Even if your child is enrolled in the best online math programs and working with an elementary school math tutor, there’s still much to be said for math practice at home with parents. There’s never a time when talking and learning about math with your child is a bad idea; it’s just not always seen as the most fun thing to do, so parents may understandably avoid it.
- Play Some Games
“I don’t want to play a game right now!” - said no child ever (and probably no adult either). Most of us love gathering with our families and busting out a board game. A little bit of friendly competition, mixed with good conversation, is almost always good for the soul. But it also can improve math skills (and some games are even made for this very reason). Some favorites are Ticket to Ride, Sequence Numbers, Fractions, Decimals, Percents Bingo, and even good old Monopoly, but search online and you’re sure to find endless options that fit the bill.
- Make It Real
Math is often hard for kids to understand because it all seems intangible. When you take concepts and then show children how they apply to real-life scenarios, it brings it within their reach. For example, you can talk about subtraction and addition by discussing the process of earning money and spending it. It’s also helpful to engage the five senses. Give kids something to see, feel, and hear that will reinforce concepts. For instance, you could use playdough to explain the premise of division. The more ways you can present a concept and stimulate young people’s brains and bodies, the more they’ll grasp it.
- Make It Timely
Kids are masters at enjoying parts of the year that are special, like birthdays and holidays. So incorporate what’s going on in the world by creating adaptive math programs that change along with the seasons. When it’s October, use fake spiders to help illustrate a math problem. November? Break out some pumpkins and talk about fractions. You get the idea. As long as you’re intentional about tying together the excitement in their lives with your math games, the more they’ll be intrigued.
- Change the Scenery
Sometimes kids become disengaged during math lessons because they’re sitting in the same place, looking at the same workbook and using the same materials. Switch it up a bit, and you can re-engage them quickly. Try going outside and using chalk to work through some math problems on the sidewalk. Some fresh air and this little change in medium can be all it takes to pique a child’s interest again. Or, take breaks periodically and do a jumping jack contest. Getting kids out of their seats and getting their hearts pumping can be invigorating, and help wake up tired brains.
- Involve the Kids
When you start doing elementary math tutoring with your child, don’t forget to make them a key part of the process. Think about what interests your kids. If it’s football, work scoring and other aspects of the game into your latest math session. Baking? Make some cupcakes and talk about measurements and so forth. Look to your kids for inspiration, and even ask them what you can do to make the process more fun. You might get some outlandish requests, but you’ll also probably hear some great (and feasible) ideas you can put into practice.
It’s not always easy to do elementary math tutoring with your children, but a solid understanding of math is crucial for their academic success. So keep at it, and make it fun by trying our suggestions! We work hard to make learning math concepts fun at Cignition, as well, so contact us for extra support for your child’s math journey and try a free online tutoring session.