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Three Secrets To Helping Your Child With Primary Math At Home

April 06, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 165

You'll find these three tips in the secret weaponry of any good teacher. And they probably use them without even knowing it!

1. Sequence your information properly.

The first thing to remember when helping your child with primary math is that you're probably taking a whole lot of knowledge about a certain topic for granted. Many parents simply start in the wrong place when it comes to consolidating their child's math knowledge, which quickly leads to frustration on the part of both child and adult.

It's important to eliminate any assumed knowledge you already have in a certain subject area, and given that much of the typical primary math content will seem pretty simple to most adults, this means starting completely from scratch... especially when it comes to young learners aged four to six years old.

The easiest way to do this is consult your school's 'scope and sequence' for the particular content area you're helping with, or see the curriculum handbook for your particular state or territory's education authority.

This document lays out exactly what primary students should be learning about the topic, when they should be learning it, and it what order each component will be introduced.

You'll probably be amazed at how simple each step is once you break the topic down into bite-size pieces!

2. Use relevance.

The second thing you need to do is use relevance in helping your child with primary math.

This means relating the topic back to their world in real terms.

It's easy to just focus on the theory of the math concept you're helping your child with - after all, that's what ends up sticking in their brain to use later. But the fact is, they're unlikely to remember it at all unless they can identify with the concept personally.

So, if you're looking at groups of numbers, instead of drawing pictures or tallies on paper, use actual objects like small Lego men or fruit pieces to demonstrate the idea. Have your child move and group the objects themselves.

If you're demonstrating fractions, actually divide up a real pizza or cake to model the various parts of a whole (note using square 'wholes' can keep you out of trouble here).

Or, for an exploration of graphs and data, physically map out the preferred ice-cream flavours of members of the family and create a graph of the results together.

Once you have linked the math concepts to your child's real world, you can return to the theory of the topic by using traditional methods of pencil and paper. But if you provide some relevance and authenticity first, you'll be amazed at how much quicker they catch on... and they might even enjoy it!

3. Use manipulatives.

Remember that young kids learn by actually doing, so, in the same way that you linked theories to their personal experience in the step above, make sure you allow your child to explore a concept with a hands-on example.

This could be using a clock face with moveable hands when exploring the concept of time, for example. Or it could be using Diene's blocks or an abacus to consolidate their knowledge of place value.

The important thing is to make sure your child has a chance to get their hands dirty and physically manipulate a few learning resources or objects when looking at a new math topic.

In the same way, try and find as many opportunities to apply their new knowledge in their day-to-day lives as possible... whether it's suggesting how to cut a pie for dinner so that everybody gets an equal serve, or calculating how much time there is until a certain event such as school drop-off or their favourite TV program.

By actually 'doing' the work themselves and applying their new knowledge to real contexts, your child will be well on their way to more confidence numeracy understandings.

And you will have more time on your hands to plan the next fun lesson!

Help your child with primary math with teaching resources and expert tips at - sign up for our 'teaching at home' newsletter and get a free copy of our primary math ebook written specifically for parents!

Source: EzineArticles
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