Hope you had an enjoyable Chinese New Year! =)
Now, it’s back to reality. For some children, CA 1 is next week.
Is it the same for you too?
While problem sums can be challenging for children (and even parents), there are ways to make it fun and simpler for your child.
I’m a strong believer in making math-learning fun and simple for children. This is how I’ve been coaching my 5-year-old daughter Primary 1 Problem sums.
She does about 3-5 questions a day. She wakes up in the morning and she will do one more by herself.
She’s loving them. She uses the word ‘Please’ when she asks me for her math book.
‘Please give me my math book.’
So what I’m going to share with you has been designed to work for young children too.
1. Give your child a fixed number of steps to follow. Always.
Imagine a child in a small boat out in the dark ocean. It’s drifting aimlessly. No sign to guide her. Strong wind is blowing, piercing through the skin. Panic starts to build up. Suddenly, the mind goes blank. She feels helpless. Then, she starts to cry.
This is exactly how many children feel when they sit in the exam room. When they see unfamiliar problem sums, they felt lost. Some felt like crying. Many then tried to dive in and they try to swim (or sink).
‘Just do your best.’
‘Just write something.’
This is the common advice given to them.
However, when your child’s mind is blank, she just can’t write anything. There is nothing in the mind to write.
Teach your child our K-C-N-S-U step and make this the must-follow 5-step approach.
K stands for Key word (Which key word tells you the concept?)
C stands for Concept of the problem sum (What’s the type?)
N stands for Numbers (What numbers do you have to help you solve?)
S stands for Statements (How do you label all your steps so they can guide you towards your answer?)
U stands for Units (What unit do you need to write for your answer?)
The video on KCNSU can be found here
Many kids, who did well eventually, followed these steps.
They continue to push on even when they find the questions hard.
They have stronger mental power. (Point #3 below will show you how to increase this.)
Those, who did well eventually, are those who never give up.
2. Make revision bite-size for your child.
A parent asked me this during one of our parents workshops.
‘How many sets of exam papers must I give your child a day?’
This reminded me of a dad who attempted to do her child’s P5 paper. He couldn’t believe that it’s incomplete.
He thought he’s good in math. He did his best. He even used calculator for the entire paper.
He couldn’t finish the paper. In the comfort of his home. When no one else is at home.
Zero distraction. Still, he felt drained. Discouraged. Self-doubt set in. ‘Why can’t I finish too?’
Again, how many parents did an entire exam paper like this hardworking dad? (Do you?)
My suggestion is 3 to 5 problem sums a day for your child as homework. Max.
If it’s direct short questions, maybe about 5 to 7.
This has another benefit. It reduces your stress. Parents who tried this told me they nagged less too.
3. Praise your child for effort
The #1 reason why our students, who went from fail to Bs and As, is that they feel good about math.
They feel good about themselves doing math.
They find it FUN.
They don’t mind doing more.
This is why our students, who become self-motivated, are able to do math by themselves without being told to.
So if you want your child to start feeling good about math, praise him when you see him putting in (any amount of) effort instead of giving up.
Again, remember not to use ‘But’ after you’ve given a praise.
‘You did well BUT it’s not good enough.’
‘You did manage to solve BUT you’re sloowwww.’
Will your child remember the part he did well or the one he didn’t? Most likely the 2nd one.
Hope you’ve learnt at least one thing from this post. If you want to learn more (especially on how to identify the different problem sums types while motivating your child), you can sign up for our free phone consultation at this link