How to help your child with primary school maths

Now that 2022 has well and truly started and students are back to school, the learning of new topics and core skills will be in full swing. As a parent, it is exciting to see your child learning new skills and being proud of what they have achieved. However, along their learning journey it is likely that they will face some challenges. To help your child be ready for these challenges it is important that a good learning environment is nurtured at home. Here are some useful tips to foster a good learning environment for maths in your home:

Be nosey!

Learning maths requires a solid and secure foundation. This foundation is built on a good aptitude in place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication etc. If any of these fundamental skills are neglected or weaker than the rest it will negatively effect everything else. This has the unwanted knock on affect that any new skills will become harder to learn – thus causing your child to get frustrated with the learning process. This is essentially what causes children to lose confidence in their ability and fall behind. Early awareness of a potential problem is key so it can be addressed before confidence is damaged.

However, it can be difficult to really know how your child is doing in maths – here’s where being nosey is important! Here are some tips to help you develop an understanding of your child’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to maths.

  • Speak regularly with your child about their school work – How was maths this week?  How did you do in that homework / weekly test?
  • Let them know that it is just as important to discuss our struggles ( poor grade) as our victories (good grade)
  • Look at their school books and check out the national curriculum  to familiarise yourself with what they are learning
  • Speak to the teacher – highlight any concerns to them and find out if there is anything you can do to help your child if needed
  • Use the free quizzes on Komodo Kickstart to help you build a picture of your child’s fluency in maths

Practice maths at home

Maths, like anything that is important, is a skill that requires practice. In the lessons we provide to our students at Primary Tutor Project, the best outcomes of practice come from a mixture of different approaches. It is important to practice based on your knowledge (from being nosey) of your son or daughter’s strengths and weaknesses. Practice should be based on fun games and be varied – it is important not to over focus on one area and lose your child’s interest. Little and often is best! Using real world examples of maths in the home environment can be extremely beneficial and can help solidify the idea of number in your child’s mind. Here are some useful ways to include maths in everyday events at home:

  • Point out the different shapes to be found around your home
  • Take your child shopping and talk about the quantities of anything you buy
  • Let your child handle money and work out how much things cost
  • Look together for numbers on street signs and car registration plates
  • Sing multiplication tables up to 12 x 12
  • Test each other on different ways to add or subtract to reach any number up to 20
  • Get cooking! Using scales and a cook book to measure ingredients for a cake are great maths skills
  • Gardening and figuring out growing schedules can be fun and engaging

Foster a healthy mindset

  1. Children are hugely influenced by the example their parents give. This also is true for attitudes towards learning and specific subjects. Throw away remarks such as “I hated maths at school” etc. can have a negative effect on your child’s attitude towards learning. Even if you did hate maths at school – hide it and show enthusiasm for your child’s maths learning!
  2. Be sure to praise the effort, rather than focusing on the result – continued effort is important. Making mistakes isn’t bad, it’s a necessary part of the journey for every learner
  3. Confidence is key to enjoyable learning – if your child is struggling and has lost some confidence, go back a few steps to the skills that they feel comfortable doing and build from there again
  4. Keep learning fun – bring in games and brain breaks

Final thought

There are numerous resources out there to help improve your child’s primary school maths ability. Parents always ask me how they should demonstrate solving calculations, because they learnt it differently at school. To help with this, I will be sharing some ‘How To’ guides on the different steps to solve calculations, so stay tuned! However, if you feel that you are not making progress it is important to seek advice early from their teacher or a trained professional. Please feel free to contact us here at Primary Tutor Project for further advice or if you would like to find out how we could help your child improve their math ability!

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