What do you do if your child DOES hate math, and more than that, so do you?
Can you turn this around? Can you not only help your child learn math but, in the process, actually appreciate it yourself?
I think you can!
Larry Martinek, from Mathnasium, says it very well when he states that children ‘hate being confused and intimidated by math’ and I think if we are honest with ourselves, this is true for us as well. Nobody likes to feel stupid.
One of the keys to unlocking passion in math is to go to a place where both you and your child feel confident. It’s OK to ditch the textbook and find a place where you are not intimidated anymore. Play with math, enjoy math and when you feel confident, start to grow.
As with learning any new skill, small steps and lots of repetition are essential. But don’t mistake repetition of skill as the repetition of an activity. There are lots of different ways to practice a skill while not doing an endless repetition of an activity.
I’m not a big fan of endless worksheets and textbook problems, they can have their place, but real, hands-on, relevant activities will ground your child in math a lot quicker than sitting at a table with pages of problems.
If you are at a place where just the thought of a math lesson has the ability to raise your stress levels, it’s probably time to reassess your approach.
Find where you and your child are comfortable and start there. Think about which skill you would like to work on and find resources, games, and real-life activities that will help them gain confidence in that area. Find opportunities every day to strengthen that skill. When they are confident, move on, grow, learn, play, enjoy! Only when they feel confident, let them attempt a workbook or textbook.
If you have older children and they have reached a stage where you feel unable to confidently help them with their math, you have two choices. The first is to learn alongside them. There are great resources available to help you do this and I will be posting a list to help you find these. The second is to delegate it to someone else. Online learning, with video instruction or hiring a math tutor, are options that are available.
The reality is that life can get pretty busy and you may not have the time to invest in learning yourself right now. You don’t have to do it all. There is help available. BUT, please, if you do decide to delegate, have a positive attitude, for your child, toward math. Encourage and praise them for hard work. Allow them to teach you what they are learning, be interested. Our negativity towards a particular subject has its way of rubbing off onto our kids.
Finding real-life applications for the math you and your children are learning, will help them to realize the importance of what they are learning. Introduce them to role models in the math world, both past, and living, this helps them to see that others have and are succeeding in this field, and math is not boring, but beautiful and challenging.
If I have interested you in ditching the textbook, even if just for a season, keep a watch on this blog for ideas, resources, and links. Also, connect with me on Instagram for hands-on math activities that you can do with your children while exploring nature.