Sometimes adults feel that they are unable to help their child with maths because they believe they themselves are not good at the subject. I don't believe this is the case. Often it is the negative experience of learning maths that is to blame and not the mathematical ability. Maths is based on concepts and rules that have to be learned and this is a continual learning process. A rule learned previously will generally determine how to solve a different problem in another area. Thus, because maths is sequential, if some areas are misunderstood or not taught, then it is at least difficult, if not impossible, to progress.
That said, I cannot see any reason why a parent should be unable to help and guide their child with basic numeracy until they are at least 9 or 10 years old - KS1/2. At this age they are learning the basics, such as addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, which are the foundations of numeracy. Frequently the work done at home is far more valuable than that which is done in a classroom with over 25 students - even if the parent is not a qualified teacher.
Use the methods on my site, other websites and books to help your child with numeracy. Take your time, breaking each area down into smaller parts. Make sure your child has plenty of opportunity to practise so that he/she completely understand before tackling another area. Ensure that addition and subtraction are sound and that your child knows lots of maths facts by heart. You could find out what your child should know by the end of each school year by asking the teacher, or looking online. Resources to help with reaching these targets can be found online and even within your home. It helps to make maths interactive and fun - you can do this with games, board games and manipulation of numbers. You can also include maths in your everyday life, for example when doing the shopping, to show that it is relevant and indeed essential.
I once read that maths cannot be taught - it has to be learned and I agree with this. You need to give a child the environment and conditions to be able to make mistakes and play with numbers and number problems. In addition, if you teach children maths tricks, they start to find maths more of a interesting challenge than a chore. We often teach and test, which I think is wrong, as children need a chance to explore and understand maths in their own time and way.
At school children are sometimes taught new methods of working out, for instance 'chunking', which many adults find difficult to understand. It does not matter if you are unable to get your head around this - what does matter is that your child knows basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, which will enable them to learn the methods being taught at school. Children also need time and support to learn key maths facts, and if you can help them to do this, then the other methods they learn at school will follow more easily.
Teach your child basic maths facts (KS1 and KS2), for instance, odd and even numbers and the difference between them. Patterns can also be created using different numbers of dots or shapes, of which some are symmetrical, which can help a child recognise the properties of numbers. Make certain they know their multiplication tables and number bonds to 10, 20, 100 and 1,000. Knowledge of addition and subtraction facts are also important, for example knowing that 4 + 4 is 8, without having to count it, or that 7 + 3 is 10 and so on. Your child should come to know this automatically in the same way they know their own name.
The Maths Professor can also be helpful for parents. He offers podcasts which help parents teach maths.
Lastly, always have fun.
This post first appeared on How To Motivate Your Child For School And Beyond By Dreaming Big, please read the originial post: here