Does the thought of teaching your student math give you chills? We all remember those sleepless nights with our parents scolding us for messing up on a math problem. You might even assume that your student will end up just like you--hating math.
Children aren’t born with an inherent hatred of math, though. In fact, they do math all the time in their head, just not in the formalized way we see on paper or the chalkboard. Encouraging them to continue using those habits helps them develop critical thinking skills, but how can you encourage children to love math when you aren’t the greatest at it, yourself?
There are a few tips and tricks you can utilize to impress upon your student that math is worth the struggle. Not only that, if you can convince your student to love math, you can open new career paths for them down the line and maybe even help them develop skills far faster than their peers.
Don’t Make Math A Chore
While it may seem natural to want to reward your student for their hard work in math, it can actually be detrimental to their enjoyment of it. Think about it like this: When your child does a chore, you reward them.
If you reward your child, say with a piece of chocolate--for instance--every time they finish a math assignment, you have now told your child that math is something they need to work through unwillingly to get a reward. Math becomes a means to an end and isn’t enjoyable anymore. The accomplishment of overcoming the challenge must be portrayed as a reward in- and of-itself in a way that builds your child’s confidence and reinforces their effort directly.
Math can be quite challenging, even for working parents. Your child will know if you doubt your own math skills. Think about how excited you were when you sat down to read with your child in their early years. Your child picks up on your enthusiasm and confidence and associates positive emotions with that experience.
If you sit down to help with math and are stoic, unsure of yourself, and lack enthusiasm, your student naturally won’t want to participate. They’ll see math as something boring and, worse, as something you don’t want to enjoy with them.
Bringing enthusiasm and confidence into sessions with your student will encourage them to enjoy the material. If you don’t know the answer to a question, embrace that shortcoming and research the formula or method to better demonstrate overcoming obstacles with education and practice. These elements go a long way in teaching your student that educational challenges are surmountable.
Make Math A Toy
Children often learn to love something by first toying with it--whether that be a block, a bicycle, or a concept. Toys like puzzles and building blocks help children understand concepts of structure and order in ways that are unassuming and fun.
Rather than simply being a way to fill time for a child, puzzles and building blocks encourage children to think logically and develop some of the crucial skills needed for mathematics.
Make learning fun. Allow imagination to play a role in learning mathematics and don’t be afraid to incorporate games that utilize math into your student’s learning routine.
Explore The Real World
Another way to make math fun for your student is to bring them out into the real world and show them what math tells us about the world around us. Show your student a fence and look at how all the triangles fit together into one large shape. Use the design of a bridge to explain the concept of weight distribution and structural strength. Use your imagination and make it a point to look for the mathematical elements that you take for granted in everyday life so that you can share these tidbits with your student.
Another fun way to help build these skills is through games you likely already have in your home. Board games are a great way to embrace math, as the majority of them utilize math to calculate victory points, count coins or tokens, and roll dice.
Familiarize Yourself With Standards
The requirements for your child’s education change every year, and knowing what it is your student will be learning this year in school is one way you can prepare yourself for whatever material is about to be thrown your way.
By knowing what’s in the pipeline, you can prepare yourself to help with homework and, by extension, remain calm while going over assignments and preparing for tests. You can even work with your student to expose them to material early and prepare them for what’s to come.
However, knowing all of these standards can be tricky for you, especially if you’re busy with work. Learning an entirely new set of standards on top of the ones you use daily in the office can be a chore. That’s where we at Mighty B Learning comes in.
Give Your Student The Edge
Mighty B Learning provides expert private tutoring and test prep services. Whether your child is struggling with their grades or they are an exceptional student, we're here to help.
Our test prep services include the SAT and the ACT as well as the PSAT, SSAT and ISEE. We also provide AP Test Prep services in areas like AP Physics, AP Literature, AP Calculus, and more.
At Mighty B Learning, we not only hire licensed teachers who excel in mathematics, but educators who know how to bring out the best in your student. We believe that every student can learn and we pride ourselves on finding the way each student learns. Let us help your child earn their success and impart the skills they need to succeed.
My name is Bethany, and I am professional tutor backed by over 10 years of teaching and tutoring experience. I have worked for some of the top names in the tutoring industry, and now I am ready to pass my experience on to you.