As today marks the start of World Maths Week (14-20 March), mother of two and former teacher Jo Otto shares her tips to help make learning those tricky multiplications, divisions and subtractions a little easier
Make it practical
Relate questions and problem solving to everyday life – this will help children to see how important it is to be skilled in numeracy. Make it relevant; make them measure out ingredients in the kitchen, ask them to read the time and work out how long they have to be somewhere.
Practice makes perfect
The old cliché really is true! Practice quick recall skills daily, such as times tables or any other form of mental arithmetic.
It’s important to praise your little ones for their efforts in all situations. The answer may not always be correct, but if the strategy is correct, always be positive about it. This keeps children motivated.
Confidence is key
Only quiz them when you think they have cemented at least some of that knowledge – some success will give them confidence and therefore even more motivation.
Mistakes are OK
Any errors your little ones makes should be applauded. Children learn best from where they went wrong. This is essential, then they will know what not to do.
If you’re having fun, then they will be too. Try to keep it fun and interesting and, above all, encourage them.
Give it a tune
Whether it’s a rap or jingle – rhythm and beat naturally resonates with children. Try rapping out, “Even numbers are 2, 4, 6, 8, 10… odd numbers are 1, 3, 5, 7, 9.” The music creates memory triggers for the lyrics. When you combine these with visual cues, recalling challenges such as their times tables will become an automatic response. Repetition is key.
Jo Otto is the creator of top educational app Maths Rockx, available on iTunes and Google Play