How do I learn math

How can I support my child in math? 12 tips on how children can calculate better

“How can I support my child in math?” - 12 simple tips

Mathematics is the most popular tutoring subject in Germany. Therefore, on our seventh parents' evening on the Internet, everything revolved around the subject of "math fear subject". Of course, we pitted the experts and asked them for specific tips. The result is two times six tips for which you do not need your own math knowledge. Because the most important levers with children and arithmetic are a healthy dose of self-confidence paired with a positive attitude. Greetings from Pippi Longstocking.

12 tips on how children (not only in elementary school) learn to count better

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Tip 1: Encourage your child in maths through a positive attitude

Math is difficult, completely boring and, if at all, only for boys - in Germany this attitude is usually the order of the day. One of the most important steps towards math fun and good grades is therefore one positive attitude in the whole family. Parents can experience the fascination of math with simple means: For example with films like "A beautiful mind" and "The discovery of infinity".

In general: Show your child the creative facets of mathematics, for example by painting and explaining geometric shapes together. Or learning arithmetic in elementary school, like multiplication tables, is much more exciting in a sung version, for example with the help of Nena. In this way, you support your child in math almost automatically, as they experience that math is not just a pure "subject", but can offer great variety.

► Learn math in a playful way

Extra tip: especially if you are at war with math yourself, discover the matter with your child and avoid statements like "I've always hated math".

Tip 2: Create motivation for math through books and everyday math

Children learn best when they are interested in something and WANT to discover it for themselves. So try to support your child in arithmetic by encountering mathematics in a natural and lively way in everyday life.

Math is in baking (how much is 1/8 liter of water), in shopping (how much change do I get), in football (estimate the angle before shooting on goal), in being a Youtbube star (how much do I earn per click) or in Interactive exhibitions like the Mathematikum give you hands-on math. And in the books or radio plays by Albrecht Beutelspacher, children absolutely WANT to solve arithmetic puzzles - perhaps with the help of the whole family.

Additional tip: (online) learning aids that are suitable for children, such as the scoyo learning world, also challenge children in everyday math stories in a very accessible way in multimedia - who doesn't like to help the nice hotel employee organize their suitcases or convince them in the math quiz show? Look for yourself! (↪️ For optimal mobile use, please turn it into landscape format 👍 The task comes from the second grade. You can discover more exercises with your scoyo test account)

Tip 3: combine arithmetic with movement

Children like to move! So why not combine a walk, a running game or climbing stairs with counting, multiplying, adding, subtracting or dividing? For example: add 3 for each step. It is important to mix the calculation types. So after 5 minutes subtract / divide 4 at each step. Or more challenging: throwing a ball back and forth and giving the children an arithmetic problem while throwing it. When catching, the result must be called out loud.

Tip 4: Give children a sense of achievement in arithmetic

Demotivated students and bad grades are often the product of the vicious circle"Failure to understand / bad grades = failure -> little self-confidence / demotivation -> insecurity / fear -> bad grades - ..."

You can easily break this circle by using Create a sense of achievement. It starts with making tangible what role mathematics plays in everyday life and in the world. (see point 1 & 2). Rewards can also motivate, but they don't necessarily have to be material rewards: Virtual learning games and apps offer their own reward systems, such as exciting stories or unlockable items of clothing for self-created avatars.

It is also helpful to show the child what they can already do and what they have achieved.

Tip: In the scoyo learning world, the children can see in the "tile view" which topics they have already worked on and how well.

Tip 5: take away fear of grades

Once the vicious circle has been broken, the motivation and security in terms of mathematics comes almost all by itself | © diego cervo \ fotolia.com

Fear of math is often directly related to the negative experience of "bad grade". Then the vicious circle described above arises and the pressure increases. Parents should therefore not scold children when they get bad grades. Better: In a conversation with the teacher, analyze the child's skills and deficits in detail and then specifically encourage the child in math. Here, too, it is important to create a sense of achievement and show the child what they can do really well.

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Tip 6: Research into causes as a starting point for targeted support in math

In the school context in particular, you can support your child in the first step if you analyze (ideally together with your child and the class teacher) what exactly is lacking in your child's arithmetic. Because the causes for demotivated students and bad grades can be very diverse and do not necessarily have to be due to deficits in the subject itself (possible problems with the teacher, anger with classmates, general school stress, ...)

If the math itself is really the weak point, sustainable maths support starts with the strengths and weaknesses and trains both. A sense of achievement is created through strengths, so that a feeling of competence is achieved. Then it also works with the unloved material, which is trained with increased self-confidence.

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Tip 7: Extra tip for poor numeracy

Children learn the basics of arithmetic in elementary school. According to the maths didactic experts Ladel and Plüskow, "breaking down numbers" is one of the essential courses for success in the higher levels. The advanced maths subject matter builds on these very principles, so an understanding of these basic mechanisms is essential.

For some children, however, numbers appear only as symbols, not as usable units of measurement. The reason for this is in no case a low IQ, but a (temporary) partial performance weakness, also often called "dyscalculia" in the vernacular. This developmental disorder makes adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing difficult for those affected. Anyone who suspects that their own child is developing a numeracy weakness should act immediately. And in no case treat the child as incurable. Rather, if there are serious problems understanding arithmetic, it is important to approach the teacher openly. With early diagnosis and individual learning support (in the form of a special needs teacher) and extracurricular support (e.g. the school psychology service), (temporary) partial performance weaknesses, alias dyscalculia, can be compensated for.

► If numbers don't make sense: How do children deal with weaknesses in numeracy?

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Tip 8: Take pressure off of "Maths mountain of exercises"

We know that from ourselves: When the mountain of tasks is almost insurmountable and the sense of achievement is missing, at least demotivation sets in, if not panic. If the math homework is always a big point of contention, an individual consultation with the teacher can help. For example, by making the (house) task package smaller for a while. If your child has the positive experience of completing the tasks in the given time, the attitude and self-confidence of your child towards arithmetic will also change.

A "mountain of maths" can also quickly build up in class - if a child concentrates rather poorly in class or loses track of very extensive topics. Then it can help to write down the issues concerned clearly again. The 'Cluster process'For example, a clear listing of the important points makes it easier: chains of associations are created in a kind of mind map and show the connection between different sub-steps according to the motto "what has to be done when?" As a result, seemingly insurmountable obstacles are broken down into their individual components and are clearer and easier for the child to manage.

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Tip 9: Strengthen group work between children

Group work makes it much more enjoyable to fight your way through the math problems | © Christian Schwier \ fotolia.com

Children often find arithmetic or maths to be boring because it involves a lot of stubborn task processing. Fun and creativity - none of them. Group work with other children not only promotes fun and variety in mathematics, but also the understanding of tasks and problem-solving skills in the group. Because children then work out the solutions communicatively - and also creatively. Then it's less math than puzzling with a friend. So why not invite your friend over for homework time?

Tip 10: Educate children to help themselves in arithmetic

Even if you would give your child a loving helping hand and quickly calculate the result yourself: At school and during class work, you will not be sitting next to your offspring in a supportive manner. But if you are available at home at all times, your child will rely on your support instead of looking for a solution on their own. Better therefore: "Helping people help themselves". Even if it is difficult, give your child a reasonable time frame to solve the homework (or a task) and then go through the solution process together. This helps the kids sustainably and at the same time educates them to be independent. It also learns Your child to manage a given amount of time.

Tip 11: If assistance, then support in deriving

Support your child in independently working out the solution | © UBER IMAGES \ fotolia.com

If a task simply doesn't work out, your child learns most when he understands what to do. So don't just dictate the solution, but dictate it deal with the solution together. You can best support your child in maths if you support them step by step in deriving the result. At the task 23-13 it helps, for example, to do the arithmetic problem in 23-3-10 disassemble. Show your child the relationships between the two types of arithmetic. For example also: Who 4+3 can count, so can the task 7-4 to solve.

Tip 12: master word problems

Word problems are a challenge for many students, but why? There is no universal answer. It is much more important to deal with the child's individual problems. Is it the Text comprehension? Is it translating language into math? Text comprehension can, for example, be trained by using "math language" in everyday life - for example: instead of "in each glass" just say "per glass".

A conversation with the teacher makes sense here in any case in order to analyze the specific deficits and to work out a strategy together.

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For refreshment, we recommend reading Christian Hanne's column: "The subject whose name must not be mentioned"