What do you do when your child says ‘I hate math’? How do you help kids who are afraid of math? I think the answer is to look at their learning style and change the math lesson to match the style. There would be so many more happy math scholars if teaching were geared toward the child’s learning style and personality.
For example, most kids like playing games. Why not gamify the learning. My daughter loves games, all sorts of games. I’m not really a game person, so I didn’t realize what a big deal this was for my daughter. When I finally understood I struggled to figure out how to introduce games into our learning. I Googled and read as much as possible and finally came up with a curriculum that seems to be working for her.
We use Singapore math. This curriculum has NO games. However, I like it because it’s organized in a way that works for me as my daughter’s teacher.
I start by reading and understanding the lesson so that I can explain it. Then, I sit on the floor with my daughter and have a discussion about the lesson. Usually, she’s not really listening, but that’s OK. Next, I break out a game app. Now, I’ve got her attention! She asks questions at first until she figures it out. Then, she takes over and starts playing the game by herself.
While she’s playing I ask her if she likes the game. She’ll either say fun or boring. If it’s fun, I let her continue. If it’s boring, I try to figure out, with more questions, what’s boring about it. Sometimes it is obvious and sometimes it is not.
On another note, somethings just have to be memorized. Usually, before the official math lesson, we’ll work on something like skip counting. Skip counting makes multiplication much easier. I came up with a song for counting by twos which she hated. She found another song to count by twos that she loved, so we stick with that. I loved School House Rock as a kid, so I taught her to count by threes. She already knew how to count by fives and tens. So we are working on counting by fours. She has the song picked out and we just practice, practice, practice…
Worksheets = ‘I hate math’
On another note, worksheets make my daughter say ‘I hate math.’ However, every once in a while, we work on one page of a Singapore math worksheet. She doesn’t mind too much as long as it is short and not too frequent. My daughter loves to draw, but for some reason she really dislikes doing any drawing related to math. So, when we are working on a worksheet we skip any required drawing. We also only do one page per day. These are changes that ensure she will NOT say ‘I hate math.’
The overall balance of primarily doing games and occasionally doing worksheets seems to work well for my daughter. However, I have to stay on the lookout for new games as we encounter new math concepts.