What can you do when your kids don't show much interest in math? Robert Berry, the University of Virginia’s Samuel Braley Gray Professor of Education, has some wise tips on this important subject. Before anything else, parents and caregivers should talk about math. Those discussions can be about what your kids noticed in their surroundings or about the programs happening at school, among other things. Prof. Berry recommends to keep the 5 following measures in mind during these conversations.
1. Ask questions, then listen to your kids' answers.
Ask your kids what they're noticing in their surroundings, for instance. A positive news is when, over time, they start to ask you about your own findings and begin to drive the conversation themselves.
2. Let your kids show what they know.
Let your kids expose and explain their ideas. Allow them to use different words, numbers and images to support their reasoning.
3. Be warmly open to new concepts.
Of course, your kids may have different ideas than yours. It's however crucial to understand their way of thinking, rather than focusing on the correctness or falsehood of their concepts. Even if your kids give you wrong or incomplete answers, it's capital to know how they came to their conclusions.
4. Be patient. Take your time.
Explaining a concept takes time, especially for kids. So give them enough time to process and expose their solutions. For example, don't press them to memorize number facts before having a good understanding of numbers.
5. Learn something new yourself.
Parents and caregivers who are frustrated with new approaches in math have often not had the opportunity to learn those matters themselves in the first place. However, it's never too late.
Picture: Arcanys Early Learning Foundation