Let’s face it, teaching kids, math is like pulling teeth. There, I said it. It needs to be said, because a lot of parents think that teaching math is pretty straightforward. It may not be all that easy, but in their minds, it’s pretty simple and straightforward. They just need to sit the kid down and the kid would, with some difficulty, handle the materials in a fairly straightforward way.
How I wish that it was that easy. How I wish that everything proceeded according to plan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. You can whip out all the math workbooks in front of your kids, even featuring the ones with amazing illustrations and colors, and you’d still feel like you’re pulling teeth. That’s the bottom line and there’s really no need to walk on eggshells around this topic.
The good news is, by simply incorporating math concepts in everything that you do with your kids, you can go a long way in taking their intimidation levels away. That’s the bottom line here. That’s the real issue here. That’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
You see, when it comes to conceptual issues, kids really have no problems with math. It’s just another data point or data set that they can pick up. Considering how malleable and easy to shape kids’ minds are, math should be quite easy. In fact, it should be a no brainer.
The problem is the reputation of math. You have to understand that your attitude towards the subject matter can be picked up by your kids regardless whether you express that attitude or not. You are actually far easier to read than you even care to acknowledge. Your kids can tell from your tone of voice, your scheduling choices, as well as your facial expressions what your real attitude is towards a particular subject matter.
For example, you might say that a person is a great person and heap praises on that person, but if you are giving out conflicting signals with your facial expressions, gestures, body language and other nonverbal signals, your kids are actually going to walk away with a completely different impression regardless of the words coming out of your mouth.
I hope this much is clear regarding math because you can go out of your way to set aside some time for math skills building with your children, but if they can’t see that you look at this subject matter as fun, approachable and accessible, they would become intimidated. It doesn’t matter, again, what you say. What matters is what you do.
Kids are that smart. Kids can see through your words and get at the truth. They might not be able to verbalize it, they might not be all that eloquent, but, believe it or not, they have an innate and natural ability to cut through the fluff and get to the real stuff.
That’s why, according to research studies, it’s very hard to trick kids with magic tricks. They look at the magician playing all sorts of tricks and they will always question everything. They will always question what they are seeing.
Unlike adults who often think in shorthand or who constantly refer to past experiences, kids are harder to fool. Keep this in mind. You need to make sure that your activities with your children involve math as much as possible.
Baking a Lot of Fun into Math
How do they learn math from using the best muffin pan, bread pans and other bake ware? Very simple. They learn proportions. They learn measurements. They learn that when they measure a fraction of an ingredient, it actually has a real world impact on their lives.
How? Well, too much of cinnamon is definitely going to throw off a loaf of bread. Similarly, not putting enough chocolate chips in muffins can have an impact on your kids’ enjoyment of those muffins.
This level of math training, as basic as it may seem, is actually quite effective because it speaks math’s concepts. It enables your kids to come into contact with math concepts in a direct and unintimidating way that makes a lot of sense as far as their daily activities and experiences are concerned. By keeping it real, you make your kids less intimidated by math and they’re able to absorb more of its concepts.
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