Taming The Beast
Be honest, when it comes to learning math, can some of your kids be a little beastly? It’s no surprise that math is usually the subject that homeschooling parents worry about the most because the odds are that at least one kid in the family, if not more, is going to fight against doing math.
If you have a kid (or 2 or 3) that hate math time, here are some helpful tips for taming the beast and making math more meaningful and enjoyable in your home.
#1 Make Sure Your Child Has A Reason For Studying Math
One of the main reasons that kids bored or frustrated with math is there doesn’t seem to be any reason to learn it. Your kids will never see
Help them find their own unique reasons for studying math. You may find that the skills of problem solving, critical thinking, analyzing and interpreting data, communicating complex processes in a simple way and proving and defending conclusions are some of the ways to help them see how useful and important thinking-focused math is in their studies. If nothing else, math done right can make their brains smarter and stronger.
When times get tough, referring back to their own, personal reason for doing math may help them with the motivation to move forward.
#2 Help Your Child See “The Why”
Every task your child does in math should have a reason. Whether that is to become a better problem solver, communicator, thinker, etc. or to help them create or test a hypothesis. When they just don’t want to do the task, it is important that they remember why they are expected to struggle and work through it. This much needed perspective will make the math more meaningful.
#3 Give Opportunities For Consistent Successes
Another reason that kids get easily frustrated with math is that they lack confidence in their own abilities. The best way to help them achieve or regain this confidence is to give them plenty of opportunities to succeed.
Now, this does not mean doing it for them. When you step in and tell them how to do a problem or show them the solution, that is not their success. That is your success. They need to have moments where they overcome struggle and figure out problems for themselves.
At first they may be small, like figuring out the best next move in a game or proving a simple addition problem using manipulatives. Once they start to feel those successes, they will gain confidence that will lead to trying more difficult tasks and they will start to believe that they can be great thinkers.
#4 Give Them Options For What Math Will Look Like That Day
When kids have opportunities to be in control of their math, they start to take responsibility for their own learning. The small act of being able to choose the activity that they like best may be all that is needed to get them excited to learn that day.
It is your job to select options that will help them have successes and find fun in their learning. Remember, math does not have to be worksheets. Give them options of games, building challenges or logic puzzles. All of these will help build important mathematical thinking skills.
#5 Don’t Forget To Have Fun!
If math is the same old book or boring worksheets everyday it will be hard to keep them motivated to learn. Kids learn better when they are engaged in something enjoyable. You will be a lot less stressed out too!
#6 Focus On The Relationship
Lastly, but most importantly, make sure that your relationship with your child comes before your desire for them to get their math done that day. The more you talk and counsel with them about how they feel about math, learning and life the more they will trust you as their mentor.
Take whatever time off of math that you need in order to mend your relationship you’re your child. That is worth more than math will ever be.
Be a student of your child
Not all of these will work for every child. Pay attention to your child. See what motivates them and what doesn’t. The more you learn about your child the better a mentor you will be.