Friday, December 16, 2011

Teaching your Child Math; Where to Start

By Umm Abdurahman

We all realize and understand the value of Math in everyday life. For this reason, all parents want their children to have a strong foundation in mathematics. However for many children math is one of their weaker and less enjoyed subjects. Whenever a child has a difficulty with a subject, the parents must go back and ask why, because if a child does not ‘get it’ then the fault is not that of the child, rather with the syllabus or the parent. So how do we teach our child math in a way that is enjoyable and effective? We hope to give you some ideas of things that we have tried with our children, in hopes that you may benefit.

Early mathematics in the home

Because mathematics is such a practical subject, and can be applied to almost all aspects of life, you can start as soon your child can talk. Teach your child to count by going up the stairs and counting the steps, or picking up blocks and counting them. Try to count items with your child as often as you can and with as many different items as you can. Teach him/her about classifying and sorting. Go pick fruit with your child and ask him/her to group them by size or color. Teach your child to identify shapes with a shape sorter. Counting books are another great resource and young children love them. My youngest son’s favorite book is a counting book. Also invest in an abacus, as it is an excellent visual and physical way to learn counting. Provide your child with puzzles because they encourage logical thinking. Teach your child about patterns by creating patterns with different colored Legos on the floor. The possibilities are endless, all of which will help lay a foundation for your child to move forward in his/her study of math.

The next step

Once your child has grasped most of these basic mathematical concepts, like us, you may want to start using a formal guide to continue teaching mathematics. There are many free resources available and several homeschooling curriculums for you to pick from.  One of the first things we tried was The MEP math program, which you can download from here.


·         It is free

·         You can download each level as you need it

·         It starts from kindergarten and goes right through to high school


·         It can be a lot of printing out, and in color this can cost quite a bit.

·         Can be redundant in the early levels.

·         For my son, I found he just didn’t enjoy the curriculum, and he was quickly bored with it. For this reason when I found he dreaded doing it, I decided to stop with it and went on to try Singapore math after hearing so many positive things about it.

As soon as we got the Singapore Math books my son seemed very excited and I let him glance through the pages before starting it. 


·         The layout of the books is very appealing and friendly

·         Repetition is not too excessive but just enough for the child to get it.

·         It is very thorough and lays sound foundations in mathematics.

·         It’s FUN! I was sold on the curriculum when I found my son saying    at the end of each lesson: “I love math, math is important” or insisting that we start with math before any other subject for the day.


·         It can be pricey for all the books, however from my experience and from what other parents have said it is not necessary to buy all the books. For example, the teachers Manuals you can really do without, especially as they are the most costly.

If you are looking for a math syllabus that your child can really excel with, I think Singapore is a great choice. I really feel it has had a profound effect on my son and have been very pleased with the results so far and would recommend it without hesitation. If you have any suggestions about what you have used, please share so that we may all benefit.