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Sometimes adults feel that they are unable to help their child with maths because they believethey themselves are not good at the subject. I don’t believe this is the case.Often it is the negative experience of learning maths that is to blame and notthe mathematical ability. Maths is based on concepts and rules that have to belearned and this is a continual learning process. A rule learned previouslywill generally determine how to solve a different problem in another area.Thus, because maths is sequential, if some areas are misunderstood or nottaught, then it is at least difficult, if not impossible, to progress. Read how to helpyounger children with counting.
|Fun Learning AudioThe Times Tables|
That said, I cannot see any reason why aparent should be unable to help and guide their child with basic numeracy untilthey are at least 9 or 10 years old – KS1/2. At this age they are learning thebasics, such as addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, which arethe foundations of numeracy. Frequently the work done at home is far morevaluable than that which is done in a classroom with over 25 students – even ifthe parent is not a qualified teacher. Listen to audio timestables here.
Use the methods on my site, other websitesand books to help your child withnumeracy. Take your time, breaking each area down into smaller parts. Make sureyour child has plenty of opportunity to practise so that he/she completelyunderstand before tackling another area. Ensure that addition andsubtraction are sound and that your child knows lots of maths facts by heart.You could find out what your child should know by the end of each school yearby asking the teacher, or looking online. Resources to help with reaching thesetargets can be found online and even within your home. It helps to make mathsinteractive and fun – you can do this with games, board games and manipulationof numbers. You can also include maths in your everyday life, for example whendoing the shopping, to show that it is relevant and indeed essential.
I once read that maths cannot be taught – it has to be learned and I agree with this. You need togive a child the environment and conditions to be able to make mistakes andplay with numbers and number problems. In addition, if you teach children mathstricks, they start to find maths more of a interesting challenge than a chore.We often teach and test, which I think is wrong, as children need a chance toexplore and understand maths in their own time and way.
At school children are sometimes taught newmethods of working out, for instance ‘chunking’, which many adults finddifficult to understand. It does not matter if you are unable to get yourhead around this – what does matter is that your child knows basic addition,subtraction, multiplication and division, whichwill enable them to learn the methods being taught at school. Children alsoneed time and support tolearn key maths facts, and if you can help them to do this, then the othermethods they learn at school will follow more easily. Learn some timestables tricks here.
Teach your child basic maths facts (KS1and KS2),for instance, odd and evennumbers and the difference between them. Patterns can also be createdusing different numbers of dots or shapes, of which some are symmetrical, whichcan help a child recognise the properties of numbers. Make certain they knowtheir multiplication tables and number bonds to 10, 20, 100 and 1,000. Knowledgeof addition and subtraction facts are also important, for example knowing that4 + 4 is 8, without having to count it, or that 7 + 3 is 10 and so on. Your child should come to know this automatically in the same way they knowtheir own name.
The Maths Professor can also be helpful forparents. He offers podcasts which help parents teach maths.
Lastly, always have fun.
Have a lovely day.