One of the most recurrent questions everybody asks himself is: how to do to enjoy the mathematics of my son?
I admit, it does not have an easy answer because as we all know “every child and every family is a world”. Even so, today I want to share with you which are my keys, which I know that the work.
1. Enjoy yourself with mathematics
For that you need two fundamental ingredients:
First: Love mathematics.
Second: Set up recreational and manipulative resources that allow learning mathematics in a natural, rewarding and lasting way.
But you wonder… what if I do not like mathematics?
Do not worry because if you start with the second point I assure you that you will love the mathematics.
2. See what your child likes
To adapt the space of the house and the activities or proposals you have to develop careful observation. Have the materials at the disposal of the children so that each child can access them and decide what material to take.
Do you like buildings? There are many options: Lego or similar, wooden building blocks, marble tracks, etc. You will learn to classify, order, count and measure. He will develop his geometric vision and his perception of surface and space.
Are they going to the crafts? It will work many geometric concepts and develop their creativity and logical reasoning.
Are they like stories and reading? Then include in your readings mathematical stories such as this one.
3. Let him be himself
A child has to know that he can be himself that we do not look for a certain model. If he is restless and moved, he can be. In the case that he is calm and relaxed, he can be. If he is reserved and solitary, he can be. Or if he is extroverted, he can be. Never force your child to do something that he does not like or does not care about. Here I do not refer to security issues or unquestionable need that, let us be honest, there are not so many.
If your child does not want to do something because he does not feel like it at that moment or because he is interested in something else, the worst thing we can do is propose him insistently, or show them our disappointment that he does not care. We should not have an idea of what a child should be. Only by allowing them to be themselves will we gain their trust and they will have confidence in themselves.
4. Respect what he learns at his own pace
We are immersed in the era of haste, of numerical results, of getting on the train so as not to lose it.
Contradictory information comes to us: on the one hand they tell us that the first ages are the most important for learning and that the sooner a better learning begins. So we run to point our children to English, swimming or yoga without thinking if at that moment what our son needs most is to learn English or learns to swim.
Childhood is a very short period to not allow each child to enjoy it to the fullest. Children have personal learning rhythms different from each other and if we want to help them we must let them go in their path, without trying to reach goals that have nothing to do with them. They learn from reflection, experimentation, discovery and manipulation and will do so as long as we respect their rhythm.
5. Have confidence in their ability to learn
Your son is a person with an incredible talent and a great capacity and needs you to trust him. Trust is a pillar that is fundamental in life, without trust there is no progress. Believe me, if you think your son will succeed in math, he will. You may have difficulties and you will not have to be attentive to help or ask other people for help, but at the hand of your trust, your son will go very far.
6. Play with him or give him environments where he can play
Lately, I hear a lot that children do not play and the truth is a phrase that bothers me. I have rarely seen children together or with their parents who do not want to play. Children love to play, it’s their main activity.
What is happening then? We are simply taking away the spaces and moments to play. Children need street, park, mountain or beach evenings. Afternoons where there is nothing planned: simply be. Children enjoy playing table games with their siblings and their parents. You will easily find many games that involve logical reasoning and arithmetic calculations. It’s not hard to trip over math in board games!
7. Develop real projects, to enjoy mathematics
Create these projects that arise from the interests of children. There is no issue that does not cover all areas of knowledge. There are no first and second category topics. So interesting can be to have the project to build the solar system as to make a poster with his favorite car models.
Our task is to guide the children in this initiative: providing the necessary material, helping them to find solutions to their problems (instead of giving them the solution directly), offering them ideas to extend their project, etc. I have done many projects with my children on the most diverse topics: ping pong, chess, tennis, soccer, Rubik’s cube. And in each of these projects my children have worked, at least, language, mathematics, history, geography and art.
8. Create relaxed environments, both physically and emotionally
It is important to have a place in the house that can be shared with other functions (for example the living room or the kitchen) destined to the materials or games. When you make a proposal, check that the place is clear and that it is a quiet moment, in which you can be 100% present. There are families that find it useful to set a time of the day or week and others that prefer to be more spontaneous.
In any case, create an environment of dialogue and participation and keep a soft and friendly tone of voice. Some people have told me that they find it a bit forced. Whenever we try to change a habit, at first we feel uncomfortable but if we firmly believe in its usefulness, little by little we find our place.
9. Avoid conducting assessments
About the work of your children of the “very good” or “very bad” type. Try to change these categorical phrases and put them as a judge by others such as “How did you do it?” “Have you had a good time doing it?” Or simply describe what you see.
10. Try not to do judgments
About your child or compare them with other people, whether family, friends or classmates. Whether they are positive or negative adjectives, it is best not to use them to avoid creating an external model for your child. Moreover, if they do it at school, they talk about it, indicating that the value of the people does not reside in the notes.
And to finish, I would like to know your opinion. What would you add to the list? What does it cost you more to put into practice?