There are certain things in life where there simply is no middle ground. People either love them or hate them. Math is certainly one of those things, and if your feelings tend to the latter, then it can be tricky when your child starts school or attends math and science camp and starts bringing back homework of their own.
The good news is that even if you don’t love math, you can still help your children to learn (and love) math, instead of wanting to quit it. Here are a few great tips to help you do just that.
1. Don’t Let Your Feelings Show
Whether we like it or not, and whether we mean to or not, we pass our thoughts and fears on to our kids. If you tell your kids you don’t like math or are scared of it (even if it’s true) they might very well emulate your thoughts and feelings rather than trying.
2. Learn with Them
The method of teaching math has changed considerably since most parents were in school, so even those who do like math may find that the methodology used today is different. Rather than telling your child that you don’t understand the “new math” treat it as a learning experience, and learn the new method along with your child.
3. Learn Out Loud
Math is a subject that’s part understanding, part repetition, and mostly practice. If you and your child get into the habit of learning new ideas out loud, and practice them over and over again, you’ll both remember things a lot better.
4. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Learning math is all about taking little steps, and building on what you know. Even if your child isn’t the fastest to grasp new ideas, if they keep working at it, they will eventually go from adding and subtraction to calculus. Never compare the pace at which different children grasp different mathematical concepts, and don’t rush it.
Even if it takes a little longer for the ideas to sink in, once they’re there, it’s just like riding a bicycle, and your child will never forget them.
5. Know When to Call in the Professionals
Finally, when you’re trying to help your child master math, remember that there may come a point where your own knowledge and skill doesn’t meet their needs. If or when that happens, find a good professional math tutor or send them to math and science camp, and then take a back seat.
6. Get Them Excited!
Personally, the moment when math became fun for me was the moment when I realized that there’s always an answer, and that the really fun part of math is to use your skills to find it. When you think of math as part challenge and part scavenger hunt, it becomes less daunting, and more like a great big adventure!
Math isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we do use it every single day, in our daily lives and not just while we’re at math and science camp. It’s an essential skill, and it opens a huge number of doors. If you can raise kids who are good at math and like it, then you’ve given them a huge advantage.