We know that it can be hard for parents to know how best to support their child with learning mathematics, so we’ve put together some advice that we hope will be useful to any parent or carer.
Maths is not just about numbers, so in the Solving Together Project we will focus on solving problems and on thinking mathematically.
Good problem solvers work together, learn from their mistakes, and aren’t afraid to ask questions, so the games and activities in this project are designed for you to enjoy with your child while developing these problem solving skills.
You don't need to be an expert to talk about maths with your child.
A sports coach doesn’t need to be better than the person they’re coaching. In the same way, you can talk about maths with your child even if you are not a confident mathematician yourself.
If your child asks a question and you're not sure of the answer, you can explore and try to find the answer together. In mathematics the process is as important as the answer. Listening to your child's questions and ideas is a really good way of helping them.
Asking rather than telling.
When your child finds something difficult, it can be really tempting to tell them the answer. However in the long run, it’s much more helpful to discuss a problem and help them to work out the answer for themselves.
You can encourage your child by praising them for working hard and not giving up. The most important message you can give your child is that making mistakes is a natural part of learning.
Asking your child questions as you work together can really help them.
Here are some examples:
- Do you notice anything interesting?
- Can we predict what will happen next?
- Which moves might be good moves to make? And...
- Are there any patterns?
If you think of other helpful questions, don’t be afraid to ask them.
Strategy games are not (just) about winning and losing.
Many of the activities in this project are based on mathematical games.
Try starting off by playing a few games without worrying about who wins or who loses. The idea is to work with your child, and as you figure things out you can develop and test strategies together.
In some games, there’s an option to play against the computer. So you could start by playing a few games against your child in two-player mode, and then you could team up together to beat the computer.
We hope you find these activities useful, but more importantly we hope that you enjoy them.