Turn your child into a maths magician?

Ten Year Olds Have Their Say!
Parents want the best for their children, this is a fact. We want our children to feel loved and supported in all aspects of school, including homework. But do we really know what our children want from us?
Homework can be a stressful time of the day. After a long day, parents and children can find themselves clashing over a task that should be relatively simple.

Could this be because expectations from parents and children are not the same?

What do children really want from their parents when it comes to help with their homework, in particular, maths?

I put this question to a group of ten year olds (Year 6) and I was impressed by their answers.

Rosheen: I love fractions, because I understand them. I like the basic facts answers because they stay the same like 2+2 =4. English doesn’t do this and I used to be the worst at it.

One of the great motivators for kids is letting them know that once they have truly learnt a basic fact, it is theirs and they don’t have to learn it again. The answer will always be the same and it will never change. Funnily enough, unless you point this out, it is not something that children automatically realise.

Katia: I don’t want to do it! (She laughs). If parents help you understand what you are supposed to do, then you can get it done faster.

It has been well-proven that many errors in maths are caused by children not really understanding the question. If a child is confused by the way the question is written, then this leads to mistakes and the child can become discouraged. Taking a few moments to explain what the question is asking, and then leaving them to it-is a great way to build success and confidence. StayOnTrack funsheets use examples of a problem, to help children understand what the next steps are. (Sign up for a FREE trial at www.stayontrack.co.nz)

Mac: Parents should know that getting mad doesn't help. It only makes everything worse.

If you feel yourself becoming frustrated with either your child or the problem, then it is important to take a moment to step away. This could be a good time to go and get a drink, check the mail, or have a small break so you can have a breather. This can give you the space to think of a different way of helping your child, or explaining the problem without damaging your relationship.

Lara: When my parents explain how they do it, I tell them it is not how I do it. It’s all different.

One of the greatest issues parents face is how the teaching and methods of maths have changed. It is not the same as when you were at school. This clash in techniques causes a great deal of frustration. Take a moment to talk to the teacher and ask about the new ways of teaching maths, and listen to your child explain how they have been asked to do it, you can learn a great deal from your own children. StayOnTrack funsheets uses the same techniques and strategies that are used in today’s schools. Examples and pictures illustrate the next steps making it an easy transition between home and school, and alleviating the tension felt by parents.

The views expressed by these ten year olds are really impressive and show a depth I had not expected. The lesson I take from this, as a parent, is do not underestimate your children. Sit down and talk with them, see what it is they expect from you as a parent and use this as a place to start when helping with their maths homework.

StayOnTrack Limited 2014