* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Let's be honest here - many kids hate math. They find it tedious, boring, tiresome... you name it. The biggest problem they have with math is that they don't understand it and lose interest quickly. Once they lose interest, it's all downhill from there. Now, the key to fixing this is keeping them entertained. As a young woman working with kids, I can tell you that this is not always easy. Things are definitely harder in public schools, where there's only one of you and a classroom full of students. Since I mainly work as a private tutor, things have been relatively easy for me, but even I had to come up with creative ideas to keep kids interested and entertained.
Here are a few tried and tested ways to make learning math fun and some advantages of homeschooling over the traditional public school system.
Try fun activities
First thing to keep in mind here is that you're going to know the kid you're tutoring much better than a teacher would know their students in a public school classroom. This, of course, comes with a set of advantages. As you get to know your kid better, you start understanding what they like. If they like cooking, for example, you can come up with a math activity where you simply have the kid measure ingredients, add and subtract the amounts of flour, water, sugar, etc. Also, turn a boring math question into something more interesting by adding characters in the mix, preferably ones from cartoons or video games they like.
Math gamesSometimes the best way to teach a kid math is to trick them into not knowing they're actually learning. There are a lot of online math games, card games, board games or even puzzles you can keep nearby and, if the child is not feeling like learning math, play those instead. Origami, for instance, can help them get better at geometry, UNO cards at counting, and so on... They'll think they're just having fun, but they'll be learning without even knowing so. The tutoring style of teaching is at an advantage here because you can just play with kids, without a rigorous program hanging over your head.
Be their friendThe problem with public schools is that there is a whole bunch of kids crammed into a tiny classroom. Sometimes, that environment is stressful not only for the teacher, but for the children as well. In a crowd, shy kids tend to be afraid to ask for help when they don't understand something. Tutoring home-schooled kids means having usually one to two kids to work with, so there's less pressure. Be their friend, make them feel unafraid to ask questions and speak their mind. If they think of you as a friend, they won't be shy to ask questions they would otherwise feel are unimportant or silly.
In the end, it's your undivided attention and creativity that will save the day. Use these newly found skills and show kids that math is not something to be feared, but quite the opposite - an interesting and fun activity through which they learn new things about the world around them.
* * * * * *Great! These are pretty straight forward, but good reminders for parents and teachers. My kids love Origami! Thanks for your insights Ivana!