Without math, science would fumble. Think Einstein proposing the Theory of Relativity with just words and without calculations. The theory won’t move an inch in the minds of the leading thinkers of the time. And yes, Albert Einstein’s theory made sense because he could put it in mathematical equations. The thought then has legs to stand on, so to speak. The Theory of Relativity and its iconic equation E = mc2 indeed turned the world upside down. For the first time, energy and mass are linked and, more importantly, interchangeable.
As important as it is to the education of kids, math is one of the subjects where many students falter. It’s true. It’s not uncommon for kids to complain about how hard math is. And that they hate it. One of the key things about math is you cannot have a half-correct or a half-wrong answer. It’s either you got it, or you don’t. Worse, the moment a young grader fails to appreciate math in the early grades, they’re bound to struggle as they push forward to high school. In short, it’s cumulative.
The good news is math is no rocket science. There are ways by which you can make it more palatable and thereby more easily understood. Here’s an expert take on the matter from coaches of student math teams.
Teaching is like climbing a mountain. The moment a hiker says to themselves that a mountain is impossible to climb, then it’s all downhill for them from there. It’s paramount, therefore, that you boost a child’s confidence. Never lead them to think the feat is impossible.
Therefore, you must watch your tongue while you’re helping a child learn math. That could be the biggest tip you can follow for math success. So, if you feel like saying, “it’s alright to be bad at math, most are,” zip your mouth. You may not realize it, but there’s no such thing as a “math” person. Everyone can be a math success given time and effort.
So you mustn’t create certain myths that would undermine the child’s success. And to do that, you need to get rid of negative messages about math. Instead, bolster their confidence. Say things like, “it may not be easy to understand at first, but I believe we can work things out in time.” It’s like baseball, actually. The best players are those that took time to practice their game.
You need not make a statistical analysis of the current virus crisis or go into a lengthy debate on which equation best fits a natural phenomenon. And yet, making math part of your everyday language can go a long way to shape the child’s mind towards mastery. You can start by guessing the height of a particular structure or building.
Of course, it all depends on how old your child is. Some possible questions you can throw are:
- How many splits will the cake be if I cut it here?
- How many birds are sitting on the fence? How many will remain if half flew away?
- How many moves does this chess piece have?
- What are the chances this basketball team would win?
The more math gets incorporated into everyday language, the better the child would understand its concepts. This is why math enrichment programs done outside of regular school have found great success. For starters, they’re spot on in helping promote a child’s problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Even better, they’re geared to be fun, tailored to the child’s needs, and in pace with their learning capacity.
Make Space for Curiosity
Math is a means to an end. A finance manager takes their company’s financial obligations into account and puts the numbers in a file for posterity. They do so to achieve sound financial decisions for their organization.
In this regard, being able to inspire from within is key to achieving math success for your child. There are tried-and-tested ways you can do this. A math storybook, for instance, can bring about a sense of wonder about the amazing world of numbers. By using math stories, children can realize that math is an interesting pursuit worthy of their time. Also, they can see that math actually makes life easier.
Another way to create math curiosity is to use math art. You can make the most of Cuisenaire rods in this regard. Schedule games and take advantage of non-school days. You’ll see that when it’s triggered, curiosity will work the math in your child as if by magic.