With thanks to Professor Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education for her guiding words of wisdom.
Encourage children to play maths puzzles and games. Puzzles and games will help children enjoy maths, and develop number sense, which is critically important.
Always be encouraging and avoid telling children they are wrong when they are working on maths problems. Instead find the logic in their thinking; there is always some logic to what they say.
Never associate maths with speed. It is not important to work quickly, and we now know that forcing children to work quickly on maths can cause maths anxiety for children. Instead of speed drills use visual, fun activities.
Be positive about maths even if your feelings about your own maths education is not!
Encourage number sense. What separates high and low achievers is number sense – having an idea of the size of numbers and being able to separate and combine numbers flexibly. For example, when working out 29 + 56, if you take one from the 56 and make it 30 + 55, it is much easier to work out. The flexibility to work with numbers in this way is what is called number sense and it is very important.
Encourage a “growth mindset” let your children know that they have unlimited maths potential and that being good at maths is all about working hard. When children have a growth mindset, they do well with challenges and do better in school overall. When children have a fixed mindset and they encounter difficult work, they often conclude that they are not “a maths person”. One way in which parents can encourage a fixed mindset is by telling their children they are “clever” when they do something well. Instead, use growth praise such as “It is great that you have learned that!”, “I really like you’re thinking about that!”. When they tell you something is hard for them, or they have made a mistake, tell them: “That’s wonderful, your brain is growing!”
Point out the maths in everyday life and in notice patterns in the natural world. Include your child in activities involving numbers and measuring, such as shopping, cooking, travelling and telling the time.
The National Numeracy Family Maths Toolkit is full of ideas and free activities to help families enjoy maths together.
Maths on Toast’s mission is to make maths a creative, enjoyable, hands-on, social activity for families and communities. There is a wealth of creative, stimulating ideas for fun with maths at home, all supporting the national curriculum and your child’s development in number, shape and pattern.
This is a very helpful year-by-year guide to the different aspects of maths your child will encounter and where there might be difficulties. It will help you to understand how maths is taught and the language used.