September 2018

How we can help!

1. Play math puzzles and games. Look at patterns and ask thoughtful math questions. Here’s one I used just last week. 

         Are there more inches in a mile or seconds in a day?

2. Always be encouraging and never tell kids they are wrong when they are working on math problems. Instead, find the logic in their thinking because there is always some logic to what they say.

For example, if your child multiplies three by four and gets seven, say ‘Oh I see what you’re thinking; you’re using what you know about addition to add three and four. When we multiply we have four groups of three.’

3. Never associate math with speed. It is not important to work quickly, particularly in the younger years, and we now know that forcing kids to work fast on math is the best way to start math anxiety for children, especially girls!


***4. Never share with your children the idea that you were bad at math at school or you dislike it, especially if you are a mother. Researchers found that as soon as mothers shared that idea with their daughters, their daughter’s achievement went down!


5. Encourage number sense. What separates high and low achievers in primary school is number sense, ie having an idea of the size of numbers and being able to separate and put numbers together flexibly.

For example, when working out 29 + 56, if you take one from the 56 and make it 30 + 55, it is much easier to work out. The flexibility to work with numbers in this way is what is called number sense and it is very important.

6. Perhaps most important of all, encourage a growth mindset, the idea that ability and smartness change as you work more and learn more. The opposite to this is a fixed mindset, where the idea is that ability is fixed and you are either good at math or you aren't. When children have a growth mindset, they do well with challenges and do better in school overall. When children have a fixed mindset and they encounter difficult work, they often conclude that they haven’t got what it takes to do math.  There seems to be a belief that some kids can do well in math and some can’t. Parents believe this and some teachers believe it too. This is completely wrong and one of the biggest reasons that math is a traumatic experience for many children! 

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