First, take a breath, you are not alone, Maths is the one word that sends shivers down spines of even grown men and women. It’s not your child’s fault, not your fault, and probably not even your child’s teachers fault.
As a Maths teacher let me tell you this, together we can help him/her stay engaged with maths to the level where your child wants to practice it and eventually fall in love with it.
But for that, we need to reorganize how learning happens.
We like to start math with counting 1, 2, 3 normally using numerals. Grade 1 teachers often tell proudly that “children in my class can count from 1 to 20”.
If you have a 5-6-year-old who has been taught maths traditionally, raise two index fingers up and ask the child how many, odds are that he will reply, 11, which is what the numeral looks like instead of 2.
The traditional school methods are like chasing a wrong goal – “Showing without really understanding”.
The right route is to start out with concrete objects and only once your child has mastered the concept to move on to abstractions.
If you can’t remember your child at age 6 let me give you another example. We can all remember when we were introduced to the unknown X, in algebra class. It was there we put down our pens and declared “Maths isn’t for me”.
This would have never happened if word problems have been taught before solving and try to master a large bunch of weird looking equations.
Student first needs to understand the concept, then see where it might come up in their lives, and then they will happily master rules of solving it.
You see, by starting with the concrete, the word problem we have shown them that algebra is useful, and then shown them tricks of how to solve for X.
By starting from concrete we engage their curiosity and always answer the why for them.
We took care of all tiny such things when we were designing the Immerz math learning path.
This was the part 1 of this article series. Read part 2 here.