Top Tips to Home School Your Child in Math(s)
Maybe you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right path for your child to achieve a good education. Of course you may well be right and your intentions good. But have you thought about how this education might look? There are so many ways to promote good learning and it is important that you are clued up on what works vs. what doesn’t.
Tips for Homeschooling Maths
Maybe you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right path for your child to achieve a good education. Of course you may well be right and your intentions good. But have you thought about how this education might look? There are so many ways to promote good learning and it is important that you are clued up on what works vs. what doesn’t. Below we have focussed on Maths specific tips for homeschooling but some of these can be applied to other subjects.
Tip 1 - Look at the National Curriculum
The National Curriculum is an evidence-based document outlining the different aspects of Maths that children should know by a certain age. It is a good way of tracking your child’s progress against the criteria if that’s the way you want to go. If nothing else, it might give you some ideas for what to teach.
Tip 2 - Build a library of resources
It is not essential to have a huge library of resources but you do want to find a few that you like. Textbooks and activity books vary drastically, so spend the time reading them before purchasing or talking to teachers about which books provide explanations and examples in a clear way. A good clue is that if it is difficult for you to understand the explanation in a text, your child will also. But don’t be afraid to branch away from the text and use them primarily to advance your own understanding and build your lessons.
You may also want to invest in a large whiteboard. Your child will find it much easier to follow your lessons. Don’t be afraid to use a variety of colours! Studies have shown this has a direct link to memory retention.
Tip 3 - Create a positive learning space
Where possible, try and create a positive learning space away from distractions. For example, if your child enjoys watching TV then the front room is a no-go area. You want your child to associate the space where they work with ‘school time’. This has the advantage of allowing them to associate other areas with ‘free-time’ just like most children would when they get home from a day at school. Let your child input into the layout of the work-space so that it is inviting!
Tip 4 - Create a long-term plan
The easiest way to create a long-term learning plan is to break down study into months (so you can see what you may cover in a school year). Decide which units you want to cover each month and then break these down into weeks. At this point you will have a better idea of how many days/weeks a unit may take by associated each day with one topic from the unit. This will take some work, so don’t worry when you have to go back to adjust your plans.
Tip 5 - Be flexible with your time
Your child may find some topics easier than others. If you’ve set an hour aside for Maths make sure it is productive. If a topic is understood quickly, avoid drilling them with questions to fill the time you set aside. Likewise, don’t stop when they are just starting to understand something. You want the child to finish a lesson having had a chance to apply their understanding and have some success.
Tip 6 - Decide on activities
Avoid assigning extensive drilling and busywork. This will not help your child retain how to perform a maths operation. Instead use questions on previously covered topics as starters at the beginning of your lesson for no more than 5 minutes as a refresher.
Plan for deeper investigation through projects and assignments. Linking these to careers will help them relate maths to the real world. You can do this as one topic or by combining a few topics. For example: have your child design elevations and/or create a model of a building during a measurements unit.
Tip 7 - Have them teach you
Instead of assigning more written work, give your child a chance to teach you what they have learned. Teaching is one of the best forms of learning and will more easily help you identify any misunderstandings that need to be reviewed.
Tip 8 - Reward good work
Set aside time at the end of each lesson for a fun maths activity, particularly if your child has worked well. This can be a great motivational tool that brings out the best in them during the lesson. Have a look online for inspiration and let your child have some say in this too. In our experience, children love quickfire games to test their speed or problem solving activities.
These tips are guidelines and should help spark some ideas. Homeschooling your child can feel daunting but you know your child better than anyone and are in the best position to decide what works and what doesn’t. So have confidence!
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