3 Ways To Get Yourself Ready For Whatever Math Class Looks Like This September!
Okay, we all know that math is a major cause of panic and near-meltdowns on a good day, and now with a post-Covid back-to-school season approaching, families aren’t exactly feeling great about their kids returning to the classroom armed and ready with the math knowledge they need to succeed. Here are three things you can start doing today to make sure your kid is ready for the fall, no matter what math class might look like!
Start practicing, today!
One of the major fears that parents and kids have is that they didn’t adequately learn the skills they needed last year, to do well THIS year. I get that. A quick and easy fix is to quickly figure out what skills your kid was supposed to learn last year, and schedule practice time for them consistently, every week. My fave go-to is IXL.com. The site is super cheap, lists every single topic in the Ontario curriculum by grade level, and provides a TON of practice questions for every single unit. As a parent, it’s easy to track their progress and to see what areas they aren’t doing so hot in (if they score 2/10 on a set of practice questions, you know that topic is a weak spot!). Make sure your child is practicing consistently, at the same time, several times a week. It will pay off in the long run and get them into the habit of working within a structured schedule, which will pay off HUGE in the fall!
Work Hard, Play Hard!
Sometimes it can feel like a lot of work to plod through the curriculum and to monitor the minutiae of your child’s progress. Even though we’re micro-focused on whether our kids understand how to multiply by 10 vs 100 or whatever the case may be, I can tell you that the MOST important thing come September is that your child is in the habit of putting in the work to get better at literally ANYTHING. As boring as it sounds, practicing the same thing over and over again is so important when it comes to getting better at math! Focus and work ethic are transferrable skills. Whether your kid is doing laps in the pool every day, practicing an instrument, or refining their art skills, making sure that your kids are engaged in hard work and focused energy this summer will pay off huge when math class starts this fall!
Build That Math Muscle
If you’re struggling to get your kid to get through those workbooks and math apps, remember that right now it’s more important to help them build a positive attitude toward math than it is to get them to memorize their times tables (although guys, at some point they HAVE TO learn their times tables, promise me you will make sure that happens eventually!). Keeping math skills fresh doesn’t mean your child needs to carry a textbook to every beach they hit. In fact, it’s the informal learning that can really make an impact. Get your kids to create a curbside-pickup lemonade stand, rock Sudoku on the next road trip up to the cottage, select sale items from grocery store flyers, or have them deck their sidewalk hopscotch out with fractions instead of whole numbers! Don’t stress out about WHAT math they’re doing, just know that doing ANY math will get their brains in a positive mindset for whatever math class looks like in the fall! And mindset is half the battle – trust me on this one!
About the author: Vanessa is the founder and director of The Math Guru, a super cool boutique math & science tutoring studio in Toronto, offering all programs online and in-studio. She is also the author of Math Hacks, a new book that totally makes math fun, stress-free and relatable for young kids and parents AND she is the host of a new podcast called Math Therapy, where Vanessa helps guests work through their math trauma, one problem at a time! Her #goals are to be Lady-Gaga-famous and to totally change math culture so that STEM is finally as cool and accessible as basically every single Taylor Swift song ever. She failed Grade 11 math twice, which was the best thing that ever happened to her. Side note but totally relevant: Vanessa is a founding member of Toronto indie-rock band Goodnight, Sunrise. Mindy Kaling is her idol and Vanessa believes that she should be yours too.