I recently got my second grade son’s report card for third quarter, and I couldn’t be prouder. His teacher commented that she was proud of my son’s progress in math; he has passed addition and subtraction and is now on multiplication. It makes me happy to see that my son is enjoying doing math as well as succeeding in it. Here are some tips I use to make math more fun and engaging –
Tutor – I never leave my son to do his math alone, unless it is a concept he is quite familiar with. Even though he is learning concepts from school, when it is time to do his homework, I sit with him and tutor him. This helps me ensure he is on right track to understanding the fundamentals of math correctly. One cannot succeed in math if he doesn’t understand the fundamentals correctly. I also send him to Kumon, which is a Japanese tutoring class where they teach math every week and give home work for every day.
Practice – Repetition is very important for children to learn something. The more they practice or repeat, the faster they learn the concept. I believe in doing homework every day since it keeps my son abreast of learning math as well as help him remember it.
Go Online – There are several websites online where kids can learn math and practice what they know. Websites such as coolmath-games.com offer great resources for children to get interested in math while keeping it fun and engaging. My son goes to this website at school and requests to play some more when he gets home. I do not feel guilty about him wasting his time playing online since it is time well spent.
Math apps – In addition to going online, there are numerous math apps available that kids can use to play on ipod or iPhone or any other devices. Apps such as Math Training for Kids offer basic math concepts such as Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division very simple. I like apps that offer math questions that children can solve in limited amount of time. Having quick fire tests under limited time enables kids to solve math problems faster and improve their skills. For younger kids, try out Team Umizoomi Math app which offers simple math problems to solve in form of games. My three year old just loves this app and plays it with minimum assistance and I feel she is on right track to enjoy math as she grows up.
Help Memorize – Another key point in making math more enjoyable is to ensure your child remembers the fundamentals. That means helping him memorize what he learnt that day. One of the best ways to memorize is to go over the concepts as you put your child to bed. They would be relaxed and can easily recollect the concepts. Teach your child to ponder over math concepts as they go to sleep. This is a trick my father taught me and I found it very useful and tell my son to do so too.
Keep it Simple – Often my son would not understand how to multiple two 3-digit numbers or how to find the greater of two fractions. Such times, it is critical to help break it down for him. I may have to explain the concept to him more than once and he still might not get it. But as a parent, I just keep at it and look for simpler ways to explain it to him. This way, I can ensure he remembers what he learns.