Hope you enjoyed your long weekend! =)
Now, back to reality. For some, CA 1 is next week.
Is it the same for you too?
Not to worry. We will be going through some important problem sums types on next Saturday’s Parents Math Workshop.
While problem sums can be challenging for some (including parents), there are always 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 per night. She wakes up in the morning and she will do one more by herself.
She loves it. She uses the word ‘Please’ when she wants 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 being in a small boat out in the dark sea – drifting aimlessly. No sign to guide us. Everywhere is pitch black. Panic builds up. Suddenly, the mind goes blank while feeling very, very helpless.
This is exactly how many, who struggle with problem sums, feel when they sit for their test or exam. 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 one’s mind is blank, one just can’t write anything. There is nothing in the mind to write.
Teach your child our proven K-C-N-S-U 5-step process 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 problem sums hard.
They are the ones who don’t simply write something. They use KCNSU to guide what they need to write.
They have stronger mental power. They are the ones who never give up. (Point #3 below will show you can help your child in this.)
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 my child a day?’
This reminded me of a dad who attempted to do her child’s P5 paper.
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. (He did it in the comfort of his home. When no one else is at home. )
Zero distraction. Still, he felt drained. ‘Why can’t I finish too?’
Again, how many parents did the whole exam paper like this hardworking dad? (If you did the same thing, I love to hear from you too. You’re an Awesome Parent. =)
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 students can move from fail to Bs and As is that they feel good about math.
To be exact, 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. (Yes, every motivated child has a supportive parent who cares about how her child is really feeling inside.)
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 Parents Workshop now at
See you on next Saturday (20/2) at 1.30pm at Park Mall.