Your child may well be good at maths. But if they are getting everything right are they being challenged enough? Are they making the best progress they can or could they move on further, and faster? Also, although they get things right, can they also explain their thinking and apply their skills to different types of questions and problems? Families Learning Together pushes children to explore and explain maths to develop their understanding and confidence.
The conversations we have at home influence our children’s perception. So encourage your child to engage with positively with maths. Studies show that we all learn best when we enjoy what we are doing, so any activity that we can make ‘fun’ will help children’s confidence. We develop our understanding of mathematical skills by seeing the relevance to what we do. Using opportunities to explore maths and number in everyday life is an opportunity that all parents have. Try some of the following ideas depending on the age of your child:
If you choose a good maths tutor, then they will have the appropriate mathematical knowledge. However they will probably expect to work with your child for an hour at a time. For many primary age children this is probably too long, especially at the end of a school day. Also, and really importantly, they will not know your child a well as you do. If you work with your child for 10 minutes, 2-3 times a week at a pace appropriate for them, with stimulating activities you will see significant benefits.
Even if you feel that your maths is not ‘good enough’ for you to be explaining maths skills to your child, you can still help them. Encourage them to talk about the maths they are doing in school, or any homework they are doing. Let them explain the maths to you. Be positive about the effort they are making. If there is something they do not understand, and you do not feel able to explain it to them, suggest that they ask their teacher and then explain it to you.
Whatever experience you have of maths, the more positive you can be about homework the better it will be for your child. Try sitting with them and encouraging them in their thinking as they work. Encourage efforts at problem solving, not just obtaining the ‘right’ answer. Remind them that although getting the answers right is important, when you make mistakes that is not failure it is an opportunity to learn.