How to Help Children Overcome Difficulty in Learning Math

There are several teaching mathematics strategies to help kids understand and interested in math. Teaching math to kids is more than helping them to comprehend mathematical concepts, develop number sense and master math facts.

Why It is Difficult for Kid to Understand and Like Math

There are many challenges a child can face when learning math. Some of the common hurdles are :
board for teaching mathematics to children
  • Children learn “HOW” instead of “WHY” in math. Though practice makes perfect but constant drilling makes it boring for kids.
  • Mathematical concepts can be abstract.
  • Each child has individual learning pace and style. The learning or teaching of math is not child-centered.
  • Children do not know how to approach math problems. They are not taught or encourage using the appropriate thinking and problem solving skills.
  • Learning math disability such as dyscalculia and math anxiety

What Parents Can Do

Begins Math Education at Home
Home and providing the right environment is where learning takes place for children. Jump-start children learning math early by engaging them in informal settings. Begins math education at home makes kids feel that math is an everyday subject.
Parents Involvement
Studies have shown that children can increase achievement when there is parents’ participation in their school or homework. Work with the teacher to achieve common goals for your child. When children see that math is important to you, they will feel it is important to them too.
Most parents who are concern about their kids having difficulty in learning math may already be involved and teaching math at home. In addition to the right home environment and parental involvement, there are other considerations when teaching mathematics to kids.
Attitude towards Math
We need to form a positive attitude, set high standard and strong beliefs towards math. Children will develop similar enthusiasm and attitude thus boosting their self-confidence on learning math.
Child Learning Pace and Style
Each kid learns at his own pace. Ensure the child has a strong foundation on acquisition and application of mathematics concepts and skills at each level. It helps child to be ready to move on to the next level. If the child is slow, spend more time learning math. Never skip on any level thinking child can play catch up in the next level.

Every child has his preferred learning style. Tune in to his learning preference. Different learning style learn abstract subject differently. Explore different ways when teaching math to kids. Include songs and jingles, math games and activities, use teaching aids and tools. Encourage discussion or work in groups to solve mathematical problems. Make learning fun and practical.
Children may already grasp the basic mathematical concepts but doing problem solving involves more skills. The purpose of learning math is to train kids on analytical, thinking and problem solving skills.

Teaching Mathematics Strategies to Apply:

Understand the “why” in addition to “how”
Avoid emphasizing procedural skills without understanding the underlying concepts. Help children to make connections among mathematical ideas. Be able to reason by analyzing mathematical situations and construct logical arguments. Then communicate using mathematical language to express the ideas and arguments logically, precisely and concisely.
Train Kids on Thinking Skills and Heuristics on Problem Solving
Encourage the usage of thinking skills such as classifying, comparing, analyzing parts; identify patterns in the thinking process. Use heuristics approach on difficult problem solving. Some heuristics include present problems in a diagram, make estimation, work backwards, before-after, restate or simplify the problem.
Approach to Problem Solving
Expose children to many types of mathematical problems. Include open-ended and real-world problems provide opportunities for children to apply their problem solving and reasoning skills.

Show them to solve problems in different ways. Train them to be a problem solver, one who finds, investigates and explores solution to problems.

Suggest children to adopt the following steps for math problem solving
  • Read and understand the problem
  • Underline/Highlight the important information
  • Decide on mathematical operation to apply
  • Estimate
  • Do calculation
  • Inverse calculation to check
  • Write the answer in sentences
If a child is suspect of having learning math disability, math phobia and anxiety, then you may want to get a specialist to evaluate.

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Printable kids math worksheets based on World's number 1 Singapore math. Include teaching instruction, colorful pictures and math word problems.



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