself asking the question: how to make my child a math genius?
Teaching our children to be comfortable with numbers is important not only for their performance at school but also opens up more opportunities for them. (How many people have you heard say “I would have pursued ____ if I weren’t so bad at math”?)
That’s why teaching math to primary school students should be done using multiple teaching strategies to optimize student learning. This can be achieved by doing different activities that allow children to use and develop math skills.
And while. as parents, we can be assured that our children are getting top-quality math education, it does not mean we cannot play a part in helping our kids not just overcome their fear of math, but also learn to love and excel in math.
Here are some tips for you to teach your kids to love and excel in math:
1. Be a good example
Your kids are more perceptive than you think. They can tell when you’re excited, and when you’re struggling to hold it together. Azadeh Jamalian of the learning software company Tiggly tells Fatherly that parents can transfer their own anxiety about numbers to their children, so they need to stay relaxed. “Parents who think of themselves as not good at math, when they try to help with math homework, they transfer that anxiety,” she says. Show your child that numbers are nothing to be afraid of by being confident in your everyday tasks that require math.
2. Keep it fun
Contrary to what many people think, math in itself isn’t boring. In fact, there are so many ways for you to have fun with math. BusinessInsider recommends using toys like Lego to teach them fractions or teach them origami to get them to love geometry.
3. Relate math to real life
Kids are sometimes given the impression that math is useless, that they’d hardly need it in real life when the truth is far from it. Point out the practical purposes of math and involve your kids as much as you can.
Turn family activities such as grocery shopping or dining out into teaching opportunities for your child to learn math.
Keep your eyes peeled for teaching opportunities such as counting the items in your shopping cart during a trip to the supermarket, or allowing him/her to add numbers in your restaurant bill.
4. Find what your child is learning at school
According to GreatSchools, knowing what math skills your child should be picking up at his/her level, you can better find activities to complement what they’re learning at school. Monitor your child’s homework and pay attention to how he/she solve equations to see how he/she go about solving problems.
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5. Use Math books
A good way to spur your child’s interest in numbers is reading books on math with them. Through books, kids can understand what math is and how it works rather than just memorising how it’s done.
Furthermore, using math books to complement their studies in school can help kids excel in math especially during exams where books can be used to aid practice so that kids can exercise their math skills in preparation for the big test.
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Books from Hodder Education such as About Mathematics: Road To A* Primary encourage students to take charge of their own learning through formative assessment, with concepts related to all topics presented in three steps: Prepare Yourself, Asses Yourself and Test Yourself.
In the Prepare Yourself step, children can use study notes on concepts and skills, and worked examples to prepare for exams. Next in the Assess Yourself step, questions may be used to assess your children’s understanding of the lessons. Finally, in the third step Test Yourself, students are tested with end-of-topic practice questions about concepts and skills learned.
Hodder Education also allows parents to be part of this learning experience with Guide for Parents, a downloadable resource for parents that contains tips, articles and information that helps ensure your kids are well-prepared for learning math and more.
For more information on how Hodder Education can help you ensure your child is fully prepared for class through their comprehensive range of supplementary titles, visit their website at http://hoddereducation.sg/recommendedforparents.