Have a positive mindset about maths
Try not to let your children know you find maths tricky. Let them know it’s okay to make mistakes, because it’s the best way to learn. If you find their maths tasks tricky – ask them to help you learn. This will show them that you are interested, and support their learning because teaching others reinforces their knowledge and understanding.
Use “maths talk” every day
Talking about maths is important for your child’s mathematical development. Encourage younger children with questioning: “How many pennies are you holding?”; “What shape is that object?” Also, talk about concepts like doubling and halving, as well as adding and subtracting. You can use everyday situations to help you. “If I doubled the number of chicken nuggets you have, how many would you have to eat?”, “If there were only half the people on this bus, how many would there be?” “There are four cars, so how many wheels are there?”
Use open-ended questioning
However easy it may feel, never just give your child the answers. Let them work things out for themselves. At Heyford Park, we try to encourage children to think about how they solve a problem, rather than just think about the answer itself. You can do the same by asking simple things, such as: “Which method could you use?”, “How do you know that’s correct?”, “Could you do solve it any other way?”
Develop their memory skills
This is a key skill for number facts in maths. You can help improve your child’s memory in lots of ways. Start by encouraging them to memorise phone numbers and then move on to nursery rhymes or quotes from books.
Most games have a mathematical element to them. Board games like Snakes and ladders encourage counting and using a dice supports visualising numbers, while jigsaws aid logic, spatial awareness and shape.
Practise reading the time with an analogue clock.
This is part of the maths curriculum, but is much easier for children who apply it in their everyday lives. It’s helpful if children have access to an analogue clock and talking about the time happens at every opportunity.
Use fractions in everyday life.
At school, children find fractions much easier when they visualise the problem: Slicing pizzas into quarters; sharing eighths of a chocolate bar, so try to do this at home. Then take it further – if you see a window with one smashed pane, ask your child what fraction is broken. At the dining table, ask how many peas is a third of the total.
Involve them in problem solving
Right from the start, pupils in our school are given real-life problems in maths. You can find lots of ways to do this outside the classroom. Can they find the cost of 5 cans of beans if they know the price of one? Show them a 20% off deal in the supermarket – can they calculate the new price? The recipe is for one cake, but we need to make three, so how much flour will we need? Which internet deal gives us the best offer?
Practise times tables
Teachers can never overestimate the importance of times tables. All children should be fluent from as early as possible. This is because times tables facts help us with our understanding of number and ensure we can complete formal calculation methods fluently, without having to stop to think about the smaller times table steps. All our pupils have access to TT Rockstars, a child-friendly practice website, which they can use at home to learn, using fun avatars and healthy competition with their friends.
Learn the methods your child is using
If you can confidently explain to your child how they should use a calculation method, that will give them encouragement and support. But its important that you are helpIng them with the methods we teach them at school, so they do not become confused. Our teachers are only too happy to give you advice, should you need it. We also have a calculation policy on our website, which shows methods done in each year with representations to show how they work.