Running into stumbling blocks when you’re trying to teach your elementary school age child the basics of math can be a frustrating and frightening experience. Are they going to continue having problems? Do they have some kind of learning disability? These are some of the common concerns that parents have when their little ones just aren’t catching on as quickly as the other kids. Or, maybe your child is right on par with the rest of their class, but you just want them to be a math genius? Whether your kid is ahead or behind, here are 10 bonafide ways to not only get your kid caught up but propel them ahead of the class in dramatic fashion:
1. Hire an Online Math Tutor
Before you start stressing out about how you’re going to become a math teacher overnight, consider the option of hiring an online tutor. Bringing an in-person tutor to your home can be an inconvenient hassle in comparison to an online session. If you’re feeling like nothing you say or do is working to get your kid on the right track, that may be a sign that you should look into outsourcing the duty to a trained math tutor.
2. Watch Math Videos, More Than Any Other Videos
YouTube contains a wealth of kid-friendly math videos that you can play all day long. You can use the AutoPlay feature to keep math videos playing consecutively for as long as you want. Play these shows and videos more than any other content your child watches and within a few weeks, you should see a notable improvement. For example, if your kid plays the video game for an hour and watches an hour of cartoons, then you would need to play two hours of math videos to match the other content that your child has viewed.
3. Play Math Games
Everyone knows that kids learn faster when education is gamified. If you haven’t started playing math games with your kids already, try to start doing so for at least 15-30 minutes every day. Games work well because they can be incentivized. For example, you could say, “if you score X points you can use your winnings to buy or receive X.” When a kid knows that a prize is on the line, they’ll be much more likely to pay attention and do their best.
4. Focus on Nutrition
While most children don’t suffer from significant nutritional deficiencies in developed nations, it is very possible that some of the foods in your child’s diet could be contributing to learning problems. The main culprits to steer clear of are high-sugar foods and junk foods. Avoid such snacks for at least two hours before and at least one hour after learning time.
5. Do Pop Quizzes Daily
Teaching a kid math only one time per day isn’t the best strategy for accelerating their learning path. Instead, you need to be actively quizzing their abilities throughout the day. This will let you continually assess their level of progress while also firmly cementing recently learned concepts so that they can be easily recalled at a moment’s notice.
6. Move Past the Fundamentals
It’s easy to become complacent with your child’s math level after they’ve caught up with the rest of the class. Don’t rest on your laurels and use your child’s previous delays as an excuse to not push the bar. If your goal is to accelerate their math skills, you need to take initiative to set higher-than-normal goals for your child. Not every other 4th grader is studying basic algebra, but there’s nothing wrong with going there if your kid seems to be ready.
7. Teach Mental Math
Too many kids, parents, and teachers are completely dependent on their smartphones’ calculators nowadays. It has literally become a worldwide problem – not enough people know how to do mental math quickly and accurately. Encouraging your child to solve problems in their head without pencil or paper will strengthen their ability to arrive at solutions faster and with greater accuracy.
8. Explore Unconventional Math Techniques
There’s usually more than one way to solve a math problem, unfortunately, the mainstream methods taught in schools don’t always make use of the most efficient techniques. Check out the work of Scott Flansburg, a math expert who has become known as “the human calculator” for his unbelievable ability to perform calculations faster than a calculator. His methodologies can seem foreign at first, but he’s managed to break several Guinness World Records, so his courses are worth looking into.
9. Teach Them How to Use an Abacus
The abacus is an often forgotten yet useful tool that we all played with when we were younger but most of us never used it the right way. Well, it turns out those little sliding beads can turn you into a math genius if you know how to use it. Teach your kids the history of the abacus and how it’s used to give them a firmer grasp on the fundamentals of math.
10. Create Custom Math Problems Out of Everyday Experiences
Kids learn the fastest when they’re absorbing information through life experiences. Look for times throughout the day when you can create unique math problems. Grocery shopping is always a good time for this because there are plenty of prices and scenarios to work with.
Repetition Makes Math Easy
If you hadn’t heard the saying “repetition is the father of learning” before, you have now. That concept applies to every kind of educational activity, especially math. A major mistake many parents and novice tutors make is moving on to the next subject or challenge once the child seems to understand the concept.
To really drive home information and increase proficiency, you need to go beyond the point of understanding each topic and into the realm of trying to master each little step. They may know their addition and multiplication tables, but how quickly can they recite them? Focus on repetitiously building speed and skill in one area before you move on to the next.