Simple Tricks To Boost Your Child's Maths

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Key Stage 2 Maths By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Maths » Key Stage 2 Maths
Last updated: 11/04/2018
Tags: ,tips for maths problems, 11+ maths, 11+ maths help, ks2 maths

I once read that learning maths was like learning to ride a bicycle. Even if you haven't quite managed to get off the stabilisers, the teacher will still end up taking away the bike and offering you a unicycle to move onto. 

Tutoring can be hugely beneficial to those children who find themselves getting left behind in the classroom, and good tutors will be able to reinforce what's being taught at school, correct any misunderstandings and hopefully help their pupils feel more confident in maths lessons. However, tutoring isn't always necessary. Here are some ways in which parents can parents can support their children's maths without relying on outside help.

1) Teach them division (as well as multiplication) tables
Everyone knows that times tables are important, but it's rarely mentioned that learning division facts are just as important. Children need to be able to look at 56 and instinctively know that 7 and 8 are involved, or even at 57 and know that it's a combination of 27 and 30 and so must be divisible by 3. 

Printing off (free) worksheets from can solve this problem. One sheet a day for two weeks and your child will find maths far, far easier, simply because they will start to see the clues behind the numbers.

2) Turn them into administrators
It can be frustrating to be a maths tutor and to see a pupil struggling with a very basic question about adding up the prices of pieces of fruit, or having to manage a timetable. But of course, these are things that adults do on a regular basis, and that children very rarely do. The solution is to give children more responsibility. Next time you go to the supermarket, tell your child the budget, and let them choose what you buy based on how much it costs (within reason, obviously!). Make them organise their morning schedule and give them a watch so that they can monitor it. Make maths part of their day, not just part of their lessons.

3) Play Scrabble with them
Scrabble isn't just about words - it's also about mental arithmetic and working out what combination of letters will produce the most points. So play Scrabble with your kids. 

4) Give them an abacus - and show them how to use it
The number 10 is one of the most confusing numbers in the English language. It shouldn't be 'ten' - which makes it seem like it's just one thing, but would be better describes as 'ten-nothing'. Eleven is perhaps even worse - it should be 'ten-one'. The same goes for twelve. It's only at 13 that we start to see some sense, but even then it should be 'three-ten' but it's clearly been mangled over the past 800 years of English-speaking. The French are more sensible, but they only start to be sensible at 17 - dix-sept, or literally 'ten-seven'. 

The point is that 10 is two columns, containing one item on the left and nothing on the right, and this is deeply confusing for children. The solution is to use an abacus, and to have one around whenever possible. Abacuses visualise the relationship between base-10 columns, and so help children understand how numbers work far more instinctively. Make an abacus a part of your child's maths setup.

Raphael Hetherington Computer Programming (general) Tutor (Salisbury)

About The Author

I am a Cambridge University graduate with 7 years' experience tutoring pupils of ages 7 to 16. I offer online lessons in the 11+ exam as well as programming (Python and Web Development (HTML, CSS and Javascript)).

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