How can I help my child with maths?
1. Be positive!
More than any other subject, success in maths can be affected by children's attitudes and confidence towards the subject. It's not unusual to hear adults say things such as "I was never good at maths when I was young." Whilst this is an understandable attempt to reassure children we can inadvertently send a message that maths is 'hard' and that it is okay to not do well at it. It's not something we often hear said about reading or writing, so we should try to treat maths the same.
2. Practise makes perfect.
We try to keep homework to a minimum at Dale Hall, however, practising knowledge and recall of key facts at home will provide a huge boost to children's confidence. It will also be much easier for them to focus on the increasingly demanding new concepts they encounter as they progress through the school if they are not over relying on counting. Children in Key Stage 1 should focus on bonds to 10 and then 20 and begin to learn multiplication facts for the 2, 5 and 10 times tables. Year 3 pupils focus on learning the multiplication (and associated division) facts for the 3, 4 and 8 times tables, Year 4 the 6, 7, 9, 11 and 12 times tables.
To support children and parents with the above we have subscribed to Numbots (Years 1 to 3) and TTRockstars (Years 3 to 6), two award winning products that are based on sound educational research.
As with many aspects of learning, little and often is usually the best way to master these facts, better 5 minutes practise most days than a one off longer session.
3. Look for maths in everyday life.
Give children (of all ages) plenty of opportunities to use maths in real contexts. Look for opportunities to play with money and pay for and check change in shops, let them weigh the ingredients when cooking at home, estimate and measure lengths and so on.
Telling the time can be an area many children struggle with, especially with analogue clocks so this is another area where practise at home is essential.
Home Learning Activities
Youcubed is an excellent site produced by Stanford University and led by British academic Professor Jo Boaler who has spent years researching how children learn maths best.
This link (below) takes you to a page of challenges, puzzles and games that children can attempt alone, but will be better with a partner or other family members.
There are also lots of excellent ideas for children of all abilities on the NRICH website (below), this time based on years of educational research by Cambridge University.