How to help my child with math?

S. F.




We have recently commemorated the School Mathematics Day, a date chosen in honor of Pedro Puig Adam, born on May 12, 1900 and internationally recognized in the field of mathematics teaching. «All children can learn math and enjoy it if given the right context. But there are many who consider that it is difficult for them, or that they are not good at it or who wonder why they have to learn mathematics “, says Marina García, coordinator of the Kumon Mathematics program at Kumon Spain.

What is the key to fostering a taste for mathematics? How can we help you?
All children like to learn and improve themselves, as long as they feel safe and the challenges are appropriate to their particular learning situation. In such a context, they will enjoy mathematics from a young age, developing all the skills that learning this valuable subject entails.

In relation to this appropriate context, it is common to hear “this child does not pass because he is not attentive in class”, when, on many occasions, what happens is precisely the opposite: the student does not concentrate because the conceptual contents are far above or well below its level. “This can make you frustrated or bored, making it difficult for you to focus, learn, and be motivated by the challenges. Educators should be able to provide a context in which children trust themselves and can offer their best version, ”warns the coordinator of the Kumon Mathematics program at Kumon Spain.

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This expert shares here some ideas to awaken your child’s interest in learning math and help him do it:

1. Don’t say, “I’m not good at math.” Self-confidence is essential to be able to face challenges with enthusiasm. Eliminate phrases like “I’m not good at math” or “I’m more about letters than numbers” from your vocabulary because you will be sending the wrong message that mathematics is only for “a small group of chosen people.” What better excuse not to strain!

2. Focus on what you are capable of and not what you are not (yet) capable of. It is natural for parents to highlight what our children are not capable of doing, because we love them and it is in those aspects that we want them to improve.

Although we do it with good intentions, it is generally not effective. If we always focus on negative results, we will be unconsciously feeding the negative image that that child has of himself with respect to mathematics. Take any opportunity to praise your child! For his effort, for trying on his own, for being brave, for having achieved something more than yesterday …

3. A little bit each day.
Establish a daily routine and provide an orderly, well-lit space so that she can work for a short time each day. Remember that “practice makes perfect”: Don’t wait until the day before the exam. Learning mathematics is much more meaningful and satisfying when it is not tied to the stress and anguish of exams. If necessary, talk to the school to see if they can offer you personalized exercises that you can work on gradually from day to day. In the medium and long term, it is undoubtedly the best strategy!

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4. The important thing is that you learn to learn. Help him to incorporate an autonomous and efficient work system for mathematics: Always read the sentences comprehensively, underlining the data and paying close attention to the images, if any; make a drawing; look for another similar exercise that can help you solve the exercise that does not work out; write something before asking, even if it is not correct … Try to provide tools that will serve you in the long term.

5. Take into account their learning pace. All children have infinite potential, but each learns differently. Do not insist on him thinking the same as you or get frustrated if your “tricks” do not serve him or he goes at a different speed than you expected. Try to observe and understand their learning process and respect their times. This is essential in order to encourage him and develop his capacity without losing his taste for learning mathematics.

6. Failure is an opportunity, not a drama. The 5 barrier between passing and failing is an artificial barrier that has nothing to do with each child’s learning process. Our reaction should be the same whether he rolls a 4, a 6, or a 9. First, take an honest interest in all the points he has scored, and give him specific praise for it. Then take a constructive interest in those who have not turned out well. You can talk to his tutors so that they always give him the opportunity to review his exams and learn from his own mistakes in a positive way. You can even copy the sentences and take them home to review them calmly and feel much more confident in the next test. Make him feel like mistakes are learning opportunities and are intrinsic to him. This way you will face the next challenges with motivation without feeling judged.

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7. Have fun studying math with your child! Preach by example! Have fun with your child studying math. Enjoy posing the exercises and trying to figure out the answers with him, even when it is difficult. Don’t give him the solution: ask him questions, give him clues, encourage him to think for himself, and don’t scold him when he’s wrong. Learning is wonderful. Discover as a family books or films that bring you closer to this interesting discipline and its applications in everyday life.

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