Math is a subject that can be scary for a lot of students, but it is also one that is mandatory all the way up into high school and very valuable throughout life. For these reasons, we’ve created these 5 tips to make math easier and help children excel at math:
1. Apply math problems to real-world situations
Everybody remembers that moment as a child in math class when they thought, “But when am I ever going to use this?” The fact is, math is all around us! By placing problems into tangible scenarios, children may have an easier time grasping the abstract concepts needed to solve math equations. It could be something simple, like counting apples in the grocery store. For older children, try math based observations at sporting events (look at the acceleration on that slap shot!) or when watching educational TV shows.
2. Focus on understanding the process, not just memorizing it
Some amount of memorization will always be necessary when it comes to math. But blind rote learning, done without putting any thought into the process involved, should be avoided whenever possible. Math formulas are sequential and build off each other, so memorizing one without understanding it properly can lead to confusion during more complex situations later. Reinforce this fact to your children as delicately as possible when relevant – but avoid simply towing the line by just telling them “not to memorize”. Instead, try creating an atmosphere of learning where kids know the importance of the process. This can go a long way towards motivating them to become better at math.
3. Always show all the work
Hey, who doesn’t like shortcuts? They save time and we are all busy – even the kids! But this can be one of the easiest traps to fall into. By not showing all the work, it becomes easier to miss a step, and suddenly the process is being lost along the way. By showing all the work, it becomes easier to correct and learn from mistakes.
4. Don’t skip questions if the answer isn’t clear
Rushing through work and skipping to the next question can sometimes seem like the easy solution, but haste makes waste. We’ve all been there and surely your little math learners will be there too. By always trying to answer math questions to the fullest, students will learn what part of the process they don’t understand. Skipping a tough question could mean hitting a wall later on even tougher questions. In math, the journey is as important as the destination.
5. Practice. Practice. Practice!
The key to learning math is to do math, over and over again. This comes into conflict with one point: kids will often much rather be doing anything but math! That’s why it’s important to reinforce the necessity of practice to become successful. In math, it is essential to complete all homework and assignments to learn and understand the basics. If that isn’t a compelling enough message for your kids, tell them the story of people who are famous for the time they spent practicing and perfecting their craft. Figure out what your children are into and feed them examples of how a practiced approach leads to success.
You've got some awesome math tips to share with the world? Why hold out a moment longer? Let us know in the comments section below!
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