The two largest challenges parents may have helping their child with maths homework are:
- Dealing with their own memories of doing maths at school - or not.
- A sense of urgency: wanting the child to be better, too quickly.
The parent has an essential role in their child’s learning as the parent’s attitude towards numeracy often rubs off on the student. If the parent did not enjoy or is not interested in numeracy, we often find the child has a similar disinterest. It would be beneficial if parents would focus on thinking about how they communicate maths with their child and changing to a positive conversation around numeracy.
To help parents have more positive conversations about improvements in their child’s numeracy, thousands of students are using the LearnFast Maths Skills Booster at school or at home. This establishes a brain fitness routine and improves the student’s:
- Confidence with number relationships
- Ability to set and achieve goals
- Self confidence as a result of successfully completing progressively harder challenges
- Ability to do maths and other tasks faster
Struggling to see improvement?
Some students may look like they are making slow, or minimal progress. So if you have a student who is stuck, unable to get all answers correct, getting demoralised, or not able to speed up, what can you do to help?
Here are 8 steps that may help and some important tips for parents and teachers to keep in mind:
If it is at first too daunting to attempt all 169 answers then just do the columns: 0, 1, 2 & 10. Do them until 100% correct 3 times in a row.
- Learning objective: Build a confidence platform with 3 of the easiest multiplication rules (0, 1 & 10) and become familiar with the even numbers.
- Teacher or parent role: Don’t trivialize; acknowledge the student’s effort/achievement.
Now, add the 5 times column. So do 0, 1, 2, 10 & 5 - until 100% correct 3 times in a row.
- Learning objective: Recognising that every number multiplied by 5 ends with 0 or 5.
- Teacher or parent role: Encouragement that the student is doing more and improving.
Now, add 11 times table. So do 0, 1, 2, 10, 5 & 11 - until 100% correct 3 times in a row.
- Learning objective: Single numbers times by 11 - just write twice eg 11 x 3 = 33. Double digits times by 11, write the first, the last and in the middle put the sum of the two digits eg 12 x 11 = 132.
- Teacher or parent role: Help the student recognise they are being persistent with a challenge. What the student focuses on and practices he/she will get better at. That is a very empowering life skill for the student to learn and own.
Now, add the 3 times column. So do 0, 1, 2, 10, 5, 11 & 3 - until 100% correct 3 times in a row.
Then, add the remaining columns, one at a time in this order: 9, then 6, then 4, then 12, then 8 then finally 7. But only add the next number column when the preceding set is done 100% correct 3 times in a row:
- Learning objective: Persistence. Break a big challenge into smaller pieces. Conquer and continuously improve.
- Teacher or parent role: Each time a number is added, get the student to laugh that just when it starts to get easy, the challenge is made harder. Help the student accept the challenge and recognize they have now successfully handled 6 increases in the level of difficulty. Wow! When was the last time you were able to recognize and applaud your child’s ability to improve 6 levels of difficulty?
Which is a more constructive and bonding conversation to have with your student:
- “You have only learned 91 of the tables, so many more to do! Please get a move on”.
- “Wow, you have gone from just doing 52 questions (the 13 numbers from 0 to 12 times 0, 1, 2 & 10 in step 1) to 91 questions (in step 5). That’s nearly double. You have challenged yourself and been persistent and succeeded in getting them all correct three times in a row. You have earned the right to the next challenge – let’s have a mango to celebrate!”
Do the un-jumbled sheet until all 169 answers are correct.
- Learning objective: Students learn what the right answers should look like (even if they are just counting the answers by adding the number to the last answer).
- Teacher or parent role: Make sure you applaud each improved score, and reward 100% accuracy.
Do un-jumbled sheets until the time for completion of each one (100% correct) comes down to 5 minutes.
- Learning objective: Students learn to do it fast and to write fast – there is a neuroscience connection between writing and learning.
- Teacher or parent role: Applaud each improvement and reward each whole minute improvement (must be with 100% correct answers).
Do jumbled sheets possibly in the same steps as 1 - 5 above. Then follow the original directions that came with the LearnFast Maths Skills Booster download.
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR TEACHERS & PARENTS
So you can provide the best support, it’s important that you understand:
- Never lose faith in a struggling student, just find the path they need in order to climb their mountain.
- The key is that in the end, it takes as long as it takes.
- Patience and encouragement are as important as consistency.
- Students are not just learning maths, they’re also learning how to have determination and the feeling of success that their efforts can deliver.
- Celebrate all improvements – no matter how minor they seem – for some students it is the only academic celebration they might have that week.
- Allow the student to take breaks - over holidays and whenever they seem “burnt out”.
- It’s mostly about helping you have positive conversations around numbers with your student. So take your time, celebrate often and build confidence.
Every student can climb the Maths Mountain one step at a time.