Solutions for the “I Hate Math!” Problem

Solutions for the “I Hate Math!” Problem
In schools across the world, for generations and generations, math students have dreaded their daily lessons. While not every math student dislikes the subject, math is often considered the least likely subject to be a child’s “favorite subject” or to be requested voluntarily as an activity. You may think back on your own math experiences and relate to the stories of students who feel burdened by their math studies. The reasons for this dislike of the subject range from the tedious and repetitive exercises  involved in the mastery of math to the difficulty of understanding the abstract concepts needed to continue in math education. Whatever the reason, providing a young student with a love for math, or at least a willingness to cooperate in order to learn it, is a common challenge for parents.
Teachers also struggle with this subject, as many students show a much stronger preference for school subjects like reading, history, and science that may lend themselves more easily to fun classroom activities. Math teachers have a connotation surrounding their personalities that may lead some students to believe that all math teachers are boring, clumsy or awkward, and have little or no sense of humor. Even if your child does not particularly like his or her math teacher, you can help them develop an enjoyment of math activities that will make their math education much more palatable.
The first thing to do is to speak with your child about why he or she does not like math. Let them know that there is no wrong answer, and that you are willing to help them find ways to make these problems better. You can also encourage them by minimizing your reaction to any answer you may get. Expect answers like, “Math is stupid,” or “My math teacher is mean,” or “He/she never teaches us anything.” When these answers pop up, probe for more information by asking open-ended questions. Find out what specific parts of math your child feels are useless, or how he or she feels about their teacher and the class in general. Also, try and encourage your student to name a few things about math he or she likes. They may first answer nothing, but you may be able to prod them by reminding them of a math field trip they have experienced, or a time when they use math to do something positive, like count allowance or go shopping.
Building a positive connotation around math is one way to foster a better feeling about the subject in general. Be sure to point out the places you use math that are enjoyable for your student, such as using math to figure out the score of a board game, or making delicious brownies by using math in a recipe. You can also find magazines, videos, books and websites that attempt to enhance a child’s math learning by providing entertainment, colorful images, hands-on learning or other enjoyable approaches to math.
Helping children relate Math to everyday objects and using activities to learn Math is one great way to make children realize that Math is not all that abstract. There are so many examples of Math in every day life, and when you come across any of these, make it a point to bring to your child’s notice. For example, when you are in a shopping mall and see banners announcing discounts, get your child to think about how much the item would cost after discount. When children are made to think, you will be amazed at what they can accomplish. Best of all, the pride that results from doing things on their own can carry them far more.
Math Buddy has been created with this sole purpose in mind where children interact with the computer and play with virtual activities. As they play, they learn the math concepts.If you have not had a chance to try out Math Buddy, enroll now to try it absolutely free for 10 days. Absolutely No risk, no obligations!

Teach math using everyday articles

Math concepts can be some of the most difficult for young students to master. This is a result of the abstract concepts that comprise most of mathematics. Fortunately, as a parent, you are in a great position to be able to help your student make the most of their math education. Staying tuned in to the curriculum of your student can help you to assist them with the most challenging parts of the skills they are being asked to learn.

The term manipulatives is used frequently amongst teachers of mathematics to refer to objects that are used in the classroom to help reinforce the learning of more abstract concepts. For example, when learning about units in math, such as the ones, tens, and hundreds units, objects are often used to represent a grouping of ten or a hundred. Being able to see how the larger units “break” down into smaller pieces is helpful in showing a child how to master this abstract concept.

Manipulatives can be used to illustrate almost any math concept, from time to multiplication. Cutting up a paper plate is a great way to talk about fractions and practice division. Small objects can be used as manipulatives to learn about patterns and grouping. There are lots of cheap, easy-to-use manipulatives that you can find easily:

  • Buttons
  • Coins
  • Beads
  • Poker chips
  • Craft sticks
  • Playing cards
  • Erasers
  • Bottle tops or soda can tabs
  • Pasta shells (can be dyed different colors with food coloring)
  • Cereal
  • Beans
  • Marbles

When your child encounters a math concept that is giving them problems, take a moment to analyze whether there may be a way for you to help your student by making the concept more concrete for them through the use of manipulatives. Any time that they are able to touch, hold, and move objects to represent the numbers they are working with, they improve their chances of mastery.

To begin determining how a manipulative might be helpful for your student, stop to ask questions and isolate exactly where the problem is occurring. Is the child missing an important step in setting the problem up? Does your child know which math operation is necessary to solve the problem? Is the issue a lack of understanding of more basic concepts that build on one another to enable the student to solve the problem? When you narrow down which step in the process is causing trouble, you know which step could benefit from the use of manipulatives.

Once you have decided what aspect of the math lesson needs reinforcement, choose a manipulative that makes sense. If you need many of them to represent a large number, choose very small items. Make sure you have a plan for working with objects that may roll. Take your child’s interests into consideration. You are more likely to be successful in engaging your child in practice math activities if they are interested in handling the manipulatives. Ask them for ideas about things that they can use to help illustrate a problem that they are trying to solve. Let them be a part of the learning process, and you will hold their attention for longer!

Above all, approach the use of manipulatives with a low-key enthusiasm. Show your student that using manipulatives can make learning math easier and more fun. Once they have an appreciation for these tools, they will look forward to working with them, and begin to understand how they are used in solving problems. Math manipulatives can be a great way to make abstract math concepts seem more concrete.

Math in everyday life

Whether or not your child is an ace student in math, you can determine for yourself if they are mastering the math concepts that you feel are important. Teaching your children how the math concepts they learn in school apply in the everyday world will help them enjoy what they learn and remove the need for rote learning. The best part is that helping them to see the value in learning math only takes a few minutes, and you can demonstrate how practical math can be nearly anywhere. The more you expose your students to the value of learning math, the more likely they are to be cooperative participants in their own education.
One of the best ways to begin demonstrating the importance of learning math is to model the ways that you use math and point out the specific math skills that make this possible. You may be thinking that there aren’t very many opportunities to demonstrate your use of math during the day, but you haven’t probably thought about how often you use math. The first step, then, is to take a week or so and pay close attention to the situations in which you use math skills. Keep a list in a notebook if it will help you to remember.
Although the list is much longer, here are a few common math concepts that you might find yourself using in your daily life.
  • Probability – Have you ever stopped to figure out what the chances are that you will win a free soda if the label says, “One In Six Wins!” and you buy two? You are figuring out the probability. The same applies to any other “chance” occurrences, like flipping a coin or rolling dice, perhaps as part of a game.
  • Basic math operations – Try including your math learner in your budget planning or checkbook balancing session. Show them how you must carefully add and subtract the numbers, and why correct math is so important when handling money.
  • Percentages – Shopping for items on sale is a great way to point out how figuring percentages can be useful, such as finding 10% off of the sweater you want to buy.
  • Estimation – Help your student guess how many people are at the ballpark, how many hot dogs your family eats in a year, how much pizza to order for a party or anything else! Make sure to point out that estimation is an important math skill.
  • Measurement units – Pretty much everything we do in a day involves measurement units – time, length, weight, capacity, currency and temperature. In addition to day to day things, get your child involved in locating places on a map, finding distances between cities, read temperature in different cities from a newspaper, paying the cashier in a supermarket and collecting the change etc.
When you are showing your student how math is an integral part of everyday life, they are able to appreciate the value of math and also get rid of the feeling of abstractness when thinking about Math.
Be accurate and creative when you talk about math, and share enthusiasm with your young learner. The more aware they can be of their need to use math in regular life, the more likely they will develop a positive attitude about learning the math skills they will need later.
In Math Buddy, we have tried to relate every single topic in Math with practical real-life examples that students encounter in day to day life. A resource such as the Math Buddy parent guide will give you an idea of the concepts with which they should be familiar. You can download the parent guide for grades 2 to 4 from the “My Lessons” page when you login to Math Buddy.
Click here to learn more about Math Buddy.

A guide to ensuring safe internet usage for your child

The computer has become a valuable learning resource for almost any topic imaginable. School subjects are certainly no exception here. There are great resources on the World Wide Web, including Math Buddy, that offer lessons, worksheets, practice tests and more. These sites provide information that can help your student perform well in school.

When your young student needs to use the Internet, you want to make sure that he or she stays safe while finding information that is useful and relevant. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this effectively.

The first thing you should consider is that there are pros and cons to restricting your child’s access to the Internet. While filtering can typically restrict much of the content and images that you do not want your child to be exposed to, it may also hinder the student’s ability to access great web content that has legitimate educational purposes.

How is filtering different from monitoring, and which method should you use to produce the best results? In order to determine your course of action, consider the difference in filtering and monitoring.

When you filter the Internet for your child, you use a service that screens websites and makes a determination whether or not the content is appropriate for certain age levels.

Monitoring, on the other hand, attempts to encourage responsible use of the Internet by providing guidance in the form of accountability. Monitoring software allows you to track the sites visited by your child, the length of time spent on a page, and which links were clicked. You can even monitor your student’s keystrokes to see exactly what they are typing while they are using the computer.

If you decide that monitoring is the way to go, you can begin immediately, without purchasing any expensive equipment. One great way to monitor Internet use is to view the browser history provided by your browser. Most well-known browsers have settings that allow you to track up to a month’s worth of activity. If your child learns how to block this ability, they may be able to erase their browser history with just a few clicks, so in order for this method to work, you must know your child’s technological capabilities. The cache and cookies stored on your computer also contain information about what has been viewed and which sites have been interacted with, but again, a savvy child will be able to edit or delete this information.

You can also purchase software that will allow the screen of a student to be viewed on the monitor of an adult who can supervise the Internet activity. When possible, work with your child to explain what areas of the Internet he or she may use, and watch them interact with the Internet from time to time to teach them healthy ways of finding the information they need online. Once you are able to establish a trust relationship with your child, you may find that you need to monitor his or her Internet usage less frequently. It is important that your child is aware that you are monitoring their activity and have certain expectations for the time that they spend online. Showing your student what you expect will give them the tools they need to act responsibly while they use the Internet.

When used responsibly, the Internet is a powerful tool that can help your child succeed in school.

Click here to access Math Buddy to check out activities, worksheets and much more now..

Discover your child’s learning style

Everyone takes in and processes information differently by preference. Educators have analyzed the different ways that students of all kinds process information and developed three major categories of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (sometimes called tactile). Although most of us use a little of all three of these learning styles to absorb the information we receive every day, everyone has a major preference. Once you realize which learning style your child prefers, you can help them have a better school experience and realize greater success in all school subjects.

Visual Learners: Visual learners take in information more easily if it is presented visually. They learn best from visual displays. Charts, worksheets, diagrams, illustrations, videos and written information are the best ways to present concepts to these types of learners. They also rely heavily on the body language of the teacher and his or her facial expression as they learn the information. You can help a visual learner be more successful in the classroom if you make sure they are able to sit closely enough to see the teacher, the board, and the overhead screen clearly. Teach them how to take good notes so that they have the visual reminder of the things they have learned. Help them draw pictures, graphs, or other visual representations of the information they are trying to learn.

The more ways that a visual learner is able to see the information, the better they will be able to retain what they are being presented. Visual learners study best using flash cards, written notes, and other visual mnemonics. You can help your visual learner study effectively when you know what they need to be most successful.

Auditory Learners: Auditory learners absorb information best through discussion and verbal presentation of material. These individuals have a greater sensitivity to the speaker’s tone of voice, pitch, speed, and other subtleties of speech and language. It is more difficult for them to gain information from written material unless they are allowed to read it out loud or have it read to them.

You can help your young auditory learner master concepts more quickly by presenting it to them in a story format, acting out a script or skit that presents the information, or using a tape recorder. If possible, important information can be recorded on a tape recorder or in a digital format on your computer so that the auditory learner can replay the information as often as he or she needs.

Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners: The best way for tactile/kinesthetic learners to process information is through hands-on learning. When these individuals are allowed to physically explore the world around them, they absorb the information presented to them and make connections more easily. Often, these learners have trouble in the conventional classroom because their learning style is not conducive to sitting quietly for long periods of time. They need the freedom to be active and explore in order to learn.

Help your kinesthetic learner by presenting the information they need to learn in a concrete, physical way whenever possible. Use manipulatives that your child can hold and experiment with during math practice. Encourage your student to walk around while studying flash cards, notes, or other written material. Provide a guided stretch break during homework and study sessions. When reading, these learners often benefit from following along the page with a finger beneath the words.

When a mismatch occurs between your child’s learning style and his or her teacher’s teaching style, you might notice problems start to develop in class. Your child may have trouble listening, paying attention, or following instructions. You may see his or her grades begin dropping and notice a disinterest in the subject matter. Fortunately, if you are aware of your child’s learning style and are working with a cooperative teacher, this is easily remedied.