Math skills are fundamental to success in any subject or career, and it’s important for students to get a strong foundation from an early age. While most schools offer math enrichment activities as part of their curriculum, you can increase your child’s understanding with a bit of outside support. A research report by the National Council of Teacher Education found that students who participate in after-school programs experience higher test scores than those who do not. The best way to improve your child’s learning is through exposure to new concepts and increased practice time. Here are effective ways for best maths enrichment for primary school.
Make math fun.
Maths is often not the most popular subject, especially in the primary years when students feel frustrated if they can’t grasp concepts as quickly as others in the class. As a parent, your child looks to you for encouragement and confidence, so make math a positive experience by sparking curiosity and interest. If you are a teacher, use creative approaches to help students see that math is more than just a string of numbers and equations. For example, ask your students to identify patterns in the tiles on their classroom walls or note interesting ways that shapes fit together when playing with building toys. Many schools turn math into games or contests; encourage this approach at home by making learning into a game with points or rewards for winners.
Get to the root of the problem.
Once you’ve made math fun, you can go further by encouraging your child to explore problems and answer questions in different ways. If he or she is stuck on a homework problem or too nervous to ask a teacher for help, get involved with your child’s learning and present the topic in different ways that may make it easier to understand. Ask the child questions that encourage new ways of thinking, such as “What do you already know about this?” and “How would you explain it to someone else?” Together, try based on what you already know to come up with a solution. This can boost confidence and understanding.
Keep it simple.
Most students learn best when they are able to grasp the underlying principles of a subject, and this applies to math as well. If your child is struggling with a math concept, encourage him or her to simplify it by breaking it down into smaller steps. For example, instead of writing 5 + 6 = 11, consider asking what five and six represent (1 and 2), how much is each number (5 and 6), and where those numbers come from (1 from three plus 2 from four). Each step makes the process clearer for your child because he or she sees results immediately.
Get a good grasp of the basics.
While most elementary kids can count to at least 20 in their native language, that doesn’t mean they have the same number sense when it comes to math. Make sure your child has a solid grasp of the basics of addition and subtraction before delving into more complex topics. To start, have him or her practice estimating numbers under 10 and learn that 1 + 1 = 2. Once your child has mastered these basic skills, you can introduce more abstract mathematics such as one-digit multiplication of two-digit numbers or moving decimal places as you find your child’s skills level increases.
Use visual aids and technology.
Technology, such as interactive math websites or mobile apps, can help your child empathize with numbers and see how they interact with each other. Some math websites offer free printables you and your child can work through at home. Practicing with these visual aids will help your child retain information and understand how to apply it to new situations.
Make learning fun at home by getting creative.
While classes in school may often include only pencil-and-paper practice, that doesn’t mean you have to teach the same way at home. Get creative with math games and crafts that encourage students to create patterns, build objects using shapes, and count using household items.
Math enrichment activities are a powerful way to improve your child’s understanding of math, particularly at the primary school level and when studying new concepts. By using games and creative strategies, you can help your child grasp the underlying principles of math, which will boost confidence and understanding.