Many home schooling parents feel overwhelmed by the idea of teaching maths, since it is often a subject that parents felt weak at during their own education. Even confident mathematicians worry that the modern techniques for maths have changed a great deal since their own school days.
But while maths learning in the classroom does generally tend to follow learning trends and popular techniques, and therefore does follow certain structured methods, including learning techniques and equations through learning by rote, home education teachers can help children to learn mathematical concepts through every day tasks and maths games to aid their interest and engagement.
For example, maths is a part of everyday life – even if you don’t think you use maths, you do when doing tasks such as calculating distances, weighing cake ingredients, dividing meals into portions, estimating weights, counting out a person’s change, working out a metric or imperial measure, etc. This article will outline a few maths teaching games and lessons for parents to begin to enjoy home teaching their children maths.
Learning the Basics: Helping Your Home Schooled Child to Learn How to Add
One of the best ways to help young children start to learn to count and add up is to work out practical problems. For example, ask a child to count the following on his or her fingers: I had four cakes this morning, then I went to the supermarket and bought two more, how many cakes can I eat this afternoon? Some teachers discuss ‘number bonds’ – if you hear or read about these, note that it is only a term to describe the pairs of numbers which make up a total. So the number bonds for five, for example, are one + four, and two + three.
Learning to count to ten is usually learnt by rote, chanting in the car for example, or on a walk counting the leaves on the ground together up to ten, then starting again. Once a child can count to ten he or she can move on to simple addition with your help. Learn these concepts through game play, for example setting out four balls and taking away one, then asking how many are left, or doing the same with your fingers. Children will generally count at first, then start to remember the answer.
Developing Maths Skills: Home School Games with Maths
Toys like Duplo and Lego provide a good way to learn about numbers – give children a pile of bricks to count or talk through how many bricks it takes to build a house, then do so, for example. If you count aloud around the house, for example counting the forks while laying the table, your child will soon copy. Fractions can be taught in a similar way, while cooking, for example, ask your child how to make the cake half as big – halving the ingredients can then become a discussion of fractions.
Remember that maths can be fun – don’t tell your kids that you didn’t like maths at school, even if that’s the case! Instead, be enthusiastic about the opportunities for learning about maths in the world and using its applications for exciting discoveries.