I found this quote on a website offering to make your child love math: “Sadly, long before the age of seven, many children have “switched off” to math.” The quote made me laugh and wonder just exactly when it is that our young children get “switched on” to math.
Because improving success in mathematics as well as helping children have a positive feeling about math and their own abilities is such an important part of my life, I spend a small portion of each day looking online to see what is being pushed at interested, caring, and worried parents as solutions to their child’s difficulties in math Cours particuliers Maths.
Those of you who have followed my articles about the need to be establishing in our pre-school children a successful math foundation, know the our society has never before expected parents of pre-schoolers to work with math in any way-except for a little counting, which is actually a verbal skill not a math skill.
We are just know realizing that Piaget was very wrong in his beliefs about math education. The word about the need to start introducing logic and arithmetic concepts during ages 1 to 4 is just now starting to be accepted, and it is just now influencing how we present math to preschoolers.
Only now are a few children entering school at age 5 or 6 with a good math foundation. The vast majority of children still are entering school with no experience with math; and at the ages of 5 and 6, they are just getting counting and maybe a little addition. So that quote “…long before the age of seven, many children have “switched off” to math” made me wonder just when does the author think children got “switched on” to math?
IMPORTANT! If children are “switched off” to math at ages 5 or 6 or 7, it is NOT because of the math! Counting and addition do not turn children off to math. If a child this age is feeling negative about math, it is because he/she has already picked up someone else’s negatives attitudes. The solution to the problem is not a website because the problem is not with the math!
It needs to be determined quickly where the child is picking up these negative attitudes. It might be from day care, a baby sitter, an older sibling, or even a parent. Having the source be a parent is actually the easiest to fix.
If a parent is the source of the negative attitude about math than it has been expressed out loud. What is needed to fix the situation is simply an attitude change or at least the verbal expression of that attitude. Your personal attitude about math should never touch your child if it is negative. (I will admit that most parent have at least some negative feelings about math, and it is very difficult to keep those feelings inside. But that is exactly what has to happen.)
How to fix it? Have a talk with your child. Explain that your feelings about math are based on things that happened to you and you never meant to pass your feelings to your child. Stress that your child is a different person, with different abilities, who is getting a new beginning. This means he/she can be really good at math and that you want to help.
Find out from your child what specific skills are causing the trouble. I suspect than at age 5, 6, or 7 there really aren’t any specific issues. But, if your child does respond with something specific, then say “Oh, I think we can fix that very easily if we work together. It is really important that you are good at math. When you are good at math, you will enjoy it and you won’t have the experiences I did.” Then, right away, work with your child for just a short time and with lots of patience, positive attitude, love, and an attitude that conveys your confidence in your child. Never get angry with your child about learning. Then, continue to work on your own self-positive talk about math.
If your child’s negative attitudes are not coming from within your family, then you might have a bigger problem since those attitudes are coming from elsewhere. You may have to do some detective work and have some serious conversations with others. If you find the source, repeat the above process.
If you can’t find the source, all is not lost. You will just need to work a little harder on both skill success and positive attitude. Children really do enjoy the things they do well. So the key is to make sure your child starts experiencing lots of success and hearing lots of positive comments about the importance of math.