2024 is finally here! And with it comes an opportunity to start afresh. So, we have a few suggestions that can help you and your child navigate the next 365 days for overall “maths wellness” and success.
Making great choices for your child’s maths education does not only entail building strong study habits but also fostering an environment that inspires a love and curiosity about maths. In this post, you will find suggestions for new year’s resolutions focused on building and strengthening the emotional, social, physical, mental, and financial aspects of a maths learner. You may find that you have considered some of these before but perhaps did not know how to begin. Our suggestions contain examples to help you and your child get started right away!
January is the fourth month of this school year. How is your child feeling about their maths progress so far? Now is a great time to explore their outlook with fresh eyes and make necessary adjustments.
Maths presents parents with the opportunity to build emotional-learning skills for their children, including identifying and managing their emotions, recognising sources of stress, coping with challenges, maintaining positive motivation and perseverance, and developing self-awareness. Growing children require emotional guidance, and you can help your child manage their emotions when maths seems too difficult, too boring, or even too easy. If anxiety has been a normal part of your child’s maths discussions, consider how you can change that in 2024. Inspiring or even maintaining a love of maths will mean incorporating a healthy mix of challenges.
Consider some of these strategies:
If maths has often been hard and challenging, help your child identify one good thing about their maths experience so far. With every challenge, there is growth.
Incorporate a “feelings chart” or “feelings thermometer” into your child’s maths work.
Allow your child to sit with their emotions and to reach out for support.
Relieve stress through physical activities, including physical maths walks (more information below).
Reframe negative thoughts about maths by making a pros and cons list of the facts.
Inspire self-compassion by helping your child acknowledge when they have worked hard, tried their best, and been brave.
Register your child for a maths competition.
Remember that strong emotional-learning skills will lead to successful academic performance in all subject areas and will build a healthy member of society.
This new year, incorporate more “maths talk” into your child’s life.
Maths understanding deepens when we share our learnings and “families are perfectly placed to talk about quantity, counting, and shapes anywhere children and families are — at home, in the park, or in the supermarket.
Encourage your child to speak to someone else about the maths they have learned, be it through a maths lesson or informal sharing around the dinner table. Your child can take this a step further and challenge themselves to help someone who has a maths question.
If your child is already attending sessions at Mathnasium, have them invite a friend to the next Maths Night or game night. Maths games are collaborative opportunities to practice fundamental number concepts, strategy, and logic.
To complement the social maths-wellness aspect, exploring maths through physical exercise can provide another opportunity to share learnings. Consider taking your child on weekly maths walks to discover the mathematics that exist in everything around us: in the park, the neighborhood, the mall, the library, and more! You can customise your maths walks to be spontaneous trips, or planned events that include trail maps and guide points where mathematical problems are presented.
Example tasks for your next maths walk can include:
Investigating floor patterns.
Exploring the shapes of street signs.
Studying bus schedules.
Estimating the height of a tree.
Counting the number of windows on a building.
Maths is all around us, and maths walks can be as stimulating as your imagination allows them to be! For inspiration, check out Maths for Walks.
The foundation of maths is number sense. This ability cannot be replaced by calculators or computers — it requires exercising “maths muscles.” One of the best ways to do this is to practice mental maths. Encourage your child to solve maths problems in their head, without writing them down. Have them start with simple computations and work their way up to complex problems. Your child’s confidence will grow when they realise they can not only solve maths problems all in their head, but they can do so a lot more efficiently and quickly than relying on traditional algorithms. Some recommended exercises are:
99 + 99 +99 = ___
99 x 7 = ___
667 - 99 = ___
12% of 25 = ___
Half of 31 = ___
9 ÷ 11⁄2 = ___
What number is halfway between 3 and 21? ___
Count by 75s: 0, 75, , , , , , , 600, , , ___, 900.
One of the best applications of maths to the real world is finance. Financial literacy is an essential skill for adults. The great news is that you don't need to be an adult to start building this skill.
This new year, consider getting your child started with a piggy bank. The discipline of saving yields rewards later when, as adults, they have financial stability and a “rainy-day stash” for whatever life brings. This task is filled with skills such as counting money, financial planning, and goal setting. For older children, consider building a budget.
It is not uncommon to feel reluctance when discussing financial topics with your child.1 Mathnasium’s curriculum introduces currency early on to ensure a strong foundation in financial maths. We recommend that young children work with real money in today’s age filled with credit cards and digital transactions. Feeling money and observing the physical movement between dealings can help young children realise the impact of purchases and sales on their savings.
One simple way you can bring your child into family finances is to share receipts. Taking a moment during shopping trips to speak to the amount paid for the items bought is an effective way to introduce money and instill a useful habit.3
The year 2024 holds so much potential, with the opportunity to improve your child’s “maths wellness.” Whether you start implementing all of these suggestions — or perhaps just decide to tackle one resolution at a time together, remember that new year’s resolutions stem from good intentions. If you don't do well, that’s OK. Re-evaluate and begin again. Just as the practice of maths teaches us, it is perseverance that we want to master.
Every child’s journey will be different. You can support your child by establishing where they currently are in their journey, and where they want to be. The end goal can be to better manage emotions, explore everyday maths and share learnings, or reinforce mental maths.
Mathnasium is dedicated to helping students grow a love of maths. Call or drop in to a Mathnasium of Harrow anytime. Happy New Year!