By Jon Goga, math tutor and founder of BrainySpinach Math
When a child struggles with Math, lacks confidence and doesn’t want to do anything math-related, that’s likely ‘Math Anxiety’ setting in. The sooner you can help your child overcome this obstacle, the easier their academic life will be.
Having Math Anxiety does not mean that your child is bad at Math; it just means they aren’t being taught with the learning style that fits them. So many children that could potentially be gifted mathematicians are let down by the way they’re being taught.
So why not make Math fun? Fun is the universal learning language for all kids, and it’s not used as often as it should be. Use this technique well, and you’ll soon find that their Math worries are a thing of the past!
Here are some simple and effective ways you can help your child learn to enjoy, and love Math:
APPLAUD LEARNING AND EFFORT
Let them understand that it’s not about getting the right answer. Praise the learning and effort instead. Put emphasis on the effort it took them to get to where they are. Praise them for not giving up, for trying a new method, and for their interest in Math.
They need to understand that it’s not about getting the answer right, it’s understanding the logic behind the problem. This is how they develop a growth mindset.
If they say, “it’s hard”, tell them that it just means that their brain is working. Hard work is tough! Instead, we should help them to look at it in a fun way, suggest ways they can work out the problem, this helps to get their brain working hard and results in the brain expanding to fit in the new concept.
PLAY ONLINE MATH GAMES
Speaking of making Math fun, this is a fantastic way to get them enjoying Math. Video games have often got a bad rep, but in recent years, a lot has changed. The age of ‘edutainment’ has come; the combination of education and entertainment. Your child can gleefully play through games whilst learning and practicing their Math problems.
A great example of this is BrainySpinach Math; they teach kids aged 7-11 Math through fun and innovative free Roblox games so that they no longer fear Math and are prepared for STEM vocations. This is all about meeting them where they are already having tonnes of fun – as that’s the way to help learning.
The Maths Teacher “BrainySpinach” also hosts free and entertaining Livestreams regularly on YouTube, playing through his and other educational games on Roblox with the “BrainySpinach Squad”. They welcome anyone else that wants to join in! Suffice to say, students love it, and many parents report back that their child’s Math Anxiety has all but vanished after just a few hours with BrainySpinach.
SHIFT TO THE LOGIC
When your child gets a Math problem wrong, harsh approaches such as using criticism and shame don’t work and will negatively impact a child’s well-being. Instead of criticizing, you can make them understand that it is OK to make mistakes – these are learning opportunities.
Rather than focusing on the wrong answer, shift to the logic of the problem and help them to understand that first. Ask them to explain the problem as simply as possible. Avoid offering too much help, instead help them to start to independently solve the problem.
Patience is key, especially as they might not even be used to a patient adult going at their pace, having only experienced one they can’t keep up with.
COMBINE MATHS AND ART
Math art projects let kids be creative while also teaching them mathematical concepts. There are many art activities that incorporate Math. We can see Math in artistic crafts such as music, dance, painting, architecture, pottery and many others.
These activities engage your child’s creativity and make learning a joy! There are activities available for children of all ages and skill levels. The best part about all these Math art projects is that they get “Math kids” thinking about art and “art kids” thinking about Math! It’s a win-win for all sides.
AVOID BADMOUTHING MATH
Some parents hated Math in school and are prone to saying that, often to sympathise with their child. However, we shouldn’t talk about how much we hated Math or how difficult it can be around our kids. Let’s talk about how much fun Math can be, link it to real-life situations, and make it more exciting for them.
For example, cooking and baking are great ways to show your kids how math applies to life outside of the classroom. Reading recipes, discussing fractions, and talking about how to double a recipe or cut one in half.
To get your child to love Math, you must change the way they see Math. Let them know it can be fun, exciting, and even adventurous. Not every child is born a Math genius that can calculate crazy problems in their head. It’s all about each child building confidence in their own ability to learn!
Jon Goga is a math tutor and founder of BrainySpinach Math, on a mission to help inspire children everywhere to catch up with their learning today so they succeed tomorrow. BrainySpinach Math creates fun and exciting online games on the Roblox platform for children to play that teach them essential math skills, all while inspiring them to learn by playing games they love – and allowing parents to ensure their child’s screentime is always productive. BrainySpinach Math is also the creator of the Roblox Math Camp – a course that has children learning math while playing said tutor-created Roblox Math games. https://brainyspinach.com/
Tutorful (UK only): https://tutorful.co.uk/classes?q=roblox