Teaching our Children to Love Math

Thanks to Marcus Wallis @marcus_wallis for making this photo available freely on Unsplash

Math is one of those subjects that seems to intimidate both adults and children alike. But math shouldn’t seem so intimidating, though. We use it every day – often much more than we realize. Some concepts in math can feel challenging for children, especially if they are abstract, and so it is vital that it is as engaging and as hands-on as possible. We can also encourage children to enjoy it by making it purposeful and relevant.

When my children were little, I always included math in our daily lives.

We counted numbers, recognized shapes, played with percentages, joked about acute and obtuse angles, and sang songs about the times tables and about pi. They became natural mathematicians.

Yet when the school years began and faced with textbooks and worksheets, they floundered. What was missing? I asked myself this question while staring at the papers.

I realized what was missing was the integration with our lives, the practical applications, the songs, the laughter. Rote and rigor replaced them.

The children were forced to write down workings for answers they instinctively knew, yet needed to include for their examiner’s benefit. There was no getting around that.

So I found a balance, integrating math back into our daily lives and talked about it as part of our day. We celebrated math as a joyous thing. I’d sing the times table song just to make them smile. Soon, the love slowly returned as it lived and breathed in our lives again.

How quickly they calculated discounted prices for me to evaluate if something was worth buying. How swiftly they worked out how many liters of water we needed for a trip to the beach. The change they returned me was always exact.

I think the secret to helping kids love math is for us to show them the value and relevance of it in their lives and how it can be like magic, solving puzzles that make them feel competent and capable.

Let us find the ways and the love will bloom again like a flower beneath the sunshine.

For more tips on helping your child love math, visit: https://theconversation.com/amp/maths-six-ways-to-help-your-child-love-it-96441

– Christina Sng for Maths@Singapore

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