Helping your child by identifying their learning gap when they are in their upper primary school years (Year 5-6) is very important. At the end of primary school, children have completed 7 years of formal school and are expected to have mastered the fundamental mathematics skills. It is true that most of the students who graduate from primary school have not mastered these skills. In reality, when students finish sixth grade they have huge gaps in their basic mathematical understanding.
I can understand how it feels to watch your child struggle, but I believe you can help your child by following the steps below :
1. Help your child in developing a positive attitude toward learning
Even if you believe you don’t know how to teach or don’t have enough skills to assist them with their schoolwork. You can help your child in developing a positive attitude toward learning and resilience. Every child has the ability to learn and improve their numeracy skills, but they all learn in different ways. Some children need more assistance than others. All we have to do is to provide the correct kind of help at the right time and encourage them to believe in their own abilities.
2. Learn alongside your child
If you are talking to yourself, I don’t know maths myself and I am not confident enough to teach my child, then why not learn alongside them. We must demonstrate to them that it is acceptable to struggle and to seek help when needed. Mathematical anxiety is very prevalent and can be passed down from generation to generation, so you must be cautious about expressing your concerns about maths or categorising maths as difficult or complicated in front of your child. You can prevent your child from inheriting your phobia of maths by offering them support and getting professional assistance. There are numerous free maths resources available that you may use with your child to learn along the way.
3. Have high expectations from your child
According to research, children learn better when their parents or teachers have high expectations from them. High expectations can help them to be more resilient, confident, motivated, and successful. All of this is possible if we believe that every child is capable of learning and take responsibility for providing the best possible support. You might be wondering what I mean when I say “high expectations”? I mean, every child, should reach their full potential; we don’t need to create unnecessary pressure on them. We should, however, urge them to reach their full potential and our expectations must be realistic.
4. Practice, Practice, and practice
This is the best piece of advice to develop their understanding and fluency. Mathematics is a skill that can only be learned through practice. According to research, regular practice is the most effective strategy for children to improve their mathematical skills.
“Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work,”
5. Aide them with some resources
There are numerous excellent resources available to help your child in gaining confidence in maths. Another blog contains a list of free maths resources you may use to teach your child. Take a look at it if you haven’t already.
6. Ask for help
Your child’s school should be the first point of contact. You must sit in the driving seat of your child’s learning, especially at the upper primary and lower secondary levels until your child develops a sense of responsibility. Many students struggle in grade 9 or 10 with maths because they lack all the foundational skills required to do high-level maths. Then it becomes challenging for them to close the gaps in their knowledge. It lowers their self-esteem, and they either refuse to learn or believe they are incapable of learning maths.
If your child’s school is not willing to help, then you must seek help outside of the school. When I say outside of school, I mean you should be cautious about seeking extra help. Don’t fall into trap of cheaper tutors who will do your child’s homework but won’t help them develop the skills they will need to do their work independently and confidently.
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