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Teaching your child to love mathematics

intelligent-child Enhancing your Child's Intelligence

From sharing chocolates with friends to watching cricket, mathematics is present in ever part of our lives. You use fractions to divide chocolate equally and calculate batting averages and run rates while watching cricket. Despite its importance in our day-today lives, maths is the most hated subject for most kids. Find out how you can get your child excited about math here.

Ask any child what he thinks of mathematics (also math or maths), and the typical answers will be boring, difficult, or both. The fear of anything to do with numbers is ingrained in not just children but also adults. However, the fault lies not with this beautiful subject, but with the 
teaching methods used to impart it. No matter what age your child is, you could use the following tips to make mathematics an enjoyable activity.

Discover the Importance of Mathematics Yourself

Before you teach your child, you need to understand the importance of mathematics yourself. Otherwise, your child is likely to inherit your fear or dislike of maths. Understand your concepts well before you explain them to your child.

Mathematics and the Real World

The common misconception that people have about mathematics is that most of its concepts do not have direct, day-to-day applications. Nothing could be further from the truth. Adding, subtraction, multiplication, etc. have direct uses in our lives. We also use more abstract mathematical concepts in our day-to-day lives unknowingly. 

Take, for example, a typical day in most people's lives. You wake up in the morning and watch the weather forecasts, which have been calculated using complex equations. You use fractions to divide fruits among the members of your family. When someone offers you a lottery ticket, you calculate the probability of winning. You probably avoid smoking because statistics suggest that smoking causes cancer. In cricket, you often refer to the batting averages and run rate. 

So you see, mathematics governs our life in more ways than we could imagine. The trick is to help your child understand the relationship between complex maths concepts and the world around him. Make mathematics part of your child's daily life. When he accompanies you to the store, ask him to help you add the prices in a bill.

Make Learning Interesting

Once the great Albert Einstein was four years old and sick in bed. To overcome his boredom, his father gifted him a magnetic compass. Young Albert was fascinated by the fact that no matter which way he turned the compass, the need would point in the same direction. He nurtured this fascination for natural phenomena later in life to become the world's greatest physicist. 

Similarly, you can provoke your child's imagination and curiosity - which is never in short supply at that age - by using everyday objects to explain mathematics.

Provide Real World Examples

Take a thread and make a perfect circle (by tying it around a round object). Now let another piece of thread pass through the centre of the circle. The ends of the second thread should touch both sides of the circle. Ask your child to measure the two threads. Divide the first (circumference) by the second (diameter) to get a number that is approximately equal to 3.1415926. Try it for different circle sizes. The number is always the same and is known as 'pi'. 

You could explain other concepts such as the Fibonacci sequence, zero, golden mean, etc. in the same way. 

Some more examples:

  • Explain geometry by showing flower petals to depict symmetry or volcanoes to depict a cone.
  • Show him a photo of a beehive and ask him why cells are hexagonal (the answer: hexagons fit most closely together without any gaps). 
  • Show him patterns in nature. Most shapes in nature are circular or spherical. A drop of water in outer space would be spherical but gravity distorts its shape.
  • Tell him fun facts. Among shapes of the same area, a circle has the least perimeter (the length of the line enclosing the shape).

Provide a Background

Sometimes, it is necessary to explain how a theory was developed before explaining what the theory is. This gives your child the necessary context and a window into the mind of mathematicians. For example, the famous story of Archimedes could be used to explain the principle of displacement. Explain the contributions of great Indian mathematicians such as Aryabhatta so that your child can develop a greater respect for the subject.

Teach the Vocabulary of Math

One reason why children find maths intimidating is that the terms and notations used are confusing. Help your child learn the basics by using flash cards, games, toys such as building blocks, and diagrams. Also, use lots of puzzles. Try formulating problems while teaching him a concept. For example, how would he divide three bananas among his four friends? This will help your child understand the formulation of a problem.

Use Faster Methods

There are numerous books and techniques available on faster ways to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Vedic mathematics and Russian Peasant's Method of Multiplication are some notable examples. By using such methods, your child can easily develop confidence

As you can see, mathematics need not be boring. It all depends on how you teach it. If your child finds mathematics difficult, do not be disheartened. Be positive at all times. Remember, learning mathematics is not just limited to getting a good score in an examination but is a window to the amazing world that we live in.

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Arif.2 years ago
Very good article.......
I just want to add that if basics are cleared in early years of your child they start loving math. otherwise they hate.
Alter.2 years ago
Maths can be fun. It should not be feared otherwise it becomes difficult to understand it. this article is very good.
Meena Dokania.2 years ago
Maths is a feared subject. The fear grows deeper as one grows older. this article will be very useful.
Jeeva Rangaraju.4 years ago
Great Article
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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
What do you think of mathematics? Does your child find mathematics interesting? Do you know any ways to make mathematics interesting for children?
The problem with maths is the way it is taught in schools. Most of the schools have big classes with lots of children in them. So they have no time to pay attention and see if the child has actually u...
One way to get your child to enjoy maths is to start teaching him from the time he is small. This way he gets used to maths and is more comfortable with it as he grows up. Small trick always help to t...
I think you should also remember that not all children will like maths. Just as children do not like history or languages, similarly they need not have to like maths. Don' t force your child to do som...
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